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Legal Avenues to Fight Climate Change

Wed, 15/12/2021 - 17:00
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On December 15th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the UN cohosted a virtual policy forum on “Legal Avenues to Fight Climate Change.”

COP26 marks a critical moment to update humanity’s plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although a growing number of countries are establishing carbon neutrality targets and low-carbon solutions, the international community is still way off the 1.5-degree target set by the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change are accelerating around the world – in an increasingly devastating manner. The UN Secretary-General has called for far-reaching changes, the need for bolder plans to reduce emissions and to live up to the promises made.

While efforts are underway to reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement, there is also an increasing trend to resort to legal action to address climate change. Climate litigation is on the rise at the international, regional and national levels. Currently, there is a call by some for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the rights of present and future generations to be protected from negative impacts of climate change as well as the possibility of requesting an advisory opinion on oceans and climate change from the plenary of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The International Law Commission (ILC) also included the topic of sea-level rise in relation to international law in its program of work and addresses possible legal effects or implications of sea-level rise in the areas law of the sea, statehood and protection of persons affected by sea-level rise. Moreover, a road for international criminal proceedings once a crime of ‘ecocide’ has been codified and included in national penal laws and possibly the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Regional as well as domestic courts are also facing an increasing number of cases on climate change leading to landmark cases – most notably the ruling of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands that the Dutch government has an obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights to protect the rights to life, private and family life from the real threat of climate change.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the UN

Speakers:
H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi, Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the UN
Ms. Christina Hioureas, Chair of UN Practice, Foley Hoag
Ms. Kate Mackintosh, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Ms. Patricia Galvao Teles, Member of the International Law Commission

Moderator:
Dr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and CEO

Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2021: The Case of MONUSCO

Mon, 13/12/2021 - 17:34

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in December 2021. Discussions on MONUSCO’s mandate come at a crucial moment for both the country and the mission. Recent political developments have given new momentum to efforts by the Congolese government to implement its comprehensive reform agenda, but continued political competition and persistent insecurity in the country’s eastern region present serious risks. The UN presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is also undergoing a significant reconfiguration, driven by MONUSCO’s phased and progressive transition.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on November 23, 2021. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in the DRC 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 MONUSCO’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Workshop participants felt that MONUSCO’s mandate and existing activities position the mission to advance its strategic priorities while also managing its own transition. With a somewhat improved domestic political environment and the growing alignment between the Congolese government, its neighbors, and international partners, the UN has a valuable opportunity to consolidate and build on this progress. Based on this workshop, suggestions for revisions to the MONUSCO mandate include:

  • Integrating the mission’s transition plan and benchmarks into the new mandate;
  • Ensuring that the mission has the mandate and resources to undertake the transition in a flexible, integrated, and inclusive manner;
  • Capitalizing on the mission’s good offices to maintain dialogue between political coalitions prior to the 2023 election cycle;
  • Encouraging international and regional support for the Congolese government’s 2021–2023 program of action;
  • Balancing robust protection responsibilities in eastern DRC with flexible and responsive approaches to protection in other parts of the country; and
  • Prioritizing inclusive and locally led approaches to stabilization and transitional justice.

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A Conversation with Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Thu, 02/12/2021 - 21:00
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On December 2nd, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

The African Union Commission (AUC) is integral to the promotion of sustainable peace and democratic governance on the African continent. These priorities and initiatives serve as a foundation for collective action, from pursuing regional integration at the political and economic levels to championing governance, development, and peace as interrelated normative and policy agendas. To further support these priorities and advance Africa’s interests on the global stage, the AUC has strengthened its partnerships with Africa’s regional economic communities and mechanisms, the United Nations, and other regions and countries.

The AUC’s upcoming twentieth anniversary and its recently completed institutional reforms offer a moment for reflection on recent progress and ongoing challenges. Despite tangible progress in recent years, African countries continue to confront structural and proximate threats to collective peace and security. Exclusive political leadership detracts from the consolidation of democratic-governance institutions and inclusive economic development, testing social contracts and giving rise to civic unrest. The COVID-19 pandemic is still reverberating across the continent and straining already fragile economies and domestic social structures. Climate degradation is exacerbating already significant humanitarian needs and amplifying the pressures of rapid urbanization and a majority-youth population. The continent’s aspirations to silence all guns and end armed conflicts have been weakened by fragile political agreements, transnational security and criminal threats, and rising geopolitical tensions that undermine the prospects for sustained multilateral action.

IPI’s Global Leaders Series discussion with H.E. Mahamat will focus on contemporary peace and security trends on the African continent as well as opportunities and priorities for strengthening sustainable peace and democratic governance over the coming years. It will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the African Union’s role as a multilateral institution supporting continental peace and security and its efforts to strengthen Africa’s geopolitical effectiveness and unity.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, now in his second term as Chairperson of the African Union Commission, has held this position since January 2017. H.E. Mahamat has previously served in multiple official capacities for the Republic of Chad, including as Prime Minister and Head of Government, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Director of the presidential cabinet, and President of the country’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council. He also chaired the Security Council in December 2014, including the general debate on December 19, 2014 on “threats to international peace and security: cross-border terrorism and crime.” H.E. Mahamat chaired the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in September 2013 and steered the Extraordinary Summit on Antiterrorism in Ouagadougou.

This event was moderated by Dr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO of IPI.

From Glasgow to Sharm El Sheikh: Accelerating Climate Finance

Thu, 02/12/2021 - 17:15
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IPI in partnership with the Government of Qatar, hosted on December 2nd a virtual policy forum entitled “From Glasgow to Sharm El Sheikh: Accelerating Climate Finance.”

COP 26 delivered an outcome representing incremental progress on climate change. While this outcome is a step in the right direction is not enough to avert the most devastating consequences of climate change. Climate and the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need for climate finance: the world now faces the worst economic crisis since the Second World War, causing loss of revenue and rising debt, especially in the countries that are most in need. At this event, we hope to discuss possible ways in which the financial system can align with the Paris Agreement. To stay below 1.5C, finance will be a critical component in unlocking greater ambition on mitigation and increasing trust among countries.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly

Speakers:
H.E. Mr. Osama Mahmoud Abdel Khalek Mahmoud, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the UN
H.E. Mr. James Kariuki, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN
Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team
Ms. Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Ms. Jimena Leiva Roesch, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of the Peace and Sustainable Development Program

Closing Remarks:
H.E. Sheikha Alya Ahmed Bin Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the UN

Moderator:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President

Continuity Amid Change: The 2021 Mandate Renewal of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate

Tue, 23/11/2021 - 17:19

To support UN Security Council members in their reconsideration of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) mandate this year, the Global Center on Cooperative Security (Global Center) and the International Peace Institute (IPI) undertook an extensive research and consultation process. This brief outlines findings and recommendations for the upcoming renewal of CTED’s mandate, building on this research and consultation process.

A broad range of stakeholders were consulted, including current CTC members and other UN member states, UN representatives, and civil society actors. Information was gathered through a widely distributed survey, bilateral interviews, three focus-group discussions, and two workshops held on 28 July and 3 November 2021. Along with providing analysis of the implementation of CTED’s mandate, the intention was to provide an informal Track II setting for member states and other stakeholders to engage on priorities for the mandate renewal and to solicit input into the formal negotiation process from underrepresented parties, including civil society.

The current mandate of CTED is due to be renewed by 31 December 2021. This takes place a few months after the UN General Assembly’s consensus adoption of the seventh review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The renewal of CTED’s mandate coincides with a change in leadership; after four years, CTED’s Executive Director, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, will be leaving by the end of the year. It also coincides with the December renewal of the mandates of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1526 and 2253 and the Office of the Ombudsperson to the sanctions committee. The conjuncture of these processes occurs shortly after the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 11 September 2001 and the adoption of Resolution 1373, the council’s seminal counterterrorism resolution that created the CounterTerrorism Committee (CTC), which CTED was established to support.

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The Road to Seoul: Previewing the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial

Tue, 16/11/2021 - 11:30
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On November 16th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN cohosted a virtual policy forum on “The Road to Seoul: Previewing the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial.”

The 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial will be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on December 7-8, 2021. It will be the sixth high-level meeting in support of UN peacekeeping convened by member states and the UN Secretariat since 2014. These meetings are intended to sustain political support to UN peacekeeping and encourage member states to offer concrete pledges of uniformed personnel, enablers, financial resources, capacity building initiatives. The Ministerial process is formally co-chaired by twelve member states and the UN Secretariat and is open to member states on the UN General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34).

The Ministerial has emerged as one of the flagship vehicles through which the UN can strengthen the inherently global partnerships that underpin peacekeeping operations around the world. The Seoul Ministerial also comes at a particularly crucial time for UN peacekeeping as it continues its efforts to implement reforms and evolve. Significant preparatory work has unfolded over the past year in the lead-up to this process. The co-chairs have convened four Preparatory Conferences, each discussing a specific topic that will feature prominently during the Ministerial Conference. The UN Secretariat has prepared a pledging guide for member states as well as a capabilities-assessment study.

This virtual policy forum provided a preview of the core issues that will be discussed at the 2021 Ministerial Conference. It will contextualize the importance of the Ministerial process within broader efforts to encourage the evolution of UN peacekeeping operations. It also highlighted the progress achieved over the past seven years and defined expectations for the upcoming summit. The policy forum offered summaries of the Preparatory Conferences convened over the past year. IPI also launched an issue brief, prepared by IPI Senior Policy Analyst Daniel Forti, on the Peacekeeping Ministerial.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President
Ambassador Bae Jong-in, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN

Speakers:
Mr. Jean-Pierre LaCroix, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Peace Operations
Ms. Laura Grant, Deputy Head of the UN Peacekeeping Joint Unit, United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (on behalf of the co-chairs of the Preparatory Conference on Sustaining Peace and Peacebuilding)
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor at the United States Mission to the UN (on behalf of the co-chairs of the Preparatory Conference on Performance and Accountability)
Ambassador Mark Zellenrath, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN (on behalf of the co-chairs of the Preparatory Conference on Protection of Civilians and Safety & Security)
Ambassador Mohammad K. Koba, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the UN (on behalf of the co-chairs of the Preparatory Conference on Partnerships, Training and Capacity Building)

Moderator:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President

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The Road to Seoul: Previewing the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial

Fri, 12/11/2021 - 15:28

The UN peacekeeping ministerial process has emerged as one of the flagship vehicles through which the UN can mobilize concrete pledges of uniformed personnel, enablers, financial resources, and capacity building for peacekeeping operations. The 2021 UN peacekeeping ministerial in Seoul—the sixth ministerial since 2014—presents a valuable opportunity for member states to make pledges, focusing on four substantive areas: (1) peacebuilding and sustaining peace; (2) partnerships for capacity building and training; (3) performance and accountability; and (4) protection of civilians and safety and security. The conference also has two cross-cutting themes: technology and medical capacity building.

This issue brief offers a preview of the 2021 peacekeeping ministerial in Seoul. It discusses the motivation for and evolution of the ministerial format and its value to UN peacekeeping. It also highlights the issues discussed during the four preparatory conferences in the run-up to the conference and briefly summarizes topics raised in both the UN’s official pledging guide and independent white papers commissioned by the Republic of Korea.

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A Conversation with Lieutenant General Dr. Dennis Gyllensporre, Former Force Commander of MINUSMA

Fri, 12/11/2021 - 13:10

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On November 12th, IPI hosted a Speaker Series event featuring Lieutenant General Dr. Dennis Gyllensporre, former force commander for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

LTG Gyllensporre reflected on his three-year experience as force commander, with a particular focus on the security and leadership challenges he encountered in the implementation of a mandate calling for a robust and active defense posture while protecting civilians. He shared some of the good practices and lessons learned during his time at MINUSMA.

LTG Gyllensporre (Swedish Armed Forces) served as the Force Commander for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) between October 2018 and October 2021. He came from a four-year appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff and Head of Special Forces of the Swedish Armed Forces. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 2014.

LTG Gyllensporre has multifaceted credentials in international cooperation as well as an extensive track record in interaction with political entities. This experience spans from operations at the tactical level to scientific publications in renowned journals.

LTG Gyllensporre served as a staff officer in the Swedish Armed Forces in various positions, including tours abroad in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sudan, as well as Military Advisor in international crisis management at the Swedish Ministry of Defence. He also served as Chief of Staff at the Swedish Joint Forces Command and later as head of the Doctrine and Concepts Branch at the European Union Military Staff’s Policy & Plans Division. In 2008 he was deployed to Afghanistan as the Chief of Staff for the Regional Command North Headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Subsequently, LTG Gyllensporre has held several positions in the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters including Chief of Staff of the Supreme Commander’s staff and head of the Policy and Plans Department.

LTG Gyllensporre has studied at several military institutions and holds multiple academic degrees including a Master of Science in computer science and engineering (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden); Master of Business Administration (Warwick University, United Kingdom); Master of Military Arts and Science (US Army Command and General Staff College, United States); and a Ph.D. in Governance and Policy Analysis (Maastricht University, the Netherlands). He is also the author of several books and academic articles on military strategy and security studies, including UN peacekeeping operations. He is fluent in English and commands French at the working level.

This event was moderated by Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, Senior Adviser at IPI.

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Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2021: The Case of MINUSCA

Fri, 05/11/2021 - 18:03

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 2021. MINUSCA now confronts a more challenging environment compared with the period leading up to last year’s mandate renewal, particularly in the aftermath of the January 2021 armed rebellion that swept toward the capital, Bangui, following presidential elections in December 2020.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on October 20, 2021. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) 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 MINUSCA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants largely agreed that MINUSCA’s strategic priorities are still relevant to the context in CAR and that the current mandate offers the mission valuable flexibility, despite some concerns that it may be too long. They stressed that MINUSCA will need to continue to “prioritize its priorities” over the coming months as various political and security issues emerge. The mission will likely need to balance the following:

  • Helping rebuild momentum for the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation;
  • Facilitating inclusive processes for political dialogue and the extension of state authority;
  • Supporting nascent cease-fire monitoring arrangements;
  • Refining support to national security institutions;
  • Strengthening its protection capabilities across the country; and
  • Providing technical and logistical support to local elections scheduled for September 2022.

Participants emphasized that these points should all feature prominently in the upcoming mandate and should be reinforced with unified political support from the Security Council. Participants also stressed the value of closer cooperation between the mission and humanitarian partners to help mitigate the conditions facing internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. They highlighted the value of more effective regional coordination between CAR and neighboring countries as well as strengthened coordination between the mission and other international organizations working in the country.

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

Thu, 04/11/2021 - 17:59

The military components of UN peacekeeping operations have used engagement teams (ETs) to conduct community engagement activities since at least 2015. While ETs were initially ad hoc initiatives, the UN has recently begun to institutionalize gendered community engagement, including through an ongoing shift from ETs to engagement platoons (EPs). Yet despite a general recognition that ETs have been beneficial, they have not been consistently understood or defined, making it difficult to assess how they have been used and to what effect.

This policy paper fills this research gap by presenting data on the prior activities of ETs and the experiences of those deployed to them. It aims to help decision makers align policies and guidance on ETs and EPs with evidence of what has and has not worked and to establish a baseline against which EPs can be measured over time. The paper draws on extensive interviews with members of ETs and policymakers, as well as a questionnaire distributed to military peacekeepers in six peacekeeping missions.

Overall, this research found broad support for the ongoing rollout of mixed-gender EPs. It concludes, however, that to effectively implement ETs and EPs, leaders in missions and in national militaries must address the institutional barriers that preclude women’s full participation in peace operations and perpetuate gendered stereotypes. Toward this end, it offers several recommendations to troop-contributing countries and the UN:

  • Provide training on the skills required for community engagement to men and women across all levels of the military;
  • Shift the burden for gendered community engagement off of women;
  • Improve internal reporting and analysis by ETs and EPs;
  • Coordinate between ETs and EPs and other mission components;
  • Build the capacity of missions to engage with communities; and
  • Avoid reinforcing gendered assumptions and stereotypes through the activities of ETs and EPs.

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Independent Reviews of UN Peace Operations: The Way Forward

Thu, 04/11/2021 - 16:30
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On November 4th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN, and the French Ministry of the Armies cohosted a virtual policy forum on “Independent Reviews of UN Peace Operations: The Way Forward.”

UN peace operations are partnership enterprises requiring complementary efforts by member states, UN officials, national stakeholders, and international partners. Evaluating these missions’ strategies, performance, and impact can often be a difficult task for the UN because these stakeholders have distinct and often competing interests. These dynamics, fueled by breakdowns in trust, gave rise to the practice of independently reviewing UN peace operations.

Independent reviews have become increasingly popular tools for the UN and its member states. Nineteen independent reviews have taken place since the practice first emerged in 2017. These reviews have been requested by both the UN Security Council and the secretary-general and have covered multidimensional peacekeeping operations and field-based special political missions. Independent reviews are designed to provide stronger political credibility for rigorous assessments of a peace operation’s strategic orientation. But given the diverse processes and incentives that shape them, independent reviews are best understood as complex analytical processes as well as highly political undertakings.

This policy forum featured assessments of independent reviews and offer reflections about this growing practice within the ecosystem of UN peace operations. Panelists highlighted their experiences with the practice, discuss its evolution and intricacies, and share their assessments of its potential role moving forward. The policy forum also launched an IPI publication on the same subject written by Daniel Forti, IPI Senior Policy Analyst.

Opening Remarks:
Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN
Brigadier General Roland Margueritte, Head of the Defense Mission, Permanent Mission of France to the UN

Speakers:
Mr. Daniel Forti, IPI Senior Policy Analyst
Ms. Ayaka Suzuki, Director of Strategic Planning and Monitoring, UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General
Ms. Rania Dagash, Chief, Policy and Best Practices Service, UN Department of Peace Operations
Ms. Jacqueline Seck, Director, Northern Africa Division, UN Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations
Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, IPI Senior Adviser

Moderator:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President & COO

Closing Remarks:
Ms. Alice Jacobs, Deputy Political Coordinator and Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN

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Independent Reviews of UN Peace Operations: A Study of Politics and Practice

Wed, 27/10/2021 - 22:47

Independent reviews are a relatively new but increasingly popular tool. Since the practice was established in 2017, there have been nineteen independent reviews of UN peace operations. These reviews have been intended to rigorously assess the strategic orientation of peace operations while providing more political credibility than UN-led review processes. But given the diverse processes and incentives that shape them, these exercises are both analytically complex and highly political. As independent reviews have gained prominence over the past five years, reflecting on the experiences of previous reviews is necessary for improving their quality, impact, and sustainability moving forward.

This paper provides a comparative analysis of the nineteen independent reviews of UN peace operations conducted between 2017 and 2021 by considering emerging trends, best practices, and lessons observed. It begins by juxtaposing the emergence of independent reviews with an increasingly fractured geopolitical landscape for UN peace operations and introducing these reviews’ distinguishing features and objectives. It then analyzes how independent reviews have unfolded in practice across seven different dimensions. The paper concludes by presenting findings about the practice and future of independent reviews and developing criteria to distinguish between UN-led and independent reviews. It also offers recommendations to the UN system, member states, and independent review teams to improve the practice:

  • The UN system should codify independent reviews within formal UN policy, consolidate best practices, clarify roles and expectations of UN staff seconded to review teams, prioritize diversity in the composition of review teams, improve reporting on independent reviews, and establish a dedicated funding stream for independent reviews.
  • Independent review teams should emphasize their transparency and independence, build internal and external constituencies, systematize their use of diverse research methods and approaches, and embrace the support provided by “red teams.”
  • Member states should treat independent reviews as exceptional instead of standard, debrief team leaders following the submission of an independent review, request a formal briefing on strategic reviews and assessments, strengthen reporting requirements on the implementation of review recommendations, and provide ample time for conducting independent reviews.

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MENA Youth, the Environment, and Climate Change

Wed, 27/10/2021 - 17:25

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Illustrated page from Sara Ghannoum’s new book “Tom Alien and the Plastic Mess”

In the leadup to the United Nations upcoming Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, better known as COP26, IPI MENA hosted a webinar on October 27, 2021, entitled “MENA’s Youth and Environment,” to highlight the importance of involving and educating youth regarding environmental issues.

Moderated by Dalya Alawi, Policy Analyst, the event featured a reading by three-time children’s book author, Ms. Sara Ghannoum, to students in classrooms from Bahrain, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji pointed to how “young people are engaging with climate and biodiversity science and policy in a way that previous generations haven’t.” He added, “the aim must not be just to educate, but to also inspire and engage the children in bringing a positive behavioral change.” Such steps are necessary in order to create a positive cycle and generation of climate activists dedicated to sustainable development, he stated.

Ms. Ghannoum’s new book “Tom Alien and the Plastic Mess,” is devoted to raising awareness on the dangerous effects of environmental pollution amongst children. Following her reading, she recalled a short anecdote of her 6-year-old son’s reaction to her book, to demonstrate how youth-led action is significant for the fight against climate change. As the future generation, “we need their drive and creativity to take action and solve the environmental mess we have created.”

Her reading was followed by a question-and-answer segment, raised by the young participants, which revolved around how to start the recycling conversation with adults, which items were recyclable, and what they can do to start making a change. Throughout her responses, Ghannoum addressed their concerns, and encouraged the students to educate those around them, and to “keep raising your concern, and don’t give up!”

In his remarks, Executive Director of British School Bahrain, Mr. John Maguire commended the school’s ‘eco warriors’, an initiative spearheaded by students to raise awareness and take action in ensuring all members of the school community – pupils, teachers, and parents – are more environmentally friendly. He also noted the school’s community-driven initiatives, such as beach clean-ups, where they are partnering with private companies to recycle and renew the collected materials. In addition to plastic waste, Mr. Maguire also shed light on the school’s commitments to reduce food waste.

H.E. Muhammad Ayub, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Bahrain, explained how “as the world’s fifth-youngest country, with youth comprising 53% of the population, making Pakistan green and clean is a priority.” He shared his country’s vulnerability to climate change, and their campaign to plant 10 billion trees by 2028, reiterating how “youth are the vanguards of this movement,” and their crucial role globally, to help our world.

Similarly, German Ambassador Kai Boeckmann shared an example from his country, where it is becoming an increasingly common practice, and importantly so, for young people to hold politicians and other leaders in society to account, especially with regard to climate action. He referred to one of the most viewed television shows during Germany’s ongoing elections, was where children aged 10-12 years old were being posed to candidates.

Mounir Bouchenaki, Advisor to Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recited UNESCO’s purpose to conserve both the world’s cultural and natural heritage, wherein “education is the pillar for all transformation in the world.” “The awareness,” as raised by Ms. Ghannoum’s book, “is important,” he stressed. It is through such coordinated actions by all countries at COP26, that will result in a cleaner and more agreeable planet.

On the same note, Mr. Friji closed the event in wishing a successful COP26 summit to call on all leaders to heed the global calls for action through clear programs, initiatives, and strategies to save our planet from scorches of climate change.

All audience members praised the enthusiastic participation of the students and commended Ms. Ghannoum’s book as an example of how to engage younger children in making a change and being advocates for climate action. The event was attended by; British School of Bahrain, Bahrain, International College of Beirut, Lebanon, and American School of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and includes the ambassadors of Bangladesh, Korea, Philippines, and Yemen, alongside other members of Bahrain’s diplomatic corps, media, as well as civil society.

Where are the Women? Staying Curious about Gender in International Security

Fri, 22/10/2021 - 21:10
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On October 22nd, IPI in partnership with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “Where are the Women? Staying Curious about Gender in International Security.” The discussion addressed women’s experiences in international security and explored ways to overcome structural gender inequalities in arms control and disarmament, mediation, and peacekeeping. This side event was co-sponsored by Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, Namibia, Norway, the Philippines, and Sweden.

Starting with the question “where are the women?”, initially posed by Cynthia Enloe more than three decades ago, this event gathered insights from researchers and practitioners working to better understand the multiple roles that women play in international security. The event provided an opportunity to discuss the experiences of women across the broad international security field, including the main barriers they face, as well as existing policies and practices advancing inclusivity.

Speakers:
Dr. Cynthia Enloe, Professor at Clark University
Ambassador Don Steinberg, Executive Director, Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace and Security, and Expert Adviser to the Administrator, US Agency for International Development
Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, Fellow with the GCSP and former Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN in Geneva
Lt. Col. Lausanne Nsengimana Ingabire, Gender Advisor, UN Office of Military Affairs

Moderator:
Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO, International Peace Institute

Closing Remarks:
Dr. Cécile Aptel, Deputy Director, UNIDIR

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A Conversation with H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya

Tue, 12/10/2021 - 16:00
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On October 12th, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.

The talk responded to the major challenges highlighted in the United Nations Secretary General’s Our Common Agenda report. President Kenyatta discussed how global cooperation and multilateralism can be deployed effectively to solve the major interlinked climate, security, economic and public health challenges that threaten so many around the world. He also shared his insights on the worldwide challenge of building and sustaining states that have the ability to solve major challenges, including the maintenance of cohesion, peace and security.

His Excellency President Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H., is the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya and the party leader of the ruling Jubilee Party.

He has previously served as a nominated Member of Parliament, Leader of the Opposition, Minister for Local Government and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

President Kenyatta was re-elected for a second and final term in August 2017. His presidency has been underpinned by a commitment to economic and social transformation, national unity, good governance, regional integration, and intra-Africa trade.

Under President Kenyatta’s leadership, Kenya has become one of the fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa and ranks among the top three African countries on the ease of doing business. Kenya has consolidated its position as a leader on issues such as Climate Change, the Blue Economy and digital technologies and Nairobi has emerged as a regional hub for major international organizations and corporations. Kenya. In January 2021, Kenya started its two-year term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council.

Following the promulgation of a new Constitution in 2010, President Kenyatta presided over the rolling out of an ambitious program to restructure the Kenyan state involving large-scale political, fiscal, and administrative decentralization.

At the regional level, President Kenyatta has championed regional integration, intra-Africa trade, and a stronger role of the African continent on the global stage. He has been at the forefront in promoting peace and security efforts in the region and has brokered peace agreements in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Kenyatta has Chaired the African Union Peace and Security Council in March of 2021 and is the current Chair of the Summit of East Africa Community Heads of State. He is also Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) a coalition of African Union Heads of State and Government to drive accountability and action for results against Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) and nutrition.

President Kenyatta is the current President-in-Office of the Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) which comprises 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific states. He is also a member of the High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders to build momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy.

President Kenyatta serves as a Global Leader for the Young People’s Agenda under the UN-led Generation Unlimited Initiative (GenU) which seeks to ensure that by 2030 all young persons aged 10-24 are in school, in training or employment.

This event was moderated by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO of IPI.

Securing Women’s Leadership in “Post-Pandemic” Life

Thu, 23/09/2021 - 16:35
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In partnership with the Government of Sweden, IPI cohosted a high-level discussion entitled “Securing Women’s Leadership in ‘Post-Pandemic’ Life” on September 23rd. The event highlighted the leadership of women and explored how this can be amplified and formally recognized. It also built upon IPI’s 2020 Women, Peace and Leadership Symposium which focused on women’s vital contributions to the crisis response across the globe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has both revealed and exacerbated global inequalities, especially along gender lines and not least in already challenging contexts characterized by fragility and conflict. Despite this, little attention has so far been given to the long-term negative consequences that the crisis risks having for women’s political and peacebuilding leadership as well as economic empowerment and human rights.

As the global community continues to grapple with the recovery and simultaneously seeks to build resilience against future crises, there is a unique opportunity to develop ways to rectify structural gender inequalities and explore how women’s leadership can be amplified and formally recognized both in general and in conflict situations. This includes harnessing the experiences from the pandemic itself where innumerable women have played, and continue to play, key leadership roles in ushering their communities through the crisis.

Speakers:
H.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
H.E. Ms. Olta Xhaçka, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Albania
H.E. Ms. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia
Ms. Katrina Fotovat, Senior Official, Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Sarah Taylor, Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact, UN Women
Ms. Åsa Regnér, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women

Moderator:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President

A Conversation with Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs of the Republic of Yemen

Thu, 23/09/2021 - 09:00
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On September 23rd, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring H.E. Dr. Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs of the Republic of Yemen.

The talk shed light on the latest developments in Yemen, including the prospects for improved dialogue following the appointment of a new UN special envoy to Yemen and the anticipation of a re-energized diplomatic effort to reach a political settlement to the conflict.

Ambassador Dr. Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak was appointed Minister for Foreign and Expatriates Affairs of the Republic of Yemen on December 18, 2020.

Prior to his appointment, he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Yemen to the United States of America in Washington, DC. He has also served as non-resident ambassador to Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. He was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Yemen to the United Nations in 2018.

Dr. Bin Mubarak has participated in most of the UN peace talks in Yemen as an adviser to the negotiating team for the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Yemen.

He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Baghdad and received the Distinguished Graduate Shield from the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA) of the National Defense University in Washington, DC.

This event was moderated by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO of IPI.

IPI Hosts Foreign Ministers, Officials at 16th Annual Middle East Dinner

Mon, 20/09/2021 - 02:21
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On Sunday, September 19, 2021, IPI held its sixteenth annual Ministerial Working Dinner on the Middle East in its Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security, and Development. The dinner drew the participation of foreign ministers and other high-level representatives.

The event was chaired by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President of IPI, and co-hosted by the United Arab Emirates and Luxembourg, represented respectively by Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, and Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Luxembourg.

Participants had a frank discussion on regional issues held under the Chatham House Rule.

Attendees included Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain; Sophie Wilmès, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, and of Defence of the Kingdom of Belgium; Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Fuad Mohammad Hussein, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq; Ayman Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs; Riad Al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine; Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden; Othman Jerandi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia; and Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs of the Republic of Yemen.

Also present were Miguel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States; Amr Moussa, Former Secretary General of the League of Arab States and member of IPI’s International Advisory Council; and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

United Nations Special Political Missions and Protection: A Principled Approach for Research and Policymaking

Tue, 14/09/2021 - 15:30
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On September 14th, IPI together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs cohosted a policy forum on “United Nations Special Political Missions (SPMs) and Protection: A Principled Approach for Research and Policymaking.” The session provided an opportunity to present and discuss IPI’s new policy paper that considers the need for increased analysis and operational roles of UN special political missions (SPMs) in protection.

SPMs regularly operate in conflict and post-conflict settings in which local civilian populations face the ongoing threat of armed violence. Despite this trend, understandings of the roles of SPMs in protection have remained ambiguous, leaving a conceptual and operational gap that deserves greater attention. As it looks ahead to articulate and implement a system-wide agenda for protection the Secretariat has an opportunity to articulate a more explicit and structured vision for the role of SPMs in protection.

This policy forum gathered representatives of the UN Secretariat and field missions, member states, and civil society to reflect on concepts, good practices, dilemmas, and lessons learned on protection in SPMs. Participants discussed how the UN could strengthen guidance and articulate a more explicit and structured vision on the protection roles of SPMs. The panel built upon the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs’ (DPPA) experience in field missions and consider how the role of DPPA and SPMs in protection relates to other conceptions of protection in the UN system.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Ms. Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN

Speakers:
Mr. Dirk Druet, IPI Non-resident Fellow and Affiliate Researcher at the Max Bell School for Public Policy at McGill University
Ms. Teresa Whitfield, Director, Policy and Mediation Division, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Ms. Danielle Bell, Representative, OHCHR, and Chief, Human Rights Office, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
Mr. Raúl Rosende, Verification Director, UN Verification Mission in Colombia

Moderator:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and COO

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A UN for All: UN Policy and Programming on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics

Fri, 10/09/2021 - 06:25
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IPI in partnership with OutRight Action International, the Centre for Gender in Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, and the Permanent Missions of the Netherlands and Argentina to the UN hosted a virtual interactive discussion on September 10th on UN policy and programming on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

In September 2015, twelve UN entities issued a joint statement calling for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people—an unprecedented and groundbreaking move. Six years later, many UN entities have made significant strides in enacting policies and implementing programs aimed at protecting the rights and fostering the inclusion of LGBTI people. While this increased engagement by UN agencies, funds, and programs can have a meaningful impact on LGBTI people, progress has been uneven, and many challenges remain.

This policy forum provided an opportunity to discuss the UN’s ongoing work related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Panelists discussed the UN’s engagement on issues related to SOGIESC across all three pillars of the UN—human rights, development, and peace and security—as well as gaps that remain. The event focused on how the UN is impacting the lives of LGBTI people around the world.

This event follows on from the IPI policy paper “A UN for All? UN Policy and Programming on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics,” published in February 2021.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Ms. Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Speakers:
Sophie West-Browne, Diverse SOGIESC Rights Specialist, UN Women
Karin Santi, Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Team Leader for HIV, Health and Development, UN Development Programme
Gregory Garras, Senior Protection Coordinator for Emergencies, Division of International Protection, UN Refugee Agency
Sahar Moazami, UN Program Officer, OutRight Action International
Jamie Hagen, Lecturer in International Relations, Queen’s University Belfast, and Founding Co-director, Centre for Gender in Politics

Moderator:
Albert Trithart, IPI Editor and Research Fellow

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