Information Processing Challenges in Peacekeeping Operations: A Case Study on Peacekeeping Information Collection Efforts in Mali


Information analysts are often hindered by uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and equivocality when trying to support peacekeeping operations. This article puts forward a conceptual framework that explains what each of these information challenges entails and how uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and equivocality hamper peacekeeping efforts. To assess the conceptual value of linking these information challenges to peacekeeping efforts, this article zooms in on the information support system within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), though other cases are also considered. The peacekeeping information collection and analysis efforts in Mali illustrate that peacekeeping missions ideally should be equipped with the capacity to overcome information challenges related to uncertainty and complexity in order to support the tactical and operational level of peacekeeping missions. In order to understand decision-making context and support the strategic level, it is also important that information analysts within peacekeeping mission can reduce information challenges related to ambiguity and equivocality. The importance of understanding the decision-making context speaks to the emphasis on sequenced mandates in the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report. In order to timely adjust the mandate of a peacekeeping mission, the leadership of a peacekeeping mission needs to be alerted of any changes in the decision-making context.

International Peacekeeping