Sharing the Burden of Peace

Inter-Organizational Cooperation in Peace Operations

by Alexandru Balas (Author)
©2022 Monographs XVI, 156 Pages


Most peace operations (60%) were deployed in conflicts in which other international organizations’ peace operations were active at the same time. Multiple simultaneous peace operations increased from around 10% of all peace operations in 1992 to almost 60% of all peace operations. The author defines two or more peace operations deployed by international organizations at the same time, in the same conflicts as multiple simultaneous peace operations (MSPOs). We have little understanding of why we observe international organizations (IOs) deployed at the same time, in the same conflicts, and increasingly cooperating with each other to address these conflicts. This book asks the question: What factors determine cooperation between international organizations in peace operations? The author tests several rational and social constructivist explanations introducing an innovative collective principals-multiple agents framework. There are three rational-interest explanations for inter-organizational cooperation tested (resources, complementarity, and conflict complexity) and three social-constructivist explanations (social learning, security cultures similarity, and personnel nationality similarity). The research design is a multi-method approach, using statistical analysis from the author's new datasets on multiple simultaneous peace operations, data from interviews with EU officials, and case studies. There are two stages for the initiation of inter-organizational cooperation: the member-states’ acquiescence and the international organizations’ cooperation. At the first stage of cooperation, member-states are acquiescent to inter-organizational cooperation. At the second stage, the findings show that international organizations cooperate because they want to share the financial and human resources costs, and second, because they want to complement each other’s work.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Advance Praise
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgments
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Chapter One: Introduction
  • Chapter Two: Prior Research on Inter-Organizational Cooperation
  • Chapter Three: Why Cooperate? Explaining Rationales for Cooperation
  • Chapter Four: Definitions, Measurements, and Datasets
  • Chapter Five: Findings: Resources and Complementarity
  • Chapter Six: Peacekeepers’ Thoughts on Inter-Organizational Cooperation
  • Chapter Seven: Case Studies – Afghanistan, Darfur (Sudan), and Kosovo
  • Chapter Eight: Concluding Remarks and Policy Recommendations

←xiii | xiv→

Chapter One


“Partnerships have now become the predominant architecture for peacekeeping operations.” (Derblom, Frisell, and Schmidt 2008, 39)

The majority, 65% (41 out of 63), of the global peace operations are conducted in some form of inter-organizational partnership. A number of intergovernmental organizations, besides the United Nations (UN), such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have their own peace operations departments and deploy their own civilian and military peacekeepers in various conflicts around the world. The EU is the most active regional organization in the field of peace and security with 23 peace operations from 2003 to 2008, deploying more peace operations than the UN during that time.

In the aftermath of the Balkan wars in the mid-1990s, there has been an increase in multiple simultaneous peace operations (MSPOs), with several organizations having their own operations deployed in the same conflict, at the same time. For example, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were four international organizations that deployed peace operations during overlapping time periods – UN’s UNPROFOR1 and UNMIBH2; NATO’s SFOR3 and IFOR4, OSCE and EU’s EUPM5, and EUFOR-Althea6. The presence on the ground of peacekeepers wearing uniforms ←1 | 2→and helmets of different colors, with different mandates, responsibilities, chains of command, logistics and directives from their headquarters, requires some form of cooperation between the international organizations that deploy peace operations so that they do not, unintentionally, undermine each other’s efforts.

This increase in peace operations’ inter-organizational cooperation since the mid-1990s has not been paralleled by an increase in the scholarly analysis of this phenomenon. We still have little understanding of why we observe international organizations (IOs) deployed in the same conflicts, at the same time, and increasingly cooperating with each other to address these conflicts. Many of the policy-makers, at the UN or the EU, who work on issues of inter-organizational cooperation started thinking about this question only when asked about it for the purposes of this book.


XVI, 156
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2022 (April)
Peace Operations International Organizations European Union Peacekeeping International Cooperation Conflict, Peace Afghanistan Darfur Kosovo United Nations NATO Sharing the Burden of Peace Inter-Organizational Cooperation in Peace Operations
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2022. XVI, 156 pp., 8 b/w ill., 12 tables.

Biographical notes

Alexandru Balas (Author)

Alexandru Balas is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the International Studies Program and the Director of the Clark Center for Global Engagement at SUNY Cortland. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2011) and his MA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Sabanci University (2006). His books include The Puzzle of Peace: The Evolution of Peace in the International System (2016), Peace Operations (2014) and Muslims in Europe: The European Union Solving Social Conflicts (2008).


Title: Sharing the Burden of Peace
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174 pages