Title: The Surge to Stabilize: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia
Author: Lotze, W and Williams, Paul D
Institution:International Peace Institute
Publication Date: 2016
Keywords: Stabilisation, Somalia, AU, African Union
The authors studied the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in undertaking stabilisation activities in support of the Government of Somalia from 2011. They identify five key factors which impeded stabilisation efforts. These included the lack of a shared stabilisation strategy between internal and external actors, military operations outpacing civilian stabilisation responses, difficulties in providing real or perceived improvements in security for civilian populations, and the inability of AMISOM to provide consistent peace dividends due to problems with security and service provision. They conclude by offering nine lessons for the UN and others attempting stabilisation activities in future. They range from commonly identified themes, such as the importance of ensuring that civilian and military efforts are in sync, to observations which are less well articulated elsewhere, such as understanding that ‘territorial expansion is less important than degrading the capabilities of spoilers’. This paper is relevant to all who seek to support stabilisation alongside significant external military activities in contexts affected by ongoing violent conflict. Further, it contains valuable insights for those engaged in diplomatic conflict resolution efforts, and for contexts in which the UN and regional bodies play a significant role in leading, coordinating or delivering the efforts of bilateral actors.