Inter-organisational cooperation for peace: burgeoning relationship or opportunistic liaison? A study of the cooperation between the European Union and United Nations peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2003-2008

Sempijja, Norman (2013) Inter-organisational cooperation for peace: burgeoning relationship or opportunistic liaison? A study of the cooperation between the European Union and United Nations peace operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo 2003-2008. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The study seeks to understand the nature and development of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) in peacekeeping using the case of the peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) between 2003 and 2008. The EU deployment in 2003 of an Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) in DR Congo represented an important shift in the role of regional organisations, as it was deployed outside its geographical setting for peacekeeping reasons. Furthermore, the co-deployment of EU and UN forces highlighted the changing pattern in peacekeeping, as regional organisations were starting to play an important role in burden sharing with the UN, thereby enhancing the notion of effective multilateralism. However the seemingly positive rhetoric emanating from the EU and UN about the partnership did not necessarily reflect the reality of the relationship. Fundamental to the study are issues concerning the involvement of regional actors outside their geographical spheres. Key questions are raised regarding the motives of regional organisations and the UN. Such questions concern, for instance, the motives behind the UN calling for EU involvement in DR Congo (at the expense of the African Union and nations) and factors that persuaded the EU to answer the call. The dynamics of the EU-UN cooperation are analysed from a political and operational dimension. Key components of the operational cooperation are essentially command and control, logistics and communication. The political cooperation components include the course taken by actors while using the structures set up to aid the partnership and the already existing departments within both organisations that facilitated the initial interaction. Further questions arise concerning cooperation between the UN and EU from the political and operational level. These include questions concerning the informal and formal mechanisms put into place to resolve the divergences between the missions. In addition, perceptions of the recipient people and the neighbouring states are examined in order to assess if this partnership is working or not. The results of the research which entailed a number of interviews and an analysis of primary and secondary data show that the motives of the EU and UN, plus the dynamics of their cooperation can be analysed in a multi-layered paradigm involving the following levels of interaction: i) Operational level — MONUC and EUFOR RD Congo, IEMF, EUPOL and EUSEC ii) Political level — local and national actors iii) Political level — regional and international actors. For instance, from an operational perspective the UN considered EU deployment as suitable especially for the provision of resources. The EU on the other hand viewed the deployment in DR Congo as an opportunity to become a global actor especially in the aftermath of the fallout from the US and its allies’ invasion of Iraq. The local, national and regional viewed the motivation for the involvement of the EU alongside the UN with suspicion. This was mainly based on the fact that key players like Belgium and France had vested interests in the DR Congo. There was dissatisfaction regarding the marginal military role given to the regional and continental powers yet the conflict was in their backyard. The nature of the path of the cooperation, especially from an operational perspective, was not smooth. This can be attributed to the different organisational cultures and motivations between the organisations. The internal dynamics of individual organisations played a role in determining the level of cooperation between the two organisations. In light of the above, the research came to several conclusions which included the fact that, due to the complex motives and differing aims of the actors, cooperation at the political level does not necessarily dovetail with cooperation at the operational level. Although the organisations have set up a system of collaboration through the declarations of 2003 and 2007, it has not been fully utilized. National and organisational interests and organisational culture among others can hinder cooperation. Nevertheless, despite a divide between the political and operational aspects of the missions, actors in the field have found ways of addressing operational problems, though significant issues remain concerning the viability of the methods used to address them in the long run.

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