City Research Online

Decorating the “Christmas tree”: The UN Security Council and the Secretariat’s Recommendations on Peacekeeping Mandates

Oksamytna, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-7725-3151 & Lundgren, M. (2021). Decorating the “Christmas tree”: The UN Security Council and the Secretariat’s Recommendations on Peacekeeping Mandates. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 27(2), pp. 226-250. doi: 10.1163/19426720-02702006


Contemporary peacekeeping operations carry out many disparate tasks, which has triggered a debate about “Christmas Tree mandates.” Did the UN Secretariat or the UN Security Council drive this expansion? Using original data on nineteen UN peacekeeping missions, 1998–2014, this article compares peacekeeping tasks recommended by the Secretariat to those mandated by the Council. It finds that the two bodies expressed different preferences regarding the nature, number, and novelty of peacekeeping tasks. First, the Council dropped Secretariat-recommended tasks as often as it added new ones on its own initiative. Second, the two bodies disagreed more over peacebuilding and peacemaking tasks than over peacekeeping tasks. Third, the Council preferred to be the one to introduce novel tasks that had not appeared in previous mandates. Finally, among the countries that “held the pen” on peacekeeping resolutions, the United States was the most prone to dropping Secretariat-proposed tasks and the least willing to add tasks itself.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the cc by 4.0 license.
Publisher Keywords: international organization; United Nations; peacekeeping; peacebuilding; Security Council; Secretariat; international bureaucracy; penholder
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Oksamytna Lundgren 2021 Decorating the “Christmas Tree”.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login