Failure of UN Peace Building in Somalia - A Hybrid Understanding

Mads Pliniussen & Jens Erfurt Nielsen

Studenteropgave: Bachelorprojekt


This paper, examines the reasons for why UN peacebuilding in Somalia has failed. Based on prior research, two factors have been identified as important. First; lack of local inclusion. Due to a top- down, state-centric approach, the importance of social dynamics such as the clan-system, traditional authority, religion etc. have been neglected. The premise of this top-down approach is that the western liberal, democratic model, should be the end goal of peace building efforts. In this regard, the second important factor is portrayed in the utilization of liberal characteristics in the UN approach to the “failed state” concept. It is apparent that these criteria are indeed not applicable to countries, where completely different social and authoritative structures are present, from what is the case in the west. Somalia is characterized by informal structures and hybrid orders, meaning that the liberal principles applied to determine whether a state is failed, are not considered adequate.

Thus, the investigation hypothesizes that UN peace building has failed in Somalia, due to; lack of local inclusion, and the utilization of western criteria for the assessment of “state failure”. To investigate this, the analysis provides a solid understanding of the UN view of a “failed state”, as well as a conceptualization of peace building. This is then applied to Somalia, to show what these factors mean, both in terms of the perception of the state of Somalia, but also regarding the efficiency of the UN peace building approach. Finally, an alternative theoretical approach in the hybrid peace model is applied, with empirical reference to Somaliland. This is to show the potential of local inclusion, and a different approach to what constitutes a state. In doing so, this paper addresses an identified gap in the current academic research, pertaining to the “failed state” concept, as well as local inclusion, in relation to UN peace building in Somalia.

UddannelserInternationale Studier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato28 maj 2018
Antal sider71
VejledereKlaas Dykmann


  • Peace building
  • Somalia
  • Hybridity
  • State failure
  • Local inclusion
  • United Nations
  • Local authority
  • States
  • Conflict