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Updated: 1 month 2 days ago

Meaningful Inclusion of Young People as Drivers of Peace

Tue, 09/04/2019 - 21:00

On April 9th, IPI together with the Office of the President of the General Assembly, the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, the United Nations Population Fund, Peace Direct, and Interpeace, cohosted a policy forum to discuss the role of young people as drivers of peace and how international actors can advance meaningful participation and inclusion of young people.

Watch the broadcast in French

Meaningful political, social and economic inclusion is a complex and core issue at the heart of the Youth Peace and Security agenda. The challenge, however, is what constitutes meaningful political inclusion and participation of young people, and how can this be undertaken to prevent violence and sustain peace.

Contributing to sustaining peace, and preventing the outbreak, continuation, escalation and recurrence of violence requires expansion of young people’s roles and engagement in formal and informal political processes and institutions. It demands attention to improve young people’s roles in decision-making processes that directly impact their lives, and their relationships with their communities and the state.

The Youth, Peace and Security agenda, laid out in Security Council Resolution 2250, and the Independent Progress Study on Youth Peace and Security debunks negative assumptions about youth in peace and security, underlines the capacity youth have to participate in meaningful peacebuilding and nonviolent action in their communities and countries and highlights several recommendations on how to advance inclusion broadly. As member states and the United Nations move towards implementation of the youth agenda and recommendation, it is important to reflect what work is being done by young people on the ground, how they want to work with international actors as well as what meaningful inclusion means to them and what accountability looks like in this implementation.

Welcoming remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Institute

Opening remarks:
H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President, UN General Assembly
Mr. Dereje Wordofa, ASG and Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA

Mr. Moussa Tolo, President, Allô Gouvernance
Mr. Graeme Simpson, Principal US Representative and Senior Peacebuilding Advisor, Interpeace USA
Ms. Vanessa Wyeth, Senior Political and Public Affairs Officer (Peacebuilding), Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
Mr. Adil Skalli, program manager, UN Association of Canada

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

Rød-Larsen: For Israel and the Palestinians, Two State Solution Still “The Only Way”

Mon, 08/04/2019 - 18:33

“The two state solution I do profoundly believe is the only way,” IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen told a World Economic Forum gathering in Jordan on April 7th assessing the difficulties facing the stalled peace process in the Middle East. He added, “By force of history, it will happen, but it might take a very long time.”

Describing himself as both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli, he said, “I think the one state solution would be a disaster for the Palestinians and a disaster for the Israelis.”

Mr. Rød-Larsen made his remarks in a panel discussion on the eve of elections in Israel in which the possibility of annexation of the West Bank and movement towards a unitary Israeli state has come up for debate.

He was speaking in response to a question from Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, who asked, “Is the two state solution dead?”

Others on the panel were Saeb Erekat, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization of the Palestinian National Assembly; Dalia Dassa Kaye, Director, Center for Middle East Public Policy, RAND Corporation USA, and Michael Herzog, International Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Israel.

As part of his long career as a diplomat and peacemaker, Mr. Rød-Larsen served from 1999 to December 2004 as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, holding the rank of Under-Secretary-General.

Watch full event video:

A Conversation with H. E. Mr. Khaled H. Alyemany, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen

Mon, 08/04/2019 - 16:46

On Thursday, April 11th, IPI is hosting a Global Leaders Series presentation featuring H.E. Mr. Khaled H. Alyemany, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen.

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

In January 1991, H.E. Mr. Khaled H. Alyemany joined the foreign service as the editor of private publications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Press and Information. He subsequently served as an expert in the Foreign Minister’s Office overseeing Yemeni-African relations and as the assistant and private secretary in the Foreign Minister’s Office overseeing Yemeni-American relations (USA, Canada, and Cuba), as well as counterterrorism.

H.E. Mr. Alyemany served in four oversees posts: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1997- 2000); Washington DC, USA (2000-2003), where he was a political and press officer; London, UK (2005-2009), as deputy chief of mission; and New York, USA (2009-2010), as the chief negotiator during Yemen’s chairmanship of the “Group of 77.” Between 2011 and 2013, he served in Sana’a as deputy director, and then as director, of the Foreign Minister’s Office. In 2013, he returned to New York as a deputy permanent representative until he was confirmed as a permanent representative in December 2014. He served as the deputy president of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015, and deputy chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Bureau in the United Nations from 2016 until his appointment as foreign minister in May 2018.

H.E. Mr. Khaled H. Alyemany, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen

Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Institute

Incorporating Gender into UN Senior Leadership Training

Tue, 02/04/2019 - 17:29

Comprehensive leadership training is necessary to ensure that peace operations are effective and that senior leaders are prepared for both the daily challenges and the inevitable crises of peacekeeping. A gender perspective is of central importance to such training. However, gender considerations—from gendered conflict analysis to recognition of who is in the room when decisions are made—remain poorly understood at a practical level, including among senior mission leaders.

This issue brief discusses what it means to apply a “gender perspective” and the importance of such a perspective for senior leaders to effectively implement mission mandates. It provides an overview of existing gender-related training and preparation techniques for senior leaders, including gaps. It concludes with a series of recommendations on how trainings and approaches to senior leadership training can better reflect these considerations:

  • The current status of gender training for senior leaders should be assessed.
  • Facilitators of trainings should ensure that their curricula address and respond to a peacekeeping workspace dominated by men.
  • Facilitators should be aware that leaders often think they do not need training.
  • Trainings for senior leaders should be designed to reflect the complexity of implementing women, peace, and security obligations in a mission.
  • Efforts to ensure gender parity in senior mission leadership should be strengthened.
  • Gender advisers should be included as formal members of a mission’s crisis management team and play an active role in decision-making bodies.
  • Facilitators should understand the gender dimensions of a given training scenario and be aware of the gender balance among participants.
  • The UN should develop resources for leaders, including key documents and guidance on understanding the gender dimensions of their mission.


Water in Armed Conflicts

Fri, 22/03/2019 - 20:00

On March 22nd, IPI together with the Geneva Water Hub (a global center of the University of Geneva), UNICEF, and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN cohosted a policy forum event on Water in Armed Conflicts.

Armed conflicts affect access to safe water in several ways: destruction of and damage to water facilities, attacks against power plants providing energy to water supply networks, and the collapse of water treatment plants and sewage systems are some of the examples. Water supply systems fail, supply lines are deliberately sabotaged, or water resources are poisoned to intimidate civilians. It takes months to repair and restore essential service infrastructure once it has been damaged. In the meantime, civilians are displaced, agricultural activities are brought to a halt, and epidemics can spread. Various organizations are increasingly bringing into the spotlight the severe consequences of armed conflicts on access to water for the civilian population.

At this policy forum, experts presented and discussed the Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure and the UNICEF Advocacy Alert to stimulate international cooperation to overcome the obstacles posed by armed conflicts to accessing water.

Opening remarks:
Hon. Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister, Australia, Chair of the IPI Board of Directors

H.E. Dr. Danilo Türk, Former President of the Republic of Slovenia, Chairman of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace and Lead Political Advisor of the Geneva Water Hub
Prof. Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, Full Professor, Geneva Water Hub and Member of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace
Ms. Sandra Pellegrom, Head of Development, Humanitarian Affairs and Human Rights, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN
Mr. Hamish Young, Chief, Humanitarian Action and Transitions Section, UNICEF

Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Institute

Nigeria and South Africa: Regional Dynamics in a Changing World

Fri, 22/03/2019 - 16:39

On Friday, March 29th, IPI together with the University of Johannesburg are cohosting a policy forum on Nigeria and South Africa: Regional Dynamics in a Changing World. Professor Adekeye Adebajo will offer his analysis on regional challenges and opportunities following the presidential elections in Nigeria and ahead of the parliamentary elections in South Africa. Professor Sarah Lockwood will offer commentary following Professor Adebajo’s remarks.

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

Nigeria and South Africa have led many conflict-management initiatives over the last twenty-five years. Both account for at least 60 percent of the economy of their respective sub-regions in West and Southern Africa. The success of political and economic integration in Africa thus rests heavily on the shoulders of these two regional powers.

Professor Adekeye Adebajo will also provide insights into the history of the two countries and the relations between them, as well as discuss further findings and reflections following the publication of his most recent book of essays entitled The Eagle and the Springbok: Essays on Nigeria and South Africa.

Dr. Adekeye Adebajo was the director of the Africa Program at the International Peace Institute in New York from 2000 to 2004 and served on UN missions in South Africa, Western Sahara, and Iraq. He was the Executive Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution from 2004 to 2018. He is currently a Professor at the University of Johannesburg and Director of their Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation.

Professor Sarah Lockwood is a political scientist currently completing her PhD in African Studies and Government at Harvard University.

Prof. Adekeye Adebajo, Director, Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation, University of Johannesburg

Prof. Sarah J. Lockwood, Presidential Scholar, Harvard University, Senior Consultant, Menas Associates

Amb. John Hirsch, IPI Senior Adviser

The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World

Fri, 22/03/2019 - 16:12

On Thursday, March 28th, IPI is hosting a Distinguished Author Series event featuring Robert Kagan, author of The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World. The conversation will be moderated by IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations Warren Hoge.

Remarks will begin at 3:20pm PST / 6:20pm EST

Recent years have brought deeply disturbing developments around the globe, from declining democracy to growing geopolitical competition. American sentiment seems to be leaning increasingly toward going it alone or withdrawing in the face of such disarray. In The Jungle Grows Back, America and Our Imperiled World, Robert Kagan issues an urgent warning that such a unilateral retreat by America would be the worst possible response, one based on a fundamental misreading of the world. Contrary to those who believe that there is an “end of history”—that progress is inevitable and the relative freedom, prosperity, and general peace the world has known for the past seventy years will continue naturally—the historical norm has always been toward chaos. Should the United States continue to withdraw as a global power, Kagan argues, the anarchic international system will undermine and overwhelm the liberal world order as we know it. In short, the jungle will always grow back, if we let it.

Implementing Action for Peacekeeping: Troop Contributing Countries as Key Stakeholders

Thu, 21/03/2019 - 19:58

On Wednesday, March 27th, IPI is hosting a speaker series event featuring H.E. Mr. Paul Kehoe and H.E. Mr. Inia Seruiratu on the topic of “Implementing Action for Peacekeeping: Troop Contributing Countries as key stakeholders.”

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

The presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion, which will include H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Ireland and H.E. Mr. Satyendra Prasad, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Fiji.

H.E. Mr. Paul Kehoe was appointed Minister with Responsibility for Defence in June 2017. He previously served as the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of the Prime Minister and the Department of Defence. Mr. Kehoe has also been a Parliamentarian for County Wexford since he was first elected to the Dáil in May 2002.

H.E. Mr. Inia Batikoto Seruiratu is a Fijian politician and member of the Parliament of Fiji for the Fiji First Party. He is the Minister for Defence and National Security of Fiji and, since January 2019, also serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Keynote speakers:
H.E. Mr. Paul Kehoe, Minister for Defence of Ireland
H.E. Mr. Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Defence, National Security & Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Fiji

Mr. Jake Sherman, Director of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace and Security

Wed, 20/03/2019 - 17:24
Event Video: 

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Karin Landgren, the Executive Director of Security Council Report and the first woman to have led three United Nations peace operations, was talking about her 35 years of experience at the UN working with men and how to make that partnership more effective in the future.

“I’m convinced that men hear other men more effectively than they hear women,” she said. “Like it or not, the world over, there seems to be widespread male discounting of truth spoken in a female voice. One way forward is more female voices, but for now it galls me, if we want effective communication and outreach, there need to be more male voices not simply relating the evidence but persuading others at a more visceral level of the value of women holding power.”

Ms. Landgren was addressing a policy forum on Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace and Security held at IPI on March 20 and co-sponsored by Our Secure Future.

Sounding a similar note was Ana Maria Menéndez, Senior Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Policy, who said, “Male allies use their power to provide a platform to amplify the voices of women.” She said the broad goal was to have “more women leading their communities, changing the face of the security sector and having an equal say in how we reconstruct societies, how we heal from conflict, and how we prevent it in the first place.” She added: “We’re not even close.”

IPI Senior Fellow Sarah Taylor said, “If we are going to move forward on the core of the women, peace and security agenda and everything that means, on ensuring that this is recognized and implemented as a universal agenda, then these difficult tasks are necessary tasks, tasks to be done in a considered, even humble, and certainly in a feminist way.”

Fatima Kadhim Al-Bahadly, Director of the Al-Firdaws Society in Basra, Iraq, spoke of how she worked to deradicalize young boys in her country through social cohesion campaigns on peace and coexistence and warned of the consequences of inaction. “Ignoring women and children will expand the base of extremism and violence all over again and will help establish new extremist organizations,” she said.

Donald Steinberg, the executive director of Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace and Security, said the failure to involve women at all levels of leadership constituted “an emergency. And it requires nothing less than a wholesale reordering of our male-dominated global security priorities.  There has been impressive progress on international norms and practices…but our success can’t be measured on how many Security Council resolutions we pass, how many national action plans we adopt, or even now many women have served in peace processes. Instead our success will be measured by whether these peace processes can actually bring just and lasting ends to conflict.

Several speakers reported instances of “push back” from men resisting advances by women. “If I ever broached the idea of quotas for women, as I sometimes did,” said Ms. Landgren “even my extremely reasonable male friends would—metaphorically speaking—reach for their revolvers and start to talk about ‘lowering standards,’ as if current selection processes for male leaders are all about high standards,” she remarked, in a comment that drew knowing laughter.

She acknowledged the fear that men, if given the opportunity, might try to wrest leadership from women and the reality that “women can be reluctant to propel themselves to front lines.” But she asserted: “We need both men and women to pull other women into leadership roles.”

Mirsad “Miki” Jacevic, Vice Chair of the Institute for Inclusive Security, expressed impatience with those calling for more study of the issue. “The news I have for those who say we need more research, we’ve researched enough. We have enough case studies and data. We just need to now translate this into making this happen. I recognize the push back, but I think we need to recognize the enormous power of the potential that women have from letting war take even more lives.”

Noting that gender inequality impacts us all negatively, IPI Vice President Adam Lupel cited the findings of research by Valerie M. Hudson of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University that showed that the best predictor of a country’s peacefulness is not its economic status, nor its level of democracy nor its religious or ethnic composition, but how well its women are treated. “It’s not just about the rights of women,” he said, “but a more peaceful and prosperous world for everyone.”

Sahana Dharmapuri, Director of Our Secure Future, said that to further her organization’s mission of strengthening the women, peace and security movement, she was looking for strategic entry points. “There can be nothing more strategic than leveraging the principles of partnership and equality,” she said.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, a former UN Undersecretary-General and High Representative, alluded to the necessity of including women in furthering the peace agenda. “Half of humanity bring a new breadth, quality, and balance of vision to our common efforts to move away from the cult of war towards the culture of peace,” he said. “Women’s equality makes our planet safe and secure…If we are serious about peace, we must take women seriously.”

The discussion was moderated by IPI Senior Fellow Sarah Taylor.

Feminist Leadership at the UN

Thu, 14/03/2019 - 20:00

On March 14th, IPI together with the International Center for the Research on Women, the Feminist U.N Campaign and Save The Children cohosted a policy forum to discuss Feminist Leadership at the UN.

Secretary-General António Guterres took office in January 2017 amid unprecedented public and member state demand for feminist leadership of the United Nations. Member states coalesced in platforms advocating for such shifts in leadership, and the Feminist UN Campaign emerged from that political moment. Now, two years into the SG’s term, the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) presents an ideal background for member states, civil society and the Executive Office of the Secretary-General to be in conversation about the current state of feminist leadership and progress advancing gender equality at the UN.

The Women, Peace and Security lens provides a useful case study for measuring progress in this regard. Despite two decades of women, peace and security policy development and commitments, women’s participation at “all levels of decision-making” lags due to structural barriers, lack of access to political arenas, and even threats to women who attempt to participate in these processes. In efforts to build and sustain peace, there remains widespread neglect of local-level women peace builders’ expertise, and formal peacemaking efforts continue to be resistant to women’s meaningful participation and rights implementation. However, member states and the UN have taken steps to address barriers to women’s leadership, such as in highlighting national-level feminist policies and launching a UN-wide gender parity strategy. The election of a new Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2016 provided an important opportunity to ensure that the United Nations implements an agenda that puts gender equality and women’s rights at the heart of everything it does.

This event amplified perspectives on progress as well as remaining challenges to removing barriers to gender equality and feminist leadership at national, regional and global levels, including discussion with experts from member states, UN leadership, and civil society.

Opening remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, Vice President, International Peace Institute
Ms. Katja Pehrman, Senior Advisor, UN Women

Ms. Ulrika Grandin, Senior Advisor, Feminist Foreign Policy, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Ms. Nahla Valji, Senior Gender Adviser, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
Ms. Lyric Thompson, Director of Policy and Advocacy, ICRW, and author of Feminist UN Campaign report card
Ms. Nora O’Connell, Associate Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy, Save The Children

Dr. Sarah Taylor, Senior Fellow, International Peace Institute

Women, War, and Peace

Thu, 14/03/2019 - 03:09
Event Video: 

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On March 13th, IPI and Peace is Loud co-hosted a policy forum on women’s participation in peace negotiations and peacekeeping, featuring a screening of two scenes from the new PBS documentary film series Women, War and Peace II. Filmmakers and prominent women peacemakers took part in a discussion on the two films.

In welcoming remarks, Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, credited the filmmakers for “surfacing the reality of women’s lives in relation to the very narrow vision we get shown.” She spoke of how in her own work she had seen women “doing things so great with no recognition. These films, she said, recast historical narratives of war and peace to include women and helped to eliminate the notion that all men are violent. “Men and women can build peace together against forces of violence,” she said, and argued that this message could help inform a future of sustained peace.

The first film was on the Northern Ireland peace process and called Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs. Monica McWilliams, Co-Founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and a negotiator of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, told the story of the group’s formation. In the decision, early on, as to whether to push forward and enter peace talks as women, a voice shouted out, “It’s time to wave goodbye to dinosaurs,” and with that, they launched a political party under this name. “We were ordinary women who fell into extraordinary times,” she said of the group. “Men felt that they were going to be shot. Women often felt, ‘We will reach out because what’s happening to our children is incredibly dangerous.’”

She reflected on what she had learned in this process and what she would have done differently, and pointed out how men in the peace talks were deeply influenced by their tradition of never talking to their opponents. “Reaching an accommodation is a strength and not a weakness,” she said. “Talking to your enemies is a strength and not a weakness. We were asked, ‘where did these women come from?’ We had been around for 25 years.”

Ms. McWilliams emphasized the need for civil society to be involved before, during, and after peace talks, because “what’s promised needs to get enforced.” After being told to go home once the peace treaty was signed, she noted instead the necessity of long-term persistence that ensures women’s participation in future negotiations. Her advice to negotiators was to “always think of the day after.”

Ms. McWilliam’s story inspired Eimhear O’Neill to direct the film Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs. She referenced the famous quote by the Irish civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin, that “it’s not that women get written out of history; it’s that they never get written in.” Ms. O’Neill said that her aim in creating the documentary was to reverse that. “In order to affect change, you have to expose your identity…You have to say no and you have to ask and demand that change can happen. I think wherever you are in the world, where you can wave goodbye to dinosaurs, you should, and where you haven’t been able to just yet, start waving.

Geeta Gandbhir, director of the second film, A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, said she had been troubled by the simplistic portrayal of Muslim women in the media. She wanted to show a new vision, rather than the one-dimensional image of them as victims, voiceless, or as aiding and abetting extremist groups and terrorists.

The documentary centers on the all-women Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit that was sent to Haiti during the cholera epidemic. Not only did she note the effect that women in peacekeeping had on the host community, but also the personal growth that peacekeeping afforded the women themselves, emboldening them to combat patriarchy, not least by giving them financial stability.

“We understood that having women in peacekeeping forces and participating in the process could empower women in the host community…They could help make the peacekeeping force more approachable to the women in the community. They were able to assist and aid survivors of gender-based violence, they were also able to interact in societies where women were prevented from speaking to men. They provided role models, a greater sense of security to local populations, including women and children.” When met with pushback by the local community, they responded differently than male peacekeepers had, said Ms. Gandbhir. They “realized the basis of anger and frustration was often about systemic poverty and corruption that was implicit. In some ways their response to protests and people being hostile towards them was met with understanding.”

In addition, she said, they cultivated trust of the United Nations within the community. “When male peacekeepers patrolled camps, women and children would go inside and not come out. And when the women patrolled the camps, the women and children would come out and follow them and walk through the camps with them, and want to hold their hands, and want to talk to them. And after a while the women would sometimes bring little treats for the children, they would try to interact with them. They would play games with them. It was…inspiring for us to see,” Ms. Gandbhir said.

The women peacekeepers also derived benefits for themselves. “Women themselves were able to broaden their skills and capacity and bring some of what they learned home,” she said. “They also experienced a freedom that they did not have at home: they were able to bond with each other, work together, they were given responsibilities that they didn’t have at home. Some were happy to be free of the burden of childcare and cooking. For them that was a joyful thing even though they missed their families terribly. Financially, the money they made from mission was three times what they made at home. So they were effectively the breadwinners, they were able to support their families and became role models for their own children.”

Witnessing these clear examples of emboldened women showcased the positive impact of women’s involvement, said Nahla Valji, Senior Gender Advisor in the Executive Office in the Secretary-General of the UN. “The power of these movies [is that] …until you see relationships being built in front of you, I don’t think we fully understand the impact that we can have through women’s participation.” The ways in which we view women in action alters our definition of effective leadership, she said. “It role models a different way of being. It also brings 50 percent of the world’s population and their diverse perspectives to the table.”

Ms. O’Neill said she was “delighted” that the media was now capturing the voices of the young women. “The more examples we have of other women who’ve done it, the more confident we feel. I often feel like we need permission to step forward. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission internally. It’s about feeling confident, it’s about feeling safe, that you can step forward. Increasingly younger women are starting to talk about that.”

IPI Vice President Adam Lupel gave opening remarks, and Senior Fellow Sarah Taylor moderated.

IPI Live Events During CSW63

Thu, 07/03/2019 - 21:59

Wednesday, March 13, 6:15pm EST
Film Discussion: Women, War, and Peace II
This event will focus on two of the four films that make up the Women, War & Peace II PBS documentary film series: Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs and A Journey of a Thousand Miles.

Watch Live Register to Attend

Thursday, March 14, 1:15pm EST
Feminist Leadership at the UN
This event will amplify perspectives on progress as well as remaining challenges to removing barriers to gender equality and feminist leadership at national, regional and global levels.

Watch Live Register to Attend

Wednesday, March 20, 1:15pm EST
Mobilizing Men as Partners for Women, Peace and Security
Speakers at this event will discuss strategies for global leaders to reinforce and amplify the importance of inclusion.

Watch Live Register to Attend Further Reading

Policy Reports and Issue Briefs:

Global Observatory Articles:

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Bangladesh FM: Conflict Is Not Between Myanmar and Bangladesh, But Between Myanmar and Its Own Population

Fri, 01/03/2019 - 20:45
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Some 18 months after 700,000 people fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state, camps in neighboring Bangladesh are now hosting more than one million refugees. Though Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in November 2017 to a procedural framework for repatriation of these refugees—most of them Rohingyas from Rakhine state—the increased instability there has not allowed for safe, dignified, and voluntary returns.

The resulting humanitarian crisis and what to do about it was the subject of an IPI Speaker Series talk on March 1st by Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque. He opened his remarks by saying that the matter had been badly distorted.

“There has been an attempt to make the whole issue from a humanitarian crisis to a military conflict between Myanmar and Bangladesh,” Mr. Haque said. In fact, he said, “this is between Myanmar and its own nationals, the Rohingyas… it is not an interstate fight, it is an ethnic issue.”

In a briefing to the United Nations Security Council the day before, UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener had reported that the refugees in the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh find themselves in “extremely challenging temporary conditions.” And she said they would continue in danger indefinitely in the absence of moves to end violence, improve humanitarian access, probe the causes of the crisis, and promote equitable development.

Mr. Haque said that the displaced people were in deeply deforested areas, with no infrastructure and no market system even to buy necessities. “But one of the most challenging situations that we are confronted with was not with shelter, not with food, but health,” he said. “Health is an area which often creates a crisis within a crisis.”

The World Health Organization aided in getting necessary vaccines after an outbreak of diphtheria, and individual governments and local NGOs were providing health services, he said. His own government tried to help by sending in troops with health supplies, but women ran away, thinking they were Myanmar soldiers, he said. “It took two or three days to make them understand this is not the Myanmar military, they are not going to kill you, but they are going to help you.” Bangladesh subsequently tried to make sure that those providing aid were women, he said.

Mr. Haque listed three necessary steps for improvement – addressing the “root causes” of the conflict, holding perpetrators of atrocity crimes accountable, and ensuring the safety and security of minority communities, especially the Rohingyas. He added that “international pressure on Myanmar is critical.”

He said that all civilians “irrespective of religion and ethnicity must be protected in Myanmar,” and he proposed accordingly that civilian zones with no military presence be established within the country under UN supervision. He also encouraged international organizations and the UN to collect the evidence that would be needed to investigate and prosecute atrocities. “Unless you bring in the whole issue of accountability and justice,” he said, “you cannot permanently resolve this problem, you cannot ensure that next time there won’t be another exodus.”

IPI Vice President Adam Lupel, the moderator of the discussion, concluded the session, saying, “My takeaway is this really is a multi-dimensional, multi-layered, multigenerational crisis… This really is a long-term problem with very urgent short term demands, but a need for a long-term perspective on both the history and the resolution. In some ways, it’s a real good case for what we’re calling in this neighborhood the ‘triple nexus’, a crisis that is both the peace and security, development, and human rights all in one which makes it very complicated but also in some sense maps out what kind of process needs to be engaged for a resolution.”

Pursuing Coordination and Integration for the Protection of Civilians

Thu, 28/02/2019 - 16:45

In recent years, the UN and its member states have promoted comprehensive approaches and integrated structures and processes to improve coherence and consistency between political peacekeeping, humanitarian, human rights, and development efforts undertaken by the UN and its partners. For POC specifically, coordination between the military, police, and civilian components of peace operations; between peace operations and UN agencies, funds, and programs; and between the UN system and other protection actors has been pursued to maximize impact in the field. Joint planning, analysis, and action at these three levels are key to leveraging different types of expertise, tools, and responses in a holistic way in order to better prevent and respond to threats to civilians.

However, while the UN’s normative and policy frameworks provide the basis for coordination and organizational arrangements have been set up to facilitate integrated efforts at these three levels, recent developments in the peace and security sphere have reinvigorated the debate over the costs and benefits of integration. Coordination for POC has proven to be increasingly difficult in non-permissive environments where, for example, peacekeepers may be perceived as party to the armed conflict or as having too close or tense a relationship with the host state or non-state actors. Integration in such contexts has led to debates around the preservation of humanitarian space, the independence of human rights advocacy, and the security of actors too closely linked to peacekeeping efforts.

This issue brief analyzes the costs, benefits, and challenges of coordinated and integrated approaches to POC in peacekeeping contexts. It considers the added value of mission-wide and system-wide coordination for POC and concerns over comprehensive coordination between peacekeeping and humanitarian actors, which have different rationales and methodologies for protection. In a context of UN reform emphasizing prevention and political strategies, it questions the political and institutional push for more comprehensive POC strategies and reflects on the associated risks. It also offers considerations for how to coordinate and integrate multi-actor efforts in order to better protect civilians.


Mission in Transition: Planning for the End of UN Peacekeeping in Haiti

Wed, 26/12/2018 - 21:38

Number of UN troops and police authorized by the Security Council in Haiti (Click for full graphic)

The process of reconfiguring, closing, and handing over responsibilities to a UN country team or host-state institutions is a crucial—and challenging—part of the life cycle of a UN peacekeeping mission. Transitions have been a central feature of UN peacekeeping in Haiti, in particular, which has gone through numerous transitions since the 1990s. This paper focuses on the two most recent peacekeeping transitions in Haiti: one from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), or from a multidimensional peacekeeping operation involving a substantial military component to a small peace operation focused on police and rule of law; and the ongoing transition toward the closure of MINUJUSTH and preparations for the eventual handover to other actors.

For both missions, the paper focuses on three issues: (1) transition planning, including the political dynamics that influenced decision making, gaps between plans and the reality on the ground, and the limited role of the host state, UN country team, civil society, and donors; (2) management, logistical, and administrative challenges; and (3) issues related to business continuity and changes in substantive areas of work. It concludes by offering lessons learned from the past and current transitions that can inform the next drawdown and exit of peacekeepers from Haiti.

 Interview with former President of Haiti Gérard Latortue (in French)


Lessons Learned from the UN’s Transition in Côte d’Ivoire

Thu, 20/12/2018 - 22:38

UNOCI Peacekeeping Contributions (Click for full graphic).

In April 2016, after four years of progressive downsizing, the Security Council decided to close the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) within a year. This decision reflected a consensus that it was time for UNOCI to leave and hand over to the UN country team with no follow-on mission. However, the transition was abrupt, without sustained dialogue, capacity transfer, or financial fluidity, leaving the UN country team unprepared to take on the mission’s responsibilities.

This policy paper examines the political dynamics in Côte d’Ivoire and in the Security Council that led to the decision to withdraw UNOCI, as well as the stages of the withdrawal and handover. It also analyzes the gaps and shortcomings that left the country team ill-prepared to take over, highlighting two main challenges. First, the Security Council viewed the transition as a political process. Its objective of withdrawing the mission superseded all others, leading it to underestimate, if not overlook, the continued peacebuilding needs of the country. Second, the transition was accompanied by waning donor interest, undercutting programming by the country team in priority areas like reconciliation, security sector reform, human rights, and land tenure.


With World Heritage in Peril, Multilateral System Should Step In

Thu, 20/12/2018 - 21:52


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During an event in Tunis on December 13, 2018, IPI-MENA Director Nejib Friji warned against perils to world heritage and called on the international community to provide all conditions of protection and preservation.

In a statement delivered at the opening plenary session of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization’s (ALECSO) Fourth Meeting of the Liaison Officers of the Architectural and Urban Heritage Observatory in the Arab States, Mr. Friji reiterated the importance of the protection and conservation of world heritage as crucial criteria to achieve sustainable development and social peace.

Likening cultural and world heritage to a running thread that ties and weaves civilizations together, Mr. Friji highlighted the contribution of world heritage to the development of relations between countries and regions. “It thus becomes a work of cooperation and coordination, paving the environment for peaceful relations of stability and development beyond the borders and members of one community.”

Referring to the major damage incurred by radical religious groups to sites such as the old city of Mosul in Iraq or Sana’a in Yemen, he stated that “the destruction of cultural and world heritage strikes at the very foundation of a society, deliberately erasing common roots and destroying social fabric, creating a breeding ground for conflict, instability and social unrest.”

The IPI-MENA Director emphasized how the ruination of “oral traditions, museums, artifacts, temples, and statues” is detrimental to regional stability and social peace. He stated, “the destruction of cultural heritage ultimately amounts to a violation of human rights, and subsequently humanitarian law—both of which are core requirements to achieve sustainable development and peace.”

At a time when extremist groups are distorting religion and using the message of Islam as a political tool to erase cultural heritage, Mr. Friji drew attention to the significant role of religious leaders in the Islamic world. He mentioned the example of the religious representatives who convened at IPI-MENA office in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain in 2016, who called for religious leaders to unite in their condemnation of the destruction of world heritage by religious extremist groups.

Underlying the importance of involving youth, Mr. Friji stressed that “the value of our cultural heritage must become part of a national curriculum from primary schools up to universities”, and that education is a powerful tool that must be incorporated to instill a sense of common responsibility and duty within citizens.

In order to achieve sustainable development and peace, “a holistic approach that engages all relevant stakeholders: civil society, nations at the grassroots level, governments, regions, and the multilateral system” is required.

He concluded his statement during the opening plenary session by calling on all relevant stakeholders and key players locally, regionally, and internationally “to uphold, maintain and protect world heritage, to respect past generations, educate present ones, but most of all, to pass down to future generations their cultural history.” He emphasized that the collective responsibility of prevention is a mechanism to safeguard long-lasting peace.

The meeting focusing on the creation of the Observatory of Urban Architectural Heritage in Arab Countries, it was chaired by Hayat Guermazi, Director of the Cultural Department of ALESCO, and featured participants Mounir Bouchenaki, Adviser to UNESCO Director General, Consultant on the protection and conservation of world heritage, Karim Hendili, Coordinator at the World Heritage Center, UNESCO, Bilel Chebbi, ISESCO Representative and IPI MENA-Director Nejib Friji.

Mr. Friji highly commended the creation of an Observatory for Urban Architectural Heritage, highlighting the platform it creates that can allow the development of international legal frameworks that will protect civilians and the state of conflict, as well as the archeological and cultural sites.

Describing the way forward, he concluded that these recommendations “may be used to form the basis for a package of laws that may be brought up by ministers to international forums to become elements of binding international laws.”

The Mission Is Gone, but the UN Is Staying: Liberia’s Peacekeeping Transition

Tue, 18/12/2018 - 20:28

Actual and authorized number of uniformed UN personnel in Liberia, September 2003-March 2018 (Click for full graphic)

From 2003 to 2018, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was ever-present throughout the country. The peacekeeping mission’s work, and its transition out of the country, are considered positive examples of how the UN can support countries through conflict and post-conflict phases. Nevertheless, UNMIL’s transition offers many lessons that member states, UN officials, and international partners can learn in order to strengthen future UN peacekeeping transitions.

This paper examines the process of Liberia’s transition from a peacekeeping mission to a UN country team configuration, focusing on the period from July 2016 to July 2018. It identifies the political and operational dynamics that drove the transition, examines the policy processes and context within which the transition was executed, and assesses the ability of the UN’s post-mission configuration to sustain peace in Liberia.

The paper underscores that member states and the UN Secretariat should change their approach to transitions from racing against deadlines to instead viewing them as processes that begin well before a peacekeeping mission closes and continue for several years after the mission ends. By viewing transitions as long-term, multi-stakeholder activities, member states have the opportunity to ensure that future transitions adopt integrated approaches with adequate political, operational, and financial support.


Measuring Peace Through Locally Driven Everyday Peace Indicators

Thu, 13/12/2018 - 18:32
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IPI and the Carnegie Corporation of New York held a policy forum on December 13th predicated on the notion that local communities—those most directly impacted and living the realities of violent conflict—are the experts on the problems they face, and therefore should be the ones, rather than outside experts, to define what peace means in their contexts and how to measure success in achieving this peace. The UN’s Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Resolutions emphasize the prioritization of the local and ensuring that the work of the international community compliments and supports the initiatives of local actors. In order to operationalize this line of thinking there is a need for greater understanding among international peacebuilding practitioners and policymakers of the work of local peacebuilders in building and sustaining peace.

In line with this, this panel discussion focused on the role of participatory approaches to understanding what peace means in different communities and what progress in achieving this peace looks like. Specifically, this panel looked at the work of the Everyday Peace Indicators (EPI) and the upcoming book Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation after War, authored by one of the panelists, Pamina Firchow, Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.

Measurement should be based on “the needs and priorities of recipients of assistance rather than just the understandings of what outside actors and experts believe is necessary,” Dr. Firchow said. And measuring local priorities, she argued, provides the necessary statistical evidence to come up with and promote relevant policy. “Without numbers behind something, there is really no hope for advocating on its behalf. Therefore, these numbers, which are usually based on indicators, are of incredible importance.”

She explained, “The everyday indicators use existing information based on what I call indigenous technical knowledge. That is the body of knowledge generated or acquired by local people through the accumulation of everyday experiences, community interactions and trial and error that people use in their daily lives to determine whether they are more or less at peace.”

This local focus is critical for sustaining peace, she said, “since the majority of top-down attempts at measuring peace use indicators that focus primarily on violence reduction and therefore may miss important elements of what comprises the actual building of peace after war.”

Stephen Del Rosso, Program Director, International Peace and Security at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, praised Dr. Firchow’s research, saying it spoke to the concerns that his organization had in this area. “We [at the Carnegie Corporation] are particularly interested in this meddlesome question of evaluating the peacebuilding interventions that have taken place in the world, particularly given the rather spotty record of top-down approaches developed in the global north.”

Séverine Autesserre, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, commented on the approach, saying it represented a fundamental shift in strategy. “The usual international approach is to ignore these kind of local initiatives,” she said. “Instead, we should fund, protect, and support these local initiatives so that we’ve reinforced them. We need to build on local expertise, and we need to involve in the design, planning, and evaluation of international programs not only the elite based in national capitals and headquarters but also local beneficiaries, local leaders, and ordinary citizens. So to me it’s important that we involve these people in the design and in the implementation of the actual initiatives in addition to involving them in the design of monitoring and evaluation strategies.”

She cited from her upcoming new book—On the Frontlines of Peace—the example of Idjwi, an island in Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that has maintained peace in a country marked by widespread conflict. “What’s fascinating about Idjwi is that order comes not through police, cameras, guns, and ammunition but through local participation. The island is peaceful because of the active everyday involvement of all of its citizens, including the poorest and least powerful ones,” she said.  “It is not the army, the state, or the police who manage to control tensions, and it’s not foreign peacebuilders or any outsiders. It is the members of the community themselves.”

She said the example of Idjwi shows that “local community resources can build peace better than the usual elite agreements and outside interventions that we usually focus on when we evaluate peacebuilding efforts.”

Michelle Breslauer, Program Director, Americas, for the Institute for Economics and Peace, said she welcomed the current move away from measuring things like armed conflict and towards a positive peace index based on what she called the Eight Positive Pillars of Peace. She identified these pillars as well-functioning Government, Sound Business Environment, Equitable Distribution of Resources, Acceptance of the Rights of Others, Good Relations with Neighbors, Free Flow of Information, High Levels of Human Capital, and Low Levels of Corruption.

“Simply addressing the factors that led to violence in the past will not be enough to sustain peace,” she said. “Improvements in peace require broader and more systemic strategies than we currently think. Peacebuilding needs to be solution- rather than problem-oriented.”

Graeme Simpson, Director of Interpeace USA, singled out what he saw as a seriously missed opportunity in how the peacebuilding community views youth. “The international community, driven by policy assumptions and policy myths, is investing massively in youth as a risk, instead of recognizing this unbelievable, creative, resourceful space of resilient youth peacebuilding, which offers a powerful alternative and arguably more effective preventive measure for investing in youth-led peacebuilding.” Youth, he asserted, are actually “an asset, a source of resilience, a vehicle for peacebuilding.”

He decried the “terrible stereotyping which treats young people as almost inherently associated with violence.” The consequences of this for youth involvement are serious, he said.  “Young people were saying to us, these stereotypes completely deprive them of any sense of agency, their role as peacebuilders.”

He urged partnering with young people in a way that respected their interests and choices and didn’t impose outsiders’ traditional and unoriginal attitudes on them. “The gravest danger,” he said, “is that we start demanding impact assessments and measurement tools, the linear approach that we’ve talked about, that log frame them out of existence, that basically destroy the very risk-taking and innovation that make some of the outcomes of what they’re doing unpredictable.”

This event is part of the series of events IPI held in 2018 looking at what peace means in different contexts, how to measure peace and how to collect evidence of progress towards achieving peace. As the international community grapples with how to best support effective peacebuilding efforts, IPI has, and will continue to play, a bridging role between the local and the global, bringing concrete examples from the ground on what works and what is needed to more effectively build and sustain long-lasting peace.

IPI Senior Policy Analyst Lesley Connolly moderated the discussion.

Calling Attention to the Tradeoffs for Delivering on UN Mandates in High-Risk Contexts

Tue, 11/12/2018 - 17:49
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On December 11th, IPI and the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations held a policy forum to explore the many unremarked upon but necessary functions required to place and enable UN missions in the field.

IPI Vice President Adam Lupel opened the conversation by pointing out that while these activities were under-explained and under-appreciated, they were nevertheless essential. He called them the “forgotten parents of success.”

Marc Jacquand, Adviser in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, listed some of the functions as security, risk management, logistics/operations, access, staff welfare and medical care, and coordination.

“The reality is, we haven’t been very good at explaining all of these enabling functions, what they cost, and why they’re needed,” he said. “Because it’s complex. If you look at the security side, the way the UN funds its security architecture is very complex, most people within the UN don’t understand it, so we need to be a lot better at explaining how these things work, how they’re funded. I think also some people don’t want to bother knowing these issues, because this is the engine room—this is deep in the engine room. They’d rather sit somewhere and think grand strategy. But if we define strategy as aligning means to the ends, we’ve got to factor in that data.”

Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden, which is completing its current two-year term on the Security Council this month, said it was important to communicate the centrality of these little known functions to the highest level of the UN where they are not broadly understood. “Sometimes this becomes very technical and complex, but that is what the reality looks like. It is complex and it has to be technical, and I think that sometimes it is difficult to explain,” she said, “But I would plead with you to try to find ways to explain these things, especially to the members of the Security Council who are sitting with the mandate formulations, but also to colleagues in the Fifth Committee who are then juggling dollars in a way that I think sometimes is very unrealistic.”

Nannette Ahmed, Director and Team Leader of the Central Africa Integrated Operational Team, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), noted that peacekeepers were operating in increasingly volatile and dangerous environments that inhibited their performance and undercut their effectiveness. “We deploy in very challenging post-conflict situations, sometimes in continuing conflict situations, and more and more, we’re deploying into contexts that are extremely inhospitable, whether logistically- or security-wise, very dangerous, complex, where political process is non-existent, stalled, stalling, which makes it all the more complicated for us to achieve our objectives.”

In these circumstances, “risk management is a daily, if not an hourly endeavor,” she said. Illustrating the dilemma, she asked, “Do they go out of a camp to protect some civilians that are being attacked, when they are themselves being attacked?” Other such questions she suggested were how many people do you deploy in order to protect civilians, how do you decide which pockets of population to save when you know you can’t reach them all, and how do you divide up your available resources in the most efficient and least costly manner.

“If you are going to operate and deliver on your mandate in high-risk environments, it comes at a cost,” she said. “You can’t nickel and dime it. I know that sometimes you look at these operations, and you’re going, ‘My God, they’re expensive,’ but if you look at actually what they’re paying for and really go down deep, I think you can see that a lot of these areas are the ones you need in order to even be there in the first place, and to be effective. Because just being somewhere without being able to be effective is not achieving anyone’s goal or objective.”

Often the necessary ingredient was a tradeoff, she said, citing an example from her work, where roads were a supply line for peacekeepers, “Repairing roads is not a responsibility of a peacekeeping operation; it is a responsibility of a government, but if we don’t have good roads, for example, like the supply line, we can’t use the roads to supply our troops. So whose responsibility is it? And at what timeline do you need it by? There are a lot of tradeoffs…Some of the great success stories are when we work together.”

Aurelien Buffler, Chief of the Policy Advice and Planning Section of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that his office had to take into account that operating in insecure environments was “the norm” for today’s humanitarians and their ability to gain access. “Access, first, is having the right understanding of what is the situation and understanding of what is the situation and just understanding the context in which you operate. It means having staff dedicated to actually leading analysis of the context in which you want to respond, and communicate with the communities involved and parties to conflict, including armed groups. This takes time, this takes skills and, of course, this takes money, money, but it is absolutely necessary.”

Working in what he called “messy environments” in places like the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, there are particular concerns about safety, mobility, and making sure that resources aren’t diverted and fueling corruption.

He acknowledged that tradeoffs in this environment were of “suboptimal options,” but he said the UN must push forward even if the final objective seems distant and unattainable. “In some cases, just delivering the minimum assistance needed to a community can be a success,” he said, mentioning a food airdrop in Syria that reached a community that had not received supplies for months and where the issue had become one of sheer survival.

Mr. Jacquand said that weighing the value of tradeoffs often came down to examining the details. “If you don’t define what you’re talking about, it can remain at the level of theology,” he said. “This matters to people, to our colleagues in the field, to our colleagues in the UN, in the NGO world, in the delegations, this matters. Getting inside these details, understanding the cost, understanding these things.” This attentiveness to management detail, while sometimes tedious in execution, was essential to the fulfillment of a mission, he argued. “The words that are uttered here, the words that are written in a mandate, or in a budget, a report, they matter, they have implications on people’s lives. Obviously the populations in these countries, but also our colleagues, who are out there and expect us to keep that in mind when we attend meetings and write reports. So we would really encourage continuation of this dialogue because it’s not academic. It matters to our colleagues and friends in the field.”