You are here

European Peace Institute / News

Subscribe to European Peace Institute / News feed
Promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts
Updated: 25 min 55 sec ago

Woman First, Soldier Second: Taboos and Stigmas Facing Military Women in UN Peace Operations

Tue, 20/10/2020 - 00:33

Demographics, taboos and stigmas facing military women at the individual and community levels. Click for full graphic.

Deployment, taboos and stigmas facing military women within national defense structures. Click for full graphic.

Despite efforts to increase the participation of women uniformed peacekeepers, military women continue to face taboos and stigmas that are barriers to their inclusion and successful deployment. These range from gender stereotypes that cause military women to face more scrutiny than their male counterparts to difficulties speaking up about discriminatory and sexualized behavior, including racism, sexual harassment, and assault. Being confronted with persistent taboos and stigmas can have far-reaching consequences for military women before, during, and after deployment.

This paper, which is based on interviews with 142 military women from fifty-three countries, assesses the taboos and stigmas facing military women at three levels: (1) at the individual and community levels; (2) within their national defense structures; and (3) during deployment to UN peace operations. It also looks at the strategies women use to mitigate these taboos and stigmas and the formal and informal support structures they turn to.

The paper concludes with recommendations for national defense structures and the UN:

  • For national defense structures, it recommends improving standards of behavior and accountability, educating men and women on taboos and stigmas, recruiting and retaining more women, proactively reaching out to and selecting women for deployment to peace operations, providing women the support they need, and designing equipment that better suits women’s needs.
  • For the UN Department of Peace Operations, it recommends strengthening narratives on the importance of female peacekeepers, ensuring that all peacekeepers respect UN values, developing mission-specific gender strategies and plans, engaging more firmly with troop-contributing countries, making recruitment and selection processes more gender-sensitive, holding personnel accountable for discriminatory and sexualized behavior, and establishing in-mission support systems.


Bouncing Back from Rock Bottom: A New Era for the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations?

Wed, 14/10/2020 - 19:45

The 2020 report of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) marked the culmination of nearly a decade of efforts to improve the committee’s working methods and deliver a more relevant report. Because the report was restructured around the eight thematic priorities of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, it also helped translate the initiative’s Declaration of Shared Commitments into practice. This was an especially noteworthy achievement considering that the committee had failed to reach consensus on a report just one year prior.

This paper explores previous efforts to reform the C-34 and the process of agreeing to reform the working methods and report structure in 2019. It also assesses the contribution of the report’s revised structure and substance to ongoing efforts to support and advance peacekeeping reform. It concludes with lessons that could guide other UN reform initiatives: timing and circumstances matter, there must be an appetite for reform, those leading the reform process must listen and be impartial arbiters, and delegations must be patient and have realistic expectations.


Governance that Centers Communities: Lessons from Afghanistan and Sierra Leone

Wed, 14/10/2020 - 16:40
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-hocbjg").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-hocbjg").fadeIn(1000);});});

With the world struggling with a global pandemic, increasing attention is being paid to the potential of community-owned and -led initiatives to address poverty, mobilize crisis response, and increase human security and well-being in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On October 14th, IPI, with co-sponsors Catalyst for Peace, the Institute for State Effectiveness, the Government of Sierra Leone, and the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN, held a virtual policy forum to discuss the on-the-ground experiences of two countries that are integrating community-centered initiatives into national government policy, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

Introducing the subject, Jimena Leiva Roesch, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of the Peace and Sustainable Development Program, explained, “We ask for these inclusive and leave-no-one behind frameworks that center on community, both as the heart of the 2030 Agenda and in the Sustaining Peace resolutions. So at the global policy level, we know that this is our aspiration, but we rarely find examples in the field of how you transform these aspirations into reality. And of course, the local level is a lot more complicated than these aspirations. When you get to work and roll up your sleeves, it’s not as lofty.”

Francess Piagie Alghali, Minister of State for the Office of the Vice President, Government of Sierra Leone, said that one of the main drivers of conflict in her country had been “the lack of inclusive dialogue platforms at the community level, and the lack of participation. People feel that they don’t belong to these communities when they lose their livelihoods, and there is nowhere where they can address some of these issues, and then the next thing that they do is turn to violence.”

She said that her government reasoned that the best way to avert some of these violent incidents was to strengthen local governments and the decentralization process. “We believe that local councils, local governments know and understand their communities better and are well placed to implement initiatives to build social cohesion and to reap the resulting benefits of stronger, more resilient and productive communities.”

The government has now incorporated a people’s planning model called the Wan Fambul Framework for Inclusive Governance and Local Development, an instrument not only for economic development but also to build peace, social cohesion, and inclusion. “It’s a unique model,” Minister Alghali said. “It sparks the imagination of communities. It makes the communities feel that they are part of the development. It engenders leadership and inclusivity. And one unique component of this framework is that it gives prominence to women and former groups that have not been included in the conversation in the communities, like disabled people, like youths. Those people feel that they have a say in the way their communities are being run.”

She said that the community structures that had been developed using the Wan Fambul framework had helped the country cope with current crises. “For example, we used these frameworks to address the Ebola pandemic that we recently went through. We use these frameworks to address natural disasters. We are using this framework to address the COVID pandemic now, in unique and innovative ways, like sending the message of hand washing and spreading the message of socially distanced gatherings. These are the governance structures that we use, and they have worked quite well.”

The Wan Fambul framework is now being legislated into law, giving it permanence in the structure and governance of Sierra Leone. “Once it is legislated, it makes any government that comes to power obliged to follow this framework, and it also means it must be part of the budget allocation for the government.”

Sierra Leone is applying the lesson of Wan Fambul to its fulfillment of the SDGs, Ms. Alghali said. “As a country, we believe that the first step in achieving the SDGs by 2030 is for us to be able to sustain peace and national cohesion, which is the bedrock of any form of development. Without peace, without cohesion, there is not going to be development, and in order to do that, we have to strengthen governance at the community level by putting communities at the center of the planning process. This is what we have done in Sierra Leone as a model by incorporating the Wan Fambul Framework in our governance and structure. And we hope that other countries will emulate this good example.”

Adela Raz, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, recounted how the country had pursued its community-driven development using its people- centric Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program. “Through our Citizens’ Charter, we have empowered Afghan communities to identify, plan, manage, and monitor development projects.” She said that projects have been “democratized” through a process in which locally elected Community Development Councils prioritized projects and applied to receive funding for their implementation. “The program success was evident in its very positive impact in over 35, 000 communities which included greater access to public services and then overall acceptance of the democratic process and the people-centered approaches.”

Ambassador Raz said that the Citizens’ Charter program deepened the relationship between the government and its citizens and expanded the responsibility of the Community Development Councils through an inter-ministerial collaboration for better citizen-centric delivery of services, including universal access to clean drinking water, quality education, health services and infrastructure. “This has translated into 12,800 completed projects and more than 13 million people benefited. This model, of course, originated from collaboration between the international and the national. And as a government, we found ourselves in the middle of this partnership, and we adopted it and held it with two hands.”

She pointed out that the government had also taken a community-led approach to the SDGs. “The government has worked to nationalize the SDGs by identifying the most relevant targets and indicators to develop the Afghanistan Sustainable Development Goals. Of course in Afghanistan, when we are talking about community-led efforts, we cannot discuss this without the element of peace. The government has also emphasized that Afghans from all segments of society should have a say in the peace process. It called a Loya Jirga, our format for our grand assembly, with 3,200 delegates from all 34 provinces that prioritized our objective for peace and the formation of an inclusive negotiating team. Following the lead of the Jirga, the government in August took the very difficult decision to release 400 remaining Taliban prisoners as part of the commitment from the government’s side to start the peace talks.

“The government is also empowering women to engage in track two and track three peace processes through community-led initiatives. The second phase of our Women, Peace, and Security National Action Plan emphasizes the localization of the plan and close consultation with stakeholders around the country. This has led to the development of local action plans which has strengthened community leadership and further amplified local ownership of the National Action Plan I think this is the environment we should strive for with these important initiatives and building more people-centric governments and processes and initiatives that leads to greater ownership of the local communities.”

Her fellow Afghan, Rasoul Rasouli, CDD Operations and Development Expert and former Director General, Citizens’ Charter, Afghanistan, said the overall national project aimed at putting in place sustainable systems to reduce poverty and bind people to the government. It was now in its first phase, he said, and on a path to reach 40,000 villages in the country. “Community-driven development programs encourage the notion of participation and voluntary reason. It is quite feasible to expand the program fast and give more coverage. The bottom-up development gives a way for citizens through the different platforms of community participation, to participate in monitoring, social audit, score cards, and a comprehensive grievance redress mechanism linking the beneficiaries at the primary level to the government officials from the local all the way up to the national level to register their complaints.”

The Fambul Tok project in Sierra Leone shared a similar goal of community involvement with the Afghan Citizens’ Charter movement but proceeded on a different mindset, said John Caulker, Executive Director of Fambul Tok International, ”We don’t’ say ‘bottom up,’ we say ‘inside out’ because with all due respect, we believe that people should not be seen as the bottom. People have their answers to the problems, solutions to look out for, and that is the key. We don’t go to communities to solve their problems, we go to communities to facilitate a conversation.”

He explained that the Creole language phrase Fambul Tok means “family talks” and evolved in Sierra Leone in the aftermath of the country’s devastating and divisive civil war. “So the initial concept was to address gaps to work on reconciliation, get the people who suffered during the conflict to sit around to talk about what went wrong. ‘We used to be one big family. Your mother is my mother, and your father is my father, your child is my child. It takes a village to raise a child. What went wrong?’ So that was the initial idea, why we had Fambul Tok, and as the name implies, it’s a national conversation.”

When the Ebola crisis hit five years ago, Sierra Leone profited from this earlier experience with community-centered development. “We realized that it’s important to have a trusted relationship, which we had already forged, and because of that trusted relationship, we were able to lead a conversation at the community level. We were able to get stakeholders to listen to communities.”

Libby Hoffman, President of Catalyst for Peace, spoke of working with Mr. Caulker in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak and a lesson she gleaned from that experience. She recalled that Mr. Caulker was frustrated by the response of the international community which he found replicative of the errors in the outside world’s response to the country’s post-civil war needs years earlier. “He said something that I found so inspiring that I wrote it down, and it’s become a keystone for me. Referring to international donors, he said, ‘They think they can just come in and pour resources at the problem to fix it. They don’t even see the community where the problem is happening.’ And that community is like a bowl, and it’s cracked. And if you pour water into a cracked bowl, it just goes right through, and if you keep pouring, it only makes the cracks bigger.”

Continuing her bowl metaphor, she said the way that Fambul Tok worked was “not about pouring water into the cup of the community, it was about repairing the cup through a community mobilization and engagement process so that it could hold the water itself and then it could generate its own activity and lead in its own reconciliation and development.” Holding up a model of concentric bowls to illustrate her point, she said, “You’ll see that there is no up or down. Depending on where you’re located, it’s a whole system, and the role of each level outside is to create the space that allows the resources in the level inside to be seen, motivated, and magnified. So this is what we mean when we say communities in the center, not separated and hierarchal but all together with distinct roles and responsibilities as part of a larger whole.”

Clare Lockhart, Director, Institute for State Effectiveness, said that the kinds of layered platform designs being discussed varied from place to place and had to be context-specific. “But one of the most important principles that we’ve heard today is that among the decisions, rights or responsibilities, the leadership for planning is vested in the community. And this can sometimes be quite hard for governments or NGOs to let go of when they got used to making the decisions. But it’s really important that shift about understanding that the community will be making the decision and plans for what happens in their community.”

On the crucial issue of financial support, she said that a “single window framework” was key to engaging donors. “From the perspective of donors with these often fragmented programs, having a single set of rules for operation and community development can be so crucial.”

Jimena Leiva-Roesch moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

COVID-19 Crisis an Opportunity to “Rethink and Develop UN Peacekeeping Further”

Wed, 07/10/2020 - 15:45
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-jnydry").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-jnydry").fadeIn(1000);});});

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified existing conflicts, deepened social inequality, and threatened to set back peace processes, but it has also afforded an opportunity “to rethink and develop United Nations peacekeeping further,” said Pekka Haavisto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland. “The Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which aims to make UN peacekeeping fit for purpose, remains in the midst of pandemic as timely as ever.”

He was speaking at an October 7th ministerial- level virtual meeting on “UN Peacekeeping in the Time of COVID-19: A High-Level Dialogue on Challenges, Responses, and Lessons,” co-sponsored by IPI and the governments of Finland, Indonesia, Uruguay, and Rwanda. The event was the eighth in a series of annual ministerial-level convenings on peace operations, organized on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly debate.

“Peacekeeping has to be an integral part of an inclusive peacebuilding process that creates ground for reconciliation, social cohesion, as well as sustainable peace and development,” the Finnish Foreign Minister said. “This means the peacekeeping political process, development cooperation, and humanitarian aid should be planned and implemented in tandem, requiring close cooperation between the UN peacekeeping operation, the country team, and other partners, civil society and NGOs, and we should not forget the role of the UN policing and other civilian experts.”

He singled out training, capacity building, and increased participation of women peacekeepers for special mention. “Comprehensive peacekeeping demands comprehensive training teams, and, for example, context-specific human rights training can provide the tools for peacekeeping missions to complete their duties in a more sensitive and effective manner.” The number of women peacekeepers must grow, he said, because “it’s clear that more female peacekeepers means more successful operations.”

Febrian A. Ruddyard, Deputy Foreign Minister for Multilateral Cooperation of Indonesia, acknowledged the increased challenges to peacekeeping posed by COVID-19 and outlined three main objectives in response to them:

  • “Our collective commitment to support peacekeeping operations should be strengthened.” He said that there were currently more than 2,800 Indonesian peacekeepers, including 126 women, across eight missions, and those numbers would be maintained despite the pandemic. ”In this time of crisis, peacekeeping missions should continue to carry out their mandates while assisting host countries to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.”
  • “Improving peacekeeping performance and ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers must go hand in hand.” He said that Indonesia had been updating its training materials to meet the new demands and practicing “strict observance” of COVID-19 protocols, both pre-deployment and post-deployment.
  • “Our effort to increase participation of women in peacekeeping operations should be redoubled.” He said their stepped- up presence would bring “more impact” to local communities and, in particular, to the protection of women and children.

Nshuti Manasseh, delegated Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, said that COVID-19 had forced peacekeeping missions to adapt their activity to minimize risk to troops and police, but that troop-contributing countries faced logistic and financial constraints. “By one example, Rwanda has to test five times each individual before, during and after deployment in peacekeeping missions. However, none of these tests are reimbursed by the UN. To an extent, Rwanda is facing logistic challenges related to decontamination of all aircraft during operations as well as deployment of personal protective equipment which was initially provided for medical staff and which are now required for the majority of our peacekeepers.”

In light of this “division” of resources, he said, the international community had to be wary of armed groups exploiting the situation to strengthen their footholds and reestablish their presence. “In this context, resources are being divided to respond to a health crisis, but we must continue to use strategic partnerships and alliances to ensure that UN peacekeeping operations are adequately funded and resourced to overcome global peace and security challenges while contributing to creating an  environment towards delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Operational Support, reported that 11 UN uniformed personnel had died from COVID, and that overall the UN had recorded 1,450 cases of COVID across all its field missions, of which 1,173 had occurred among uniformed personnel, the police and soldiers.

He outlined steps that have been taken to keep the toll low. “When travel restrictions arose, we established virtual walkthroughs in 21 field mission hospitals to ensure that they met the requirements laid out on hospital preparedness to respond to COVID-19.  Comprehensive virtual walkthroughs of contingent level one clinics and camp settings by public health experts were also carried out and were completed in six missions. Their lessons were then shared across all missions, and this model is now being adopted for use in other areas beyond medical inspection, such as pre-deployment visits.”

He said that early on in the outbreak, rotations were paused to protect UN personnel and host countries from the spreading virus. “But as rotations have resumed, we have put in place stringent conditions for safety and security, including pre-deployment training on COVID-19, a 14-day quarantine period in the home country, adherence to the mission’s quarantine regulations upon deployment in theater, physical distancing, and the use of personal protective equipment.” He said the crisis had also spurred the UN to create testing facilities in mission, to increase capacities for electronic communication, and to modernize the UN’s medevac system, which he said had already been called into service in the current crisis 99 times.

Anticipating two upcoming needs connected to COVID-19, Mr. Khare said that the design of UN field encampments had to be adapted and UN peacekeepers had to assured of being among the first in line to receive any vaccine that was developed. “Our camps were designed to enhance, maximize the efficiency of land and building use, but this means that people are close together, and so we have to look at a different camp design altogether.” And on vaccines, he said, “Our peacekeepers are as much frontline workers as humanitarian workers or health workers so they’ll have to be prioritized for vaccines.”

Expanding on that point, Mr. Haavisto, the Finnish Foreign Minister, said he understood the funding pressures the UN was facing in the crisis but implored people to recognize the priority of holistic peace operations. “I think how we combine peacekeeping with all other development efforts, humanitarian efforts and so forth is becoming more and more important. And then maybe to the countries which are contributing the troops the message ought to be very loud and clear from the UN level that this is not the time to give up, this is not the time to reduce your budgeting on these needs. And I know from the domestic debate that when you see money in the budget for some international purposes, it’s easy to try to cut that out first, whether it’s development aid or funding for peacekeeping. But I think it must be made clear that the only way to live in a safe world is to keep on this and continue this very important contribution that we make for peace through the UN.”

Francisco Bustillo, Minister of Foreign Relations of Uruguay, was unable to attend, but Carlos Amorin, Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the UN, made brief remarks in his place.  “Uruguay believes strongly in the power of collective agreements in order to overcome challenges and produce meaningful and profound change and improvement to UN peace operations,” Ambassador Amorin said.

Summarizing the discussion in closing remarks, IPI Senior Director of Programs Jake Sherman said it had highlighted “how the UN and its member states are adapting in order to manage risks and effectively deliver on their mandates, including procedures for training, deployment and troop rotation, patrolling, and community engagement.  It also underscored how COVID-19 has increased the importance of medical and technological capacities, as well as human rights and the participation of women peacekeepers in order to improve access to communities and respond to heightened risks, including gender-based violence. And finally, of a comprehensive approach that includes development and response to humanitarian needs.”

Looking to the future, Mr. Sherman noted that speakers had voiced the need to “strengthen the collective commitment to peacekeeping at a time of increased importance, from political attention and financial support, to capacity building and equipment, and to use the current crisis to better prepare for future ones.”

IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen made opening remarks.

IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Protection of Civilians Namie Di Razza moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Beyond 2020: Exploring the Potential for a Strong UN-AU Peacebuilding Partnership

Fri, 25/09/2020 - 00:58

Effective and sustainable multilateral peace and security initiatives in Africa depend on a strong partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. While their strategic partnership has grown since 2017, collective peacebuilding efforts still lag behind cooperation in other areas. Different institutional mandates, policy frameworks, and operational practices have led them to carve out distinct roles in the multilateral peacebuilding space, often impeding closer cooperation.

This report—a joint publication of IPI and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)—analyzes the UN and AU’s approaches to peacebuilding and identifies opportunities for a more robust and effective peacebuilding partnership. These include aligning their political strategies, fostering cooperation between the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the UN Peacebuilding Commission (UNPBC), reconciling differences in their peacebuilding approaches, securing sustainable financing, and capitalizing on emergent peacebuilding approaches. The paper concludes with recommendations for UN and AU member states and officials:

  • UN and AU member states should build consensus around shared peacebuilding concerns, better institutionalize the working relationship between the AUPSC and the UN Africa Group, and strengthen implementation of the recommendations from the 2018 meeting between the AUPSC and UNPBC.
  • UN and AU officials should include peacebuilding and development personnel in annual engagements on peace and security, explore opportunities for joint analysis and planning for peacebuilding activities, and share more analysis and expertise at the working level.


UN 75: The Future We Want, The UN We Need

Fri, 18/09/2020 - 21:30
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-bkttjn").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-bkttjn").fadeIn(1000);});});

On September 18th, IPI, in partnership with UN75, The Group of Women Leaders, and the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, convened a virtual event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations with a diverse group of women leaders in a dynamic conversation on priorities and solutions for “recovering better” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following welcoming remarks by IPI Vice President Adam Lupel. Waheguru Pal Sidhu, Professor and Head of the UN Initiative at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU, opened the session positing three possible post-pandemic scenarios for the UN’s future, in order of preference.

The first was the UN’s “continued relevance as the center of the multilateral universe,” but this would come about “only if the UN is able to leverage the ongoing disruption, engage a host of sub-state and non-state actors, devise innovative negotiation approaches and address emerging challenges to recover better.”

The second would result if the UN simply opted for “business as usual,” in which case “it might be relegated to the sidelines and become just one of the multiplicity of forums to deal with 21st century challenges.”

The last, and, by Professor Sidhu’s admission, “most somber” was a UN “unable or unwilling to recover better” and consequently passing into “irrelevance or even demise.”

Professor Sidhu said that none of these outcomes was inevitable but that advancing the UN’s future would require “concerted collective action from the individual to the global level, especially if we want to preserve and strengthen the UN over the next 25 years.” He asked, “So how can we ensure the solidarity and sustained collective action for the outcome we want? Can the UN be the arena, agent, and actor that we need in order to build the future we want?”

In response, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and member of The Group of Women Leaders, Voices for Change and Inclusion, singled out the need for “leadership and concerted action.”

She cast a wide net in describing the leadership she had in mind. “It has to come from the whole of society. It is not only government or messianic leaders, but social activists:  women, journalists, opinion makers, scientists, academia, indigenous leaders. I think we all have a role to play in building this new social contract that we have the opportunity now to build, and this new social contract has to be between society, the economy, politics, and nature as well.”

She stressed the importance of a wide-ranging collective effort to shore up the distressed multilateral system. “It is not a self-operating machine, it does not have self-agency. The multilateral system at the UN is what we want it to be. It’s us who have the responsibility to craft the system to serve us and the interests of ‘we, the peoples.’”

Picking up on that point, Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, commented, “I sometimes say that multilateralism is the new realism. It’s not sentimental. It’s not because everybody gets along, it’s precisely because they don’t always get along that you need multilateral institutions and understandings.”

She lamented the “anger and distrust in politics that are deepening rather than overcoming our divisions” and focused her remarks on the uplift coming from “bright spots, pa­rticularly at the local level.”

Ambassador Cousens listed a random few of them, including the voluntary local reviews of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have been created in more than 100 American cities, the state of Hawaii, and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh; a new SDG “tracker tool” in Los Angeles allowing community organizations to connect the SDGs to “real lives and impacts;” an effort underway to unite more than 40 American cities behind an equitable response to COVID-19 and recovery; and a campaign by Walmart, the biggest employer in the US, to transform its supply chains to tackle equity, climate change, and gender issues. “That’s just a few snippets from this country, but there is obviously incredible leadership and bright spots around the world in cities and communities.”

What’s essential now, Ambassador Cousens said, is better coordination and broader encouragement. “So I look to a lot of these sources of leadership and innovation where we have real reserves of political power in other places, and the key is to connect them, to empower them, and to find new ways of bringing that leadership into the debate and platforms and actions that we have at a global level.”

Natalie Samarasinghe, UN75 Deputy and Chief of Strategy, said she feared at first that the coming of the pandemic would diminish enthusiasm and distract from the mission of UN75. “But that’s actually when we saw the initiative take off, and I don’t think it was just because people were bored during lockdown. It was because people saw this was a global crisis with far-reaching consequences that couldn’t be solved by their governments acting in isolation and that probably would require intensive efforts over many years and that no country, no matter how big or powerful, was going to be spared.”

She said that she was impressed that even the UN’s biggest backers saw the moment not as just an opportunity to restore the UN but one to make it better and more inclusive and accountable in the future. “They’re thinking long-term, what’s the impact on inequality and unemployment, how can we get more support for the hardest hit? I think it’s a powerful message of solidarity to take back to world leaders.”

In rebuilding the UN post-pandemic, Ms. Samarasinghe cautioned against sticking to just structural renovation and urged attention in addition to improving political leadership and making the world body more inclusive. “We often focus on structures, the composition of certain parts of the UN. That’s right. That’s hard. But even the most perfect system, the most perfect design, won’t make up for politics. We should focus on our leadership, good leadership at all levels, senior but mid-level too. And not paying lip service to include other voices, but actually doing it—meaningful, ongoing inclusion, embedding people, other stakeholders into the system. That will help deliver more evolutionary change, ongoing change and renewal, more than another sort of static re-design of the system would.”

Nisreen Elsaim, Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change and Chair of the Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change, cited the common observation that the pandemic had laid bare the desperate inequality in the world but stressed that in her part of the world, such inequality was rampant before COVID-19 and would persist afterward if it continued to be neglected.

“We’re always saying that the SDGs are about leaving no one behind, but that is actually what COVID did. So before thinking about the inequalities that COVID caused, we should first think of the inequalities that we had before, and realize that even if we find a cure, there will still be a lot of inequality happening,” she said.

Regarding her youth organization work, Ms. Elsaim said that young people welcomed all the attention and talk about including them in policy-making but were disappointed at the lack of follow-through on repeated promises. “As young persons, we have gotten used to being the trend, to having people say, ‘Young people are the fuel for the future, they are the change agents.’ But then when it comes to decision-making, when it comes to really implementing things in reality, then the young people, the ones who are actually trending, disappear.”

Ms. Elsaim said that involving young people was not just a moral responsibility, it was a measure that would make the UN more effective, innovative, and more broadly relevant. “What makes us special as young people is that we actually take different suggestions, we take the information we get, we empty our cup, we try to use different materials in order to make our world better. And last but not least, we are fearless.”

Jimena Leiva Roesch, Senior Fellow and Head of IPI’s Peace and Sustainable Development Program, moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Implementing the UN Management Reform: Progress, and Implications for Peace Operations

Thu, 17/09/2020 - 16:00
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-rgzyos").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-rgzyos").fadeIn(1000);});});

In 2017, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres proposed a new management paradigm to better enable the UN to address global challenges by giving decision-makers at the country level greater authority over their resources and thus greater speed and flexibility in setting and responding to priorities; reducing duplicative structures and increasing support for the field, including through the creation of new Departments of Operational Support (DOS) and Management Strategy, Policy, and Compliance(DMSPC); increasing accountability, and transparency; and reforming planning and budgeting processes.

While the reform is still a work in progress, it has continued to gain momentum, and implementation has become more systematic. More work is needed to fully realize the potential of the management reform, and ensure that it aligns with parallel reforms underway in the UN peace and security architecture and development system.

IPI, in partnership with the French Ministry for Armed Forces, held a virtual conversation among high ranking UN management officials and experts on September 17th to examine the implementation of the reform and its impact on peace operations, both from the perspectives of UN headquarters and the field.

Setting the backdrop for the discussion, Rear Admiral Hervé Hamelin, Deputy Director for International Security Affairs, Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy, French Ministry for Armed Forces, said that while the reform aims to respond to changes in peace operations mandates on operating environments, “stakeholders, more particularly from the field, continue to consider that it is not implemented to its fullest potential. Additional challenges continue as well to divide the international community, more particularly the capacity of member states to overcome divisions during the current 75th session of the UN General Assembly that will be key for the implementation of the reform on human resources.”

Wolfgang Weiszegger, former Director of Mission Support for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and author of the IPI paper Implementing the UN Management Reform: Progress and Implications for Peace Operations, gave a stark overview of how field operation management needs have piled up and why serious reform was needed. “If a UN field operation needs as little as a paper clip or as much as finance personnel, an aircraft, or a maritime fleet, management or support staff, DOS at UN headquarters, and mission support staff in the field better be included and involved in all discussions, and at each and every step of the way you need analysis, planning, execution, and evaluation processes. Otherwise, the resources required to implement a mission’s mandate just won’t be available at the right time and at the right quantity, quality, and cost. There’ll be no sufficient personnel, financial assets, infrastructure, materiel assets in place when and where they’re needed. That’s why it would be important to determine and leverage the converging streams of the management reform also with the streams of the peace and security reform, and the development reform since nothing works in isolation, and synchronicities and interdependencies need to be leveraged.”

Reviewing what had occurred so far in response to the reforms, Mr. Weiszegger said, “Managers have been empowered, accountability strengthened, processes streamlined, delegations of authority decentralized, and trust with member states improved, just to name a few.” A critical part that remained to be done, he stressed, was determining whether it has had a positive impact on people on the ground and people in areas of distress and conflict. But in general, he concluded, “The management reforms have taken off, are on the right track, and emphasis must now be placed on keeping the momentum going.”

Eugene Chen, Programme Management Officer in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General, flagged the high priority of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda by saying that its “ultimate objective” was “to maintain the relevance of the United Nations. The reforms seek to achieve this by enhancing the effectiveness and accountability of the organization in program delivery through all three tracks of reform, including management, peace and security, and development. The management reform focuses on decentralizing the management of the Secretariat and empowering senior managers, including heads of missions, such that the responsibility for implementing mandates is now aligned with authority to manage resources. The structural changes to the management architecture at headquarters are a catalyst for the decentralization.”

Mr. Chen detailed some of the changes and counseled against thinking that the reform was simply a rearrangement of functions rather than the sweeping fundamental shift that it is in the relationship between headquarters and the field. “Authority for the management of human and financial resources is delegated directly to senior managers, including heads of mission. Missions are therefore no longer mere extensions of the will of headquarters departments, but are now firmly in the driver’s seat. The newly established headquarters departments have no day-to-day decision-making authority over mission budgets and staffing but instead are responsible for supporting missions and other Secretariat entities through policy and guidance, advisory services, and administrative and logistical support.” He said that there are also new formalized mechanisms with representative field participation to ensure that policies and procedures are in line with recommendations from the field.

Mr. Chen argued that the new system was put to an early unexpected test with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, and had proved its value. “COVID-19 has therefore served as an important test to validate both the underlying concept and the new structures put in place via management reform.”

Picking up on that point, Rick Martin, Director, Division for Special Activities, UN Department of Operational Support (DOS) said, “I shudder to think where we would be with our previous structures and authorities in responding to the pandemic that has impacted across the Secretariat and particularly in our field missions.” The UN was particularly vulnerable, he noted, with peace operations in nine of the 11 countries most affected by COVID-19, and more than 1200 confirmed cases and 18 colleagues lost, many of them police and military officers living and working in congregate high-density situations.

Among the gains he listed from the reforms were:

  • Having supply chain management integrated across procurement and logistics management. “They were in separate departments in the past, and that shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately in our world it does.”
  • Aligning what has traditionally been the medical treatment capacities with occupational safety and health. “I can tell you that quite often when we talk about the pandemic now, we talk less about the medical response and more about occupational safety and health, given the threat to the health of our personnel.”
  • Creating a single entry point on uniform capability support for peace operations.
  • Having a more consolidated approach in standing capacities now for training.
  • Streamlining recruitment and onboarding processes.
  • Closing gaps in what resources peace operations are able to access on an immediate basis.
  • Providing support to the resident coordinators, who are now being brought into the Secretariat.
  • Establishing a standing search capacity of existing staff across the whole Secretariat that can de deployed to an incident or transitional requirement needing additional capacity.
  • “A genuine convergence between the Secretary-General’s reform pillars—management reform, peace and security architecture, and the development system reforms—which has been made possible by having a single Department of Operational Support.”

Olga de la Piedra, Director, Office of the Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Management, Strategy, Policy and Compliance (DMSPC) said that the enhanced delegation of authority to the heads of missions had allowed her department to bring decision- making closer to the point of delivery so rapidly that some people in the field were slow to act on it. “One of the paradigms that are still shifting is for our colleagues to realize that they do have the authority to take certain decisions that they didn’t have in the past. We saw at first that it was very gradual, but over the last six months, we’ve seen colleagues embrace this delegation of authority more actively, and decision-making is moving much faster.”

Heralding an example of a peacekeeping practice becoming a model for the whole organization, she said that DMCPC now has a clear mandate for oversight over conduct and discipline functions across the global Secretariat. “So the rigorous approach it had been implementing for peacekeeping in the past is now standardized across the Secretariat at large. This is learning from peacekeeping adapted to the whole organization.”

Amadu Kamara, Director of Mission Support, UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and Director of the UN Support Office for Somalia (UNSOS) said the UN’s operations in Somalia provided a good testing ground for the reform. “We support, for example, about 30,000 military personnel engaged in active combat. It’s doesn’t get more dynamic than that. So it was obvious that the regulatory framework was not compatible with the dynamics and rigors of the operating environment. The management efforts with the enhanced delegation of authority to heads of UN entities have afforded scope for UNSOS and UNSOM to address many arising issues, which previously would have had to be referred to multiple operational units and liaisons at headquarters for consideration and consultation without the attendant urgency required to meet demands on the ground.”

Mr. Kamara said that the new flexibility helped mission heads with specific chores like staff recruitment but also in more philosophical ways. “One of the benefits of the management reform, often unrecognized, is that this has led to a subtle shift in the mindset of administrators from a rules- and regulations-based mentality to using the regulatory framework as an enabling mechanism for operational decision-making.”

Suggesting further reforms, he said the delegation of authority might have to be “customized” to suit particularly volatile environments like Somalia and that consideration should be given to applying a probationary period for newly hired personnel. “To put it succinctly, our recruitment is out front, we take a very long time, we are very laborious to be careful to do recruitment, but once that person comes on to the ground and it doesn’t work out, we can never get rid of them. Not everybody can work in the field, and you will never know who will fit in until they actually do the job.”

Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs, moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Sweden Foreign Minister Calls for Push to Implement Women, Peace, and Security Agenda

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 17:25
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-ciruub").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-ciruub").fadeIn(1000);});});

“Where a crisis moves in, inclusion moves out, but there is no law of nature governing this,” declared Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, making the point that although the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to set back the goals of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, it should instead be a factor motivating a redoubled effort to push for the agenda’s full implementation. “Diplomacy and dialogue are needed more than ever in the international response to the pandemic and in our efforts towards sustaining peace,” she said. “The Women, Peace, and Security agenda is crucial.”

Ms. Linde was the opening speaker at a September 16th high-level virtual forum co-sponsored by IPI and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “Implementing Transformative Action: Prioritizing the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda in a Time of Pandemic.” She noted that women’s organizations were already responding vigorously to the societal challenges posed by COVID-19, intensifying their own peace work, providing support for humanitarian aid flow, facilitating information exchange, and establishing “new ways of connecting.”

She argued that their work needs to be “recognized as the community resilience fabric it is and needs to be connected to the highest decision-making levels.” For example, she said, women civil society representatives should be entrusted with briefing the United Nations Security Council and other decision-making bodies on country-specific matters, as well as other security threats such as terrorism and climate change. “There is no need for the pandemic to be used as an excuse to decrease this participation.”

Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, acknowledged that the pandemic had overshadowed many of the UN’s global priorities like the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of landmark Security Council resolution 1325 and had had a significant impact on global social-economic well- being and on key matters of peace and security, but particularly so for women. “Many of the economic costs of the pandemic are disproportionately affecting women, who are overrepresented in some of the sectors hardest hit by shutdowns, and ensuing layoffs and cuts. Gender-based violence, particularly in the home, surged around the world as COVID-19 lockdowns became necessary.”

Ms. DiCarlo said that digital technology had enabled UN officials in the field to maintain contact and consultation with otherwise marginalized women but had at the same time served to reveal the extent of their exclusion and discrimination. “Virtual spaces mirror the inequalities that exist in the offline world. Women and girls in conflict-affected settings often lack equal access to technology and are subject to online harassment and intimidation that can have real-world consequences for their safety.  Supporting access to technology and combating online bullying must therefore be prioritized as fundamental to ensuring women’s participation in public and political life.”

A top priority was funding, she said. Her department allocates 17 percent of its extra-budgetary resources to projects supporting women, peace, and security; it has created a “gender marker” to track the mainstreaming of gender issues in all of its initiatives, and the UN Peacebuilding Fund devotes 40 percent of its total investments to “gender-responsive” undertakings. “Allocating adequate, predictable, and sustained financing must be a joint priority for all of us to achieve the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.”

Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, highlighted the disconnect between the forefront role that women play in peacemaking and the low level of their inclusion in peacebuilding leadership. “They are the majority in the health sector and informal economy, but at the same time, few have been included in national COVID-19 response plans,” he said.

Mr. Botes proposed that a certain percentage of both official development assistance for conflict–area countries and of spending by the UN Peacebuilding Fund be earmarked for women, peace and security, with dedicated budgets in National Action Plans or equivalent frameworks. He called for more partnerships between governments and women NGOs and greater involvement across the board of young women.

Amat al-Alim Alsoswa, former Minister for Human Rights in Yemen, said the experience of women in her country, site of what the UN has identified as the world’s leading humanitarian crisis, illustrated both the value of women peacebuilders and how they are ignored by people in decision-making positions. “Yemeni women have been active local mediators throughout the conflict, and, in response to COVID-19, women have worked through villages, municipal councils, and the private sector to manufacture and distribute PPE [personal protective equipment], masks, and protective clothing to medical staff and the public. They have also negotiated the release of prisoners from detention centers to reduce the spread of infection. Women doctors and nurses have been among the first responders at the peak of the pandemic, and young women entrepreneurs continue to be active participants.”  She paused for emphasis. “These efforts all were not initiated top-down.”

She contended that while the UN had pursued peace in Yemen “with dedication and sincerity, the well-established standards of Women, Peace, and Security, with respect to building sustainable peace, have been given no more than pro forma attention. This is a common trend; it’s not only related to peace negotiations. UN envoys’ mandates need to clearly include women in peace negotiations. It is not enough to give a voice to women, often after considerable additional pressure, unless they have their rights and also they can vote. Excluding women because one or more of the warring parties refuses to accept the woman’s presence is unacceptable.”

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Founder and CEO of International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and Director, LSE Centre for Women, Peace, and Security, said that independent women peacebuilders merited special consideration and explained why. “They are a very unique community of people. They run to the problem when others are running away. They are the bridge, they are interlocutors, they are trusted. They represent the voice of communities and people and marginalized sectors of society, which neither governments who are bombing their own people nor armed groups that are also bombing their own people, do. In a sense, women peacebuilders have taken on the responsibility to protect, without having the power of the gun, or having the power of the political elite. They need to be recognized as actors in conflicts, and as independent delegations at peace tables. That’s the next step of where we need to go.”

Kaavya Asoka, Executive Director, NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, said during the question-and-answer period that despite the adoption of numbers of resolutions endorsing women’s rights and participation, seven out of ten peace processes still exclude women, and only 14 to 22 percent of peace agreements actually include gender provisions. Saying the movement was facing a crisis of political will, she asked, “How do we translate these rhetorical commitments that we’ve heard from the international community over a period of 20 years into real and concrete action? We’ve heard of technical solutions, like including women through virtual spaces, but the fact is what we actually need are political solutions to address the core problem of women’s participation that we continue to confront 20 years since the adoption of Resolution 1325.”

Foreign Minster Linde noted that much research had been done on the added durability of peace agreements where women were active participants. “When I was in Aden, I met so many women who had ideas, who had a lot of constructive ways of how to go forward in this terrible conflict. But they were not used in a way that would be so good for the peace process, and it makes me really frustrated. That’s also why I think the Women, Peace, and Security agenda needs to be pushed. All of us, both in government and in civil society, need to really push this issue, not as some little thing you do, as we say, ‘with your left hand’ but something that should be at the center, because it gets results, and it makes final peace agreements much more sustainable.”

Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights in the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that her country had officially adopted a feminist foreign policy and was an active member of the global network of focal points on women, peace, and security, promoting joint international efforts to implement its agenda. “We need to recover from the current pandemic with a renewed commitment not to leave anyone behind, and to fully realize that we need a more integrated, multi-sector and gender transformative framework to conflict prevention and resolutions on sustaining peace in which the leadership of women is a reality and not just an aspiration.”

The forum also served to launch an IPI Women, Peace, and Security issue brief by Masooma Rahmaty, IPI Policy Analyst, and Jasmine Jaghab, entitled Peacebuilding during a Pandemic: Keeping the Focus on Women’s Inclusion.

IPI Vice President Adam Lupel moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Peacebuilding during a Pandemic: Keeping the Focus on Women’s Inclusion

Tue, 15/09/2020 - 20:45

This year was expected to be an opportunity to assess the past twenty years of progress on the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda. Instead, it has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dominated the international community’s attention and put recent gains for WPS at risk. One of the areas most at risk is the participation of women in peacebuilding efforts and peace processes, which is already a part of the WPS agenda where progress has been limited.

This paper looks into what actions states and international actors can take to ensure women’s participation in peacebuilding and peace processes during the pandemic. It draws on two virtual meetings—one at the ministerial level and one at the ambassadorial level—convened in partnership with the government of Sweden. Based on these meetings, the paper identifies five key factors that could help the UN and its member states keep the focus on women peacebuilders during the pandemic:

  1. State leadership on WPS in multilateral fora: In the face of the pandemic, it is critical for UN member states to defend recent gains made in implementing the WPS agenda in multilateral fora, especially the Security Council.
  2. Women’s participation in formal peace processes: While the pandemic has made it even more difficult for many women to participate in formal peace processes, the normalization of virtual convenings could be an opportunity to bring more women to the table.
  3. Protection and security of women peacebuilders: The UN and its member states have a role to play in providing women peacebuilders both physical protection and international legitimacy and recognition.
  4. Financing for women peacebuilders: The pandemic has made funding even more of a challenge for women peacebuilders. Donors should recognize the important role of women’s organizations in the pandemic response and recovery when deciding how to allocate funding.
  5. Data-driven responses: There is a need for a coordinated, risk-sensitive approach to data collection to ensure that the COVID-19 response reflects an understanding of how the pandemic affects women.


The Peacebuilding Commission and Climate-Related Security Risks: A More Favourable Political Environment?

Mon, 14/09/2020 - 12:30

Climate change and the associated climate-related security risks increase instability and have significant adverse effects on peacebuilding. Within the UN, however, there is a lack of consensus on which organs are most appropriate to respond to climate-related security risks. Most of the bodies addressing climate change do not address its intersection with peace and security, while many member states have concerns about the role of the UN Security Council on climate change. In this context, the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) seems well placed to complement and advance discussions on climate-related security risks in other UN bodies, including the Security Council.

This paper—a joint publication of IPI and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)—aims to identify areas and ways in which the PBC is preventing and mitigating climate-related security risks and to map the political positions of PBC members on this topic. It also looks at opportunities for the PBC to strengthen its engagement on climate-related security issues.

The paper identifies a number of attributes that uniquely position the PBC as a forum for states to seek international support for addressing climate-related security challenges: it emphasizes national ownership, has a mandate to work across the three pillars of the UN, brings together a wide range of UN organs, and convenes relevant stakeholders from within and outside the UN system. The paper concludes that a gradual but steady approach to addressing climate-related security risks in the PBC is likely to encourage more countries to seek its support on these issues.


Learning Interrupted: Education, COVID-19, and the Culture of Peace

Thu, 10/09/2020 - 21:45
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-rbqqgd").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-rbqqgd").fadeIn(1000);});});

As many as 1.6 billion students worldwide have faced school closures this year or continue to face uncertainty about their education in the coming months due to COVID-19. What will be the long-term impact on these children and youth? And how will it affect social, political, and economic development? Already concerns have been raised that interrupted learning exacerbates inequalities of all kinds, including economic, gender, and nutritional inequalities. What can we do to mitigate these risks?

This global crisis and how to address it in alignment with the principles of the “culture of peace” was the subject of a September 10th virtual policy forum cosponsored by IPI and the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

In opening remarks, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, declared that the education sector “has been particularly destabilized by the pandemic. COVID-19 has robbed the world and disrupted learning opportunities of students around the world, particularly those in technologically disadvantaged regions.”

He noted that the world had already been lagging in fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number four, which is inclusive quality education, with one in three African children not finishing primary school and only 20 million of the 158 million in sub-Saharan Africa meeting minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. “Then came COVID-19, and the education of 1.6 billion children and youth, including those in refugee camps, took a hit. While learning continued in technologically advanced societies, students without access to digital connections either stayed at home while the pandemic lasted or relied on home-tutoring and parental guidance.”

Mr. Muhammad-Bande said that to promote and sustain the culture of peace, “governments must act proactively and creatively to address ongoing and future imbalances in access to quality education. It is important for education to be given primary consideration in all of our efforts to build back better and stronger, to ensure we truly leave no one behind.”

The concept of the culture of peace was introduced into the multilateral system in 1992 in a program of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In a series of resolutions and programs looking ahead to the twenty-first century, the UN called for a transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace. In 1999, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace. That program identified eight pillars of the culture of peace that are interrelated and interdependent, and the first of them was education.

Abdul Aziz Saud Al-Babtain, Director and Founder of the Al-Babtain Foundation, said  “COVID-19 has revealed our mutual need to work together and share knowledge, sciences, and researches, …to benefit from the common intellectual knowledge we share between us to find a medical cure for humanity.” He added, the mission was now to “go beyond the previous globalization model and start a new multilateral model of interdependence centrally based on the education of a culture of just peace.”

Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, said the pandemic and its effect on youth had driven home the cultural centrality of schools. “We realize that schools are simply and crucially places where we learn, but very much more than this, places where there is social protection, there is nutrition, there is health, and there is a social-first relationship with the rest of the world outside the family.”

The responsibility of the international community going forward, she said, was to avoid what the Secretary-General has called a “generational catastrophe.” She estimated that 24 million children from pre-primary school to university level, were at risk of dropping out of education altogether due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone. “A good majority may not be able to return to school for reasons ranging from poverty, child labor, and child marriage.” She cited figures showing that in the developing world, only 30% of people have access to online education. “It is imperative that the COVID response and recovery efforts include adequate measures and resources to ensure the right to education for all children. Both immediate and long-term response plans and programs must be planned and undertaken to address the disruptive situation in the education sector. The pandemic exposed the digital divide that hinders education for all.”

Ambassador Fatima proposed that “to make up for lost ground, we can leverage the focus of culture of peace on education, to review, innovate and restructure conventional education, including research and development.” She said the culture of peace could act as a “force multiplier in our pursuit, it could help bring back the much-needed inclusivity in pandemic response and SDG implementation.”

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called the pandemic the “largest disruption in education since the creation of the UN system, and we can say, in history.” She said that a culture of peace is “intimately linked to a culture of inclusion. This is the starting point for educational recovery, pulling out all the stops to ensure that the most marginalized children return to school and learn in safe environments, with special attention to girls, with special attention to refugees in conflict situations.”

Mrs. Giannini said that “education should be a bulwark against inequality.” Accordingly, she said, the focus ought to be on investing in social and emotional skills like empathy, awareness, and a capacity to manage emotions and to develop positive relationships. “They must be mainstreamed throughout the education systems.”

To reorient education systems around the culture of peace, she asserted, students must be “wired to defend human rights, act for social justice and gender equality, and to take care of the environment. ”

Dr. Robert Jenkins, Chief, Education and Associate Director, Programme Division, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), pronounced this moment  “a once in a generation opportunity to reopen schools in a new way, to re-look at schools and the critical role they play and to support schools and education systems, to maximize the potential to transform learning that we have now in a new way.” He said the central question now with schools resuming was “how can we maximize the reopening process so that it has the most positive impact on peace that it could potentially have?”

Experience had taught him that speed was essential, Dr. Jenkins said. “ We have seen in previous school closures as a result of Ebola, the longer schools are closed, the more vulnerable children become, and the more risk there is of dropping out and never returning to their learning.”

He listed three key issues around reopening:

  • focusing on reaching the most vulnerable.
  • transforming the way learning is provided, recognizing that the world was experiencing a learning crisis before the pandemic.
  • meeting the emotional, social, nutritional, health, and protection needs of children.

He suggested that teachers were showing the way. “Teachers are better skilled now at recognizing the traumatic situation many children have faced with this disruption and enabling them to bridge back to school. There have been a lot of interventions at a country level around working with parents providing the education skills or ways of coaching their children and supporting their children, both on learning and preparing to bridge back to school.”

The central role of education in sustaining peace was more appreciated now than before, he argued. “I think there’s been an increased recognition of the importance of schools in communities, by parents, by decision makers. I also think there’s a recognition that we have an opportunity to reimagine how the front door is open in a school, and what happens behind that door.” As for the urgency of getting increased funding to support schooling, he said, “We in the education sector are ‘all hands on deck’ reemphasizing that.”

He particularly stressed the importance of “engagement,” repeating the word three times in sequence for emphasis. “Countries that have been most successful in reopening schools are those that had very significant engagement processes, investing heavily in communication.”

In answer to a question about whether there was data on whether remote online education can be effective at spurring personal and emotional development, he said, “My simple answer—and sadly it’s unsatisfactory— is that the evidence is mixed.” He said that “there are some very exciting innovations that are IT-enabled that do indeed target social and emotional health. The most successful are those IT tools that enable interaction, questioning, and engagement.”

Mrs. Giannini commented that one of the key lessons learned from the Ebola crisis was the crucial role of community and families “which usually we don’t consider within the constituency of education. There is a traditional boundary between the school community and what we find outside, including family and parents, especially in the north of the world, they are viewed as the counterparts and not part of the same mission.”

She concluded: “To summarize, some key words: engagement, solidarity, partnership. What we need now is to strongly work together. We are making a big effort on the international organization side, unprecedented, in my opinion, in terms of integrating all out competency and expertise in one common mission, which is about the continuity of learning. It’s about assuring education as a basic human right.”

IPI Vice President Adam Lupel moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

A “Do-No-Harm” Approach to Community Engagement: Lessons for the Protection of Civilians by UN Peacekeeping Operations

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 20:46

Community engagement has been recognized as a critical tool to strengthen people-centered approaches to peacekeeping and protection of civilians. Liaising with local populations enables peacekeepers to better identify protection needs, improve early warning, and design tailored and effective protection plans. It is also key to defuse tensions through mediation and dialogue. However, community engagement, when not carefully devised and implemented, may also put civilian populations at risk of exposure and retaliation, or inadvertently fuel political, economic, and social drivers of conflict.

On September 9, IPI, along with co-hosts Nonviolent Peaceforce and the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the UN, held a closed-door roundtable with representatives of the UN, member states, and civil society organizations to reflect on these risks and identify lessons as well as good practices from different peacekeeping operations. The session offered various perspectives coming from the UN, NGOs, and other humanitarian organizations on different approaches to community engagement, and particularly on the “do-no-harm” approach to community engagement.

The two-hour discussion was conducted under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution, and moderated by Dr. Namie Di Razza, IPI Senior Fellow and head of IPI’s Protection of Civilians program.  Opening remarks were made by Mark Zellenrath, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations.

Participants explored a wide range of potential risks associated with community engagement. They first discussed risks of reprisals from armed groups or state actors who may target civilians for their perceived “collaboration” with the UN, or seek to deter them from reporting abuses and human rights violations. They also examined the distinction between community engagement and peacekeeping-intelligence, and specific methodologies to avoid doing harm, protect sources and support the capacities and the voice of local communities. Discussants also considered risks and challenges induced by COVID-19, including the need to reduce contact with local populations to prevent the spread of the virus, and shared innovative perspectives to adapt community engagement approaches.

Key takeaways were:

  • Protection of civilians is an all-of-mission mandate, and community engagement should accordingly be undertaken by all sections of the mission in an integrated manner, including by civilian, police and military personnel.
  • Training is critical to ensure the ability of all missions’ components to engage with communities in a safe and professional way.
  • Despite the UN peacekeepers’ efforts to abide by “do-no-harm” standards, creating a protective environment where multiple diplomatic, NGO and state actors engage with communities through their own channels can be an important challenge. Communities can be put at risk of retaliation by a wide range of actors engaging with them.
  • It is important to distinguish peacekeeping intelligence and community engagement for protection of civilians (PoC) purposes. Community engagement has multiple objectives, from gathering information to facilitating political dialogue, mediation and peacebuilding. Peacekeeping intelligence, which aims at enhancing the situational awareness of the missions, stems from the analysis of information coming from a wide range of sources, which can include human sources, but are mostly open source data.
  • Community engagement is not a one-way street and should not be reduced to extractive methods of information collection. Communities should be regarded as active participants who should be given ownership over the design of effective protection strategies.
  • As missions need to reduce their interaction with communities to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19, new ways of working have provided an opportunity to test the robustness of community engagement tools established in the past and to strengthen the use of digital platforms to facilitate dialogue and engagement.  However, there are also inherent risks in the use of technologies, which can be weaponized for digital surveillance, or inadvertently end up empowering elite groups with easier access to technologies.

The discussion aimed at informing IPI’s upcoming research paper on community engagement and the protection of civilians in peacekeeping contexts, which will be published this fall.

African Leadership Centre Fellows Debate Governance, Security and Peace in a Post-Pandemic World  

Mon, 27/07/2020 - 21:37

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-jsdclc").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-jsdclc").fadeIn(1000);});});

Current and past fellows of the African Leadership Centre held a virtual discussion on July 27th on “Rethinking Governance, Security and Peace in the Time of COVID-19: Implications for African Leadership.”

To stimulate the discussion, an article by one of the current fellows was shared ahead of the event.

IPI Senior Adviser Youssef Mahmoud said the purpose of the conversation was to reassess some of the inherited organizing paradigms of good governance, the state, security, and development, and to highlight innovative actions that African leaders, particularly women and youth, have come up with to spur progress and lay foundations for the post-pandemic future.

Since 2008, IPI has worked with King’s College London and the African Leadership Centre to bring a select group of African scholars to New York each July, though this year’s nine IPI African Junior Professional Fellows participated virtually. For the purposes of the conversation, they broke off into three groups, choosing their individual focuses from the categories of governance, security, or peace, and selecting a spokesperson to articulate their views.

The first fellow to speak, Kundai Mtasa of Zimbabwe, highlighted how COVID-19 had disrupted governance. “The key disruption that we decided to speak about is corruption, which is not a new disruption, but it has been emphasized because of the increased need for resources,” she said. “COVID-19 has shown that every restriction on movement or economic activity has created a favorable market for those who can find a way around official controls through bribery, smuggling or other activities. Lockdown has provided an opportunity and an income to those who are already engaged in activities such as corruption. And corruption during COVID-19 has largely been as a result of the mismanagement of resources that were supposed to go to the mitigation of COVID-19.” This, in turn, Ms. Mtasa said, has led to large parts of the population being deprived of access to health care and water and sanitation hygiene facilities and systems of cash stimulus to cushion the blow on low-income households.

Ms. Mtasa cited cases in both Kenya and Zimbabwe where citizens had innovated to make up for official lapses. “In the context of Kenya, the COVID-19 funds meant to improve health care infrastructure have been highly mismanaged, and this has resulted in a lack of beds to cater to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Consequently, Kenyan youths have taken matters into their own hands by making and providing beds. In the case of Zimbabwe, we have seen how sanitizers, masks, and gloves have been made within universities, such as the University of Zimbabwe. This has been in response to the lack of sanitizers and basic COVID-19 infrastructure available to the rest of the population.”

As for the future, Ms. Mtasa argued that the achievements of university students in Zimbabwe making their own hand sanitizer and young Congolese students creating masks and sanitizing booths were examples of youth response that ought to be encouraged. “It also highlights the importance of investing in higher institutions of learning for current and future development within African society.”

Ms. Mtasa said her group concluded that COVID-19 has actually shown the potential of African solutions to African problems. African leaders need to look for inward solutions and invest in their own countries, particularly the youth who drive the majority of the innovations in Africa. This is an example of how the youth play a crucial role in creating the sustainability of resilient and peaceful societies.”

Tabitha Mwangi of Kenya chose the subject of security and listed a number of security issues that had been adversely affected by the pandemic:

  • Accountability: “We have had emergency powers invoked by many governments;”
  • Transparency: “There’s a lack of disclosure on how funds are being used by governments to deal with the pandemic;”
  • Rule of law: “It has been neglected with police and other security agencies doing what they want;”
  • Participation: “Decisions are now being made by elites, mostly men, given the structure of government in most countries, and they do not consult experts, such as doctors, with many recommendations being made that are not directly compatible with what medics are prescribing;”
  • Responsiveness: “Regulations are out of touch with the reality of people’s lives, like lockdowns in low-income areas where people are unable to stay at home because they need to make a daily wage;”
  • Effectiveness: “Security forces have to do things outside their scope of work like escorting expectant women in distress to health centers after curfews;”
  • Diversion of attention from real security needs: “The fact that there’s a pandemic going on doesn’t mean that violent extremist groups are going to take a back seat;”
  • Human rights abuses: “They have been on the rise because of increased sexual and gender-based violence. We have had a higher incidence of rapes and female genital mutilation happening;”
  • Police brutality: “Police use excessive means to enforce curfew and lockdown regulations;” and
  • Xenophobia: “Foreign nationals have been targeted because of the perception that COVID-19 came from the outside. So if you see a foreigner, then they’re likely the ones who brought the disease to your home.”

Ms. Mwangi mentioned several instances in which African governments and citizens had acted to address security disruptions. In Kenya, she said, the president apologized for the actions of officers who had used excessive force to enforce curfews. The African Union held a virtual conference on the joint response to COVID-19, and governments had adopted different approaches to cushioning the most vulnerable, like tax reductions and easing of lockdowns to allow people in the informal sector to continue working. In Kenya, we have had money transfer cuts so it’s now cheaper for people to transact to avoid having to use physical cash.”

She said too that various countries were working together to ensure that they speak with one voice so that when a global vaccine is found, “they will not be left behind.” Among the homegrown innovations she mentioned were decongesting prisons, integrating trade within the continent to enhance food security, and involving the local population in “matters of security and accountability to ensure transparency in the use of funds.”

Going forward, Ms. Mwangi said that COVID-19 “presents an opportunity to build better by bridging the inequality gap and prioritizing health and human security, ensuring that security officials respect the rule of law and human rights and continue training and increased community-law enforcement dialogue and engagement, and empowering and auditing oversight bodies to ensure that they deliver justice.”

Essa Njie of The Gambia, the last current fellow to speak, focused on peace and noted that the African Union said at the outset in February that COVID-19 was a direct threat to peace and security on the continent. “That is certainly what we are seeing today,” he said. He reported that the pandemic had diverted the attention of both national and international actors from ongoing peace processes, closed national borders, and also provoked instances of police brutality and security force repression on the ground that were compounding the fear that people already felt from the menace of the disease. “We have seen cases of excessive peacekeeping use of force in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa where the threat from law enforcement is more immediate than the threat from the virus itself.”

Mr. Njie said that countries like Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan were facing the twin dilemmas of rising COVID-19 cases and stepped up terrorist group activity. “We have also seen peacekeeping operations facing challenges, especially as critical operations and rotations have been delayed or canceled due to military forces and police forces being quarantined. Some of them have to be quarantined when they arrive.”

Mr. Njie said the pandemic had created opportunities by spurring online conversations to advance peace processes and enabling governments and individuals to get food and funds to needy communities. But a significant downside was the rise of authoritarianism with “authoritarian regimes using the pandemic as an opportunity to stifle dissent and to violate human rights, as others have pointed out, with excessive use of force.” He noted that 24 elections had been postponed since March, costing governments credibility and heightening the allure of armed opposition groups. “People have started questioning whether COVID is, in fact, real, whether it exists, because the government has lost that level of confidence or that support from the people. I think it’s a result of the corruption allegations, the fact that politicians are using this as an opportunity to gather more money and misuse public funds.” He recounted that local rights groups and societal actors had “embarked on online sensitization on COVID and domestic violence against women.” He added, though, that he had seen several reports of femicide during lockdowns, notably in South Africa. “Governments and private individuals have also responded to the financial impact vis-à-vis poverty by providing food packages and funds to vulnerable families and individuals, for instance, in The Gambia and in Nigeria where the private sector has been effectively engaged in that.”

As examples of moves that governments have made that should be carried forward, he cited actions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire making short-term provisions for free electricity and water through suspension of bill payments to protect citizens from financial pressures brought on by the pandemic. “These measures prove that governments in Africa can provide substantial and universal social protection measures, especially in crisis situations,” he said. “The pandemic has necessitated governments to each look to their own and not look outward for help.”

Dennis Jjuuko, an alumnus of the African Leadership Centre, commented that the pandemic was telling Africans not to neglect the value of their homegrown capacities. “We have always had innovations happening on the continent that we have chosen to be silent on, for a certain reason. COVID-19 actually lays bare the traditional context that we’ve always thought about, and opens us to emerging realities from academia, youth innovations, and inventions on the African continent.”

Mr. Jjuuko, who is now a doctoral student of global governance and human security at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, touted “African solutions to African problems, looking inward into Africa and harnessing our potential. Though we’ve always chosen to push aside and look towards the West for solutions, Africa as a continent is ripe for ideas that are worth harnessing.” He asked, “Are we seeing a leadership ready to harness these innovations in their kind of governance? How do we then ensure that governance guarantees the harnessing of these efforts? I think academic institutions and think tanks and civil society have a role to play in this kind of governance.”

Another alumnus, Akinola Olojo, Senior Researcher, Complex Threats in Africa Programme, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa, said that while violent extremism had risen to the top of the security agenda across Africa, strategies to combat it were dated and failing. “If we look at how we’ve been addressing this very serious problem of violent extremism, it’s usually with the use of force, but we know that for more than a decade now, this particular approach has not really been effective. So, maybe we need to explore other paradigms that might be uncomfortable, that might actually challenge the way we do things, and see how that works for Africa. When we speak of dialogue, it’s not only about dialoguing with the combatants or with violent extremist groups or those other insecurity actors, but also about engaging with communities too. I was glad when the panel mentioned something about the responses of citizens, the local communities. To what extent are we really consulting them, trying to get their insights on how we solve these problems?”

Dominique Dryding, a former fellow who is now Afrobarometer Project Leader for Southern Africa, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africa, cited the mention by Mr. Njie of the rise of femicide in South Africa during the pandemic and asked why it was not being prioritized as a threat to peace. “We have a government that is quite capable of responding to crises, in creating emergency measures, from instituting a lockdown to ensuring that people have social protection, but gender-based violence, which is an absolute slap in the face to a notion of peace, is not prioritized by our government, so again when we think of peace, what are we talking about? And how do we bring peace back to an individual person who is stuck in a marriage where they get beat up, when being at home in a lockdown is not keeping you safe, but actually endangering your life?”

Mr. Mahmoud moderated the discussion.

Other group members included Ivy Nyawira Wahito and Alexandra Lukamba for governance, Ikran Mohamed Abdullahi and Ibrahim Machina for security, and Chimwemwe Fabiano and Margaret LoWilla for peace.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

A Year in the Life of an Elected Member: Lessons Learned on the Security Council

Thu, 23/07/2020 - 19:00
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-eefvja").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-eefvja").fadeIn(1000);});});

On July 23rd, IPI held an information-sharing discussion on the United Nations Security Council, the most powerful body in the UN system, among 15 ambassadors of countries who are current or recent members of the Council or primed­­ to join it next year, and a select group of experts.

The event was prompted by the English language release of the book With an Orange Tie: A Year on the Security Council by Karel van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN. Ambassador van Oosterom served on the Council in 2018, as part of an historic compromise under which the Netherlands shared the 2017-2018 term with Italy.

The moderator of the event was IPI Vice President Adam Lupel, who began the discussion with a tantalizing preview of the book: “It mixes political insight about relations between the elected members and the veto-wielding P5, accessible explanations of procedural arcana, and chronicles of debates about top issues like Syria and Yemen with personal anecdotes and intimate insider details such as which are the most comfortable seats around the Security Council table or when you are allowed -or not-a snack during deliberations.” Pointing out that elections to the Council had now been advanced from October to June, affording new members more preparation time, Dr. Lupel noted that the book “shares useful knowledge and experience for incoming members, to be better prepared and make the Council more effective, which is in everybody’s interest.”

Ambassador van Oosterom said his book was particularly focused on enhancing the experience of the ten elected members of the 15-member council, known as the E10, who serve two-year terms alongside the five veto-bearing permanent members, known as the P5. “The purpose of this English translation is to make the E10 stronger,” he said. “P5 members have their own archives of experiences, but for the E10, a term on the Council is a once in a lifetime event. We can all benefit from each other’s stories. Incoming members should look to current members for guidance.”

He said the E10 were too often intimidated by the P5 and shouldn’t be. “There are around 30 subsidiary organs, and in recent years, the permanent members have largely been the ones to take up the pen, and the heaviest workload of chairing the subsidiary organs has fallen to the E10. We tried to change that, but didn’t succeed.” In a comment aimed at incoming members of the Council, he counseled, “Make sure the P5 get some of this workload as they have the time to do it, and deputies are allowed to do it. This is an unfair division of labor, which leaves less time for your priorities. Don’t accept being framed as non- permanent by the P5. You’re the elected ones. Say, ‘If I’m non-permanent, then you’re non-elected.’”

Ambassador van Oosterom warned that “if a P5 member is close to an issue on the agenda, the chances of reaching an agreement are slim. There is a big difference between what they talk about and what our products are. In 2018, the Council spoke the most about Syria, but Syria figures very little in press statements. Results on the Palestine question are similarly absent.” In that connection, he added, “My biggest frustration was not being able to refer the killing of more than 500,000 people in Syria to the ICC [International Criminal Court] or a special tribunal.”

Accompanied by a slide whimsically entitled “The Hamster Syndrome,” he said the workload for Council members had tripled from 1990 to 2018, with many more meetings, resolutions, presidential and press statements, formal visits, peacekeeping operations, and subsidiary organs. “Delegations need to be sufficiently staffed; claim enough diplomats from your capitals. The agenda is overloaded—formally 69 items.” Consequently, “if you don’t have established priorities, you get lost.”

With demands this great, he said, even personal fitness becomes an issue. “Stories of working day and night and on the weekends intimidate colleagues. Be aware, plan ahead for the health and well-being of your colleagues and team.” He recalled that the Council had been traumatized by the death in April 2018 of a Council colleague, Bernard Tanoh–Boutchoue, the Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire.

Ambassador van Oosterom emphasized the importance of learning the ropes ahead of time. “Procedural challenges are one of the most difficult parts of the Council, and make sure your team knows them inside and out.” If one arises and you have any doubts about it, he advised, suspend the meeting, move to a consultation room and solve it there with the assistance of an expert.

He talked light-heartedly about some of the “bizarre” unwritten rules of the Council chamber and several instances in 2018 when they had been broken. The entry of Nikki Haley, the American Permanent Representative, was blocked when she tried to enter with a cup of coffee, and a meeting was stopped because Peter Wilson, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, was eating a breakfast sandwich. Other rules of the consultation rooms, like keeping the curtains closed or not shedding your jacket on warm days are moments to declare independence, he said. “You have to break these rules to own the room and let the P5 know that you are truly part of the Council. It gets very hot; take off your jacket!”

Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said she wanted to “debunk the many criticisms that the Council has been unable to do its work, that we have been slow to get started [during the pandemic].” She countered that in June the Council had 50 virtual meetings compared to 44 meetings the year before, that it had held 170 virtual meetings since March 24th and that the number of resolutions adopted was almost identical for the same period of time.

Kairat Umarov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan, conceded that the work of the Council had suffered from “polarization. The Security Council is very divided. We need to improve and overcome this through dialogue and trust. And it’s not only about building trust between the E10 and the P5, but also between the P5 themselves.”

Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union delegation to the UN and former Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN, acknowledged the divisions on the Council and the damage they cause and said the solution should come from the E10. “That’s where building alliances is important. We are the elected members, we have a completely different view of the need to deliver during our short terms on the Council. That makes us think differently than the big countries, who can afford to have a show or use their veto to block something whereas we should always try to find solutions. The E10 need to stick together. You need to come together especially when the P5 aren’t able to deliver because they are lost in blockages. “

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, expressed appreciation for the book as her country prepares to join the Council. “It’s 20 years since Ireland was on the Council. There isn’t much of a folk memory for the procedural arcana or what works and what doesn’t. We’re thinking about the relationship between the E10 and the P5. We’re asked whether we can hope to do anything, given the P5 veto. My answer is always, ‘Yes. We’re an elected member with the legitimacy of the General Assembly behind us.’”

Odd Inge Kvalheim, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway, another incoming country, said, “ This sharing of experiences is extremely important for us as an incoming member. We are all ears to the experiences of others. In terms of carrying the torch, there’s been a development over time in how elected members can make a difference.”

Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez, Permanent Representative of Mexico, another incoming country, said he too was concerned about the “increased polarization” on the Council. ”We have the impression that existing differences seem to be more evident. The fact that it took almost 4 months to agree to the Secretary-General’s resolution to call for a global ceasefire is testimony of this.”

India is also coming onto the Council, and its Permanent Representative, T.S. Tirumurti, commented, “I got an excellent picture of the increase in the workload and how the discussions don’t correlate to the outcomes.”

Francisco Duarte Lopes, Permanent Representative of Portugal, said he wondered to what extent interventions and advice from civil society were listened to and taken into account.

Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report, said she hoped there could be a way to cultivate stronger links between the Council and other principal UN organs like the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Loraine Sievers, co-author of The Procedure of the UN Security Council said, “One thing that becomes clear is how long it takes for the Council to evolve. There are few revolutions. Change is incremental. Sometimes elected members don’t see the seed that they planted bear fruit until long after they’ve left.”

Mansour Ayyad Sh. Al-Otaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait, said he had noticed “great movement” in recent years towards empowering the E10. “The E10 should be united, not against the P5, but to carry on the mandate of the Council and to make the Council more efficient and transparent.”

Richard Gowan, UN Director at the International Crisis Group, wondered if there were times when Ambassador van Oosterom had felt tensions between his EU identity and his E10 identity.

Ameirah Alhefeitii, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates, asked if the role of the E10 could be “enhanced” given the diversity of the group.

Taye Atske Selassie Amde, the Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, said it was important that “New York and your capital should be on the same page and speak with one voice. Otherwise, you will be a Spanish piñata, especially for the P5.”

Both Besiana Kadare, the Permanent Representative of Albania, and Vanessa Frazier, the Permanent Representative of Malta, asked Ambassador van Oosterom if, despite all his preparation, he had been caught by surprise by anything, and he said, “I did not realize that the seats rotate after one month.”

The event concluded with reflections by Ambassador van Oosterom, who stated that the conversation had proven it was useful to share experiences that help incoming members prepare, and to do so publicly to show the world how the Council works in practice.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Implementing the UN Management Reform: Progress and Implications for Peace Operations

Thu, 23/07/2020 - 18:48
Take the Quiz

In September 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposed a new management paradigm to enable the UN to confront global challenges and remain relevant in a fast-changing world. The new management paradigm would bring decision making closer to the point of delivery, empower managers, increase accountability and transparency, reduce duplicative structures and overlapping mandates, increase support for the field, and reform the planning and budgeting processes.

Eighteen months after the management reform came into effect, this paper examines the implementation of the reform and its impact on peace operations from the perspective of both UN headquarters and the field. The paper highlights the current state of the reform, identifies good practices, flags areas for possible improvement or attention, and offers forward-looking recommendations for UN headquarters, mission leaders and managers in the field, global or regional support offices, member states, and staff at large.

While the reform is still a work in progress, it has continued to gain momentum, and implementation has become more systematic. Nonetheless, the paper concludes that greater effort must be made to get input from personnel in peace operations to ensure that the reform responds to their needs and constraints. More work is also needed to fully realize the potential of the management reform and ensure that it aligns with parallel reforms underway in the UN peace and security architecture and development system.


Impact-Driven Peacekeeping Partnerships for Capacity Building and Training

Wed, 22/07/2020 - 17:22
Event Video: 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-dmggis").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-dmggis").fadeIn(1000);});}); Download White Paper

On July 22nd, IPI, with co-hosts Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, held a virtual discussion on Impact-Driven Peacekeeping Partnerships for Capacity Building and Training, guided in part by a new IPI white paper on the subject. The event and the paper served as input to the next United Nations peacekeeping ministerial-level meeting in April 2021 in Seoul and to a preparatory meeting on the subject co-chaired by Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Japan due to take place sometime beforehand in Addis Ababa.

“In peacekeeping, training and capacity building are the cornerstones for ensuring the efficient performance and the safety and security of all peacekeepers,” said Cho Hyun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN.

He chose to highlight three aspects of the white paper—expanding the participation of women in peacekeeping operations; broadening and standardizing missions’ use of digital technology; and strengthening the medical capacity of peacekeeping operations, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While noting new awareness of the need to include women in peacekeeping, Ambassador Cho stressed that “barriers and challenges remain for uniformed women in the field, and we need to discuss how to overcome these challenges. We may need to explore new ideas, such as creating female platoons, instead of just a few women peacekeepers in a platoon mainly made up of men. Such female platoons may be better placed for engaging with local communities.”

Dian Triansyah Djani, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN, said his country had been increasing the number of women assigned to peacekeeping, with notably positive results. “We have found when handling cases of child or sexual abuse in a community, local women were more inclined to talk to women peacekeepers. As such, they have to have training in psychology, health, and other social issues. Community engagement, cultural awareness, language skills, and addressing sexual exploitation and violence against women and children are all important in the role of women peacekeepers.” At the same time, Ambassador Djani said, women peacekeepers’ needs were not properly accommodated, gender was not sufficiently “mainstreamed” in peacekeeping decision-making. “The need to increase spaces for women peacekeepers, including their living quarters, is ignored. The questions of leave for mothers and other such issues that affect women disproportionately require a different approach.”

Ambassador Djani said that Indonesia had advocated for more emphasis on community engagement in peacekeeping training. “With COVID-19, it is more important than ever to win the hearts and minds of the community,” he said. “Peacekeeping operations are not effective without the support of the local population. Most importantly, community engagement is necessary to better protect and serve the needs of the people. With that in mind, in our training centers in Indonesia, we equip our peacekeepers with language skills, soft skills, and understanding and respect for local cultures.”

The author of the white paper, IPI Senior Non-resident Adviser Arthur Boutellis, singling out one of the report’s 13 recommendations, emphasized the need to build sustainable, systemic, and institutional capabilities within troop- and police-contributing countries (TCC/PCCs). “Training and capacity building starts at home, and countries need to integrate and value peacekeeping in their own national curriculum and develop their own national support system,” he said. Elaborating on another recommendation, Mr. Boutellis also stressed the importance of joint initiatives and partnerships, saying “Capacity providers interested in improving peacekeeping, but lacking the resources to do so alone, should join existing training partnerships programs such as the Triangular Partnerships Project (TPP), which has expanded in scope and region, or join a joint capacity building partnership.”

On another point, he cited the “proliferation” of in-mission trainings but warned they should be limited to addressing capability gaps that had been identified by the UN as “critically hampering” the security of TCC/PCCs or the implementation of the mandate of the mission, “notably when it comes to the protection of civilians.” On evaluation, he said, “Member states and the UN should work closely together to better link performance evaluation to training and capacity building efforts and create feedback loops.”

Mark Pedersen, Director, Integrated Training Service, UN Department of Peace Operations, highlighted the importance of building self-sustaining national capacity, which he said led to an improvement in peacekeepers’ self-employment, their pre-deployment preparations, their training, and rotations. “Much capacity building focuses on skills, but unless these skills are built on a solid professional basis of military and police skills, the result is a house built on sand.” He said this was particularly true in the case of women peacekeepers. “Focusing on core skills is important to help member states deploy more female peacekeepers, who must be deployed into operational roles in battalions, police components and headquarters. To succeed, they need the same military and police skills and experience opportunities as their male counterparts. One way to do this is to work with the TCC/PCCs to strengthen the female components of their forces, especially at the junior commissioned officer level, so these women become examples for others.”

A survey conducted by his office last year identified the priority areas for training and capacity-building, in descending order, as they relate to pre-deployment training, lessons learned, deployment, sustainment, force generation, and rotation. “Addressing systemic capacities will make a massive difference,” he said. “There are cost-light opportunities, where a small amount of niche experience will make a big difference.”

Kristina Zetterlund, Counsellor, Civilian Adviser of the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN, said that increasing the number of women peacekeepers should be prioritized.  “Peacekeeping operations must have a gender lens. Training on this means ensuring there is an understanding of the different needs, interests, and opportunities of girls and women and boys and men on planning and implementing tasks in the field.” Asserting that “more inclusive processes make for more sustainable results,” Ms. Zetterlund said that missions should work on “gender mainstreaming with a long-term view, making sure efforts are sustainable, even after missions transition.”

Michael L. Smith, Director, Office of Global Programs and Initiatives, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, US Department of State, outlined the US Global Peace Operations (GPO) initiative and the direct link between its provisions for capacity building and UN force generation efforts. “Our process for assessing and prioritizing training, equipping or other assistance requests has evolved with the establishment of the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) groups. We require all new assistance be linked to a capability pledge in PCRS. Formally registering a pledge requires demonstrating political commitment, which helps ensure that our assistance packages are supporting a viable, deployable capability.” Mr. Smith said the GPO promotes ongoing “full training capability,” and he stressed that “pre-deployment training alone will not produce an effective peacekeeping unit without an upstream military education system to develop core staff and soldier skills. This needs to exist within a broader structure of human resources, financial resources, and logistics.” He detailed a three-tiered monitoring and evaluation framework, based on “outputs, outcomes, and impacts. It’s more of an art than a science because it relies on anecdotal analysis, mission reporting by the UN, external organizations, and our own mission visits.”

Fumio Yamazaki, Director, International Peace and Security Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, discussed progress made under the Triangular Partnership Project (TPP), which was an outcome of the 2014 UN peacekeeping summit. Under TPP, supporting member states provide trainers, equipment and funds required for the training of TCC/PCCs’ uniformed personnel while the UN coordinates and manages the overall program. Mr. Yamazaki said that 40 percent of the TCC/PCCs now participated in the program. “It’s important for the TCC/PCCs to build their own capacity, and the key to success is the political decision by a TCC/PCC to use and train its forces for UN peacekeeping.”

Dawit Yirga, Director, International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said that improving training and capacity building was very important to his country, which is a leading contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping.  “We have in Ethiopia an international peacekeeping training center which fills crucial gaps in training and capacity building in Ethiopia and other African countries. We work with bilateral, regional, and international partners in this regard, particularly Japan and Indonesia, and we hope to develop the center as having a niche in organizing integrated training programs that enable us to deploy able personnel.”

Namie Di Razza, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Protection of Civilians, moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Gender Trainings in International Peace and Security: Toward a More Effective Approach

Mon, 20/07/2020 - 23:32

As more and more states and organizations adopt a gendered approach to international policy, trainings on how to conduct gender-based analysis and integrate gender perspectives into policies and programming have proliferated. But despite this increase in gender trainings, it remains unclear how effective they have been due to challenges related to their design, delivery, targeting, and evaluation.

After mapping the ecosystem of gender trainings in the realm of international peace and security, this issue brief unpacks each of these challenges. It concludes with a set of recommendations for improving gender trainings, suggesting that those designing gender trainings should consider the following:

  • Conducting a preliminary needs assessment to adapt trainings to their audience;
  • Soliciting feedback at every stage of the training, including “live” feedback during the training;
  • Grounding training in local contexts and providing evidence to back up claims; and,
  • Generating self-reflection by both participants and trainers during evaluations.


From Local to Global: Building on What Works to Spur Progress on the 2030 Agenda

Thu, 16/07/2020 - 16:45
Event Video: English | French 

jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery("#isloaderfor-lgrdhr").fadeOut(2000, function () { jQuery(".pagwrap-lgrdhr").fadeIn(1000);});});

Despite advances in some areas of sustainable development, countries around the world are still not on track to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implement the 2030 Agenda. As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes more and more important to renew the multilateral cooperation around the SDGs, but a major challenge to doing so is the disconnect between the local, national, regional, and global levels.

On July 16th, the International Peace Institute (IPI)—in collaboration with the government of The Gambia and the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, along with the governments of Japan, and Switzerland—addressed this question with a virtual interactive discussion and launch of a report on how to design locally led strategies for the 2030 Agenda entitled Localizing the 2030 Agenda in West Africa: Building on What Works (available in French and English).

The meeting followed up on one held last October in Banjul, and Mamadou Tangara, the Gambian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the Banjul Forum had made clear the importance of inclusive engagement and multilateral cooperation around the SDGs. “The process must include actors at various levels of the development process. As the famous African proverb goes: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Mr. Tangara praised UN Secretary- General António Guterres for his “build back better” pledges to go beyond just restoring the UN in the post-COVID period but making sure it was more effective than before. “If there could be anything like a bright side to the pandemic, it is that it has shown us the resilience of the UN spirit in the face of adversity,” he said. “If we are to succeed in localizing the 2030 Agenda, we must possess this spirit of resilience. Better communities make better countries. Better countries make better regions. And better regions create a better world. It all starts with our communities.”

Read his full remarks here.

Munyaradzi Chenje, UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) Regional Director for Africa, said the word “local” was key to successfully implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and to combating the effects of the COVID-19 virus. “We build from the ground up and not the other way around,” he said. “Local means data and information on where everyone is, knowing those who have been left behind, those at risk of being thrown back into poverty and vulnerability because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the young adults… Our success will hinge upon empowered communities as a driving force with national, regional, and sub-regional partners.”

Also emphasizing the importance of building up from the local level was Tamba John Sylvanus Lamina, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in Sierra Leone. “Sierra Leone is in the midst of a pandemic, and that speaks to the issue of how we should use home grown methods to help achieve the goals. The more we focus our attention on the issues and ensuring that people have buy-in, especially at the local level, then the more progress we’ll make as a nation.”

He said that in the aftermath of its civil war, Sierra Leone had created a “People’s Planning Process ” which it is now taking forward in implementing its national development plan. “Consultations were done all over the country to formulate that document, and after that, we moved around the communities for validation of that document to find out what the communities wanted to prioritize.” One of the priorities that emerged from that consultation was an emphasis on education, and particularly secondary school courses in science for girls. “Moving forward, the people’s participatory framework is a social mobilization tool where people sit together and discuss issues together as we would in our traditional homes around the fireplace.”

Georges Ki-Zerbo, World Health Organization Representative in Guinea, spoke about the localization of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Guinea. “Two days ago, I was in the municipality of Kaloum in Conakry, and the Kaloum mayor, who was with us at the Banjul Forum, the Minister of Communication, and religious leaders from Conakry joined in to discuss how to best strengthen community engagement in stopping COVID-19. I learned from that discussion that by engaging communities at the district level, the Kaloum municipality was able to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections from 380 to five cases in just a few weeks. This amazing local success was possible through engaging the elders, religious leaders, and women’s and youth associations who went around with the medical teams, promoting face masks and helping families with food, hygiene kits and other commodities. This is a success story, and it shows that we can leverage community networks for responses to scale up the COVID-19 responses and improve social protection and development.”

Noting that as part of commemorating the UN’S 75TH birthday, this year had been designated a year for “listening,” he declared, “Listening will be key for localizing the SDGs and leaving no one behind. In addition to listening locally, we need to work better across borders, not only geographical borders, but also cultural, religious, gender, and age group borders to rebuild after COVID-19 so that we can have the unique ability to innovate.”

“With the added challenge of COVID-19, it is evident that we must consider the decade of acceleration towards the SDGs with the highest possible level of humility, gravitas, and resolve,” Mr. Ki-Zerbo said.

Raheemat Omoro Momodu, Head of Human Security and Civil Society Division, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Division, said that in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis people would be expecting more from their states and governments. “And that’s how ECOWAS will become more relevant,” she said. “We are going to see greater relevance of intergovernmental organizations.”

As a consequence, Ms. Momodu said, ECOWAS had mainstreamed its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “ECOWAS will need to re -strategize, innovate, and reform to be a better fit for a redefined course in a post-COVID world. We need to reexamine our approaches, listen more and get more connected to the local community. We need to start the local transformation in such a way that we are informed by what the local needs are.” As part of that transformation, she said, ECOWAS was promoting community-based economic growth “so that people at that level can survive day by day.”

Dominique Favre, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN, noted that in his country the 2030 Agenda was applied at both the federal and cantonal level. “At the international level, Switzerland is promulgating the same approach regarding all levels of actors for implementation of the agenda, including the local level, civil society, and public authorities. Local partners are priority partners. It’s indeed at the local level that solutions are lived. It’s at the local level that leaving no one behind seems most personal and applicable. ”

Nérida N.M. Batista Fonseca, CEO of Innovation, SARL, in Guinea- Bissau, said that the greatest needs in her country were upgrading the health and education systems and thereby helping young people, who make up 64% of the population. She said that civil society organizations and the private sector could help in several key areas like agriculture. “Our country relies on agriculture mainly so we need to create new entrepreneurs who can collaborate and work within certain areas to meet the needs of the population.

The biggest problem was political, Ms. Fonseca said, because there were frequent changes of government and consequently little stability in the country’s institutions. Also, there was little interaction between the private sector and the UN. Accordingly, she said, “we will only be able to continue the work if we create a commission on sustainable development with innovators from all sector of society that remains a constant platform that withstands the political upheavals.The training of people is crucial because it helps their inclusion in the work force. And we need to support the female entrepreneurs as well if we really want to achieve the 2030 Agenda.”

The authors of the report are Jimena Leiva Roesch, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of the Peace and Sustainable Development Program, and Masooma Rahmaty, IPI Policy Analyst for the Peace and Sustainable Development and Women, Peace, and Security programs.

Citing highlights of the report, Ms. Leiva Roesch said it contemplated a more “people-centered and context specific” approach to putting the SDGs into effect. “We can’t think that we’re going to parachute the SDGs into a local context and just think that municipalities will follow. The 2030 Agenda needs to be perceived as a flexible format that allows for greater inclusion and participation. It’s like opening a door so we can all speak a common language, the SDGs language.”

She also questioned approaches taking up the SDGs in a siloed manner. “The SDGs were designed as a tapestry of connections, so once you focus solely on a specific SDG, the tapestry falls apart and you lose the complexity of the framework. If you’ve ever seen the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, shrinking the SDGs from the national to the sub-national level makes it less overwhelming to tackle the SDGs from a local level, but it hopefully becomes less overwhelming when it’s beyond the national level to the subnational but still keeps the holistic nature of the framework.”

Ms. Leiva Roesch recalled that at last year’s Banjul Forum, the seating was designed to be “non-hierarchal,” with ministers mixed in with local leaders and municipal figures. “What happened there is that national representatives had an ‘aha’ moment where they realized that they had so many resources at home, that there were so many initiatives happening within. We should become aware that there’s a lot more inside than we originally thought. For international actors, it has to be a more humbling process. When you’re trying to localize the SDGs, there’s already so much inside that we have to build on what’s there already.” With COVID-19, this way of working becomes more relevant and urgent than ever.

In brief comments, Alex Konteh, a municipal authority leader from Sierra Leone who participated in the Banjul Forum, asserted that “we must prioritize local cultures as the yardstick of measurement for the realization of the SDGs.”

In concluding remarks, Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, said the SDGs were “widely promoted” in his country and embodied Japan’s commitment to the “human security agenda,” something he said had become even more relevant with the COVID-19 pandemic. He termed it “politically important to include the concept of human security in the process of localizing the SDGs.”

Ms. Leiva Roesch moderated the discussion.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: none; bottom: 0px;} h1.entry-title {font-size: 1.8em;}

Multilateralism Under Fire: A Conversation with Adam Lupel and Peter Yeo

Wed, 15/07/2020 - 17:24

Event Video: 
Download Transcript

“What’s true is that a world organized by multilateral cooperation is a more just world order based upon sovereign equality of states, the rule of law, the practice of diplomacy, and not ‘might makes right’ in which a strong country can simply take territory from another country, as we saw for all of human history, up until the 20th century,” said Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President, during an event hosted by the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA).

He added, “This is important for small countries, though the strong countries also have an interest in this system, because we all have an interest in peace, and there is no doubt statistically that interstate war has been [on] a dramatic decline since the creation of the UN.”

Dr. Lupel spoke extensively on multilateralism during a conversation with Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Organization, on July 15, 2020, at an event moderated by Rachel Pittman, Executive Director of UNA-USA.

“I think today’s context of a pandemic is a real case in point,” Dr. Lupel pointed out. “This is a global phenomenon and even the strongest country in the world can’t handle it in isolation—it’s something that we need cooperation to handle.”

“Also, it’s only through multilateral cooperation that we can aspire to do the really big things—end poverty, feed the world, combat climate change, advance human rights—things that we’re looking to do on a global scale,” he said. “And this uncertainty has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and evident divisions in the multilateral system that has made a globally coordinated response so difficult.”

In response to a question about nationalism, Dr. Lupel said, “If nationalism means isolationism and go-it-alone, it is a problem from an international perspective because it won’t lead to a safer, more secure and more prosperous nation. It will actually lead to an impoverished and more insecure nation, because there are a host of problems that can only be addressed through both cooperation and the pursuit of national interests.”

Dr. Lupel noted that the multilateral system is not just about the UN Security Council but also relates to real technical cooperation—civil aviation, the Universal Postal Union, telecommunications—”all these things have multilateral mechanisms that ease the way for us to do things that are very common, but actually would be very difficult if we didn’t cooperate internationally,” he said.

He recalled that the conversation in the lead up to the UN’s 75th anniversary “is more future-oriented. It is about recognizing global transformations and the uncertainty regarding where the international system is heading.

“Many people are beginning to speak about this moment as one of two things for the international system. It is either a moment in which long-term trends are simply being accelerated: geopolitical division, inequality, rising nationalism. Or it is a fork in the road, where we can make real change, and change direction.”

Dr. Lupel said it is likely a bit of both, “but what is clear is that the decisions being made today will have profound consequences.”

He added, “So to the extent that ‘Multilateralism is under Fire,’ organizations like the UNA-USA and IPI have a great task ahead of them to work against those trends that threaten multilateral approaches and work to improve efforts at international cooperation.”

Localizing the 2030 Agenda in West Africa: Building on What Works

Thu, 09/07/2020 - 21:01

Take the Quiz

Despite advancement in some areas, countries around the world are still not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The transformation needed to achieve these goals depends on innovation and initiatives that build on existing capacities and fit the needs of local contexts, yet the 2030 Agenda remains largely unknown at the local level. Therefore, a key avenue for progress is to move the focus below the national level to the subnational level, including cities and communities.

Toward this end, together with partners including the UN Trust Fund for Human Security and the Government of The Gambia, the International Peace Institute hosted a forum in Banjul on “Localizing the 2030 Agenda: Building on What Works” in October 2019. This forum provided a platform for learning and sharing among a diverse group of stakeholders, including government officials from both the national and municipal levels, UN resident coordinators, and civil society representatives.

Drawing on the discussions at the forum, this report highlights the path some West African countries have taken toward developing locally-led strategies for implementing the 2030 Agenda. It focuses in particular on four key factors for these strategies: ownership across all levels of society; decentralization; coordination, integration, and alignment; and mobilization of resources to support implementation at the local level.

For more information related to IPI’s work during the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, see here.

.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche {background: rgba(28, 53, 94, 0.6);}
.content .main .entry-header.w-thumbnail .cartouche .entry-meta .byline {color: whitesmoke;}