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Promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts
Updated: 3 weeks 5 min ago

Prioritizing and Sequencing Security Council Mandates in 2022: The Case of MONUSCO

Tue, 13/12/2022 - 17:16

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in December 2022. The upcoming negotiations among council members will unfold against the backdrop of renewed fighting between the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group. And while several regional diplomatic initiatives are underway, the security and humanitarian conditions continue to worsen in the eastern provinces of the DRC, with persistent threats to human rights and the protection of civilians.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), Security Council Report, and the Stimson Center co-hosted a roundtable discussion on November 15, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN officials, civil society stakeholders, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in the DRC in a frank and collaborative manner. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MONUSCO’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants agreed that MONUSCO’s strategic vision and priority tasks are still relevant to the UN’s overall engagement in the country. They also emphasized that the current mandate provides the mission with appropriate guidance to pursue the strategic direction provided by the Security Council, but some areas need to be refined for the mission to better address the ongoing crisis and new priorities. The mission will likely need to balance the following issues over the next mandate cycle:

  • Strengthening MONUSCO’s capabilities to conduct proactive, robust, and mobile protection efforts in eastern DRC;
  • Bridging the expectations gap on the protection of civilians by communicating what MONUSCO can achieve under its mandate as well as the limits of MONUSCO’s partnership with the FARDC;
  • Establishing a constructive dialogue between MONUSCO and the East African Community’s regional force to deconflict and coordinate operations on the ground while encouraging compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
  • Supporting the government’s efforts to build national capacity to implement its Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS);
  • Capitalizing on its good offices to coordinate and harmonize the Luanda and Nairobi processes;
  • Expanding civic engagement in the formal political process and making the process more inclusive; and
  • Working with regional partners to lay the groundwork for balanced bilateral agreements fostering long-term sustainable economic cooperation.

Linking Politics and Protection in UN Peacekeeping

Thu, 08/12/2022 - 17:32
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While the UN Security Council and member states have elevated the protection of civilians (POC) and the primacy of politics as two central pillars of UN peacekeeping, it is not always clear how missions are expected to pursue these two sets of priorities together. To discuss the relationship between these pillars, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN cohosted a policy forum on December 8th, entitled “The Primacy of Politics and the Protection of Civilians in UN Peacekeeping.”

Support to political processes and the protection of civilians (POC) are the two most prominent mandated tasks for multidimensional UN peacekeeping operations, emphasized in recent independent reviews and elevated by member states and the Security Council. However, despite being foundational pillars to contemporary UN peacekeeping, it is not always clear how these two sets of priorities fit together in planning and operations. Policy guidance and independent reviews stress the need to link mission political priorities and protection, yet within missions, POC is often considered parallel to the mission’s political work and is not always effectively incorporated into the political vision for the mission.

The event examined how missions’ political and POC work are understood in relation to one another and considered opportunities for strengthening both formal and informal integration. This discussion focused primarily on opportunities to strengthen integration at the mission level, for example in planning and analysis, good offices and mediation, and local-level processes. It also considered challenges, such as when the host state is among the perpetrators of violence, when high levels of violence are ongoing, or when there is a lack of a formal political process. “State actors can be so diverse, and it is important to understand the breadth of actors you have to engage with, instead of painting the government with a broad brush,” said Regina Fitzpatrick, Protection of Civilians Team Leader in the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division, UN Department of Peace Operations. Speakers also reflected on the importance of clearly defining the meaning of political primacy, and the challenges of navigating both diplomacy and accountability.

The policy forum launched the IPI policy paper on the “The Protection of Civilians and the Primacy of Politics in UN Peacekeeping” written by Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations at IPI, and Ralph Mamiya, IPI Non-Resident Adviser. This event and publication are part of IPI’s broader workstream on Action for Peacekeeping+ (A4P+), funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Opening Remarks:
Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO, International Peace Institute
H.E. Mark Zellenrath, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Panelists:
Ralph Mamiya, Non-Resident Adviser, International Peace Institute
Kenny Gluck, Former Deputy Special Representative and Deputy Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)
Wendy MacClinchy, Director of the United Nations program at Center for Civilians in Conflict
Regina Fitzpatrick, Protection of Civilians Team Leader, Policy, Evaluation and Training Division, UN Department of Peace Operations

Moderator:
Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

The Primacy of Politics and the Protection of Civilians in UN Peacekeeping

Wed, 07/12/2022 - 19:02

Support to political processes and the protection of civilians (POC) are arguably the two most prominent mandated tasks for multidimensional UN peacekeeping operations. Policy guidance and independent reviews have made clear that politics and protection must be linked, yet within missions, POC is often considered in parallel to political work and is not always effectively incorporated into a political vision.

The purpose of this report is to examine how UN peacekeeping missions’ POC and political work are understood in relation to one another in terms of planning and operations and to consider opportunities for better integrating them, both formally and informally. The report begins by outlining the concept of political primacy and the elevation of POC within UN peacekeeping. It then provides an overview of entry points for better connecting missions’ political and POC work, including in mapping and analyses, planning and strategies, negotiated agreements, the creation of enabling environments, and local-level processes. The report then discusses various challenges and offers concluding recommendations.

The paper concludes with the following recommendations for member states, mission leadership, and other mission personnel to better integrate their POC and political work:

  • Mapping and analysis: Mission leaders should ensure that mapping and analyses are conducted jointly by mission personnel working on POC and politics.
  • Planning and strategies: Special representatives of the secretary-general (SRSGs) and headquarters should take ownership of, and clearly and consistently communicate to mission staff, mission concepts, mission plans, POC strategies, and political strategies. To better translate their strategic vision into actionable plans, mission leaders should also establish joint mission planning cells. Heads of POC and political components (or their equivalents) should anchor their individual strategies in the central mission concept, plan, or strategy to ensure all components are working toward a common goal.
  • Negotiated agreements: During the lead-up to a formal negotiation process, SRSGs should advocate for POC. Mediators should also advocate for specific language on POC within negotiated agreements, including language on the protection of specific groups and protection from sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Creating an enabling environment: Mission personnel in charge of planning and implementing POC should look for entry points to enhance the protection-participation nexus.
  • Local-level processes: Senior mission leaders and member states should broaden their focus on the “political” beyond national-level formal processes to include the local level.

Strengthening Data to Protect Healthcare in Conflict Zones: Toward the Implementation of UN Commitments

Thu, 01/12/2022 - 18:30
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Over the past two decades, attacks on healthcare in situations of armed conflict have been reported at alarming levels. By collecting data on these attacks, states can better understand the scale and scope of the problem, protect health services and workers, and prevent future attacks.

On December 1st, IPI with the support of the Government of Spain, cohosted an event on “Strengthening Data to Protect Healthcare in Conflict Zones: Toward the Implementation of UN Commitments.” The policy forum provided an opportunity to discuss IPI’s new issue brief entitled “Strengthening Data to Protect Healthcare in Conflict Zones” co-authored by Susannah Sirkin and Rohini Haar, including their recommendations on ways to better use existing data-collection methods and mechanisms to prevent and protect against attacks on medical care in armed conflict.

The forum brought together representatives of UN agencies, humanitarian organizations, member states, and civil society organizations to discuss some of the policy and technical challenges related to collecting robust data on attacks against healthcare in armed conflict. It also reflected on ways to strengthen data collection and reporting with the goal of enhancing prevention and protection. “Acknowledging and reporting the violence is a first and necessary step to preventing violence,” said Susannah Sirkin, co-author of the report. Panelists also emphasized the importance of publishing data as an accountability measure. “There is no strong evidence that the publication of data detailing attacks on health care facilities results in increased security risks,” explained Leonard Rubenstein, Chair of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition.

Speakers further considered opportunities to address policy and technical challenges and examined how improved data collection may build on existing data processes, including the World Health Organization’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Healthcare and the work of the Safeguarding Health and Conflict Coalition and Insecurity Insight.

Opening remarks:
Adam Lupel, Vice-President and COO, International Peace Institute
H.E. Agustín Santos Maraver, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN

Speakers:
Rohini Haar, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley, practicing emergency medicine physician, and co-author of the report
Susannah Sirkin, Independent Consultant and co-author of the report
Hyo Jeong Kim, Technical Officer, Attacks on Health Care initiative, World Health Organization Emergency Programme
Maciej Polkowski, Head, Health Care in Danger Initiative, International Committee of the Red Cross
Leonard Rubenstein, Chair, Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition
Tobijo Denis Sokiri Moses, Technical Advisor, The Rescue Initiative-South Sudan

Moderator:
Agathe Sarfati, Senior Policy Analyst, International Peace Institute

Masculinities in Peace and Security

Wed, 30/11/2022 - 18:39
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Gendered analyses of violence often focus narrowly on women and overlook the importance of understanding masculinities. To bridge this gap in understanding, IPI in partnership with the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), cohosted a policy forum on “Masculinities in Peace and Security.” The November 30th event convened researchers, practitioners, and policymakers for a focused discussion on masculinity and violent extremism.

The UN Security Council held an Arria-formula meeting in July 2021, chaired by Mexico with the co-sponsorship of Estonia, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to discuss how gender stereotypes, masculinities, and structural gender inequalities influence terrorism and violent extremism. Specifically, this Arria-formula meeting explored the ways in which understanding masculinities could promote better prevention of, and response to, violent extremist and terrorist groups.

In June 2022, IPI and CTED published “Masculinities and Violent Extremism,” a joint policy report that explored how violent extremist groups across the ideological spectrum exploit masculinities in their efforts to recruit and retain members, the links between extremist violence and gender inequality within society, and how masculinities produced by state actors can feed into and mutually reinforce those produced by violent extremists.

This policy forum presented the key findings of the IPI and CTED report and provided policymakers and researchers with an opportunity to reflect on the relevance of focusing on masculinities in preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism. “This is not a niche topic,” said David Scharia, Chief of Branch at CTED, in his opening remarks. “We must continue to strengthen our understanding of gender perspectives and gender inequalities in violent extremism.”

The discussion further emphasized the need for masculinities analysis and expansive thinking about gender. “Gender often becomes shorthand for ‘women,’” said Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism. “However, the construction of masculinity is incredibly relevant to work on violent extremism.” The policy forum concluded by exploring areas for future growth, including further research on LGBT issues and the rights of the child.

Opening remarks:
David Scharia, Chief of Branch, UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate
H.E. Alicia Guadalupe Buenrostro Massieu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN

Panelists:
Gretchen Baldwin, Researcher, Gender, Peace Operations and Conflict Management, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Aleksandra Dier, Gender Coordinator, UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate
Robert Nagel, Research Fellow, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism (virtual)
Pablo Arrocha Olabuenaga, Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN

Moderator:
Phoebe Donnelly, Senior Fellow and Head of the Women, Peace, and Security Program, International Peace Institute

Lessons from E10 Engagement on the Security Council

Wed, 30/11/2022 - 16:44

In recent years, the ten elected members of the Security Council, now commonly referred to as the E10, have come to play a more prominent role. Although there were previous periods when elected members were active and took initiative, the space for such contributions began to shrink in the mid-2000s. The emergence of the E10 as a construct and a more cohesive coalition on the Security Council is thus recent. Despite elected members’ different levels of commitment to collective E10 initiatives, and although the Council’s five permanent members have greater capacity, permanence, and veto power, there is a sense that the E10 have been able to influence the work of the Council, including its working methods, thematic issues, and some country-specific files.

This paper presents a broad policy perspective on lessons from both individual elected members and from the E10 as a group. It examines the E10’s recent engagement on the Council and offers lessons for how elected members can most effectively prepare for their term, serve on the Council, and ensure their legacy.

The paper concludes with reflections on the future of the E10 in a fragmented Security Council. While the E10 as a group have reached a level of maturity, their ability to coordinate across a diverse group whose effectiveness depends on several internal and external factors may have reached a natural limit. The E10’s composition, individual members’ level of commitment to collective E10 initiatives, and the group’s leadership all impact the E10’s ability to influence the work of the Council. While the E10 have been collectively successful at promoting certain issues and files and at making the Council more transparent, individual members have and will continue to have different views on many issues on the agenda. They will also continue to face structural inequalities when it comes to penholding and chairing subsidiary bodies.

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Strengthening Data to Protect Healthcare in Conflict Zones

Mon, 21/11/2022 - 16:04

Attacks on healthcare in situations of armed conflict have been reported at alarming levels over the past two decades. In response to this problem, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2286, which urges states to collect data on attacks on medical personnel, transport, and facilities. This data is essential to understand the scale and scope of the problem, protect health services and workers, prioritize resources to those most impacted, prevent future attacks, and hold perpetrators accountable.

This paper examines why data on threats to and attacks on healthcare in conflict is important to protection, advocacy, and investigation and how it can be improved and harmonized. It provides an overview of existing data-collection efforts—namely, the Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA) and the database produced by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) in partnership with Insecurity Insight—and identifies challenges and gaps at both the policy and technical levels.

This paper concludes with the following recommendations for the World Health Organization (WHO), other UN entities, UN member states, and NGOs:

  • The World Health Assembly should adopt a resolution calling on WHO to address the major concerns in the structure and operation of the SSA;
  • WHO should make technical improvements to the quality and presentation of data in the SSA and be open to a range of data-collection methodologies;
  • Other UN agencies, governments, and civil society organizations should take steps to improve the collection and sharing of data on attacks on healthcare to improve protection, prevention, and accountability; and
  • Governments, NGOs, and other actors should increase the funding and capacity of existing data-collection initiatives.

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The Elsie Initiative and Improving Mission Environments for Women

Wed, 09/11/2022 - 18:06
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IPI and the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Germany, Mongolia, Uruguay, and Zambia to the UN cohosted a policy forum event on November 9th entitled “When We Know Better, We Do Better: The Elsie Initiative and Improving Mission Environments.”

Since the launch of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations in 2017, research has shown that the mission environment can be a significant barrier to increasing women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations. Specific barriers include the physical environment, the culture of a mission, and the prevalence of sexual harassment in mission environments, with one in three UN staff members having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and one in four women peacekeepers reporting that they personally witnessed sexual abuse while deployed.

This event provided a venue to convene women peacekeepers and key stakeholders from the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries to discuss what receptive environments for women peacekeepers look like, the culture in security institutions, and taboos and stigmas facing women in security institutions.

In her opening remarks, Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, reflected on the continued importance of gender parity in peacekeeping. “Five years ago, the #MeToo movement opened many eyes to widespread gender inequality. Today, we must renew our attention.”

The following panel discussion highlighted a range of topics, including the specific health needs of women peacekeepers, integrated support networks, and financial commitments. Women peacekeepers shared their own experiences working in a mission environment, and the discussion concluded with a resounding call for more inclusive peacekeeping.

Welcoming Remarks:
H.E. Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN
H.E. Carlos Amorin, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the UN
H.E. Thomas Peter Zahneisen, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN
Regina C. Boma Phiri, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the UN
Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Operational Support
Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women

Panelists:
Nkechi Esionye Uzodimma, Capacity Development Officer in Policy, Office of Military Affairs, UN Department of Peace Operations
Véronique Orebi-Deplace, Chief of Mission Management and Support Section, UN Police
Brigadier General Sandra Keijer, Programme Management Officer and Expert on Police Performance, Office of Peacekeeping Strategic Partnership, UN Department of Peace Operations

Moderator:
Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, President and CEO, International Peace Institute

Closing Remarks:
H.E. Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

Disinformation against UN Peacekeeping Operations

Fri, 04/11/2022 - 22:43

Over the past few years, a growing barrage of disinformation has targeted UN peacekeeping operations, particularly the missions in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Mali (MINUSMA), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). This includes false allegations that UN peacekeepers are trafficking weapons to armed groups, supporting terrorists, and exploiting natural resources. This disinformation makes it harder for peacekeeping operations to implement their mandates and has put the safety of peacekeepers at risk.

This paper provides an overview of the recent rise in disinformation against MINUSCA, MINUSMA, and MONUSCO. It also examines how these three peacekeeping operations have been addressing disinformation and the challenges they have faced. While these initial efforts have tended to focus on strategic communications, disinformation is not only a strategic communications issue; it affects all mission components, and effectively tackling it requires situating it in the broader political context and understanding its drivers.

This paper offers the following questions the UN Department of Peace Operations and individual missions could consider as they develop policies, guidelines, structures, and activities to address disinformation:

  • How can missions develop a cross-cutting, strategic approach to disinformation? Disinformation is more than a technical or tactical issue; it is a political and strategic issue that requires the proactive attention of mission leaders.
  • How can missions better monitor and analyze disinformation both online and offline? Monitoring disinformation is critical not only so missions can address it; tracking rumors also has intrinsic value by helping missions better listen to and understand the sentiments of local populations.
  • How can missions respond to disinformation more quickly? For many UN personnel, the slowness of the UN response is one of the biggest challenges inhibiting their efforts to address disinformation.
  • How can missions reshape anti-UN narratives? Anti-UN disinformation is woven into a broader anti-UN (and anticolonial) narrative that is grounded in both great-power politics and legitimate public grievances. In countering individual falsehoods, missions should consider whether and how they could also respond to this broader narrative.
  • How can missions contribute to a healthier information environment? From the perspective of civil society, the most important shift the UN can make would be to focus more on supporting local journalists.
  • Does the scale of the problem call for a more decisive shift in approach? Any shift in approach should be premised on the principle that under no circumstances should missions respond to disinformation with disinformation of their own.

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Prioritizing and Sequencing Security Council Mandates in 2022: The Case of MINUSCA

Fri, 04/11/2022 - 16:09

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in November 2022. The upcoming negotiations among council members will unfold against the backdrop of renewed momentum for implementation of the country’s peace agreement. And while security dynamics in the Central African Republic (CAR) are somewhat more stable compared to the period leading up to last year’s mandate renewal, human rights and protection threats to civilians persist alongside underlying challenges of limited service provision, poor socioeconomic development, and significant humanitarian needs.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), Security Council Report, and the Stimson Center co-hosted a roundtable discussion on October 11, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN officials, civil society stakeholders, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in CAR in a frank and collaborative manner. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MINUSCA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants agreed that MINUSCA’s strategic vision and priority tasks are still relevant to the UN’s overall engagement in the country. Participants also emphasized that the current mandate provides the mission with appropriate guidance to pursue the strategic direction provided by the Security Council while also giving the mission enough flexibility to pivot as new priorities or crises emerge. The mission will likely need to balance the following issues over the next mandate cycle:

  • Supporting the government’s implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation (the APPR) and the Luanda Joint Roadmap;
  • Encouraging widespread civic engagement with and promoting the inclusivity of the formal political process;
  • Continuing to coordinate political support from CAR’s regional and international partners;
  • Strengthening its capabilities to conduct proactive, robust, and mobile protection efforts across the country;
  • Safeguarding its human rights monitoring and investigation responsibilities;
  • Maintaining a constructive dialogue with Central African authorities to ensure the mission’s freedom of movement and the effectiveness of its operations; and
  • Laying the groundwork for accelerated delivery of humanitarian aid and long-term, locally driven development programming.

Participants emphasized that these points should all feature in the upcoming mandate and should be reinforced with unified political support from the Security Council and the country’s bilateral and regional partners.

IPI at Geneva Peace Week 2022

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 16:15
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A delegation of IPI staff traveled to Geneva to contribute to the Geneva Peace Week, which focused on the overarching theme of “Peace is Possible.”

On Monday, October 31, 2022, IPI President Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein participated in the high-level panel on “What’s ‘New’ on the New Agenda for Peace?” alongside the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Elizabeth Spehar; the Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Ambassador Thomas Greminger; Jodie-Ruth Morand from the Sub-Saharan Africa Division of the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF); and Adam Day, Director of the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in Geneva. During the panel, IPI’s president called for the UN Secretariat to continuously act with moral consistency, reignite its commitments to the UN Charter, and make peacemaking a cornerstone of the New Agenda for Peace.

On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, IPI, GCSP, and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) organized an in-person, expert-level roundtable on the margins of the 2022 Geneva Peace Week. The event focused on “Health Emergencies and the Humanitarian Sector: Lessons for Sustaining Peace in a Pandemic.” Participants included representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), other UN entities, humanitarian organizations, and civil society organizations. Participants were asked to share some lessons learned and good practices on the role of humanitarian and health actors in sustaining peace in health emergency contexts. The discussion was moderated by Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO of IPI.

Participants representing the health, humanitarian, and peacebuilding sectors discussed lessons from pandemic responses, including the 2018–2020 Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and began developing a common understanding of how health and humanitarian providers can contribute to peace while adhering to humanitarian principles.

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health matters. This includes health crises in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. To better develop a conflict-sensitive approach, WHO launched its “Global Health for Peace Initiative” in 2019 to deliver healthcare while contributing to sustaining peace. Following a decision by the WHO Executive Board, the 75th World Health Assembly requested that the director-general consult with member states and observers on a roadmap for the implementation of the Global Health for Peace Initiative to be put forward for consideration at the World Health Assembly in 2023. This discussion and its resulting issue brief serve as an informal contribution to this process.

Assessing CPAS in UN Peacekeeping: Examining Progress and Lessons Learned

Thu, 27/10/2022 - 20:39
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Five years after its inception, the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System (CPAS) has evolved from a pilot project into a system for bringing together planning and performance assessment in iterative cycles in all United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. CPAS supports multiple Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+) priorities, including strategic and operational integration, and performance and accountability of peacekeepers. CPAS is also at the forefront of UN Peacekeeping’s embrace of technology and the integration of system-wide data for improved mandate delivery.

CPAS has emerged as one of the flagship vehicles through which the UN can better demonstrate the impact of its peacekeeping missions and improve their performance. The system allows missions to set out a framework that details how their operations influence stakeholders and processes in the country and helps missions assess, based on data, whether and how they make progress against mandated priorities. At present, peacekeeping operations have used CPAS to conduct thirty performance assessments since 2018, which have generated over 300 recommendations aimed at improving their operations and refining their planning.

In this context, IPI and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, in partnership with the UN Department of Peace Operations, cohosted a policy forum assessing the rollout, implementation, and impact to date of CPAS in UN peacekeeping on October 27th.

Panelists highlighted CPAS’s progress and challenges as a tool for mission-wide impact assessment, strategic planning, and integration. Daniel Forti, Research Fellow at IPI’s Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, described CPAS as an “ambitious, imperfect, and worthwhile experiment for UN peacekeeping.” Interventions also reflected on CPAS’s trajectory over the coming months and offer recommendations to sustain the system’s future, particularly in considering the current geopolitical context of UN peacekeeping.

The policy forum launched an IPI publication on UN peacekeeping and CPAS, written by Daniel Forti. This event and publication are part of IPI’s broader workstream on A4P+, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. DPO’s Division for Performance, Evaluation and Training also shared its own internal lessons-learned study on CPAS at the event.

Welcome and Opening Remarks:
Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute
Djeyhoun Ostowar, Deputy Head of Political Section, Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN
David Haeri, Director of the Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training, UN Department of Peace Operations

Speakers:
Daniel Forti, Research Fellow, Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute
Major General Patrick Gauchat, Head of Mission and Chief of Staff, UN Truce Supervision Organization (via VTC)
Souleymane Thioune, Chief of Staff, UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (via VTC) 
Kym Taylor, Chief of the Evaluations Team, Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training, UN Department of Peace Operations  

Closing Remarks:
Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

Youth Leaders on Peace and Climate Action: Priorities for COP27

Wed, 26/10/2022 - 15:40
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On October 26th, IPI in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN and the Government of Finland, and in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, cohosted a policy forum entitled “Youth Leaders on Peace and Climate Action: Priorities for COP27.”

From the Fridays for Future movement to the Youth Climate Action Coalition, youth movements have played an increasingly prominent role in calling for action to address climate change. At the global level, however, there is a need for a stronger institutional link between youth’s participation in the climate movement and their role in decision-making processes. The establishment of the secretary-general’s Advisory Group on Climate Change in July 2020 is a positive effort to bridge this gap by connecting youth leaders with the highest office at the UN. Furthermore, last month’s General Assembly resolution establishing the UN Youth Office will provide an opportunity for young people to systematically engage on issues related to climate change, peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.

In the lead-up to the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El Sheikh, this policy forum brought together youth leaders to discuss and amplify their recommendations for global climate action. Amid growing awareness that climate change is hindering sustainable development and undermining peace and security, the policy forum also focused attention on the efforts and mobilization of young people working at the nexus of sustaining peace and climate action. As such, the discussion focused on the intersection of climate action and UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace, and security.

The panel discussion highlighted topics including the gendered impacts of climate change, the importance of accountability and action, and resourcing needs. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, called for increased political and financial commitments to support youth leadership on climate. “We can’t expect young people to solve this crisis without more resources and support.” As speakers shared their hopes and expectations for upcoming climate negotiations and the first-ever Children and Youth Pavilion, the policy forum magnified youth leadership and set the stage for COP27.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Jongin Bae, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN
H.E. Erik Lundberg, Deputy Director General for Political Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Speakers:
Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth
Omnia El Omrani, Youth Envoy for COP27
Heeta Lakhani, Founder, Climate Youth Negotiators Programme (CYNP); former YOUNGO Global Focal Point (2020–2021)
Saad Uakkas, Regional Coordinator for North Africa, African Youth Initiative for Climate Change

Moderator:
Jimena Leiva Roesch, Director of Global Initiatives and Head of Peace, Climate, and Sustainable Development, International Peace Institute

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UN Peacekeeping and CPAS: An Experiment in Performance Assessment and Mission Planning

Tue, 25/10/2022 - 20:48

Since 2018, the UN Department of Peace Operations’ (DPO) Division for Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET) has been rolling out the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System (CPAS) across all UN peacekeeping operations. CPAS sets out a framework for mission officials to interrogate how their operations impact stakeholders and processes in the country and whether these impacts are helping missions achieve their mandated priorities.

This policy paper examines the rollout and implementation of CPAS to date and reviews CPAS’s impact across three core areas: data collection and analysis, impact assessment, and mission planning. It also examines six factors that affect the implementation and impact of CPAS: (1) mission-wide integration; (2) mission leadership and mission-wide ownership; (3) capacities and skill sets; (4) alignment with other peacekeeping planning tools; (5) thematic priorities; and (6) dynamics between UN headquarters and field missions.

The paper concludes with the following recommendations, which are intended to help missions, headquarters, and member states sustain CPAS into the future:

  • Peacekeeping operations should include CPAS-specific information in handover notes; share the topline of CPAS frameworks and impact assessments with UN headquarters; improve the design, tracking, and communication of CPAS recommendations; provide detailed overviews of CPAS impact assessments in the secretary-general’s reports to the Security Council; broaden CPAS participation to the UN country team and other UN entities in the country or region; and incorporate local views of mission performance and impact into CPAS.
  • UN headquarters should publish CPAS fact sheets on mission websites; incorporate CPAS exercises and assessments into senior leadership training exercises; expand training materials on data analysis and visualization; and align CPAS with other UN planning and reporting processes.
  • Member states should provide consistent political support and attention to CPAS; increase funding for civilian planning and data-management posts; and include CPAS in peacekeeping curricula at national peacekeeping and police training centers.

Gender-Responsive Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: A Women, Peace and Security Perspective

Fri, 21/10/2022 - 21:09
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Upon the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), the meaningful integration of gender into disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes stands out as an important part of the relief and recovery pillar of the agenda. However, gaps remain in implementing gender-responsive DDR.

In this context, IPI together with the Folke Bernadotte Academy cohosted a discussion on gender-responsive DDR through a WPS lens on October 21st.

This event shared research findings from a recent report, while also situating the discussion within WPS and reflecting on gendered themes within DDR, such as the meaningful incorporation of women and girls into programming and the relationship between masculinity and DDR. Panelists sought to bridge the research and policy gap by bringing together researchers, academics, and practitioners.

Speakers emphasized the importance of gender analysis and inclusion in DDR planning and implementation. “Only 38% of negotiators are women, only 6% of mediators are women, and only 6% of signatories are women. We can’t go on like this—the moment that parties come together to negotiate a political solution, women should be involved,” said Tomas Kontogeorgos, Chief of DDR Section, UN Department of Peace Operations.

Speakers:
Phoebe Donnelly, Senior Fellow and Head of Women, Peace and Security, International Peace Institute
Patty Chang, Senior Research Fellow, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University
Kato Van Broeckhoven, Senior Project Manager, Managing Exits from Armed Conflict, Centre for Policy Research at UN University
Luca Renda, Head of Recovery Solutions and Human Mobility, Crisis Bureau, UN Development Programme
Tomas Kontogeorgos, Chief of DDR Section, UN Department of Peace Operations
German Vega Cortes, Policy Specialist, Protection, UN Women

Moderator:
Jenna Russo, Director of Research, International Peace Institute

Closing remarks: 
Frida Gabrielsson Kjäll
, Senior DDR Officer, DDR Unit, Folke Bernadotte Academy

Climate Change, Peace, and Security: What Role for UN Peace Operations?

Tue, 18/10/2022 - 22:36
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IPI, in partnership with the French Ministry of Armed Forces and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, cohosted the 2022 Peacekeeping Observatory Annual Workshop on October 18, 2022. The half-day workshop explored the interconnected nature of climate change, peace, and security within the context of UN peace operations. The hybrid event convened over sixty-five participants, including UN personnel, member-state representatives, and independent experts from civil society organizations.

Throughout three sessions, discussions examined the substantive and operational implications of this intersection, specifically focusing on: (1) achieving sustained peace through environmental peacebuilding and climate responses; (2) integrating climate analysis into the mandated activities of UN peacekeeping operations; and (3) mitigating the environmental footprint of UN peace operations and the impact of climate change on mission operations.

The first session highlighted the importance of considering environmental issues, including climate change, in efforts to sustain peace. However, the way to integrate these considerations into multilateral and national policy agendas remains contested. Connections could be made more organically at the local level. Localized assessments of climate-related impacts were identified as pivotal to inform adequate climate responses to sustain peace, along with awareness-raising and the inclusion of local voices. It was noted that these would benefit from governmental buy-in and the support of intergovernmental initiatives, including climate financing.

The second session examined how UN peace operations could integrate climate-related considerations into their strategic planning and mandated activities. Participants discussed whether current mandates and existing UN Security Council resolutions provide sufficient entry points in this regard. They also highlighted the importance of managing expectations and emphasized the need for partnership with the UN country team. Emerging initiatives undertaken by the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) were underlined, including its participation in the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM) and the deployment of environmental and climate security advisers. These were noted as the first steps to mainstream climate and environmental considerations in missions’ work, but they still require financial and political support to develop a holistic climate-sensitive approach to peacekeeping.

The third session reviewed UN peace operations’ efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. Participants discussed the significant progress missions have made under the “greening the blue” initiative but acknowledged there is still room to increase the use of renewable energy and achieve the UN Secretariat’s 2030 emissions-reduction goals. As missions seek to ensure a “positive legacy” when they exit, participants agreed that they can play a more prominent role in providing host communities with basic and sustainable sources of energy with the support of the private sector. Finally, the impact of climate change on missions’ capacity to operate and their need to adapt was discussed.

As part of the 2022 Peacekeeping Observatory Project and in advance of the workshop, IPI published three issue briefs on topics related to UN peace operations and climate change: “The UN Environmental and Climate Adviser in Somalia,” authored by Jenna Russo, “Toward an Environmental and Climate-Sensitive Approach to Protection in UN Peacekeeping Operations,” authored by Agathe Sarfati, and “Contingent-Owned Equipment and Environmental Considerations in UN Peacekeeping Operations,” authored by Daniel Forti and Emmanuelle Cousin.

The Peacekeeping Observatory is a multiyear IPI project examining emerging issues and challenges in peace operations. It is funded by the French Ministry of Armed Forces. This year, the theme of the project is “Climate Change, Peace, and Security: What Role for UN Peace Operations?” IPI plans to focus on the topic of new technologies in peace operations for the 2023 cycle of the Peacekeeping Observatory project.

Multilateralism Index: Pilot Report

Fri, 16/09/2022 - 20:24

Figure 1: Results of the Multilateralism Index (Click for full graphic)

In the past several years, there has been a much-discussed rise in strain on multilateralism. However, there have been few efforts to quantifiably assess the state of the multilateral system. This Multilateralism Index (MI) report is the first known attempt to do so. It focuses on developments in the system over the past decade, providing a snapshot of its relative strength in 2020 compared to 2010. It seeks to answer questions including: What is the state of the multilateral system? What is working? What is not? And how has the multilateral system changed over time?

The MI examines five domains of multilateral coordination: Peace and Security, Human Rights, Environment, Public Health, and Trade. Each domain is evaluated across three dimensions: Participation, Performance, and Inclusivity. Analysis of sixty-five indicators across these domains and dimensions reveals several trends in multilateral cooperation over the past decade:

  • Participation scores for Human Rights, Public Health, and Trade have improved, while the scores for Peace and Security and Environment have deteriorated.
  • Performance scores have deteriorated in four out of five domains.
  • Inclusivity scores have improved across all five domains.

These trends shed light on the nature of the crisis of multilateralism. Rather than decreased international cooperation and widespread exit from multilateral institutions, we are seeing a battle over the nature and purpose of the multilateral system—not decay, but transformation. The MI provides a basis for tracking this transformation and informing decision making on the future of multilateralism.

UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Launches “Guidance on Mediation of Ceasefires” at IPI

Wed, 14/09/2022 - 17:45
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IPI and the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) cohosted the official launch of DPPA’s Guidance on Mediation of Ceasefires on September 14th.

While every ceasefire mediation is unique, DPPA’s Guidance on Mediation of Ceasefires presents a set of tools and approaches to strengthen agreements to support a more sustainable peace process in any setting. Its goal is to provide a baseline of technical knowledge to UN and other mediators, conflict parties, and other stakeholders in contemporary mediation processes, such as representatives of states and regional organizations, national and international nongovernmental organizations, and women’s groups.

Welcome Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and Chief Executive Officer
Asif Khan, Chief of Mediation Support Unit, UN DPPA

Speakers:
Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report and former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Nepal, Burundi, and Liberia
Jeffrey Mapendere, Chief Security Arrangements Advisor of Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), South Sudan

Moderator:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and Chief Executive Officer

IPI’s Art for Peace Series Presents “Tears of Gold” by Hannah Rose Thomas

Wed, 07/09/2022 - 23:30
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On September 7th, IPI in partnership with the Grace Farms Foundation, UNESCO, UN Women, and United Kingdom Mission to the UN cohosted a discussion with the President of IPI, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and British artist and activist, Hannah Rose Thomas, who has contributed to building a culture of peace and reconciliation through her innovative work within refugee communities.

The event featured works from the art exhibit “Tears of Gold,” which include portraits of Yezidi, Rohingya, and Nigerian women. The paintings are a visual testimony not only of war and injustice, but also of humanity, dignity, and resilience.

Welcome Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President
Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of the Grace Farms Foundation
Dame Barbara Woodward, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN
Eliot Minchenberg, Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the UN in New York
Asa Regner, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women

Click each portrait to read the women’s testimonies

Rethinking Digital Education with Youth in the Lead

Thu, 11/08/2022 - 16:05
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IPI, in partnership with the Republic of Korea, organized a public policy forum on August 11th, bringing together youth-led organizations working on digital education in areas affected by economic and political crises in the post-pandemic era. The aim of this event was to provide an opportunity for young people to share innovative solutions for supporting the education of children and youth around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the education sector and resulted in the closing of schools around the world. Access to education services was disrupted for more than 1.6 billion children and youth globally. While many countries were able to switch to online education, many developing countries, especially those experiencing multiple crises, could not provide online education due to a lack of affordable technology and resources, economic contractions, political uncertainty, and other reasons. As the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises continue to strain national budgets, there is an urgent need to ensure education remains a priority for governments.

In his report on “Our Common Agenda,” the UN Secretary-General stressed the need for young people to be better prepared for such challenges and the need to strengthen and update the education system globally. This September, the Secretary-General is organizing a summit on “Transforming Education” that seeks to mobilize commitment and action to accelerate progress on improving education for all to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This policy forum comes at a strategic point in time, one month after SDG 4 on quality education was reviewed at this year’s High-Level Political Forum, and on the eve of International Youth Day.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Ambassador Jongin Bae, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN
H.E. Dr. Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the UN and UNICEF Executive Board President, a.i.

Speakers:
Victoria Ibiwoye, Youth Engagement Lead, Education 2030, UNESCO
Pashtana Durrani, Executive Director, LEARN Afghanistan (@LearnAfg)
Nhial Deng, Refugee and Peace Activist, South Sudan
Abheejit Khandagale, Founder, Ekatra; Top Innovator, UpLink—World Economic Forum

Moderator:
Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and COO

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