Since 1945, the United Nations (UN) has been seen as the only organisation to maintain global peace and security. The peacekeeping programme began mainly in 1948 with the deployment of unarmed UN military observers to the Middle East in order to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and the Arab States. According to the UN edition of peacekeeping operations , Peacekeeping is an operation which involves military personnel, but without enforcement powers established to help maintain or restore international peace and security in areas of conflict. Although the term “Peacekeeping” does not exist in the United Nations Charter, the second UN Secretary General “Dag Hammarskjöld”, defined it within the Charter as “Chapter VI and half”, interestingly between Chapters VI and VII which outline the methods of resolving disputes peacefully and forceful action. During the Cold war which paralyzed the UN Security Council, peacekeeping goals were limited to ceasefire and stabilizing situations in sequence to resolve conflicts by peaceful means. The missions consisted of military observers and lightly armed troops for instance: The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) and the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). The first Arab Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali argues that the cold war peacekeeping operations were based on negotiating disputes that had led to the conflict. However, the UN launched heavy armed peacekeeping operations in the 1950s. For example: the First United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF1) over the Suez Crisis and the UN Operation in Congo (ONUC) which was a large scale mission. Moreover in the 1960s and 1970s, short-term missions were established in countries such as: Yemen and Guinea while others were longer term missions mainly in Cyprus and the Middle East. Nonetheless, by the end of the 1980s, the traditional context of the UN’s peacekeeping programme has dramatically changed.
From 1988, the UN peacekeeping task went through a period of evolution. As the Cold War tensions started to abolish, there was a massive increase in peacekeeping operations and peacekeepers. The UN has hugely expanded in 1990; the number of peacekeepers reached a peak of 75,000, the peacekeeping bill has largely increased to $3 billion and the number of states reached 77 states. Throughout this period, peacekeeping tasks were known as “Second-generation” peacekeeping operations. These latter were no longer classical traditional operations although they involved different peace seekers parties such as in Namibia and El Salvador; the major and direct step in the peace process in El Salvador was the signing for the first time the “San José Agreements” between the Government of El Salvador and the FMLN guerrillas which reflected the need for human rights to be scrupulously observed. Yet, peace agreements were still far complex to achieve. In fact, peacekeeping operations were part of the programme which aimed to settle negotiated political solutions. Besides, the programme presented new tasks for peacekeepers for instance: promoting elections, human rights, and refugees rights as well as supervising the armed disarmament. According to The Handbook for Election Observers in Namibia,under UN supervision, the elections took place in Namibia and the constitution was inaugurated on Mar 21, 1990 with Sam Nujoma, leader of the SWAPO, as the country’s first President.
Between 1989 and 1991, the UN succeeded in several missions in Africa and Central America even though the member states set financial and political constraints on it. The world is unwilling to provide the UN with resources to undertake enforcement tasks; without the political and financial support of the member states, not all the operations will be successful. Indeed, Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations Peacekeepers in 1988 for their decisive contribution toward the initiation of actual peacekeeping negotiations. After the early successes of the 1990s, came the third generation missions which in turn involved domestic conflicts and lacked the involvement of peace seekers parties. Nonetheless, problems with the third peacekeeping generation increased from the UN’s successive unproductive operations in Somalia, Bosnia as well as the catastrophic operation in Rwanda.; the UN Secretariat threatened Somalia and Rwanda and turned them into a sort of laboratory.