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Promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts
Updated: 2 days 5 hours ago

Latin America and the Caribbean: The Road to Glasgow

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 16:14
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The Dominican Republic, in collaboration with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the UN Foundation, cohosted an event with IPI on September 9th entitled “Latin America and the Caribbean: The Road to Glasgow.” The event helped to galvanize efforts toward, and promote the goals of, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and in this year’s 26th Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26), we need to work together to take action, increase ambition and share good practices and lessons learned. COP 26 will provide an opportunity to get the world back on track on the commitments made by countries under the Paris Agreement and limit global temperature below 1.5C. The climate challenge can only be solved through exponential concerted and collaborative urgent action.

This event provided a space for UN member states, regional organizations, the UN system, and other stakeholders to discuss how to address climate change and strengthen mechanisms for climate action. Panelists presented recommendations, best practices, and lessons learned that can inform efforts to achieve climate goals in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event concluded with an interactive Q&A and discussion.

Welcoming Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. José Blanco Conde, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN

Ms. Milagros De Camps, Vice Minister of International Cooperation from the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources
H.E. Mr. Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team
Ms. Jimena Leiva Roesch, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Peace and Sustainable Development

Ms. Sofia Borges, Senior Vice President and Head of the New York Office, UN Foundation

A Conversation with Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence of Ireland

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 12:09
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On September 9th, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring H.E. Minister Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence of Ireland.

Ireland will serve as President of the UN Security Council in September 2021. This Global Leaders Series event focused on Ireland’s foreign policy commitments to peacekeeping and peacebuilding, which are priorities of its Security Council term. Ireland’s experiences of building peace on the island of Ireland, its 62-year commitment as a UN troop-contributing country, and the experiences of Irish peacekeepers and police serving in transition contexts such as Liberia, Haiti, and Côte D’Ivoire, give the government of Ireland particular insight into these issues. This Global Leaders Series followed a UN Security Council open debate on UN peacekeeping transitions on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, chaired by Minister Coveney.

Minister Coveney currently serves as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence of Ireland. Prior to this appointment, he previously served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade from November 2017 until June 2020. Minister Coveney has also served as Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (2016-2017), Minister for Defence (2014–2016) and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (2011–2014). He began his career as an elected member of the Dáil (Irish Parliament) in 1998. He was also elected to the European Parliament (2004–2007) where he served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee.

The event was moderated by Ms. Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report

Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO of IPI, provided opening remarks.

Ensuring Protection for Full and Equal Participation in Peacebuilding and Political Spaces

Tue, 31/08/2021 - 16:31
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On August 31st, IPI together with the Governments of Sweden, South Africa and the United States cohosted a virtual event on “Ensuring Protection for Full and Equal Participation in Peacebuilding and Political Spaces.”

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda is more important than ever. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed gender inequalities that are exacerbated in fragile and conflict situations. Political will and leadership are needed to connect the dots, particularly between women’s participation and protection needs. Protection concerns within the WPS Agenda are often framed around conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and focus primarily on women’s victimization. There has been less attention paid to the specific forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination that women political activists, women peacebuilders, and women human rights defenders, particularly in conflict-affected environments, encounter. These gender-based threats and challenges, along with a lack of adequate protection measures, prevent women‘s full participation in political spaces, silence them, and create an extra burden of navigating risks to their safety and well-being. The lack of protection measures is often structural and span across issues of economic insecurity, lack of enforcement of legal protections, etc.

The WPS community cannot push for women’s visibility in public spaces without also making visible the threats and challenges women face when they fulfill these roles. This high-level event was an opportunity to discuss questions coming directly from women civil society activists for a conversation around the protection issues that prevent their full and equal participation in political spaces and processes.

The goal for this dialogue was to foster a robust partnership and bridge between civil society and policymaking circles, including with the UN Security Council.

H.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
H.E. Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa
T.H. Mrs. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States of America to the UN
Prof. Margaret Kobia, Ph.D., MGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Kenya

Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President

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IPI MENA and Partners Call for Inclusion of Youth in CVE

Tue, 31/08/2021 - 11:12

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On August 31st, IPI MENA convened a closed discussion that called for the meaningful inclusion of youth in the countering violent extremism (CVE) agenda. The event was joined by leaders and practitioners of peacebuilding to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, observed on August 21st.

Addressing speakers from Austria, Jordan, Kenya, Tunisia, and the USA, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji encouraged engaging youth at all levels of the multilateral system. “We must move beyond their seat at the table as tokenism, and turn it into meaningful inclusion as key agents of peace,” Mr. Friji stressed. He further highlighted quality education as the one of most valuable tools in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) agenda, to pull individuals away from the lures of terrorism, through empowerment and building resilience.

Viola Christian, Programme Officer at Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, explained how global citizenship education specifically is used to “develop a core concept of values based on human rights.” Its root in both formal and non-formal education develops socio-emotional competencies, where one learns tolerance of other cultures and backgrounds alongside other key skills that are crucial in P/CVE, she said. Ms. Christian shared the various microprojects supported by the foundation which echoed her message of how everyone can drive activism and change in their own capacity, saying “It doesn’t need to be a big project to have an impact on P/CVE.”

Mr. Saji Prelis, Director of Children and Youth Programmes at Search for Common Ground, highlighted the key areas and successes of young people’s influence on P/CVE agendas, namely the Youth Action Agenda to PVE and Promote Peace. Based on lessons learned, Mr. Prelis noted that programming and narratives around P/CVE for youth also need to incorporate their engagement, in order to support them holistically. He signaled the next steps for the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda in P/CVE, which included; national commitments, safeguarding of youth and civic spaces, and emphasized the importance of financing youth leadership without creating any barriers.

Ms. Khadija Moalla, Senior International Consultant on the Rule of Law, PVE, and Women Empowerment, shared her experience of the legal and social dynamics that dictate youth and community values in the MENA region. “We need to develop the ability to see the invisible factors influencing our societies, and turn these collective blind spots into empowering actions,” stressing the need to tailor and reframe P/CVE programmes towards the values that youth identify with, to be able to work synergistically as partners.

Mr. Ma’in Al Shamayleh, Co-Founder of MENA Coalition for Youth, Peace, and Security, spoke of how his organization is focused on bridging the gap between the international and local communities, in understanding and implementing the UN’s Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda. He underscored how utilizing the digital space effectively as an avenue that encourages and fosters the safe spaces needed, for young people to positively contribute to P/CVE efforts in the region.

Ms. Christine Odera, Global Coordinator of Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network, shared how the organization’s platform was created to share ideas and best practices, as a community of peacebuilders. By optimizing and synthesizing policies from the global context to the grassroots level, the platform has enabled young people to mobilize and enact change in their local communities, aligning to the P/CVE, women, as well as the Women, Peace, and Security agendas. She summarized that “radicalization and ideologies don’t have borders, so we cannot work in silos … as the peace agenda is all our agenda.”

Before concluding the session, Mr. Friji expressed his thanks to the panelists for their participation, and reiterated IPI’s commitment beyond this event to work together for peace, security, and sustainable development.

Strategic Communications in UN Peace Operations: From an Afterthought to an Operational Necessity

Thu, 19/08/2021 - 17:48

United Nations peace operations are increasingly recognizing strategic communications as essential to implementing their mandates and managing expectations about what they can and cannot achieve. This has led them to ramp up their communications capabilities and shift their approach away from the traditional top-down, one-way model of communication. Nonetheless, missions continue to face obstacles in realizing this approach.

This issue brief analyzes the current strategic communications practice in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions. It explores why strategic communications are increasingly important in the contexts where missions are deployed and the external and internal challenges missions face. It also identifies best practices peace operations might adopt or adapt from other parts of the UN system and related fields.

The paper concludes that, while missions may need additional resources for strategic communications, what they most need is a cultural shift. Mission leaders need to see strategic communications as a core mission capacity. Strategic communications are not an operational support function, a downstream activity, or an output of a planning cycle; they are an integral part of political strategies and mandate delivery. They are not a leadership function but a “whole-of-mission” responsibility. Strategic communications must therefore be treated as central to every phase of a UN peace operation. If missions are to succeed, strategic communications professionals should be part of their decision making, from initial planning through transition and exit.


IPI MENA and Partners Call to Empower Young Women in the Region

Wed, 11/08/2021 - 21:04

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On August 11, 2021, IPI MENA hosted an online discussion entitled “Empowerment of Young Women in the MENA Region,” attended by leading women from across the MENA region, as well as officials and diplomats. The event, held on the occasion of International Youth Day, called for invigorated efforts to empower young women in the region and around the world.

IPI MENA Policy Analyst Dalya Al Alawi opened the event by emphasizing the adversely gendered impact the pandemic has had on women in all aspects of life, but particularly within the various economic, social, and political conexts of the region.

IPI MENA Research Assistant Eliza Cheah highlighted the need for cooperation across all levels of the multilateral system. She emphasized the need “to change the prejudices and social norms, to remove all the obstacles, and provide women with the best access in all spheres,” in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

H.H Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah of Kuwait, Founder of Intisar Foundation, explained the various creative tools that are used by her foundation, especially dramatherapy, in the context of conflict as well as peacebuilding. She said its impact at the community level as an engaging and non-stigmatized activity helps women build confidence and express themselves, supporting their ability to cope with problems. She stated the key role of women in cementing the societies’ fabrics, adding that fully involving women would generate sustainable peace in the Arab World.

H.E Sheikha Deena bint Rashid Al Khalifa, Assistant Secretary-General of Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Women (SCW), listed her country’s efforts to empower women and girls by ensuring their rights, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled the SCW to uphold the gender balance in response to the challenges of the pandemic and beyond. She noted that “Bahrain was able to maintain the percentage of women in the labor force at 53%,” which enabled the economic participation to spike.

University Professor Olfa Soukri, former Vice-President of the Global Parliamentary Network of the World Bank and IMF, and former Tunisian Parliament member, regretted how the pandemic has exacerbated the disproportionate challenges women have had to face, and as a former lawmaker, she reiterated the role that her colleagues have in creating a framework to protect gender equality. She called on all young women and men to be engaged citizens, and “be committed to promoting women’s empowerment.”

Ms. Diana Fadel, Founder of Foundation Diane for “civic awareness & eco-sustainable development,” decried the barriers that women are up against, especially within the context of multiple crises facing Lebanon now. She underscored the importance of providing girls and young women with the option to make their own choices in the world of work and home. Referring to the perception that, “behind every successful man there is a woman,” the honorary member of the Women Leaders Council of Lebanon said that women should be acknowledged as standing equally beside men.

Lt. Colonel Ratih Pusparini of Indonesia’s National Defense and Security Agency said as the first woman peacekeeper officer from Indonesia, her presence as a woman in the UN’s peace forces enabled contingents to “win the hearts and minds of local people,” as in most conflict settings, those disenfranchised are usually women, youth, and elderly. She said “with our various backgrounds, we can encourage the younger generations, to follow our steps and do more.”

French Ambassador Jerome Cauchard referred to UN Women’s “Generation Equality Forum,” held in Paris last month, that launched a five-year plan worth $40 billion in commitment to the women’s agenda. He stressed that education is always the starting point for change. In the same vein, Ms. Yusra Mouzughi echoed the importance of education, as the President of Bahrain’s Royal University for Women, and the equal need to plant the same messages of women empowerment in boys, as it is to girls. She referred to RUW’s research center created in partnership with the UNESCWA and SCW, as a valuable resource and platform for IPI and other partners to explore.

Before closing the discussion, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji reiterated how such platforms are the first steps in connecting like-minded individuals and entities to wider networks. He stressed IPI’s commitment to women’s development, and called for all experiences and recommendations, beyond speeches, and be put into action to make a real impact in the region, and across the multilateral system.

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

Thu, 15/07/2021 - 17:15

UN special political missions (SPMs) regularly operate in conflict and post-conflict settings in which local civilian populations face the ongoing threat of violence from armed actors—a trend that is likely to continue if an apparent increased preference for SPMs over peacekeeping operations persists. Despite this trend, understandings of the roles of SPMs in protection have remained vague and ambiguous, leaving a conceptual and operational gap that urgently needs to be filled.

This study sets out the parameters for a policy and research agenda on SPMs and protection. It analyzes the legal, structural, and operational characteristics of SPMs and describes how different conceptions and operational modes of protection apply to them. It then analyzes the protection mandates and roles played by the SPMs in Afghanistan, Syria, Colombia, and Sudan and presents an initial, non-exhaustive typology of protection roles for SPMs.

The challenges faced by SPMs in planning and executing such a wide range of protection functions calls for greater conceptual and operational analysis and guidance. As it looks ahead to articulate a system-wide agenda for prevention as foreseen by the 2020 Call to Action for Human Rights, the Secretariat has an opportunity to articulate a more explicit and structured vision for the role of SPMs in protection. At the same time, it needs to avoid situations where the Security Council gives missions protection mandates without giving them the political backing or tools they need to implement them. Toward this end, the UN should:

  • Enrich conceptual and operational understandings of protection tasks under Chapter VI of the UN Charter within existing terminology and frameworks;
  • Compile good practices, dilemmas, and lessons learned on protection in SPMs;
  • Only issue SPMs an explicit protection mandate where doing so would add value;
  • Not let SPMs be drawn into the gulf of political will between protection and political solutions in the Security Council;
  • Identify best practices for coordination across humanitarian and prevention or peacemaking tools in politicized humanitarian-access negotiations; and
  • Broaden SPM monitoring and public reporting on protection as a core component of political strategies.


Reimagining Multilateralism Today: Strengthening Preparedness and Response to Address Global Crises

Wed, 30/06/2021 - 18:56
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On June 30th, IPI in partnership with The Elders, cohosted a virtual interactive discussion on “Reimagining Multilateralism Today: Strengthening Preparedness and Response to Address Global Crises.”

The transnational nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a reinvigoration of multilateral cooperation now more than ever. In the wake of the United Nations’ 75th anniversary, many have questions about how the multilateral system is changing and how it must adapt to meet future challenges.

In the past year, the UN system has been called upon to address both the unprecedented health challenge of a global pandemic and its compounding effects, from rising inequality to widening geopolitical divisions. As momentum for action grows, the international community must decide how to best empower multilateral institutions to lead global responses to present crises and those of the future. With the world at a historic inflection point, there is an opportunity to challenge assumptions and consider new and innovative approaches to international cooperation.

International cooperation will be essential for ensuring a sustainable and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and for tackling the existential peace and security threats from future pandemics and climate change, among other global threats, which the world must confront together.

This discussion focused on ways to create a stronger, more nimble multilateral system now in order to meet today’s challenges, as well as those in the coming decades.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and Member of The Elders
Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders

James Bays, Diplomatic Editor at Al Jazeera

The UN’s Response to the Human Rights Crisis After the Coup in Myanmar: Destined to Fail?

Mon, 28/06/2021 - 21:14

Since seizing power in a coup on February 1, 2021, Myanmar’s military has launched a violent crackdown against anti-coup protesters—a campaign of terror that may amount to crimes against humanity. With violence spreading, there are fears that the country is slipping toward full-scale civil war and state collapse. The international community has appeared almost powerless to respond to this human rights crisis, reflecting a broader weakening of its resolve to prevent and respond to atrocity crimes over the last decade.

This policy paper analyzes the human rights crisis created by the coup in Myanmar and assesses the response of the UN, within the context of broader international efforts, when viewed against the many commitments that have been made to protect people from atrocity crimes. The first section outlines the different elements of the human rights crisis and the violations that have been occurring. The second section places the events in Myanmar in the context of international commitments, including by the UN, to address atrocity crimes. The third section reviews the human rights tools that are at the disposal of the UN to understand what works and what does not and to highlight innovative ways to address such a challenging situation. The paper concludes with proposals for what an agenda for protection in Myanmar might entail, building on the ambitious Call to Action for Human Rights launched by the UN secretary-general in 2020.

The unfolding tragedy in Myanmar is one of the first major tests of the secretary-general’s initiative, and so far, the UN’s response—both as an intergovernmental body of member states and as a system of operational entities—has been woefully inadequate. While there is no simple recipe for halting the atrocity crimes, the UN could take a combination of measures at several levels:

  • Grounding the response in a political strategy;
  • Increasing capacity for human rights monitoring and quiet diplomacy;
  • Providing clear leadership that encourages a less risk-averse approach;
  • Devising a whole-of-system approach to the UN’s response;
  • Scaling up protection services; and
  • Supporting existing nationally or locally-led protection efforts.


Safeguarding Humanitarian Action in Counterterrorism Contexts: Addressing the Challenges of the Next Decade

Thu, 24/06/2021 - 21:40

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On June 24th, IPI and the Permanent Mission of Germany, with the co-sponsorship of the Missions of Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland to the UN, cohosted a virtual event entitled “Safeguarding Humanitarian Action in Counterterrorism Contexts: Addressing the Challenges of the Next Decade.”

This virtual policy forum was convened as an official side-event on the margins of the 2021 High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States. Following the adoption of the seventh review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) by the UN General Assembly, the event provided an opportunity to discuss the role of UN member states and of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact in promoting respect for principled humanitarian activities in counterterrorism contexts.

Concerns about the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian action have grown in recent years. Support for addressing this issue has especially increased since the inclusion of supportive language on international humanitarian law (IHL) in the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) in 2016 and 2018, as well as the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 2462 (2019) and 2482 (2019). In his last report on the implementation of the GCTS, the secretary-general recalled Resolution 2462 and noted that “upholding the impartiality of humanitarian actors and refraining from any politicization of humanitarian assistance is critical, given that humanitarian actors are increasingly operating in settings with an active terrorist threat and being targeted by terrorists.” Despite growing momentum, the unintended challenges that counterterrorism policies pose for the delivery of humanitarian aid have not been alleviated, and actions to mitigate the impact of these measures remain limited.

As the characteristics of armed conflict and other situations of violence evolve—including a multiplicity of armed groups designated as “terrorists” by the UN Security Council and member states—there is a need to examine counterterrorism policies and humanitarian needs in a holistic manner. As member states, including the heads of their counterterrorism agencies, gather to discuss the evolution of counterterrorism in an age of transformative technology, greater attention should be given to the need to safeguard humanitarian action, as foreseen by Pillar IV of the GCTS and by relevant Security Council resolutions.

Panelists analyzed how UN member states and the UN system can concurrently address two considerable challenges they face over the next decade: an evolving terrorist threat and unprecedented humanitarian needs. Taking into account Pillar IV of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, they discussed ways to ensure that counterterrorism efforts do not reduce the space for humanitarian actors to operate when and where needed. In particular, panelists highlighted how member states and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact can best promote and facilitate humanitarian activities.

Welcoming Remarks:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President

Opening Remarks:
Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN

Ms. Laetitia Courtois, Permanent Observer to the UN & Head of Delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Professor Naz K. Modirzadeh, Founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict
Dr. Jehangir Khan, Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and the Office of Counter-Terrorism

Closing Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Agustín Santos Maraver, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN

Mr. Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs

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At the Nexus of Participation and Protection: Risks and Barriers to Women’s Participation in Northern Ireland

Tue, 22/06/2021 - 23:30

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On Tuesday, June 22nd, IPI together with Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “At the Nexus of Participation and Protection: Risks and Barriers to Women’s Participation in Northern Ireland.”

This public discussion launched new research on women’s experiences of risks, harms, and barriers as a result of participation in public life. Focused on Northern Ireland, the research and public discussion highlight the security challenges and threats that women leaders in the community sector, justice and security sectors, and elected politics have encountered as a result of their participation in peacebuilding before, during, and after the Good Friday Agreement.

The ways that women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation is impacted by threats and violence directly and indirectly related to conflict have not yet been fully considered, yet they are a vital part of the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda. With an overarching goal of advancing gender equality in peace and security, the discussion will highlight the need for the WPS agenda to address “protection” in the context of women’s participation in conflict-affected contexts. Of its four pillars, participation and protection have arguably received the most attention, yet the need to address the inter-relationship between the two pillars remains a gap.

This brought together stakeholders from governments, representatives from Northern Ireland’s women’s sector, the UN, and civil society organizations.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, IPI Research Fellow and Head of Women, Peace and Security Program
Ms. Rachel Powell, Women’s Sector Lobbyist, Women’s Resources and Development Agency

Dr. Catherine Turner, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Durham Global Security Institute, Durham University
Ms. Sarah Douglas, Deputy Chief of Peace and Security, UN Women
Dr. Aisling Swaine, Professor of Gender Studies, University College Dublin
Dr. Sarah Taylor, Policy Specialist, Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, UN Women
Ms. Elaine Crory, Good Relations Coordinator, Women’s Resource and Development Agency

Ms. Gretchen Baldwin, IPI Senior Policy Analyst

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2021 Global Peace Index: Measuring Peace in a Complex World

Fri, 18/06/2021 - 00:30
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On June 17th, IPI together with the Institute for Economics and Peace cohosted a virtual policy forum to mark the release of the 15th edition of the Global Peace Index.

Produced by the international think tank the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), the Global Peace Index (GPI) report presents the most comprehensive, data-driven analysis to date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies. As the first analysis to methodically rank countries according to their levels of peacefulness and to identify potential determinants of peace, the GPI measures the peacefulness of 163 countries and territories, covering 99.7 percent of the world’s population. It is comprised of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources. These indicators are grouped into three key domains: ongoing conflict, safety and security, and militarization.

The Institute for Economics & Peace is dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. At this event, the key findings from the report were examined, together with a closer analysis of specific country-level findings.

Mr. Steve Killelea, Founder and Chairman, Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)

Ms. Ayaka Suzuki, Director of Strategic Planning and Monitoring Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General

Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, IPI Senior Adviser

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The UN Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Peacekeeping: Implications for the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial

Thu, 17/06/2021 - 17:55
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On June 17th, IPI together with the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Korea and Germany to the UN cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “The United Nations Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Peacekeeping: Implications for the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial.”

Today, the majority of UN peacekeeping missions are deployed in complex, high-risk environments that have compelled the UN to better integrate technology into its field operations. This integration of technology can improve situational awareness and early warning/action; enhance camp and convoy security; provide stable Internet and integrated communication networks; strengthen conflict monitoring and analysis; promote energy efficiency and reduce environmental pollution; and provide training and capacity building in these and other areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges faced by UN peacekeeping missions and has spurred the rapid adoption of available technology for day-to-day communication, remote work, and other routine tasks.

Technological solutions can support UN peacekeeping operations in implementing their mandates in complex environments, including by helping them to adapt to changing conflict dynamics and take advantage of increased efficiencies. The Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping seeks to advance the use of technology across the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) themes, including performance, safety and security, politics, protection, and peacebuilding. It sets out goals and actions and indicates areas for support from the Secretariat and external actors (member states, the technology sector, and others) over the next three years.

In this context, the Republic of Korea has identified technology and medical capacity building as cross-cutting themes for the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, scheduled to take place in Seoul in December. The ministerial will have the aim of encouraging member states to consider pledges that will support and enhance ongoing efforts by the UN in these areas. Member states have already demonstrated the value of partnerships with the UN to provide technology solutions. These range from small-scale, high-impact projects based on member-state financial support to longer-term strategic cooperation whereby member states have worked with the UN to provide specific capacities and expertise in response to identified challenges.

This public virtual policy forum shared key elements of the UN peacekeeping technology strategy. It highlighted mission perspectives on how technological solutions can support mandate implementation, as well as potential risks. It also indicated areas where member states, in their role as military, police, and financial contributors, can support the UN in matching technological solutions through their pledges at the ministerial.

Welcoming Remarks:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Cho Hyun, Permanent Presentative of the Republic of Korea to the UN

Ms. Rania Dagash, Chief, Policy and Best Practice Service, UN Department of Peace Operations
Mr. El Hadjie Diene, Chief, Joint Mission Analysis Centre, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
Ms. Safia Boly, Chief of Staff, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lt. Col. Stefan Lemm, German Bundeswehr
Mr. Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation

Closing Remarks:
Mr. Patrick Carey, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Information and Communications Technology, Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance and Department of Operational Support

Mr. Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs

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At the Nexus of Participation and Protection: Protection-Related Barriers to Women’s Participation in Northern Ireland

Tue, 15/06/2021 - 21:41

The protection of women in armed conflict and their participation in peace and security activities are central pillars of the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda. Overall, however, the WPS agenda has overlooked the relationship between participation and protection. This perpetuates a false binary between the participation of women as leaders with agency and the protection of women as victims of conflict. It also misses the gendered, context-specific, and conflict-related protection risks that accompany women’s participation. Finally, it overlooks the critical link between the harms women experience and their low levels of representation.

This paper considers the intersection between women’s participation and protection in the context of Northern Ireland. While often assumed to be free of “global policy” concerns such as WPS, Northern Ireland starkly illustrates the intrinsic connections and tensions between women’s leadership and protection in conflict and post-conflict situations. After providing an overview of these connections and tensions more broadly, this paper examines the participation and protection of women in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. It draws from twenty-five semi-structured interviews with women in leadership positions in Northern Ireland.

The paper concludes that gender inequalities and gendered insecurities intersect with sectarianism, the legacy of violence, and political crises arising from power-sharing arrangements under the peace agreement. These, in turn, intersect with emerging technologies such as social media to stymy women’s participation across all areas of post-conflict political life. While these findings underscore the continued relevance of the WPS agenda, they also signify that deeper engagement with gendered protection issues is required if the agenda is to substantively advance women’s equality and participation in the longer term.


SDG Zero? A People-Centered Approach to Universal Connectivity

Thu, 03/06/2021 - 17:01

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On June 3rd, IPI together with Microsoft’s Office on UN Affairs cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “SDG Zero? A People-Centered Approach to Universal Connectivity.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on digital technologies, it has highlighted the growing digital divide between and within societies. Universal access to the digital world has become more urgent than ever, and failure to achieve it could undermine progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. While closing the digital divide and increasing connectivity is among the UN secretary-general’s priorities for 2021, this goal remains elusive and faces many obstacles.

Authored by Jimena Leiva Roesch, Senior Fellow and Head of IPI’s Peace and Sustainable Development Program, the issue brief “SDG Zero? A People-Centered Approach to Universal Connectivity,” is based on a series of three roundtable discussions convened by IPI, together with Microsoft, in March and April 2021. The paper identifies obstacles to universal connectivity and considers how they can be overcome, looking particularly at the human rights risks of rushing to close the digital divide and how these risks can be mitigated. Ultimately, it concludes that achieving meaningful and sustainable progress toward digital inclusion requires all actors to commit to working through a multi-stakeholder platform.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, and seventy-sixth President of the Economic and Social Council
H.E. Mrs. Valentine Rugwabiza, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN

Mr. Bryan Kariuki, Director at Mawingu Networks LTD
Professor Antonio García Zaballos, Lead Specialist on Telecommunications, Inter-American Development Bank
Mr. Scott Campbell, Senior Human Rights Officer, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Ayaka Suzuki, Director of Strategic Planning and Monitoring Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
Mr. Chris Fabian, Co-Founder, Giga UNICEF

Closing Remarks:
Mr. John Frank, Vice President for UN Affairs, Microsoft

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

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Prioritizing and Sequencing Security Council Mandates: The Case of UNITAMS

Thu, 20/05/2021 - 16:18

In June 2021, the UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for the first time. This comes at a pivotal moment in Sudan’s transition, with the Sudanese transitional government facing high expectations from the Sudanese public amid a rapidly changing environment.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a virtual workshop on April 26, 2021, to discuss UNITAMS’s mandate and political strategy. The workshop offered a forum for member-state representatives, UN officials, and outside experts to develop a shared understanding and common strategic assessment of the situation in Sudan. The session was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of UNITAMS’s mandate and actions on the ground.

While the current mandate broadly covers the substantive areas where the UN can play a constructive role, participants encouraged the Security Council and the mission to begin articulating a clearer focus for UNITAMS’s strategic objectives. They highlighted that UNITAMS’s credibility and capacity to promote more inclusive political processes and governance systems remain its greatest added value. They also emphasized that the Security Council should allow the mission the flexibility to scale up or reduce capacities as needed to address all major issues confronting Sudan—whether the peace processes, inclusive approaches to protecting civilians, or the building of frameworks and environments for sustainable peace and the protection of human rights.

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Protection, Justice, and Accountability: Cooperation between the International Criminal Court and UN Peacekeeping Operations

Mon, 03/05/2021 - 21:59

Most countries that host UN peacekeeping operations face an impunity gap. Their national courts often lack the capacity to prosecute international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and grave violations of human rights. As a result, special or hybrid courts and international courts, like the International Criminal Court (ICC), often have to step in. In such contexts, some UN peacekeeping operations have been mandated by the UN Security Council to support justice, fight impunity, and pursue accountability, mainly in support of national justice mechanisms.

This issue brief focuses on cooperation between UN peacekeeping missions and the ICC. After discussing the impunity gap when it comes to international criminal justice, it outlines frameworks that provide a foundation for cooperation between the ICC and the Security Council. It then explores the benefits of cooperation and the political barriers and conflict dynamics that have prevented UN peacekeeping operations from fully assisting the ICC.

The paper concludes by considering how the protection of civilians (POC)—particularly the establishment of a protective environment—could provide opportunities for cooperation between peacekeeping operations and the ICC in pursuit of a more coherent approach to international justice. Given that international justice reinforces protection mandates, POC could serve as a guiding principle for peace operations’ future support to international criminal justice. By reflecting and building on best practices and lessons learned from previous challenges, peacekeeping operations can more effectively pursue international justice and ensure the sustainability of their protection efforts.


Transitions from UN Special Political Missions to UN Country Teams

Wed, 28/04/2021 - 18:46

The UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) currently manages twenty-five special political missions (SPMs) that have a field presence. Nonetheless, research and guidance on UN transitions has mainly focused on peacekeeping operations. This paper takes a first step toward filling that gap by exploring transitions from SPMs to UN country teams (UNCTs).

Focusing on the programmatic and political aspects of transitions, this paper explores the particular challenges of transitioning from an SPM to a UNCT by studying the closure of four missions: the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in 2011, the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) in 2014, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) in 2014, and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) in 2020. After presenting the main characteristics of SPMs, it discusses some of the challenges and characteristics of SPM transitions based on the four case studies.

These four case studies show that the drawdown of special political missions with a field presence shares several features with the drawdown of peacekeeping missions, but some aspects are specific to SPMs. In the coming years, the UN will need to develop a more comprehensive picture of the key elements to take into consideration during SPMs’ lifecycles and transitions, as well as specific guidance on the transition of SPMs. This could help the UN deliver a “continuum of responses and smoother transitions” while supporting national priorities.


Interfaith Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Peace and Sustainable Development

Tue, 27/04/2021 - 21:15

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A collection of interfaith leaders convened by IPI MENA came together on April 27th to reaffirm their commitments to promoting peace, dialogue, and sustainable development.

During the interventions, French Ambassador Jerome Cauchard emphasized how good education is a prerequisite for the new generations, wherein empathy and the ability to mutually respect and understand each other can lead to peace.

In reference to the increasing number of violent and hate crimes in the United States, US Charge d’Affaires Margaret Nardi reminded the audience of the importance of the diplomatic corps in that, similar to religion, “embassies try to create relations on a personal level, meet them as a person and see their humanity,” which has become particularly important this year during the pandemic.

German Ambassador Kai Boeckmann drew attention to the German Task Force on Religions of Peace that was established in 2016. Ambassador Boeckmann noted the common objective between interfaith leaders and diplomats to “build trust, protect the weak, and strive for stability.”

Mounir Bouchenaki, Advisor to Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), advanced UNESCO’s message on the culture of peace; “through knowing cultural heritage, through education, appreciation of the other, and knowing the other that we can avoid the unfortunate situations of terrorism and massacres of people.”

IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji opened the webinar, “Interfaith Dialogue: Solidarity for Peace,” by paying homage to Stephanie M., a French police officer and the latest victim of violent extremism in the name of religion. Following a moment of prayer and meditation for all victims, Mr. Friji strongly condemned any acts of violent extremism in the name of religion committed by individuals, groups, or states and called for greater solidarity, partnership, and cooperation at all levels through a “message of tolerance, mutual respect, and peace.”

Addressing interfaith leaders of Baha’i, Jewish, Christian, Islam, and Hindu denominations, Reverend Hani Aziz, President of the White Flags Association, Pastor of the National Evangelical Church, and co-organizer of the webinar, reminded the audience that the “true enemy is ignorance and intolerance.”

Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, Religious Leader & International Spokesperson of BAPS Hindu Mandir addressed the audience from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. His message of peace highlighted the “beauty in diversity,” drawing on the links between faith, science, and sustainable peace.

In light of the numerous religious celebrations that coincide with the Spring season, Ms. Tahera Jaberi, Representative of the Baha’i Faith, noted the celebration of Nowruz, Baha’i New Year, is “a time for renewal and reawakening,” not just in the physical world, but the spiritual one, too. “Religion can be seen as a system of knowledge and practice that offers insights and values that can help societies advance.”

Pastor Job Nelson of Bethel Church of Nations in Bahrain, also shared how the celebration of Easter symbolized a season of hope and coexistence, serving as a time for endurance, resurrection, and restoration.

Dr. Abdulla Ahmed Al Maqabi, Law Courts Directorate, Ministry of Justice & Islamic Affairs, echoed the message that all religions carry the message of peace. “We are one about peace, we are one for peace, we are one for everything about peace,” he said.

Mr. Ebrahim Nonoo, Representative of the Jewish Community and President of the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities, followed suit by identifying the core message of all holy books as underlining the workings of all societies, “the glue of respect for each other and the acceptance of all religions.”

Chaplain Aaron Carlton, US Naval Forces Central Command, Fifth Fleet Chaplain, expressed his purpose and intent to promote peace, understanding, and dialogue while Pastor Blaine Newhouse, National Evangelical Church, shared his commitment to working toward justice, reconciliation, and peace through faith with those who are likeminded.

Following the interfaith interventions, the virtual floor was opened to a large audience comprising of diplomatic corps, private sector, and media.

IPI Chair Briefs UNSC on Protecting Vital Infrastructure, Natural Environment

Tue, 27/04/2021 - 19:11

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On April 27th, IPI Chair Kevin Rudd briefed the UN Security Council Open Debate on the “Protection of Objects Indispensable to the Survival of the Civilian Population,” convened by Vietnam.

In his remarks, Mr. Rudd cites examples of attacks against vital human infrastructure and the natural environment—something that is prohibited by international law—and then lays out what more can be done to prevent such attacks.

Said Mr. Rudd: “The UN Security Council, and its members, must take the lead in respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, including in upholding their obligation to protect objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. This is the bare minimum yet would yield the maximum results for the protection of essential infrastructure and for mitigating humanitarian and development impacts in the long run.”