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Adam Kadia Presents First Edition of New Book, 17 SDGs, at the International Peace Institute

Tue, 11/12/2018 - 01:08

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IPI-MENA received 12-year old Adam Jade Kadia, who presented the first edition of his second book entitled 17 SDGs to IPI-MENA Director Nejib Friji.

Mr. Kadia stated that the reason behind authoring his new book on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to urge youth and the global community to cooperate, as “everybody is in it together, we do not have multiple earths, we only have this one.”

He emphasized that the SDGs are tools to help “make the world a better place for us, the future generations.”

Elaborating on the original narrative of the book, Adam highlighted core principles touched upon by his characters in the book, such as gender equity and education. He cited Malala Yousafazi as an inspiration and example.

In 2016, Mr. Kadia presented his first book, Hakeem, the Adventurer at IPI-MENA to an audience comprising of his peers and students across schools in the Kingdom of Bahrain. His latest book cemented his devotion to peace and sustainable development. 17 SDGS will top bookshelves in early 2019.

Innovation in Partnerships: Making a Business Case for Peace

Tue, 04/12/2018 - 22:41
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On December 4th, IPI, One Earth Future, UN Office for Partnerships, UN Peacebuilding Support Office, UN Global Compact, and the Permanent Mission of Republic of Korea launched a workshop series designed to catalyze engagement across public and private sectors and build new kinds of partnerships. While the private sector knows how to engage with topics such as economic growth and climate change, there is less understanding on how it can contribute to sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda and how it can work together with the UN, member states and civil society.

The workshop was also focused on countries that need to scale up investments, particularly those that the private sector regard as too high-risk to engage.

The aim of creating this space was to address the main issue that has hindered effective cross-sectoral collaboration: an understanding gap between UN communities, civil society organizations, and private sector actors. Each of these communities interact with issues of peace and conflict in a different way, and without shared understanding about different starting points, attempts at partnerships may flounder. This workshop encouraged small-group discussion with country representatives, private sector actors, and civil society at the same table to develop shared understanding of each other and how collective work could be effective.

Table themes included: Fisheries/Food Security; Migration; Blended Finance; Measuring Peace; and Mobile and Digital Technology.

Some key points made by participants included:

  • Business need to align their activities with the SDGs, not only because it is a noble cause, but because it makes financial sense;
  • In order to make a “business case for peace” there is a need for a system thinking approach that addresses not only short-term needs but looks at the entire value chain;
  • Knowledge-sharing and data are essential to create the needed frameworks for investors to engage in conflict and post conflict settings;
  • Government buy-in is an indispensable requirement for businesses to invest in new projects that will have win-win outcomes;
  • The private sector tends to overestimate risk and there is a need to do more evidence-based research to highlight that the benefits outweigh the risks; and
  • The role of the UN is essential as a body that provides norms and standards as well as has a convening power that can build trust and credibility between different actors.

The private and public sectors have different definitions of peace and the workshop promoted a greater understanding of how to work collaboratively to address the SDGS and sustaining peace and how to develop “win-win” language for partnerships between the private sector and peace promoters.

The pilot session lasted approximately three hours and included about 60 participants drawn from member states, businesses, civil society organizations, and UN entities involved in sustainable development and peacebuilding. The discussions were conducted under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution.

Related Coverage:
OEF Announces Innovation in Partnerships Workshop,” Press Release, December 4, 2018

Hard to Reach: Providing Healthcare in Armed Conflict

Tue, 04/12/2018 - 16:54

Armed conflict is a global health issue. Long-lasting and protracted conflicts in particular have consequences not only for the war-wounded but also for the health of entire communities. Over the years, global health actors and humanitarian health actors have developed health policies, guidelines, frameworks, and structures to improve delivery of health services in emergencies or humanitarian crises. Despite these advancements, however, the international health response in conflict-affected settings still faces gaps and challenges. Some policies and frameworks need to be rethought or redesigned, while others need to be better implemented.

This paper explores challenges to healthcare provision in conflict-affected settings. These challenges are broadly broken down into three categories: constraints related to the health system and damaged health infrastructure, difficulty for health workers to access populations in need, and restrictions to healthcare provision intentionally or accidentally placed by donors or states engaged on humanitarian and health issues (e.g., through the securitization of healthcare).

Tackling these challenges will have a direct impact on the lives of people in conflict-affected settings. However, doing so requires a radical shift in mindsets and the incentives that guide the actions of international health actors. Even so, more incremental changes can also be beneficial. To that end, this report puts forth the following recommendations:

  1. Improve coordination between and among humanitarian, development, and global health actors;
  2. Respond to context-specific needs;
  3. Hold health actors accountable to affected populations for their performance, and;
  4. Make responses sustainable.

This work is based on a combination of desk research, interviews with more than seventy key informants, and an expert meeting bringing together key stakeholders and experts on global and humanitarian health.

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The Accountability System for the Protection of Civilians: A Shared Responsibility

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 21:26

Almost 20 years since the first Protection of Civilians (POC) mandate was established for a United Nations peacekeeping operation, POC has become an essential element of peace operations. However, gaps in means and resources, command-and-control issues, inadequate training and expertise of UN personnel, and caveats imposed by troop-contributing countries have all hampered the actual delivery of POC mandates. Over the years, internal and external reports and investigations have highlighted performance shortfalls and the need for better accountability for the implementation of POC on the ground.

On Monday December 3rd, 2018, the International Peace Institute (IPI) organized a roundtable workshop on the “Accountability System for the Protection of Civilians: A Shared Responsibility” as part of IPI’s Protection of Civilians project, supported by the Netherlands. The first session of the workshop focused on accountability and performance of the UN Secretariat and peace operations, while the second session focused on the accountability of member states in pursuing the protection of civilians, looking at the responsibility of the UN Security Council, Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) and host states.

This workshop gathered more than 40 participants, including researchers, UN officials, member states representatives and civil society organizations representatives.

The accountability and performance of the UN Secretariat and peace operations

Despite the progress made since 1999, UN peacekeepers continue to face many challenges in the implementation of POC mandates and to be criticized for failing to protect civilians. Such failures have negatively affected the credibility of the UN, especially in a context of increased scrutiny of the performance of UN peacekeeping operations. Although inquiries and investigations have been conducted following these incidents, they often have been left confidential, and a general lack of transparency has made it difficult to ensure accountability for POC.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO, though now known as DPO, or the Department of Peace Operations) has developed important initiatives to enhance performance and accountability in peace operations. In May 2018, DPKO and the Department of Field Support (DFS) adopted an addendum to the 2015 Policy on POC to specifically address “accountability for implementation of POC mandates.” The document defines and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of mission personnel in the implementation of POC, in order to improve the integration of POC in existing performance management tools, such as individual workplans and compacts for heads of missions. The Comprehensive Performance Assessment System was also mentioned as an important tool being established to gather real time data on the mission’s overall performance and impact, to inform corrective actions.

While efforts within the Secretariat to improve accountability for POC were welcomed, participants recognized that more steps will need to be taken to further strengthen accountability. Policy changes should be complemented by legal changes, and more robust measures and clear sanctions should be established by UN leaders to hold personnel accountable and ensure that there are consequences to underperformance. Participants specifically recommended improvement in communication flows between field missions, UN headquarters, the Security Council and TCCs, to ensure that under-performance and challenges faced on the ground are known and that proper levers are used to address them. In particular, reporting more frequently on cases of units refusing to follow orders, including by engaging with permanent missions in New York, could help improving accountability for POC responses.

The lack of equipment and resources, insufficient training and preparedness, inadequate mindsets and risk awareness, gaps in command and control, as well as the absence of a political process, have all contributed to serious shortcomings in different peace operations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan or the Central African Republic. However, participants mentioned a recent quantitative study conducted by Office of Internal Oversight Services which established that the readiness of UN personnel to respond to POC threats does not necessarily depend on their equipment or their proximity to POC incidents. While there is a recognized organizational responsibility for UN missions to protect civilians, and POC structures and processes have been established, specific roles and responsibilities are not always understood, and a culture of accountability for all is needed to boost performance.

Participants stressed that POC is a whole-of-mission and multidimensional task, and highlighted the shared responsibility for the delivery of POC by peacekeeping missions. Accountability for POC should not only apply to the military component, but also to the civilian and police components. Furthermore, accountability should be established beyond the senior mission leadership, and include all working levels of peace operations.

As participants discussed the definition of accountability, some highlighted that accountability implied the role of a third actor whom peace operations would be accountable to. UN missions can be considered accountable to UN headquarters and the Secretariat, the Security Council, TCCs, or local populations themselves. The question of confidence and transparency towards beneficiaries was therefore raised in discussions. Local populations must trust that peacekeepers will do their utmost to protect them, and community engagement was described as an entry point to enhance confidence-building and accountability towards local communities.

The accountability of member states in pursuing POC: UN Security Council, T/PCCs, host states

Participants also stressed that POC requires a whole-of-organization approach involving other key actors such as the UN Security Council, T/PCCs and host states. They recommended that the Security Council adopt clearer mandates and wording in its resolutions, and remain engaged on country-specific situations beyond the adoption of mandates.

More inclusive approaches and triangular cooperation were also highlighted as key. Elected members of the Security Council could, for example, be consulted earlier on mission mandate renewals to allow enough time for consultations at capital level, and be associated in the drafting of resolutions. Participants also highlighted the importance of continuous consultations between the Security Council and T/PCCs on the definition of mandates, tasks and rules of engagement, especially in contexts of volatile and changing environments. The creation of an informal group of TCCs at mission level in New York was described as an important step to improve consultations of TCCs. As such, participants called for active participation of TCCs in consultative meetings hosted by penholders, and in all debates informing the renewal process of mandates.

Participants also encouraged a more frank and honest depiction of the situation in the field by the Secretariat, in order to be able to hold the Council accountable to its decisions. A suggestion was put forward to implement mid-mandate assessments of peace operations to reassess the needs of missions. Furthermore, reports from the Secretary General could include more comprehensive information on political and financial support needed to ensure good performance. The informal expert group on the protection of civilians was also mentioned as a tool which could allow for better communication among stakeholders.

Participants also called for increased informal and frank exchanges between the Council and senior mission  leadership (including Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSGs), force commanders and police commissioners). Arria formula meetings or informal briefings to regularly engage with human rights components, protection advisors or force commanders were specifically encouraged. This will help inform Council decisions in terms of funding and capacities, and also constitutes an additional way to strengthen the Council’s accountability. Inadequate or poor budgeting has led to under resourcing which in turn leads to under performance.

On the accountability of T/PCCs, while noting the limits for POC within the capabilities and areas of deployment of peacekeepers, participants highlighted issues related to command and control and the use of force. To address these challenges, participants suggested taking stock of examples from the performance of T/PCCs in different mission contexts.

While noting the difficulty in measuring military performance, participants encouraged initiatives from the Secretariat to identify areas of improvement through force commanders’ evaluations and engage with underperforming units in a collaborative way to support corrective actions. Meetings with high performing T/PCCs to share lessons learned and best practices were also encouraged. Another element raised to improve accountability for T/PCCs was to strengthen leverage through financial incentives in cases of underperformance. Participants also noted the challenge of finding TCCs available or willing to replace underperforming units in volatile security contexts.

Questions were further raised in the workshop regarding the accountability of the host state, bearer of the primary responsibility to protect civilians, and the need to find entry-points and leverage opportunities when the host state fails to fulfill this responsibility. The role of member states, through bilateral engagement with the host state, was highlighted as essential. This engagement can also be done through regional organizations.

Participants welcomed the endorsement by 150 member states of the Declaration of Shared Commitments on Peacekeeping Operations, part of the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which supports effective performance and accountability by all peacekeeping components.

The discussions were chaired by Namie Di Razza, Research fellow and head of IPI’s Protection of Civilians project, and Jake Sherman, Director of the Center for Peace Operations. This workshop was part of IPI’s POC Project and follows an informal briefing on accountability co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN, the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the UN, and IPI in October 2018. The discussion will inform IPI’s upcoming research paper on the accountability system for POC.

Reaching Internally Displaced Persons to Achieve the 2030 Agenda

Thu, 29/11/2018 - 17:22

Internally displaced persons and the Sustainable Development Goals (Click for full graphic)

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, an international framework that authoritatively restates the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). This presents an opportunity to put the plight of IDPs back on the radar of the international community. At the same time, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents an opportunity to ensure that the plight of IDPs is addressed in both the short and long term.

This issue brief explores the links between internal displacement and the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlights ongoing efforts to address the longer-term needs of IDPs. It also looks at the specific cases of Nigeria and Iraq, which are among the few countries that have made this link by seeking to address the needs of IDPs through development-oriented initiatives.

The paper concludes with several recommendations for states, the UN, and other humanitarian and development actors to ensure that they are adequately addressing the long-term needs of IDPs:

  • Member states should turn their commitment to “leave no one behind” into policy and programming by including IDPs’ concerns in their development planning.
  • Humanitarian and development actors should systematically remind national governments of their obligations vis-à-vis IDPs.
  • The UN and other humanitarian and development actors should strive for closer coordination and cooperation when addressing the needs of IDPs.
  • All stakeholders should ensure that data informing IDP-inclusive development policies is reliable and takes into account the voices of those affected.

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The Roots of Restraint in War: Engaging with Armed Forces and Armed Groups

Mon, 26/11/2018 - 23:14

On Friday, November 30th, IPI together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are cohosting a policy forum event on The Roots of Restraint in War: Engaging with Armed Forces and Armed Groups.

Remarks will begin at 1:15pm EST / 10:15am PST

Contemporary conflicts have seen the multiplication and fracturing of armed groups, as well as a tendency for conflicts to be fought in coalitions, of states and of states and armed groups. In these conflicts, lack of respect of international humanitarian law continue on an all-too-regular basis, often committed by all sides to the conflict, exacerbating the impact of the armed conflict on civilian populations.

This policy forum will include the presentation of the findings of the ICRC’s landmark study “The Roots of Restraint in War” and a discussion on the ways in which the international community can better understand and engage with armed forces and armed groups to encourage compliance with the norms of international humanitarian law.

Opening Remarks:
Mr. Robert Mardini, Permanent Observer to the UN and Head of Delegation in New York, ICRC

Speakers:
Dr. Fiona Terry, Author of ICRC’s Roots of Restraint in War Report
H.E. Ms. Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations
Mr. Sergiusz Sidorowicz, Policy and Planning Officer, Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Section, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Ms. Sophie Solomon, Access Adviser, Policy Advice and Planning Section, UNOCHA

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

Peace Process Dilemmas Must Be Addressed: CNN Interviews IPI President Rød-Larsen

Wed, 21/11/2018 - 19:52

IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen answered wide-ranging questions on CNN Abu Dhabi about politics and conflict resolution in the Middle East.

On the Arab-Israeli peace process, Mr. Rød-Larsen said, “The process is completely stalled” and is at a crossroads, where the two-state solution, long agreed as the way forward, has collapsed, “and there is a much broader canvas opening up.” He went on to say there are now three possible outcomes being discussed: status quo, two-state, or one-state, calling the one-state solution “not very realistic.” He also said if a snap election in Israel did come to be, there are strong arguments in favor of the United States putting out their peace plan and forcing Israel to take a stand on it, or come up with alternatives. He said the US peace plan, “is very close to being finished” but “has been shared with very, very few people.”

While Mr. Rød-Larsen expressed pessimism about the Arab-Israeli peace process, he said some recent events in the region are cause for optimism. “Very recently, the President of Iraq met with the Emir of Kuwait in Kuwait City. This was a country—Iraq, under Saddam Hussain—that invaded Kuwait and killed the brother of the Emir in front of the palace. And look what these two leaders are showing—compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation. And the Emir of Kuwait is now leading the reconstruction of the work in Iraq.”

Mr. Rød-Larsen also said the fault lines in the Middle East are now being redrawn away from Arab-Israeli and toward Iran-Saudi Arabia. During the 20-minute conversation, Mr. Rød-Larsen discussed Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, among other topics. 

As an example of Mr. Rød-Larsen’s personal and deep ties to the region, CNN host Becky Anderson reminded him that “he may be the only person in the world who has babysat for both Yasser Arafat and Bibi Netanyahu.”  

Beyond 2019: The Future of Drug Policies, and the Lessons Learned

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 21:23

On November 19th, IPI together with the International Drug Policy Consortium, and the Social Science Research Council cohosted a policy forum event entitled “Beyond 2019: The Future of Drug Policies, and the Lessons Learned.”

In 2009, UN member states set 2019 as the target date “to eliminate or reduce significantly and measurably” the illicit cultivation, production, trafficking, and use of internationally controlled substances. In March 2019, the international community will hold a ministerial segment in Vienna to take stock of progress made and delineate the global drug strategy for the next decade. With the end date of the 2009 UN Political Declaration and Plan of Action towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem fast approaching, and three years after the General Assembly’s special session on the world drug problem, the timing is ripe to take a step back and examine the progress made, the challenges faced, and consider ways forward.

The panel assessed the progress, or lack thereof, against the objectives set in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action. It also examined whether global drug control has contributed to, or undermined, the UN’s broader priorities to protect human rights, advance peace and security, and promote development—in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Considering the widely divergent drug policies being implemented worldwide (from the legalization of cannabis for recreational use to the use of the death penalty for drug offenses), what should be the overarching goals and objectives of drug policies beyond 2019? What needs to change to better address the so-called “world drug problem”?

Opening remarks:
H.E. Mr. Dominique Favre, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations

Speakers:
H.E. Ms. Helen Clark, Global Commissioner, Global Commission on Drug Policy
Ms. Ann Fordham, Executive Director, IDPC
Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Director, New York Office, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Simone Monasebian, Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, New York Office

Moderator:
Ms. Jimena Leiva Roesch, Research Fellow, IPI

IPI’s Lesley Connolly on the Importance of Connecting the Local to the Global in Sustaining Peace

Mon, 19/11/2018 - 21:15

IPI Senior Policy Analyst, Lesley Connolly, discussed the importance of ensuring international actors are always working to support local actors in efforts to build and sustain peace in an interview conducted at the 2018 Geneva Peace Week, held in Geneva from November 5-9, 2018.

Ms. Connolly notes that those who are most directly impacted and living with the realities of violent conflict are the experts on the problem they face, and that they know best what solutions are needed to make peace possible for their communities. In order to truly sustain peace, local peacebuilders should be at the center, and in the lead, of all efforts in this regard. Ms. Connolly emphasized that unfortunately, local peacebuilding does not yet receive the recognition, support, or resources needed to achieve its full potential. Thus, as international actors, we need to use forums such as this one in Geneva to create awareness of the work of local peacebuilders are involved in, create the space to learn from these peacebuilders and create a better understand of the challenges they face, she said.

She concluded, by connecting the local to the global, together we are working to ensure that these messages meet the ears of the right people to ensure that all efforts are truly locally owned, regionally anchored and internationally supported.

Prince Turki: No Outside Investigation of Killing of Khashoggi

Fri, 09/11/2018 - 22:23
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Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, told an IPI audience on November 9th that the kingdom would never permit an international investigation into the death of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The kingdom is not going to accept an international tribunal to look into something that is Saudi,” he said. “And the Saudi judicial system is sound, it is up, it is running, and it will take its course.” Saudi Arabia, he said, will “never accept foreign interference in that system.”

Mr. Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who had been living in self-exile for the past year in the United States and contributing articles to The Washington Post, was killed on October 2nd in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain papers to marry his Turkish fiancée. Saudi officials at first claimed that he had left the consulate safely, but eventually acknowledged that  he had been murdered in a “premeditated” fashion.

The killers were members of a team of 15 Saudis who had flown to Turkey that day, and the episode called public attention to the possible involvement of the powerful young Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, because photographs showed that some of the team were known associates of his.

In turning aside suggestions from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, human rights groups and others for independent outside investigators, Prince Turki said that Saudi Arabia was following the example of other countries that have refused to allow international tribunals to investigate acts by their citizens. He cited the abuse of prisoners by American troops and CIA staff at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, which the United States itself investigated.

He denied that there had been any attempted cover up, saying instead that what was originally reported to Saudi authorities was “misleading” because “those who perpetrated the crime wanted to hide what had happened and to justify what they had told to the authorities.”

He said he expected the kingdom to live up to its promise to “put all the facts on the table” and answer all outstanding questions, including what happened to Mr. Khashoggi’s body, which remains a mystery. He said that would be disclosed as “part of the reporting that we expect from the authorities.”

Prince Turki, who is now Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, was Director General of the General Intelligence Directorate, which is Saudi Arabia’s main foreign intelligence service, from 1977 to 2001. In 2002, he became Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland and in 2005 Ambassador to the United States.

In both ambassadorial posts, Mr. Khashoggi was his media adviser, and the Prince said, “We had very friendly relations over the years.” He called his murder “a tragic occurrence” and cited a passage from the Koran that “‘the killing of an innocent man is like the killing of humanity,’ and I think his death falls into that category.”

Asked whether the controversy over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing had damaged Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at home, he said, “The more that he is attacked in the media and speculated upon by particularly Western media, the more he gets support among the people and among the Saudi [royal] family…They feel that he is unjustifiably victimized by this media.”

During the 40-minute Q&A session, he answered questions about Yemen, the rights of women, and the effect of the Khashoggi killing on international investment.

Prince Turki has been a member of IPI’s International Advisory Council for 12 years and was appearing at IPI as part of its Speaker Series.

IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations Warren Hoge moderated the discussion.

Related Coverage

Audio of Khashoggi’s killing given to U.S., Saudi, Europeans, Erdogan says,” Washington Post, November 10, 2018
Ex-Saudi spy chief: No independent Khashoggi investigation,” Associate Press, November 9, 2018
Former Saudi Official Rejects Outside Probe of Journalist’s Death,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2018
Download Press Review Report (in Arabic)

Nonviolent Action vs. Violent Extremism: The Strategic and Appealing Choice for Addressing Grievances

Tue, 06/11/2018 - 17:29

On Thursday, November 8th, IPI together with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN are cohosting a lunchtime policy forum event entitled “Nonviolent Action vs. Violent Extremism: The Strategic and Appealing Choice for Addressing Grievances.”

Remarks will begin at 1:15pm EST / 10:15am PST

In 2016, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism to the General Assembly. This plan lays out a policy framework and seven priority areas for to address the common drivers of violent extremism, including the lack of socioeconomic opportunity, marginalization, poor governance, and the violation of human rights. These grievances, coupled with a hunger for meaning and inclusion, can often lead individuals—particularly young people—toward violent extremism.

Opening remarks:
H.E. Ms. Mari Skåre, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN

Speakers:
Dr. Maria Stephan, Director, Program on Nonviolent Action, USIP
Ms. Noëlla Richard, Youth Policy Specialist, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme
Mr. Michael Niconchuk, Senior Researcher, Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab for Neuroscience and Social Conflict
Dr. Nilofar Sakhi, Lecturer, Global Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Afghanistan Peace Process, George Mason University

Moderator:
Mr. Jake Sherman, Director, Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, IPI

Closing remarks:
Ms. Leanne Erdberg, Director, Countering Violent Extremism, USIP

Addressing Contemporary Protection Challenges in Complex Crises

Fri, 02/11/2018 - 16:26

On November 2nd, IPI hosted the latest event in its series featuring United Nations humanitarian coordinators and other senior humanitarian leaders. This discussion with Mr. Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), focused on pressing contemporary protection challenges, as well as the forthcoming Global Compact on Refugees.

Given the complex nature of conflicts and other crises today, protecting refugees from violence and providing for their needs presents a number of challenges. An increase in armed conflicts has led to massive displacement, with 68.5 million internally displaced persons and refugees in dire need of humanitarian protection.

This event raised awareness of the challenges faced by the UN, states, and other actors in responding to a range of protection challenges for refugees. It also addressed the forthcoming Global Compact on Refugees and its importance for the protection of displaced populations.

Speaker:
Mr. Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, United Nations Refugee Agency

Moderator:
Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, IPI

Book Launch: The Arabs at the Crossroad

Mon, 29/10/2018 - 22:42

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An audience of ambassadors, government officials, dignitaries, religious leaders, young people and the media gathered at IPI’s regional office in Manama for the launch of a new book, The Arabs at the Crossroad. The book’s author, Special Envoy of the Royal Court, Samira Rajab engaged participants in a constructive debate on the most pressing issues in the MENA region, drawing on developments covered by the book.

Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, gave opening remarks. As the book provides insight into a number of the questions raised by members of the IPI Taskforce on Regional Integration in the Middle East, he said the launch was timely. The taskforce calls for critical assessment of where the region is heading, as well as, looks for ways to engage constructively with challenges.

Ms. Rajab elaborated on the “game of nations” described in the book, placing it in historical and political context. “In view of the formidable obstacles and knowledge barriers,” she said the book aimed to “shed some light” for Arabs and researchers alike.

She noted that in an environment of change, “cohesion and Arab integration as a single bloc force,” was important.

Mokhtar Ben Abdellawi, Professor of Philosophy and Arabic and Islamic Studies at Hassan II University in Morocco, stressed the need for integration and a multi-pronged approach to face the integration challenges in the MENA region.

Discussant Mahmood Sayed Daood, Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Bahrain, stated that “one of the singled out deficits in knowledge and education created generations with cultural shortfalls that affected the level of cultural, political and moral maturity.”

Reflecting on the recent wars in Iraq and Libya, which have thrown the MENA region into chaos, he lamented the absence of international law in those conflicts. He referred to the author’s calls for restoring the central role of the state, religion as a moderate creed, and regional order to achieve integration, cooperation and development.

The conversation continued with government officials and diplomats, including Hala Al Ansari, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Women. She called for a more thorough approach to solving the regional deficiencies, highlighting the pivotal roles of women and civil society in finding a way out of the multipronged crisis.

Abdullatif Al Mahmood, Head the Al-Fateh National Coalition, a main political party, said, “Arab thinkers and politicians should stop blaming the West and foreign forces for our failures. Our deficiencies are our own responsibility.”

Libyan Ambassador to Bahrain, Fawzi Taher Ahmed Abdelali, stressed that “looking for the roots of problems should be done within our political, cultural and intellectual circles, not abroad. Most of our problems are caused by our systems.”

Ahmed Rachid Khattabi, Moroccan Ambassador to Bahrain, emphasized that “the key role to finding solutions to our problems remains within the intellectual sphere.” Despite this, many intellectuals remain sidelined. He also stressed the need to reform educational programs that are not fit for purpose.

Egyptian Ambassador to Bahrain, Soha Ibrahim El Far, referred to the importance of regional integration. Such challenges should be met by all layers of society, she said, urging IPI to further analyze this through an inclusive process involving the private sector, youth and civil society.

Abdulla Al Moghabi, a representative of the Muslim Shia community and a member of IPI-MENA’s Interfaith Dialogue, criticized agenda-oriented religious figures who have “hijacked religion” to fan the flames of sectarianism and division.

Other discussants included Honorary Judge of the Constitutional Court, Noefel Ghorbel, and Fawzia Rasheed, a writer for Gulf Daily News (GDN).

The event was moderated by Nejib Friji.

Read the related coverage in Arabic and English here>>

Protecting Civilians in the Context of Violent Extremism: The Dilemmas of UN Peacekeeping in Mali

Fri, 26/10/2018 - 23:05

Political map of Mali (Click for full graphic)

Violence associated with terrorist and extremist groups in Mali (Jan. 2017-Sept. 2018)(Click for full graphic)

In the non-permissive environments where they are often deployed, UN peace operations need to be increasingly creative to implement their mandate to protect civilians. They face particularly acute challenges in contexts marked by violent extremism, such as Mali, where attacks by terrorist groups have greatly constrained the capacity of peacekeepers to protect local populations.

This paper explores the operational challenges that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) faces in implementing its protection mandate. It analyzes protection threats related to violent extremism in Mali and explores the protection strategy, tools, and activities developed by the UN mission to address those threats. It highlights some of the practical constraints of operating in a hostile environment and added complications related to the mission’s proximity to non-UN counterterrorism forces.

The Malian case demonstrates that each peacekeeping theater needs to be its own laboratory for POC and that approaches, tools, and mechanisms are not directly replicable from one UN mission to another. The report makes three recommendations to improve the delivery of MINUSMA’s protection mandate:

  1. Explore the full spectrum of military, police, and civilian tools;
  2. Ensure the independence of MINUSMA’s POC activities from counterterrorism agendas; and
  3. Design and articulate a political strategy that prioritizes POC.

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Examining the Role of Conventional Arms Control in Preventing Conflicts and Building Peace

Fri, 26/10/2018 - 01:08

On October 25th, IPI together with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations cohosted an evening panel discussion on the role of conventional arms control in preventing conflicts and building peace.

Poor regulation of arms and ammunition is a key enabler of conflict and a means of sustaining it. Peace and sustainable development cannot be achieved without effective conventional arms control. Despite this, conventional arms control is rarely integrated into conflict prevention thinking and action. The Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament calls for an examination of how disarmament and arms control can contribute to conflict prevention.

This event, held during the opening week of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly’s Committee on Disarmament, aims to improve understanding of the roles and impact of conventional arms in preventing and managing conflicts, as well as to examine approaches to better identify, utilize, and integrate conventional arms control measures and tools to sustain peace.

Opening remarks:
H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Deputy Representative of Japan to the United Nations​
H.E. Mr. Aidan Liddle, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
Dr. Renata Dwan, Director, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

Speakers:
Ms. Alexandra Fong, Senior Political Affairs Officer, UN Department of Political Affairs
Mr. Thomas Kontogeorgos, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Service, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Mr. Himayu Shiotani, Programme Lead, Conventional Arms Programme, UNIDIR
Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, Senior Adviser, IPI
Moderator:
Mr. Jake Sherman, Director of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, IPI

Engaging with Non-state Armed Groups to Protect Civilians: A Pragmatic Approach for UN Peace Operations

Thu, 25/10/2018 - 18:34

Engaging non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is an essential tool for the protection of civilians (POC), a priority mandate and core objective for peace operations. Beyond the use of force to prevent or stop armed groups from threatening local populations, multidimensional missions can use a wide range of unarmed strategies, such as dialogue and engagement, to counter hostilities from non-state actors.

This paper looks at how, when, and why UN missions engage with NSAGs. It gives an overview of current practice, drawing on the experiences of the missions in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali. It then examines the risks of engaging NSAGs and how POC mandates can help missions navigate these risks. Finally, it looks at peace operations’ unique capacities to engage with NSAGs and how best to leverage them.

Civilian protection is ever more urgent, and engaging NSAGs is crucial to this work. A pragmatic approach, anchored in POC considerations, can help guide missions through potentially polarizing debates and safeguard UN principles while simultaneously allowing them to adapt more effectively to the challenges they face.

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Women, Peace, and Security: The Potential for Transformation

Thu, 25/10/2018 - 02:04
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The year 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). Despite two decades of WPS policy development and commitments, women’s meaningful participation at all decision-making levels lags due to structural barriers, lack of access to political arenas, and even threats to women who attempt to participate in these processes. In efforts to build and sustain peace, there remains a widespread neglect for the expertise of local-level women peacebuilders, and formal peacemaking efforts continue to be resistant to women’s meaningful participation and to women’s rights.

To address these barriers, governments and the UN have recently been taking steps at the national and regional levels on women’s leadership, including by launching networks of women mediators and leaders. An October 24th evening reception at IPI brought together researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to discuss the potential of the WPS agenda, as well as existing challenges and ways to address them.

The event was co-hosted with the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), and the Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative (IPTI). It drew on the insights of participating women peacebuilders, and IPTI and IPI research. The discussion shed light on various initiatives at the national, regional, and international levels, and surfaced questions and issues for member states, the UN, and NGOs to consider as their work continues.

In opening remarks, Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President, noted that “women must be at the center of all peace efforts at large. We must recognize that this is not just a matter of developing policy and making formal commitments; it is about recognizing the structural barriers to participation and about taking action to remove them.”

Despite the remaining barriers to achieving the WPS agenda by 2020, Mari Skåre, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, highlighted the importance of the progress the agenda had made so far. “Yes, there remain real hindrances for women’s participation, and yes, discrimination against women is one of the key hindrances we need to tackle,” she said. “I would like to say to you that we are transforming our societies: it’s not a matter of when or if we are doing it; we are doing it now. We see progress as a result of this work.” She emphasized that, “We need your leadership, your competence, to keep us accountable.”

Speaking from experience, Cathérine Samba-Panza, Co-Chair of the Network of African Women in Conflict Prevention and Mediation (FemWise), and the former president of the Central African Republic, said that when “faced with conflict, women are indeed in the first line.” She continued, stating that women are often “the first victims, and they know all the challenges, difficulties, and implications of the conflict.” But when it comes time for peace talks, and you look at the table, “They are not there.”

“Everywhere around the world, women have decided that they will no longer stay at this level as victims, they want to be around the table,” she said. “It’s not just about wanting to be at the table but wanting to bring solutions; and their voice is not heard; it is not taken into account.”

She said that in her country, “Women are brought to speak with armed groups to see what their grievances are and to try to address them. But when we arrive at the moment of peace talks, the women are no longer present.” She said that among political figures, armed groups, and militia leaders, she saw no women.

Norwegian Major General Kristin Lund, Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision, made reference to the value of networks of women mediators, saying that “the military are often the first responders, and it’s a tool that I think [mediator networks are] so important…That’s why I think education of our military leaders is very important.”

She reflected on her experience as the first female Force Commander of a UN peacekeeping operation. “I’ve been fighting all my life to go through that glass ceiling and when you get through, you have to make sure you inspire other women,” she said. “Now when I travel, gender is on the agenda.”

Thania Paffenholz, Director of the Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative, asked about “how we can use our roles as women and learn in a positive transformative way.” She made note of the limitations of using quotas. “If you put a quota, you will not necessarily get feminists in,” she said, “There’s a danger that we are just changing the players and not the game. If we just add women and the system doesn’t change, we will not change.”

Moderator and IPI Research Fellow Sarah Taylor concluded by echoing a point from the day’s meeting of women mediators: “Adding women to a broken process does not fix a broken process,” she said. “The point is to try to fix the system and not to fix the women.”

Protecting Civilians and Managing Threats

Mon, 22/10/2018 - 19:17

On Friday, October 26th, IPI together with the Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS) of the French Ministry of Defense and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are cohosting a seminar on “Protecting Civilians and Managing Threats: Non-state Armed Groups, Violent Extremism, and the Role of UN Peace Operations.”

Remarks will begin at 10:15am EST / 7:15am PST

This seminar will explore difficulties faced by UN peace operations to protect civilians in complex environments, where creative solutions are needed to address non-state armed groups and violent extremism. It will provide the opportunity to present and discuss two IPI policy papers focusing on “engaging armed groups for the protection of civilians” and “protecting civilians in contexts of violent extremism and counter-terrorism.” Both papers will be published in October as part of IPI’s Protection of Civilians project.

Welcome Remarks
Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice-President, International Peace Institute
Gen. Thierry Lion, Senior Military Advisor, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
Rear Admiral (LH) Peter van den Berg, Senior Military Advisor, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Opening Remarks
Mr. David Haeri, Director, Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET), UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support TBC

Session 1: Engaging with armed groups for the Protection of Civilians

Chair:
Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, Senior advisor, International Peace Institute

Speakers:
Mr. Ralph Mamiya, Non-resident Advisor, International Peace Institute, Former Protection of Civilians Team Leader, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support
Ms. Naomi Miyashita, Policy Planning Team Leader, Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET), UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Ms. Agnes Coutou, Peacekeeping and Protection Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Dr. Michael Semple, Practitioner Chair, Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Professor, Queens’ University Belfast
Mr. Adam Day, Head of Programmes, United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research

Keynote speaker:
Mr. Jack Christofides, Africa II Division, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations

Session 2: Protection of Civilians in Contexts of Violent Extremism: the case of Mali

Chair:
Mr. Jake Sherman, Director of the Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

Speakers:
Dr. Namie Di Razza, Research Fellow, International Peace Institute
Mr. Samuel Gahigi, Mali Integrated Operational Team Leader, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Dr. Alpha Oumar Ba-Konaré, Independent Expert, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO Paris)
Dr. Marie-Joëlle Zahar, Non-resident Senior Fellow, International Peace Institute, Professor, University of Montreal
Ms. Chloe Marnay-Baszanger, Peace Missions Support Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Closing Remarks
Mr. Olivier Landour, Directorate general for International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS), French Ministry of Armed Forces (TBC)
Mr. Jake Sherman, Director, Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age

Fri, 19/10/2018 - 01:45

On October 18th, IPI together with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University cohosted a Distinguished Author Series event, featuring David E. Sanger, New York Times National Security Correspondent and author of The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age. The conversation was moderated by IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations Warren Hoge.

The Perfect Weapon is the startling inside story of how the rise of cyber weapons in all their forms – from attacks on electric grids to attacks on electoral systems – has transformed geopolitics like nothing since the invention of the atomic bomb. Cheap to acquire, easy to deny, usable for everything from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord and doubt, cyber is now the weapon of choice for American presidents, North Korean dictators, Iranian mullahs, and Kremlin officials. Even though the US has built up a powerful new Cyber Command, it has no doctrine for how to use it. When under attack—by Russia, China, or even Iran and North Korea—the government has often been paralyzed, unable to use cyber weapons because America’s voting system, its electrical system, and even routers in citizens’ homes have been infiltrated by foreign hackers. Deterring cyber attacks is far more complex than the Cold War effort to deter nuclear weapons, and in the end, a political solution, akin to the Geneva Conventions, may be needed if we are to avoid an era of constantly escalating cyber conflict.

Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates: The Case of MINUSCA

Wed, 17/10/2018 - 21:29

In the past year, overall levels of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) have decreased, and the UN mission (MINUSCA) has helped stabilize key areas through comprehensive, multidimensional efforts at the local level. Nevertheless, violence against civilians continues, attacks on humanitarian workers have increased, and national security forces lack the capacity to maintain security. Moreover, the various ongoing dialogue processes are uncoordinated and do not address critical questions.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a workshop on September 14, 2018, to discuss MINUSCA’s mandate and political strategy. This workshop offered a platform for member states and UN actors to develop a shared understanding and common strategic assessment of the situation in CAR. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of the mission’s mandate ahead of its renewal in November 2018.

Participants considered MINUSCA to be among the most adaptive to demanding conditions and operational constraints. But despite these achievements, MINUSCA faces serious challenges to consolidating its gains and advancing a sustainable political process. Participants recommended that the Security Council adapt MINUSCA’s mandate to give the mission a stronger political role, broaden collective support for CAR’s security forces, and support processes that promote an inclusive national identity and representative state institutions.

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