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“The Role of the United Nations Development Programme in Post-conflict Peace-Building”: Article Analysis


Endorsement of democratic values and supporting policies of good governance have become trademark characteristics of the UN in the approaches adopted to deal with issues in post-conflict regions. At the same time the construct of sustainable development should be viewed as a critical aspect. In this context, the article “Promoting Democratic Governance And Preventing The Recurrence Of Conflict: The Role Of The United Nations Development Programme In Post Conflict Peace-Building” by Carlos Santiso assumes vital significance.

Summary of Content

In his article, author Carlos Santiso states that efforts made towards upholding the democratic character and fortifying effective governance standards have emerged as central elements of post-conflict peace-building endeavors undertaken by the United Nations (UN). However, the critical tasks carried out by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at such decisive moments connecting peacekeeping activities to sustainable advancement has often received very less analytical attention in terms of dimensional evaluation of the UN peace promoting initiatives.

UN peacekeeping efforts in the Central American region in the past few years have helped the establishment gain a certain degree of experience and expertise in terms of the exploration of the unknown areas of post-conflict peace making activities. UNDP’s involvement in the Central American chapter was the gateway to the institutions’ evolution process taking them beyond the parameters of offering conventional development aid, and propelling them towards assuming a dynamic and overtly political position in post-conflict democracy structuring and reorganization of the form of governance. Such a pristine character of the UNDP has given way to dramatic consequences with respect to its directive, administrative frameworks, corporate procedures and operational policies. The contemporary identity crisis and ensuing organizational rejuvenation of the UNDP is entrenched in its approval of the democratic character of governance as indispensable aspects of its mandate to uphold sustainable human progression. 1

In light of such issues the article attempts to evaluate the implications, pledges and problems faced by the UNDP in its efforts to promote good and sustainable governance practices and also investigate into the scale of applicability, suggestions, and institutionalization of the democratic and administrative initiatives within UNDP, by means of adopting the experiences of the UNDP in Central America as a evaluation case study. It asserts that the prospect of UNDP aid to uphold democracy would to a large extent be reliant on the amount of success it achieves in settling the intrinsic tension laden issues prevalent in process of promotion of democratic character and national sovereignty, and at the same time maintaining its multilateral perception of peace and democracy.

Content Presentation

The author has carefully devoted much attention to the organization of the content in the article. The flow of the article is much appreciable and gives the reader a sense of better understanding of the issues through a well developed writing style. The piece of writing is separated into four sections. At the outset, the author pores over the surfacing of democratic and good governance standards in the approach adopted by the UN in post-conflict circumstances. He next proceeds to look at the changeover from ‘first’ to ‘second generation’ attachment of the organization in the Central American scheme of things through the 90s decade. Subsequently, the author studies the involvement of UNDP and marks out the central components of UNDP policy with respect to the organizations’ approach towards democracy and administrative aid. In conclusion, the author sums up the article by making some observations on the intrinsic tensions involving aid usefulness along with national sovereignty.

The author states in the beginning that endorsement of democratic governance and institutionalization in conflict affected regions have manifested as core elements of the UN’s initiative of creating a sustainable and peaceful environment, rooted in the belief that peace, progress and social equality are undoubtedly connected. Developing and nurturing sustainable peace within a conflict afflicted society is a protracted and vulnerably delicate process. Thus, he asserts that till the time a politically practicable, sustainable, and institutionalized answer is delved on, the risks such as the course of progression being destabilized, peace being endangered and failure of democracy values prevail with a high probability of occurrence. However, the author does not leave the problem raised without a solution. He also attempts to make certain suggestions aimed at developing a sustainable approach. He affirms that upholding democratic peace necessitates particularly intensification of good governance policies and speeding up institutional reorganization. He also suggests that a sustainable approach requires a fundamental restructuring of the country and reflective modifications in the manners of the government. Peace making and building activities in conflict afflicted regions involves assimilating the entwined plans of promoting peace, democracy and progress.

The author describes the UN experiences in Central American peace building activities by make a distinction between a ‘first generation’ involvement, which primarily revolved around political arbitration, peacemaking and democratic changeover, and a ‘second generation’ involvement centering in on peacekeeping, democratic integration and sustainable progress. The ‘first generation’ of UN engagement focusing on re-establishing a peaceful environment has conventionally been rooted in diplomatic measures and security involvements, such as political arbitration, observing the preservation of human rights, electoral administration and the confirmation of the realization of peace conformities. The author emphasizes on the fact that the position of the UNDP has entered a more critical phase in the ‘second generation’ engagement which has a scope extending beyond the mere restitution of peace and the supervision of democratic election procedures. He states that the UN has manifested itself as a central mainstay of the multilateral development collaboration.

The most impressive aspect of the article and the authors approach to the writing is that the assertions made in the article are not based on just the thoughts if the author but is also extensively referenced and substantiated.


The wide knowledge base and careful presentation of the material in the article has a significant implication for the reader. The article helps one to understand the various issues associated with promoting peace and democracy in a post conflict situation in affected regions. The risks associated with such a long and vulnerable process is well highlighted and provides key insight in developing a sustainable strategy to uphold the democratic character and policies of good governance. The detailed explanation of the various issues faced and approaches adopted by the UN and UNDP in the Central American region helps the reader to get familiarized with the post-conflict environment and understand the contemporary significance of institutionalized policies developed to cope with such issues.


The involvement of the UN and UNDP in the Central American chapter was definitely a transforming experience for both establishments. The author states that it cannot be clearly affirmed whether the organizations have achieved success, been unsuccessful or just started to strengthen democratic governance policies in post-conflict Central America. However, they played a central role in the settling of internal clashes and the materialization of democracy.


Santiso, Carlos.2002. Promoting Democratic Governance and Preventing the Recurrence of Conflict: The Role of the United Nations Development Programme in Post-Conflict Peace-Building. Journal of Latin American Studies 34: 555-586.


  1. Carlos Santiso.2002. Promoting Democratic Governance and Preventing the Recurrence of Conflict: The Role of the United Nations Development Programme in Post-Conflict Peace-Building. Journal of Latin American Studies 34: 555-586.

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