Working paper No. 6.4 ‘We sit in the mud and reach for the stars’: building complex interagency relationships to assist the United Nations Security Council support the rule of law

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The UN Security Council cannot be the instrument of its own transformation. It is a political institution with an important realist agenda ‘to maintain or restore international peace and security’. The pace of events usually means that to achieve that end in ways that are consistent with an objective and neutral reading of customary and normative international law is extremely challenging. This paper suggests that the members of the UN and its key agencies must first create the preconditions for success. This approach requires states and international organisations to build capacity in the domain of peacebuilding and peace enforcement and explicitly build coherent levels of understanding, language and culture. The Council will only have the assurance to act decisively and effectively if it has confidence that the agencies and forces called upon to promote the rule of law possess common understanding of what that means and have the ability to coordinate their efforts in a practical manner.

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