UN peacekeeping presence and local food security outcomes


In this journal article, Nina von Uexkull and Sara Lindberg Bromley from Uppsala University examines how impactful peacekeeping is in stemming a wider set of hardships affecting host communities, such as hunger.

Addressing this gap, the authors theorize and empirically examine the relationship between local UN peacekeeping deployment and food security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Liberia.

The article is published in Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Open hands showing the world map. Photo: Pixabay.
Open hands showing the world map. Photo: Pixabay.

Hunger and armed conflict

Recent years have seen hunger on the rise. Armed conflict constitutes one of the main drivers of this development; for 139 out of 193 million people in acute food crises in 2021, for example, conflict was identified as the primary cause. To stem armed conflict and help manage its devastating consequences, the deployment of peacekeeping operations constitutes one of the international community’s primary and most impactful instruments.

Key messages

  • UN missions often operate in contexts characterized as complex humanitarian emergencies, where life-threatening risks of violence and humanitarian need intersect. Peacekeeping thus comes into close contact with problems of food insecurity and carries important associated responsibilities.
  • Communities’ ability to meet basic needs in peacekeepers’ presence becomes a marker of the intervention’s legitimacy and relevance; owing to its fundamentally humanitarian imperative, peacekeepers’ intervention should reduce suffering and improve conditions for communities.
  • We have presented two main pathways and associated mechanisms through which UN missions may contribute to enhancing food security conditions where they are present.
  • We expect that direct and indirect pathways outlined here are both closely linked and difficult to disentangle, and that they may work in combination but also independently to influence food security outcomes at the local level.
  • Taken together, our reasoning leads us to formulate an overarching expectation: UN peacekeeping presence increases local-level food security.


The results suggest an overall positive but substantively modest association between peacekeeping presence and more food secure communities – proxied by stunting rates in children – and point to context-specific variation. We conclude by discussing implications for future research.


Lindberg Bromley, S., & von Uexkull, N. (2024). UN peacekeeping presence and local food security outcomes. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/07388942241237727

Authors of this publication

Nina von Uexkull , Sara Lindberg Bromley ,