Local Trust in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Survey Evidence from DRCongo
Peacekeeping operations rely on the support of the local population both to gather information and to solidify peace. To gain such support, missions must cultivate trust with the residents in the areas in which they operate. We develop a theory of a transactional model of trust with international peacekeeping missions: those who interact with and benefit from UN peacekeeping missions are more likely to trust it. We find support for this theory leveraging two waves of an original, representative survey of more than 12,000 adults in three eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and an additional sample of more than 5,000 civilians in areas directly around peacekeeping bases. Our results show that civilians are more likely to express trust in the peacekeeping mission if they have direct contact with it. But this result is driven by those who come into contact with the civilian aspects of the mission; in contrast, those who only come into contact with the military parts of the mission are less likely to support the mission. These results suggest that to garner the support of the civilians it is sent to protect, peacekeeping missions must provide more than security.