PEACE - Local Ownership and Peace Missions (2011 - 13)


Nicolas Lemay-Hebert, Heather Marquette, Paul Jackson


EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship

A team of researchers at IDD has won EU funding for a project that could help transform international peacebuilding and statebuilding missions. Dr. Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, supervised by Prof. Paul Jackson and Dr. Heather Marquette, has begun a two-year Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship that will deepen understanding of ‘local ownership’.

Project aims

In 1999, the United Nations Security Council gave the UN missions in Kosovo and Timor-Leste wide-ranging authority – executive, legislative and judicial. This created tensions with local people, however, affecting the UN administrations’ perceived legitimacy and thus their success. To mitigate the undesirable effects of a foreign presence on local societies, ‘local ownership’ has since been adopted as a key peacebuilding principle.

While the local ownership debate in the field of peacebuilding has only recently begun, in development studies and security sector reform it has been quite vibrant since the 1980s. Disappointment at the failure of top-down approaches to development in the 1960s and 1970s triggered new research on participatory development, empowerment and community participation. This research highlights both the potential and the limits of such bottom-up approaches, and what these approaches have to offer to the field of peacebuilding.

The concept of local ownership is now used by the United Nations in nearly all peacebuilding missions. However, it often plays a discursive, legitimising role, and many grey areas remain. Must ownership be entirely exercised by local people? Is there any difference between national and local ownership? Who are the ‘local actors’? And who selects them?

The ‘Local Ownership and Peace Missions’ research project will contribute to a deeper understanding of these issues by providing up-to-date data and using an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach. The project will be carried out under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

More information

For further information about this project please contact: Dr. Nicolas Lemay-Hébert