Local ownership and un peacebuilding: Discourse versus operationalization

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The UN asserts that local ownership boosts the legitimacy and sustainability of peacebuilding by preserving the principles of self-determination and nonimposition in an activity that can contravene them. At the same time, it also perceives local ownership to imperil the achievement of its operational goals, thus bringing its normative and operational obligations into conflict. This article evaluates the UN’s discourse and operationalization of local ownership, showing that despite the UN’s invocation of ownership discourse, it operationalizes ownership in restrictive ways that are intended to protect the achievement of operational goals but that consequently limit self-determination and increase imposition. Moreover, because of contradictions in the UN’s practices of ownership, it also undercuts its ability to realize the very operational goals that it is trying to protect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-315
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal Governance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Discourse vs
  • Local ownership
  • Practice
  • UN peacebuilding


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