ABSTRACT

The previous chapter outlined a framework for doing M&E that is informed by complexity theory in order to overcome the challenges facing UNPOL and the M&E thereof. This included a dedicated stage in order to ensure subsequent impact assessments and organisational learning processes are context-sensitive. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a background to the events, causes and consequences of the protracted conflict in Liberia and the UNPOL mission deployed by the UN in response. In keeping with the tenets and principles of the framework introduced previously, this includes a nuanced conflict analysis and identifies a range of influential stakeholders and variables relating to public safety in postconflict Liberia. The chapter has two main parts. The first presents a brief background to Liberia’s genesis including the political, economic and social development that occurred between formation and the outbreak of civil war. It proceeds to chronicle the two phases of violent conflict in Liberia stretching from 1989 to 2003, addresses the competing narratives regarding the root causes of the conflict and documents the major consequences of protracted insecurity. The second part introduces the UN peace operation in Liberia, first detailing its mandate then analysing the mission’s milestone achievements and examining the UNPOL experience to date. This includes a description of the UNPOL component from inception through to contemporary operational circumstances, including significant changes during the mission lifetime and its primary activities. The final section charts the drawdown of the mission to date and its relevance to UNPOL objectives.