Brazil: an emerging peacekeeping actor

As the presence of Western states in UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) has gradually decreased, new states have been filling the resultant void, although these operations remain wedded to Western ideas and standards of how such interventions should be carried out. However, as emerging powers like Brazil are now taking the lead on the ground, the question that this report seeks to shed light on is how this is starting to affect the way in which the UN carries out its PKOs. It assesses the Brazilian military lead in MINUSTAH in Haiti against the backdrop of the so-called “pacification” strategy currently employed in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. It shows that rather than being a “transmission belt” for a traditional Western model of military intervention, Brazil’s lead in MINUSTAH has had an added value, building on Brazilian experience with urban conflict, which is an area with which the UN and Western states are unfamiliar. In fact, several states, including the U.S., have started to look to Brazil when developing and adapting concepts for urban and anti-crime operations. This shows that as Brazil has become a more active participant in UN PKOs, it has also gradually begun to set the agenda for how the UN runs such operations.