Capacity to Protect Civilians: Rhetoric or Reality?

After the experiences of Rwanda and Srebrenica in the 1990’s, and the United Nations (UN) failure to act, the protection of civilians (POC) has taken an increasingly prominent role in international peace operations. The first mission to be mandated with an explicit POC-mandate was the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNASIL) in 1999. While the emphasis on POC may initially have been met with reluctance, both from traditional Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) and from within the system, the concept has increasingly taken a central role in UN peace operations after the presentation of the milestone Brahimi Report in 2000. More than 98 percent of military and police personnel currently deployed in peace operations have a mandate to protect civilians, as part of integrated missionwide efforts. This policy brief focuses on the UN’s protection capacities, asking what this implies for civilians in the countries where the organization operates. This is related to capacity- and institution-building in host nations, in particular in the security sector. The policy brief provides a short overview of the implementation of POC-mandates in UN peace operations drawing upon the author’s experience from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) between 2011-2014 first, with a particular focus on the capacity to protect through non-military means, and second, on the capacity to provide physical protection. Third, the responsibility of the host government is elaborated upon, ending with some concluding remarks on what the next steps should be in order to further enhance the UN’s capacity to protect civilians. Download the policy brief here. The policy brief was originally written as a background paper for the Challenges Annual Forum 2015 on...

LIVE from the UN Security Council: Future of Peace Operations

The Security Council was briefed this morning by the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon on the maintenance of international peace and security, following a letter dated 5 November 2015 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2015/846). Follow live tweeting at #futurepeaceops and @IPI_CPO Watch live here  Learn more View Event-page Security Council Report Analysis – ‘What’s in Blue’ Analysis of experts The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report The implementation report of the Secretary-General The Peacebuilding Architecture Review report The Global Study on UNSC resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security Managing Change at the United Nations – Lessons from Recent Initiatives...

The Future of Peace Operations – Maintaining the Momentum

This is a meeting note from the Expert Meeting on the Future of Peace Operations co-organized by the Republic of Korea and the International Peace Institute in Seoul on October 22nd, 2015. Read more about the event here. The most comprehensive assessment of UN peace operations since the Brahimi Report of 2000 was completed this year, when the High-Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations (HIPPO) issued more than 100 recommendations to make UN peace operations “fit for purpose.” It was followed by the UN secretary-general’s report, outlining key actions to move the panel’s recommendations forward between now and the end of 2016. To support this agenda, how can the UN Secretariat and member states build and sustain the political momentum for the implementation of the recommendations of the UN secretary-general and HIPPO, as well as build on synergies with other global reviews—on the peacebuilding architecture, and on women, peace, and security? This meeting note outlines key aspects of the agenda for improving UN peace operations and sketches a way forward for maintaining the political momentum for implementation. Focusing on political settlements, the protection of civilians, tailored and context-sensitive responses, and global-regional partnerships, it offers ideas to support ongoing initiatives to build and sustain momentum for change in UN peace operations. The report stems from an expert meeting in Seoul on October 22, 2015, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the International Peace Institute (IPI). The following are among the recommendations that emerged from the meeting’s discussions: Learn from past reform efforts: Manage expectations on reform; have a clearly articulated strategic vision...

The Practical is the Political: The UN’s Global Study on Women, Peace and Security

The author reviews the 417-page Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which was released earlier this month. While criticized for being too long and unclear, the author helps to understand the significance of the report, as well as the current and potential success of its recommendations. The article further analyzes the synergies between the Global Study and the other two reviews this year – Uniting our Strengths for Peace, the Report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO), and The Challenge of Sustaining Peace, the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 Review of the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture, arguing that the thinking and recommendations of the three reports align closely. Read full article...

Triangular Cooperation – Key to All

In light of the recommendation of the HIPPO-report that “enhanced ‘triangular cooperation’ between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police- contributing countries is an essential opportunity to strengthen performance through a shared understanding of a mandate and the tasks required”, the author discusses the history of triangular cooperation in UN peacekeeping and looks at previous efforts of improving this. The analysis also provides suggestions for how improving triangular consultation could work in practice, why it is essential to the future of UN peace operations, and explains why this reform meets resistance. Read full article...
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