In his 2001 report to the UN Security Council on exit strategies for peacekeeping operations, Kofi Annan wrote that
"domestic peace ... becomes sustainable, not when all conflicts are removed from society, but when the natural conflicts of society can be resolved peacefully through the exercise of State sovereignty and, generally, participatory governance. In many cases, an effective strategy for realizing that objective is to help warring parties to move their political and economic struggles from the battlefield and into an institutional framework where a peaceful settlement process can be engaged and future disputes can be addressed in a similar fashion. To facilitate such a transition, a mission's mandate should include peace-building and incorporate such elements as institution-building and the promotion of good governance and the rule of law, by assisting the parties to develop legitimate and broad-based institutions."
Annan concludes that the success of an international engagement in peacemaking or peacekeeping depends on functioning state institutions (existing or newly built) that manage political disputes. Unfortunately for this approach, many of the world's most difficult conflicts occur in countries where any such state institutions are subordinate to social affinities and patronage networks, and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. People still care about political issues and fight over them, but can neither organize their political allegiances through rulegoverned organizations nor resolve them through state institutions according to the rule of law.