, Volume 91, Number 6

Mikael Eriksson and Peter Wallensteen



Capitalizing on the newly released dataset on United Nations sanctions and armed conflicts, this article raises the question whether targeted sanctions have an impact on the dynamics of armed conflicts, and, if they do, in what way. To answer this question the authors correlate UN sanctions policies to measures related to armed conflict in the period 1991–2013. This is done by systematizing and analysing data produced by the UN Targeted Sanctions Consortium (TSC) and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). It is a first attempt to deal with questions such as the relationship between UN targeted sanctions and armed conflict type, conflict termination and conflict outcome (victory, peace agreements, etc.). The article demonstrates that there are several instances where the UN has decided not to impose targeted sanctions, although the conditions were similar to those cases that saw such action. There is a tendency to use targeted sanctions only in certain types of conflicts. The authors suggest that this is partly rooted in the structure of the UN as an inter-state organization. Thus, sanctions are more of a political instrument than has perhaps been recognized in sanctions research to date.

To read this article, you need to be a Chatham House member

Find out more about Chatham House membership