Being a UN Bureaucrat: Policy-Making in the UN Secretariat

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


Much of the attention of UN officials, or bureaucrats, working at headquarters was dominated by a catching-up tendency. The formal stipulations in the broad peacebuilding mandates and resolutions, as adopted by the Security Council, result in a multitude of activities and actors on the ground, all seeking to realize the formalized intentions in the resolutions in the peacebuilding context in the post-conflict country. The degree of autonomy on the ground affects the institutional output and the linkages of the peacebuilding process, between the peacebuilding recipients and the donors. The protagonists in this chapter, the UN bureaucrats, were working at UN DPKO headquarters in New York and were geared towards a catching-up modus, trying to put language on activities emerging on the ground or in the field as a result of broad Security Council mandates. Based on the empirical findings through qualitative fieldwork and participant observation, as described in Chap.  3, this chapter focuses on performers and producers of UN peace operation strategies, the actors working at UN DPKO headquarters. These actors represent an interface between the political decision-making level and the implementation level on the ground in the peacekeeping missions. They also represented an interface between the external and the internal, the global, and the local, where political, cultural, and knowledge processes are continuously challenged and (re)built.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
    • 1
  1. 1.NUPIOsloNorway

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