Article presented at the 1st International Conference on Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies that took place at UAL on the 29th and 30th of November 2018.

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Francisco Proença Garcia

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Reserve Lieutenant Colonel. Associate Professor with Aggregation at the Institute of Political Studies of Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal). Invited Professor at the Faculty of Law of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and at Instituto Universitário Militar. He was Planning Officer of the PKF/UNTAET Central Sector Command Headquarters in East Timor (2001). He is Director of Sociedade de Geografia.

Mónica Dias

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Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme at Institute of Political Studies, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal). PhD in Political Science and International Relations, conducts research in Conflict and Peace Studies, Democracy Studies, Contemporary International Politics and Human Rights. Taught at University of Cologne and United States Information Agency Summer School.

Raquel Duque

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Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations: Security and Defence, Master in International Security and Terrorism. Invited Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Studies, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal) and at the Instituto Superior de Ciências Policiais e Segurança Interna. Researcher at the ICPOL Research Centre, at the Research Centre of the Institute for Political Studies and at the Centre for Administration and Public Policy, ISCSP.


The involvement of the United Nations in East Timor can be divided into four periods, including the anti-colonial period (1955-1974), the reaction period (1975-1982), the attenuation period (1983-1998) and the commitment period (from 1999). It is about this last period that this paper will focus by analysing the decisive steps of the UN, as a multilateral organization with a security mandate, in resolving the Timorese conflict and peacebuilding in that territory. This analysis will be guided by the proposals of the document "An Agenda for Peace" presented in 1992 by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the expectations he created in the field of peace operations. We are particularly interested in looking at the design of post-conflict peacebuilding missions and assessing the extent to which the (expected) capital gains from these operations compared to conventional peacekeeping missions would come to fruition or not. Thus, it is important to examine how the main missions were carried out, with special focus on the different actors, as well as to make a critical balance with some historical distance. In this context, it seems to us that the case of East Timor will be a good example to understand the need for a new approach to peacebuilding, as advocated in this Report, but which at a distance of more than 25 years becomes even more evident. The perception of peace as a continuous process that involves a whole sustainability network, and that depends above all on fostering and developing competences for peace (involving multiple and distinct actors facing constant coordination and negotiation challenges), therefore allows demanding greater commitment on the part of the Security Council, but also on that of the General Assembly in carrying out this difficult task in the context of the new world (dis) order.


Peace Studies, International Organizations, Peacekeeping Operations, Governance and State Building, Timor-Leste

How to cite this article

Garcia, Francisco Proença; Dias, Mónica; Duque, Raquel (2019). "The UN in Conflict Resolution: the case of East Timor". JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations, Vol. 10, N.º 2, November 2019-April 2020. Consulted [online] on the date of the last visit,

Article received on November 29, 2018 and accepted for publication on June 28, 2019