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Seven New Members Join IPI’s Board of Directors

Fri, 20/05/2022 - 20:02

On May 10, 2022, the International Peace Institute’s (IPI) Board of Directors elected several new members.

The Honorable Kevin Rudd, Chair of IPI’s Board Directors, said: “I’m delighted to announce the seven new members who have been elected to join IPI’s Board of Directors. Their collective experience, integrity, and knowledge of international affairs will help lead the organization forward as we innovate to face the ever-evolving global challenges of the day.”

New Members of IPI’s Board of Directors (Listed in alphabetical order by first name)

Amy Towers: Former Chief Operating Officer of Glenview Capital Management; Founder of the Nduna Foundation; Co-founder (in partnership with UNICEF Zimbabwe) of CCORE, the Collaborating Centre for Operational Research and Evaluation in Harare, Zimbabwe; and Trustee for Women for Women International

Badr Jafar: CEO of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum; Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the Cambridge Judge Business School; and Founder of the Pearl Initiative

Ewout Steenbergen: Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, S&P Global; and Chair of the Board of Directors of UNICEF USA

Mads Nipper: President and CEO of Ørsted
(Ørsted is the largest energy company in Denmark—globally producing 90% of their energy from renewable sources.)

Michelle Yeoh: PSM, Actor; Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); and Road Safety Ambassador for the “Make Roads Safe” campaign and the FIA Foundation

Owen Pell: President of the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities; and Retired Partner of Counsel, White & Case LLP

Suzy Wahba: Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University; Former Anchor on Bloomberg Television; and Former Vice-Chair of Hands Along the Nile

An invitation has been extended to an eighth new board member and the matter is now pending.

IPI’s Board of Directors provides strategic leadership, oversight, and guidance for the organization on matters concerning governance and financial sustainability, working closely with the President and CEO.

Prioritization and Sequencing of Security Council Mandates: The Case of MINUSMA

Thu, 19/05/2022 - 21:01

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in June 2022. In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on April 19, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in Mali in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MINUSMA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants agreed that MINUSMA has an important role to play in Mali and that the mission’s mandated priorities still align with the areas where the UN can bring the most added value. But they also noted that MINUSMA alone cannot address all the critical challenges and that the mission is already spread thin across a dangerous operating environment. Given the rapidly changing dynamics in the country and throughout the Sahel region, some participants saw this as an opportunity for the UN Security Council to engage in strategic reflection about MINUSMA’s future.

Participants raised several points for consideration during the upcoming negotiations on MINUSMA’s mandate renewal:

  • Focus more on the political dimensions of the mandate, including not only the governance transition but also the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement;
  • Reinforce the urgency of progress on the reforms needed to undertake legitimate elections;
  • Provide diplomatic support to ECOWAS in its negotiations on a consensual transition timetable;
  • Work with the transitional authorities to articulate a shared vision for the protection of civilians, including through the reduction of harm to civilians by the Malian armed forces and the removal of access restrictions for mission personnel;
  • Continue focusing on human rights monitoring, investigation, and reporting; and
  • Urgently fill the mission’s capability gaps to meet the requirements set out in the Force Adaptation Plan as well as additional requirements following the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane and the Takuba Task Force.

UN Peacekeeping and Protection of Civilians from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Mon, 09/05/2022 - 22:30

While all UN multidimensional peacekeeping operations are mandated to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), the missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as in the Central African Republic, are also mandated to protect civilians from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). While SGBV is often used and understood interchangeably with CRSV, SGBV is broader in scope, as it encompasses nonsexual forms of gender-based violence and need not be connected to armed conflict.

This report examines how missions are implementing their mandates to protect civilians from SGBV, including CRSV, and assesses good practices, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. The report draws on lessons learned from the UN missions in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the DRC (MONUSCO). It considers how the complexities of preventing and responding to SGBV necessitate a whole-of-mission approach to the protection of civilians (POC) that encompasses not only physical protection from violence but also activities that address cultural norms related to gender, strengthen the rule of law, and enhance women’s participation. This report thus considers a range of protection activities carried out by missions, as well as structures and processes that promote the effective integration of gender into mission planning and activities.

The paper concludes with several recommendations for UN peacekeeping missions, the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO), and member states on the Security Council to strengthen work on SGBV:

  • Provide clear guidance on what it means to protect civilians from SGBV as part of a peacekeeping mandate;
  • Systematically and meaningfully integrate gender advisers and women’s protection advisers into POC planning at the strategic and operational levels;
  • Include gender-sensitive indicators in monitoring and reporting systems and prioritize the gathering of sex-disaggregated data;
  • Take a holistic approach to protecting civilians from violence, recognizing the risks of armed responses and prioritizing partnerships; and
  • Continue to combat impunity and engage with governments and armed groups to promote accountability.


IPI & Dallaire Institute Host Workshop on Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement

Thu, 05/05/2022 - 23:18
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From May 3-5, IPI’s Women, Peace and Security Program co-hosted a three-day workshop with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security. The workshop, titled “Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement in Peacekeeping,” took place at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana.

Community engagement is essential for UN peacekeeping missions; however, practical engagement in peacekeeping missions must include understanding the gendered and aged dimensions of peacekeeping practices. Effective community engagement requires paying particular attention to how gender and age affect the power structures inherent in peacekeeping settings. Thus, gender and age sit as cross-cutting themes that enhance engagement and therefore better peacekeeping practices.

The “Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement in Peacekeeping,” workshop brought together both researchers and practitioners involved in the vital work of community engagement in UN peacekeeping. Participants presented their current work and discussed theoretical, methodological, and practical perspectives. Activities included both the presentation of current work, as well as roundtable discussions between researchers and practitioners to address both policy and practical implications. From the panels and discussions, recommendations arose for both researchers and practitioners to implement into their current work.

Key findings from the workshop will be summarized in a report co-published by IPI and the Dallaire Institute and will be available on IPI’s website.

Watch the opening ceremony and public panels in French:

For further information regarding speakers, please click here.

Vaccine Equity in Conflict-Affected Areas: The Challenges of Development, Production, Procurement, and Distribution

Sun, 01/05/2022 - 06:00

While the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in all countries and communities, the pandemic is having a disproportionately large impact on vulnerable populations, such as people living in areas affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. Vaccines hold enormous promise to mitigate these impacts, but the complications inherent to armed conflict make accessing vaccines especially challenging. Even when countries do receive vaccines, they often face challenges in rolling out vaccination programs, whether because they lack adequate capacity or because the doses are set to expire or are not acceptable to the communities set to receive them.

This issue brief focuses on the challenges of equitably distributing COVID-19 vaccines to populations in conflict-affected areas. It begins by looking at general issues related to the development, approval, production, procurement, and distribution of vaccines. It then examines the particular challenges to distributing vaccines in conflict-affected areas both before and during the vaccine rollout.

The report concludes with several recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to improve the delivery of vaccines in conflict-affected areas:

  • Redistribute global resources to increase the supply of vaccines to conflict-affected countries;
  • Increase the transparency and predictability of global vaccine supplies;
  • Enhance cooperation and coordination at the national and local levels to deliver vaccines to conflict-affected areas through existing humanitarian response mechanisms; and
  • Ensure that vaccination campaigns in conflict-affected areas adhere to humanitarian principles.


Reform or Dissolve: Ukraine’s Challenge to the United Nations

Thu, 14/04/2022 - 16:44
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On April 14th, IPI hosted a conversation among three former UN senior officials entitled “Reform or Dissolve: Ukraine’s Challenge to the United Nations.”

Speaking to the Security Council on April 5th, President Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a blistering critique of the UN peace and security architecture. “It is now clear,” he said, “that the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 during the creation of a global international security organization have not been achieved. And it is impossible to achieve them without reforms.”

It is hard to disagree with this statement, but is real reform possible? Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine represents a seismic event in the global system that has shaken the foundations of the global peace and security architecture. Has the international rule of law been damaged beyond repair? Or does the war present an opportunity to change the system for the better? If not now, then when? If now, then how?

In the second of a series of events on the situation in Ukraine, three former high-UN officials addressed these difficult questions and more in conversation.


Mark Malloch Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Administrator of the UN Development Programme

Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report, former UN Under-Secretary-General and Head of three UN Peace Operations

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers

Mon, 11/04/2022 - 17:30

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On April 11th, IPI together with the Elsie Initiative is cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “Blue on Blue: Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers.” This event launched the policy paper by Phoebe Donnelly of the International Peace Institute, Dyan Mazurana of Tufts University, and Evyn Papworth.

While addressing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by UN peacekeepers has risen as a priority, alongside increasing military women’s participation in peacekeeping forces, there has been almost no attention to sexual abuse of peacekeepers. This study is among the first to investigate, document, and analyze sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault of women and men military and police peacekeepers serving in UN and African Union peacekeeping missions.

The authors gave a short presentation of the study’s findings and their recommendations. Panelists then discussed the research findings and challenges and opportunities for taking action to address sexual abuse against peacekeeping personnel. Panelists also connected the recommendations and general findings of the paper to their own work and discussed steps for implementation.

This event and the related research are part of the Women in Peace Operations (WIPO) project, a multi-year initiative of IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security program funded by the Government of Canada’s Elsie Initiative.

Welcoming Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Women, Peace, and Security Program
Dr. Dyan Mazurana, Research Professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University
Ms. Jane Connors, Victims’ Rights Advocate for the UN
Dr. Purna Sen, Visiting Professor, London Metropolitan University, and former Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination, UN Women
Ms. Phillipa Adams, Chair, UN Strategic Police Advisory Group, Permanent Mission of Australia to the UN
Mr. Jon Christian Møller, Police and Justice Adviser, Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN

Ms. Gretchen Baldwin, IPI Research Fellow for Women, Peace, and Security

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Blue on Blue: Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers

Fri, 08/04/2022 - 17:42

It is commonly assumed that the main threats to uniformed peacekeepers originate from outside of peacekeeping missions. However, many women (and some men) deployed as military or police peacekeepers are subjected to sexual abuse by other members of the organizations they serve. Until now, there has been little research specifically focused on this sexual abuse by uniformed peacekeepers against their peacekeeping colleagues.

This paper helps fill that gap, drawing on a survey of peacekeepers as well as data from interviews and a closed-door workshop. It presents findings related to the extent, frequency, and type of abuse peacekeepers have experienced and witnessed; the perpetrators of this abuse; the organizational cultures that enable it; and peacekeepers’ perceptions of the UN’s response. These findings reveal that while sexual abuse is a major threat to uniformed peacekeepers, especially women, the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) have not adequately responded to the issue. This lack of attention is in contrast to the relatively robust architecture for reporting on and investigating sexual exploitation and abuse of host communities in peacekeeping environments.

To successfully prevent and respond to sexual abuse within peacekeeping missions as well as increase women’s meaningful participation in peace operations, the report concludes by providing several recommendations across four broad areas for the UN and T/PCCs:

  1. Transform the organizational cultures that enable sexual abuse of peacekeepers;
  2. Mandate robust training to prevent sexual abuse of peacekeepers;
  3. Require T/PCCs to address sexual abuse of peacekeepers within their contingents; and
  4. Create a robust, confidential, and victim-centric reporting and investigation infrastructure.


An Unfinished Agenda: Carving Out Space for Humanitarian Action in the UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Resolutions and Related Sanctions

Thu, 31/03/2022 - 17:20

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the UN Security Council has developed two main streams of work related to counterterrorism: the sanctions regime established by Resolution 1267 and measures under Resolution 1373. However, these resolutions and related sanctions regimes have been criticized for failing to safeguard and facilitate impartial humanitarian action. In response, the council has progressively incorporated language that better considers international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian principles. Despite these efforts, humanitarian organizations have continued to criticize counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes for inhibiting humanitarian activities.

This policy paper considers how the Security Council’s counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes can continue making progress to better protect humanitarian action. It begins by describing the council’s main streams of work on counterterrorism as well as their subsidiary organs. The second section discusses the impact of these counterterrorism measures on impartial humanitarian activities. The third section then reviews the incremental steps taken by the Security Council to incorporate language relevant to IHL and humanitarian affairs into these measures. The fourth section analyzes the four most recent counterterrorism-related resolutions adopted by the Security Council.

The paper concludes with policy recommendations for entities both within and outside of the UN to better safeguard humanitarian action within counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes:

For humanitarian organizations, relevant civil society groups and UN entities, and independent experts:

  • Advocate to keep humanitarian action high on the Security Council agenda;
  • Monitor the implementation of the humanitarian exception for Afghanistan; and
  • Issue independent opinions on advisable forms of humanitarian carve-outs.

For the UN Security Council and other UN member states:

  • Reinforce implementation and monitoring of provisions in Security Council resolutions pertaining to IHL and humanitarian action;
  • Provide adequate resources to monitor the impact of UN counterterrorism measures and related sanctions on humanitarian action;
  • Amend language in UN counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes to facilitate humanitarian action; and
  • Empower elected members of the Security Council to be agents of change.


High-Level Launch Meeting of the Group of Friends of Accountability Following the Aggression Against Ukraine

Fri, 25/03/2022 - 17:30
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On March 25th, IPI broadcasted the launch meeting of the Group of Friends of Accountability, following the aggression against Ukraine.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the UN General Assembly has denounced the act as a blatant violation of the principles of the UN Charter. The International Court of Justice has ruled that Russia must immediately suspend its military invasion. Meanwhile, Russia is continuing its war on Ukraine with disregard to the Geneva Conventions, killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure. In response, the international community is activating a number of mechanisms to hold the perpetrators of war crimes and gross human rights violations and abuses to account. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation following a referral from 41 states. A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has been established by the UN Human Rights Council with a mandate to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, and related crimes, in the context of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. An international investigation mission under the OSCE has been established to collect evidence of Russian human rights violations and war crimes. Other international, regional and national initiatives, including from civil society organizations, have been taken and are in the making.

The Group of Friends (GoF) of Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine is co-founded by Albania, Colombia, Denmark, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. It is chaired by a cross-regional group and will be set up in New York and Geneva.

The GoF will serve as an informal forum for states dedicated to ensuring accountability for international crimes committed following the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the aim of:

  • Information sharing among states and relevant international organizations, institutions, and civil society in order to optimize the process of accountability and the delivery of justice.
  • Including and engaging smaller states, whose capacity to follow the development of accountability measures may not match the importance they attach to the respect for the rule-based international order.

Welcome Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President

Opening Statements:
H.E. Mr. Jeppe Kofod, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
H.E. Ms. Olta Xhaçka, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania
H.E. Ms. Marta Lucía Ramírez, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia
H.E. Mr. Casten Nemra, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
H.E. Mr. Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
H.E. Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Representative of Ukraine

Keynote Speakers:
Mr. Karim A. A. Khan, ICC Prosecutor
H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Brian Castner, Senior Crisis Advisor, Amnesty International
Mr. Nick Waters, Senior Investigator, Bellingcat

H.E. Mr. Ivan Šimonovic, Permanent Representative of Croatia

Closing remarks:
H.E. Ms. Marie-Louise Koch Wegter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark

The UN Agenda for Protection: Policy, Strategic, and Operational Priorities

Tue, 22/03/2022 - 19:31

In his 2020 Call to Action on Human Rights, UN Secretary-General António Guterres committed to developing an “Agenda for Protection.” The agenda provides an opportunity for the UN to reaffirm that the protection of crisis-affected populations is fundamental to its purpose and values. To be effective it should address the lessons learned from previous efforts to bring about a system-wide approach to protection, particularly the Human Rights up Front initiative. Critically, it should address the systemic and structural shortcomings of the UN to effectively respond to protection crises by providing strategic coherence to the fragmented ways in which the different UN entities contribute to protection.

This policy paper analyzes the policy, strategic, and operational priorities for the forthcoming Agenda for Protection. It focuses on how the UN system can reform the way it addresses protection crises while remaining mindful that its role is heavily influenced by member states. It argues that without a transformative and comprehensive approach that brings together the fragmented ways the different UN entities contribute to protection, the Agenda for Protection is likely to suffer the same fate as previous unsuccessful efforts, further undermining the organization’s credibility.

The paper concludes by providing several recommendations for the UN to consider as it drafts the Agenda for Protection:

  • Establishing a clear vision statement and a commitment to protect;
  • Setting out a common framework of protection measures to be implemented;
  • Designating and resourcing a system-wide lead entity on protection;
  • Outlining procedures to scale up the response in the event of a protection crisis;
  • Developing an implementation plan and accountability framework; and
  • Consolidating the reporting of protection results.


IPI MENA And Experts Call for Transition To Renewable Energy

Thu, 17/03/2022 - 20:37

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In a webinar organized on March 17th by IPI MENA under the theme “Energy Security in the MENA region and Beyond,” experts, government officials, members of the private sector, civil society and media representatives warned against the serious ramifications of the Ukraine conflict on the world energy order among other sectors.

Opening the webinar, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji, warned “the conflict in Ukraine will undoubtedly have the most challenging geopolitical and economic consequences,” and regretted that “the war is waged by a military superpower which is at the same time an energy superpower.” Deploring “the humanitarian and material losses that the war is causing in Ukraine,” he reiterated solidarity with the people of Ukraine and “all other peoples that are victims of aggression, violence, and violations of territorial integrity and international law.”

He pointed to the war’s dramatic effects on energy security in the MENA region and beyond, as some countries, however, are dependent on Russian oil products in addition to other vital food items. He highlighted that some MENA countries have hardly any resilience to tackle the consequences of energy imports bills. Many of these countries and states may face unprecedented unrest.

Imed Drouiche, geophysicist and energy expert, underlined that despite OPEC Countries having the largest fossil energy stocks representing less than 50% of the total oil production of the world, they will not fill the gap left by Russian energy supplies to Europe and other major clients. Therefore “high prices will encourage diversification.”

“The challenge will be to continue the transition by decarbonizing all the oil production mainly using the blue hydrogens. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have already engaged in investing in blue hydrogens.”

Derouiche said the gulf countries are shifting from the water desalinization industry to renewable sources of energy, albeit slowly, and would take years to reach required levels. He argued that while some think nuclear energy is a game-changer for power supply in Europe, freeing the continent from Russian gas, the CAPEX procedures have proven the high cost endured during the whole process. He backed adopting “solar and wind as sources of energy as the right way.”

Advocating the shift to renewable energy sources, he said the number one enemy of renewable energy is cheap oil prices. He stated that now that oil prices are nearing $130 per barrel, the cost of renewable energy will be reasonable, predicting several countries will switch to renewable energy alternatives. He praised some MENA countries’ efforts towards renewable energy alternatives, citing Morocco – a leveling leading country in sustainably managing the transition in electricity – as “doing well.” Jordan and Egypt are also coveting that level but others are unfortunately lagging behind, he said.

Nimal Vallipuram, Senior Analyst at JCC Investment wondered “where are we going to get the energy we need right now and how are we going to fit this into the Environment Social and Governance (ESG) framework?”

He said “in terms of ESG transition, it’s a question of how fast we need to do this. We have a net zero target by 2050. We are today facing an extraordinary situation. Russia is a huge country in terms of commodities. When you cut Russia out of the system financially and otherwise, that is going to be felt by significantly in other countries.” He added that ramifications are already being experienced. He said that “a full ESG transition worldwide would cost us two hundred trillion dollars, that is twice the volume of global GDP.” He warned that “we cannot have an advanced-economy solution to a world problem.”

Looking at Western European countries which are dependent mostly on Russian gas, he said they have to find a way to feel more comfortable with what they are going to do and North Africa will play a bigger role in terms of gas and electricity. There are “plans [since] ten years ago to build a massive solar farm in the Sahara. Those plans will come back. People will consider such plans, which ten years ago were considered to be outlandishly humongous.” He reiterated that “North Africa is in an excellent position to supply some of the security to Western Europe.”

Vallipuram predicted that countries like Qatar and Iran are possible “solutions to the problem by becoming larger suppliers, as gas is going to remain the transition fuel. There’s no other way around it.” He added, “there’s another issue we are having which we have to sort out in order to ensure the transition, which is the current production of lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite all of them have to increase in multiples annually for the next thirty years, which means we have to spend an enormous amount of time on mining.”

However, he noted that “we are going to achieve ESG but we are going to do it more intelligently without increasing the immediate cost to people for energy use,” indicating that “right now, given the geopolitical situation, most of the focus will be on policymakers and how to bring down the cost of oil and gas.”

In an answer on whether Iran could be a solution to the energy challenge, he said it’s not a question of how much they can supply, but whether they can come to some conclusion with the existing outstanding issues among the US, the EU, and UN, and will that help the future oil prices to come down [in Iran] rather than seeing the supply going to the market.

He declared that the current crisis is showing policymakers that we have to go green and that there is no way around it, noting that in the near term, the focus will be on how the existing oil prices and gas prices can go down more than anything else: “But I am a huge fan of the Energy Saving Trust (EST) transition.”

Diplomats from Morocco, the USA, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Germany, France, Egypt, Brunei Darussalam, Yemen, and others took part in the question and answers segment of the event.

IPI’s Donnelly Moderates CSW Side Event Panel

Thu, 17/03/2022 - 19:10


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Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, Research Fellow and Head of IPI’s Women, Peace and Security Program, moderated a panel during a high-level side event on “Women’s leadership in mitigating the impact of climate change and building a peaceful and sustainable climate-resilient Africa.” The event, organized by the African Women Leaders’ Network (AWLN), was held on March 17th on the margins of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66). Discussions focused on the leadership roles that women are playing in mitigating the impacts of climate change in Africa.

The event offered a platform for participants to examine how women and girls in Africa may be well-positioned to access certain sectors that will curb climate change, create green jobs and mediate climate change-related conflict within their communities. However, leaders across Africa must support women in accessing power within new industries, political spaces, and sectors that support the mitigation of climate change. Several country representatives referenced Ms. Antonette Ncube’s passionate statement emphasizing the need to explain what support on the ground means by defining what leadership is. The data is clear – climate change and environmental crises disproportionately affect women and girls, particularly those in vulnerable and marginalized situations. As scientific projections indicate that Africa is among the continents hit hardest by the impacts of climate change, the realization of the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063, of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the full enjoyment of human rights for all may be compromised.

The event was hosted by the African Women Leaders’ Network (AWLN), in collaboration with the Group of Friends of AWLN New York, co-chaired by Germany and South Africa, and with the Group of Friends on Climate and Security, co-chaired by the Republic of Nauru and Germany, together with UN Women and the International Peace Institute (IPI).

Click here for the full agenda and list of speakers.

IPI MENA Convenes Panel in Honor of International Women’s Day

Tue, 15/03/2022 - 19:42

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A panel of women experts and practitioners convened at an IPI MENA webinar on March 15 to elaborate on this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow,” with a specific focus on the Middle East and North Africa region.

Delivering IPI MENA’s statement, IPI Policy Analyst Dalya Al-Alawi stressed the importance of government policy in materializing gender parity goals and the need to have legislative frameworks that support this, as women are the key to sustainable growth in the MENA region. She underlined other factors to consider including the role of civil society, the private sector, and education in promoting gender equality among youth.

In a video message addressed to IPI MENA webinar, H.E Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director emphasized the “Arab States Paradox.” She decried women’s limited access to political and economic life in Arab States despite women’s relatively high levels of education result in a “financial loss, intellectual loss and developmental loss.” She said that if tackled, these losses could result in powerful forces in development and progress.

“On the regional level, the Middle East is expected to be 4 degrees Celsius warmer in 2050, bearing heavy consequences in terms of heat stress, water scarcity with severe impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems requiring comprehensive, responsive measures,” she noted. “There is good potential in the Arab States to try to address climate change through women’s employment. That is because the percentage of women pursuing an education in STEM fields, which are uniquely important to climate change mitigation, is higher in the Middle East than in other regions.”

H.E Samira Rajab, Special Envoy to the Bahrain Royal Court pointed to the fields of technology and digitalization as important areas in supporting Arab women. She underlined the link between technological skills and economic independence for women, particularly in the current contexts of a global pandemic and the subsequent surge of online use, be it working from home, virtual finance and economic facilities, or online education.

“Developing this knowledge, skill and women’s empowerment have become a priority for sustainable human development plans, so that women remain active players and key development partners,” she stated.

Assistant Secretary General of Bahrain’s Supreme Council of Women, H.E Shaikha Deena bint Rashid Al-Khalifa, highlighted SCW’s mandate in developing a comprehensive national plan for the advancement of Bahraini women while ensuring it is aligned with the National Economic Vision 2030, the sustainable development agenda and most importantly the aspirations of Bahraini women and the significant accomplishments they have achieved. “We affirm Bahrain’s commitments to remaining steadfast to maintain the efforts and progress made so far,” she stated, “in advancing the role of women in development through targeted policies and initiatives that promote equal opportunities.”

“Bahraini women today represent in the government sector 55% as of 2020 which is 17% higher than 2001,” she noted. “In the private sector, Bahraini women make up today 35% of Bahraini employees which is 11% higher than 20 years ago. The percentage of Bahraini women’s participation in the total workforce as of 2021 has reached 43%.” Noting the gradual increase over the years of Bahraini women’s entrepreneurial activities, she underlined that women represent 42% in this sector as of 2021, in comparison to 15% in 2001, and that more than half of the virtual business owners today are women.

Mrs. Hela Ouardi, author, member of the Belgian Academy and Professor at the University of Tunis, explored how women’s marginalized roles in history have resulted in “knowledge fragility”, which affected women in the MENA more severely. She noted that building sustainable peace in the region relies on deep reflection and work to rewrite history, not under male monopoly but with due and fair parity, with a focus on women’s contribution in knowledge building.  History references have side-lined the key roles played by women since pre-Islamic times to our days, she said, adding that achieving sustainable development and peace in this region and beyond cannot be done through political pledges and resolutions, but through encompassing all aspects of society where women play key roles as authors and actors.

Ms. Ouardi called for women’s leadership in re-owning and rewriting history to put an end to perception and stereotypes that kept women as silent or imprisoned victim. Reinstating the ignored roles of women in our history will reinforce their key and decisive roles in designing the future of our society, she said. She referred to Ibn Rushd (Avveroes), one of the 12th century most prominent Muslim thinkers who asserted that women can govern and run a state, while criticizing his generation’s view about women as being oppressive and unjust.

The webinar was concluded with an open-floor debate. Mr. Faysal Mohammed Abdelgadir, former UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP representative in Bahrain underscored the importance of Bahrain partnering with multilateral system to continue promoting women’s achievements.

Mrs. Margaret Nardi, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy highlighted the dialogue between her country and Bahrain and commended Bahrain on advancing women’s social issues, particularly with the recent laws enabling Bahraini women to pass residency rights to their children and foreign spouses.

German Ambassador H.E Kai Boeckmann drew encouraging parallels between Germany and Bahrain as leaders in gender parity initiatives and pointed to Germany’s engagement on the Commission on the Status of Women as one of the current four co-chairs. “Our new Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is now the first female foreign minister in Germany’s history,” he stated, while stressing Germany’s stronger commitments made by the new government. “When our new Foreign Minister presented the foreign policy agenda in our federal parliament, she explained a concept which in Germany and elsewhere has raised some eyebrows – the ‘feminist foreign policy’. What is meant by this concept is simple, it is about equal representation, rights and resources,” he said.

Opening the webinar, entitled “The Role of Women in the MENA Region in Building a Sustainable Tomorrow,” IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji called for greater solidarity to the women and girls across the world who are on the frontlines of wars and conflicts, in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Yemen and other zones of conflict.

“We find ourselves in a tumultuous moment in modern history where we are dealing with the repercussions of a global pandemic, the threats of climate change and wars – all which disproportionately affect women,” he stated. “Building a sustainable tomorrow begins with addressing the question on gender equality.”

The War in Ukraine: Anticipating Dilemmas for the UN as it Strives to Stop the Fighting

Fri, 11/03/2022 - 17:00

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On March 11th, IPI hosted a virtual conversation among four former UN senior officials on “The War in Ukraine: Anticipating Dilemmas for the UN as it Strives to Stop the Fighting.”

As the war progresses in Ukraine and millions of lives are upended, questions concerning ceasefires, humanitarian pauses and the like will advance. What dilemmas will the UN inevitably face when working to establish mechanisms to stop the fighting? How can a ceasefire or humanitarian pause be negotiated without rewarding aggression? What are the lessons from past experience? And how can a constructive path forward be established?

Mark Malloch Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations, former UN Deputy Secretary-General, and Administrator of the UN Development Programme
Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report, former UN Under-Secretary-General, and Head of three UN Peace Operations
Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President of the International Peace Institute and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN, EU, and NATO Approaches to the Protection of Civilians: Policies, Implementation, and Comparative Advantages

Thu, 10/03/2022 - 17:01

The protection of civilians (POC) in armed conflict has become a core strategic objective for the United Nations system and for UN peace operations in particular. The UN, however, is not the sole actor engaged in POC. The European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), among other regional actors, have been developing their own policies and approaches to POC. While the significant overlap in these organizations’ member states and interorganizational developments create an opportunity to coordinate and synergize their POC policies, their approaches to POC differ—in some cases substantially.

As the EU and NATO are both in the process of reassessing their strategic direction against the backdrop of new conflict scenarios, there is a need to reflect on the differences and similarities between these three organizations’ approaches to POC, their comparative advantages, and the future direction of the POC agenda. At a time when international peace operations and protection efforts are under intense political and operational pressure, such an understanding could also lay the foundation for more informed and effective interorganizational cooperation on POC.

Toward this end, this paper examines the conceptualization of POC in the UN, the EU, and NATO, lays out the core POC policies and approaches of the three organizations and examines their approaches to implementing these policies in the field. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for the UN, the EU, and NATO to strengthen POC efforts within and between the three organizations:

  • Adapt POC to new operational realities;
  • Revitalize discussion on POC within and between the organizations;
  • Improve POC training, preparedness, and institutionalization; and
  • Focus on both passive (harm mitigation) and active approaches to POC.


Human Rights and Protection by UN Peacekeeping Operations

Thu, 10/03/2022 - 16:30

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On March 10th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, and the French Ministry of the Armed Forces cohosted an open policy forum entitled “Human Rights and Protection by UN Peace Operations.”

The session provided an opportunity to discuss the role of UN peacekeeping operations in protecting human rights, including during peacekeeping transitions, and the applicability of international human rights law (IHRL) to peacekeeping operations.

The policy forum gathered representatives of the UN, member states, and civil society organizations to reflect on the applicability of IHRL in peacekeeping operations. The event also addressed recent initiatives to strengthen the tools available to missions’ human rights sections to protect and promote human rights and the challenges they are likely to face during peacekeeping transitions.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Ambassador Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN
Diarra Dime-Labille, Legal Advisor, Permanent Mission of France to the UN

Mona Ali Khalil, Affiliate, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC)
Regina Fitzpatrick, Protection of Civilians Team Leader, Policy, Evaluation and Training Division, UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO)
Oscar Solera, Peace Mission Support Section, Strategic Planning Team Leader, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Conor Foley, Professor, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President

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Enhancing the Protection of Civilians through Conventional Arms Control

Wed, 19/01/2022 - 17:08

Conventional arms control and disarmament efforts have historically been framed as a humanitarian cause to limit human suffering. However, activities with an arms control component have only featured to a limited extent within the protection of civilians (POC) mandates of United Nations peace operations. Both issues feature on the agenda of the UN Security Council, which mandates missions, but the linkages between the two have not been well explored at the policy, strategic, and operational levels.

Produced in conjunction with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, this brief provides an analysis of the actual, and potential, contribution of conventional arms control and related activities to POC within the context of UN peace operations—both peacekeeping operations and special political missions. There has been limited research conducted on this topic, and it has been addressed in only a cursory manner in relevant policies, guidelines, and strategies.

This paper therefore attempts to demonstrate the existing linkages between these two mandated tasks, as well as to pinpoint some of the barriers and challenges to why arms control has not featured more fully within the POC efforts of missions. It then identifies relevant entry points based on concrete examples of how arms control-related activities can be better leveraged by UN peace operations to ensure the more effective protection of civilians.


From Female Engagement Teams to Engagement Platoons: The Evolution of Gendered Community Engagement in UN Peace Operations

Tue, 11/01/2022 - 18:35
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On January 11th, IPI’s Women Peace and Security team hosted a virtual policy forum to launch the recently published policy paper, “From Female Engagement Teams to Engagement Platoons: The Evolution of Gendered Community Engagement in UN Peace Operations.”

This forum featured panelists who discussed the paper’s findings and policy recommendations for UN military decision makers and troop-contributing countries. Panelists considered the operational challenges, gendered assumptions and stereotypes that negatively impact the work of engagement teams and engagement platoons and gendered and racialized assumptions and stereotypes about host communities. The broad goal of the policy forum was to meaningfully discuss and develop a shared understanding of the evolution of gendered community engagement in UN peace operations.

This event and the related research are part of IPI’s Women in Peace Operations (WIPO) project, a multi-year initiative funded by the Government of Canada’s Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President
Ms. Gwyn Kutz, Director-General of the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, Global Affairs Canada

Gretchen Baldwin, Senior Policy Analyst at IPI’s Women Peace and Security Program
Col. Stephanie Tutton, Chief of the OMA Policy and Doctrine Team, United Nations Department of Peace Operations
Col. Gonzalo Mila, Adviser, Uruguayan Armed Forces
Lt. Yumae Amicone, Uruguayan Army

Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, Research Fellow and Head of IPI’s Women Peace and Security Program

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Protection Dilemmas Arising from the Reintegration of Former Combatants and the Impact of the Terrorist Designation

Mon, 10/01/2022 - 17:35

The concept and implementation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) have evolved as DDR-related activities have increasingly occurred in environments where armed conflict is ongoing, no peace agreement has been signed, and armed groups designated as terrorist organizations (AGDTOs) are operating. In parallel, reintegration has increasingly been discussed in the UN counterterrorism architecture through the concept of prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration (PRR). The changing context has raised challenges related to reintegration, especially reintegration of former members of AGDTOs.

This policy paper analyzes the risks faced by individuals taking part in reintegration processes and by the communities they are reintegrating into. In particular, it analyzes how the designation of an armed group as a terrorist organization by the UN Security Council or by a state impacts these risks while acknowledging that these risks largely depend on the broader context. The paper examines three case studies of current reintegration processes: (1) the process for reincorporating former combatants from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP); (2) the defector program for former members of al-Shabaab in Somalia; and (3) the reintegration process for individuals associated with Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin.

The paper concludes by recommending several steps the UN could take to help ensure that reintegration processes address protection risks, especially for former members of AGDTOs:

  • Tailor reintegration programs to the context, not to whether a group is labeled as a terrorist organization;
  • Design reintegration programs to be gender-sensitive and human rights–compliant;
  • Ensure that PRR and DDR programs are complementary and adopt the Integrated DDR Standards module on AGDTOs; and
  • Keep reintegration and counterterrorism goals distinct.