United Nations peacebuilding in Namibia
By Elise Boulding
This Article Summary written by: Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Elise Boulding, "United Nations peacebuilding in Namibia" in New Agendas for Peace Research. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1992, pp. 199.
In 1966 the UN General Assembly decided that South Africa's control over West South Africa was illegal. This decision was upheld by the International Court of Justice. In 1989 political conditions finally allowed the UN to begin the process of transferring power from South Africa to the new nation of Namibia. The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) oversaw the successful transition.
UNTAG had three main tasks. First, it would supervise preparations for free elections in Namibia. Second, it would supervise the deliberation and adoption of a new Namibian constitution. And third, UNTAG would assist in the formation of the new Namibian government. Fulfilling these tasks required the assistance of a number of other UN groups and organizations. UNTAG also benefited greatly from the close attention and guidance of the Secretary-General.
The Namibian case is notable for the close and sustained cooperation between various elements of the UN system and UN member states. The Namibian case also expanded UN practices. In addition to its traditional tasks of military peacekeeping and diplomacy, UN forces monitored elections, maintained public order, provided basic administrative services and legal advice, and offered humanitarian relief.