Terminology, if not precisely defined, can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. This has been the case in the way in which the United Nations has been using peacemaking, peacekeeping and, more recently, peacebuilding. Agenda for Peace, produced by the UN Secretary General in 1992 suffers from some ambiguity in this respect. For example, it refers to the military performing a peacemaking role. The military cannot make peace, that is the role of the diplomat or politician. All that the military can do is to allay, defuse and help to end the manifest violence so that the peacemaking process can better proceed in a stable and calm atmosphere.

Author Bio(s)

Brigadier Michael Harbottle is a former Chief of Staff of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. He is the author and coauthor of a number of books on international peacekeeping, including the Peacekeeper's Handbook. He has been a Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies at universities in England, Canada and South Africa. He is a founding member of the group of retired Senior Officers which has been promoting new concepts of security based on cooperation not confrontation since 1981. In its present form as the Worldwide Consultative Association of Retired Generals and Admirals it has a membership of forty former top ranking officers from 25 countries.

Eirwen Harbottle has worked for the International Peace Academy, Centre for Human Rights & Responsibilities, the Kurds and Vietnamese "Boat People." She led the World Disarmament Campaign (UK), including conceiving the youth musical PEACE CHILD. In 1983, with her husband Michael, she co-founded the Centre for International Peacebuilding. She sees security in its holistic sense: environmentally, socially, spiritually, with a special role for youth, women and the military.


humanitarian operation, Nobel Prize winner Ralph Bunche, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, United Nations, United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM)

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