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  • Author: Daniel Forti
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The UN’s transition in Sudan started out in 2014 as a process to close the African Union–United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in the face of waning international support and overwhelming pressure from an autocratic regime. But in 2019, Sudan’s revolution and ongoing political transition radically transformed how the UN engages with Sudan. UNAMID’s closure in December 2020 and the start-up of a new special political mission, the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), now constitute one of the most complex reconfigurations the organization has ever attempted. This paper examines the ongoing UN transition in Sudan, focusing on the establishment of UNITAMS and UNAMID’s exit from Darfur.The paper evaluates the transition across four themes pertinent to the transition of UN peace operations: the creation of a shared political vision for the transition, national engagement in the process, efforts to comprehensively plan the transition, and the dynamics of international financial support and partnerships. In order to sustain the UN’s reconfiguration in Sudan while supporting Sudan’s own political transition, the UN should consider the following: Articulating a forward-looking political compact with Sudan to guide UN support to the political transition; Rapidly expanding support for urgent peacebuilding and protection priorities in Darfur; Continuously evaluating the UN’s operational presence and substantive impact outside of Khartoum; Encouraging the Sudanese government to provide regular updates on the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement and its national protection of civilians plan; Providing frequent, detailed assessments of UNAMID’s drawdown and liquidation; Undertaking a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of UNITAMS; and Considering additional reforms to the UN’s peace and security pillar on mission planning processes. In addition, to support the efforts of the UN and the Sudanese transitional government, UN member states could consider the following: Increasing financial support to coherently address Sudan’s peacebuilding and development needs; Maintaining a close relationship between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council on Sudan; and Sustaining international attention on Sudan’s transition and maintaining UN support.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Arthur Boutellis, Michael Beary
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since 2013, after years of near absence from the continent, a number of European countries, along with Canada, have again deployed to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. The European presence in UN peacekeeping in Africa is now nearly at its largest since the mid-1990s. These countries provide much-needed high-end capabilities, as well as political and financial capital, to UN peacekeeping operations. Nonetheless, securing and sustaining European contributions to these types of peacekeeping operations remains an uphill battle for the UN. This paper draws lessons from this renewed engagement by European countries and Canada, both from their point of view, as well as from that of the UN Secretariat, UN field missions, and other troop contributors. It aims to explore how these bodies and other countries can best work together in a collective endeavor to improve UN peacekeeping’s efficiency and effectiveness. Toward this end, the paper recommends a number of actions to the UN Secretariat: Build peacekeeping operations around first-class medical systems; Focus on improving processes for casualty evacuation; Strengthen the UN’s capacity to foster partnerships among troop-contributing countries; Engage Europe strategically and politically; Be flexible and make European contributors (and others) feel included in planning; Continue educating European contributors about UN peacekeeping; Do not limit engagement with European contributors to high-end capabilities; Ensure European contributors adhere to UN standards; and Encourage European contributors to commit to longer deployments.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Canada
  • Author: Charles T. Hunt
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since first deployed in 1960, United Nations police (UNPOL) have consistently been present in UN missions and have become increasingly important to achieving mission objectives. Since 1999, these objectives have often included the protection of civilians (POC), especially in places like the Central African Republic, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and South Sudan. But despite its rise in prominence, the protective role of UNPOL is generally undervalued and regularly overlooked, and missions have tended to overly rely on militarized approaches to POC. This report examines the roles and responsibilities of UNPOL regarding POC. It outlines UNPOL’s contributions to POC and perceived comparative advantages, using examples of their role as compeller, deterrent, partner, and enabler. It also identifies and draws lessons from challenges to police protection efforts, including ambiguous mandates, policies, and guidance; poor coordination; problematic partnerships; and deficits in capabilities, capacities, and tools. Drawing on these lessons from past and current deployments, the report proposes recommendations for how member states, the Security Council, the UN Secretariat, and field missions can improve UNPOL’s efforts to protect civilians going forward. These recommendations include: Clarifying the role of UN police in POC through mandates, policies, guidance, and training to align the expectations of UN peace operations, the Secretariat, and member states for what UNPOL are expected to do; Involving all UN police in POC and giving them a voice in decision making and planning to infuse whole-of-mission POC efforts with policing perspectives and empower UNPOL to act more readily; Enhancing partnerships between UN police, host states, and other mission components to enable more responsive, better coordinated, and more comprehensive approaches to POC; and Providing more appropriate and more flexible capabilities, capacities, and tools to address critical capabilities gaps and adapt existing resources to better meet UNPOL’s latent potential for POC.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Reform, Rule of Law, Civilians, Police
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo
  • Author: Christian Lara, Gabriel Delsol
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In 2017, the UN launched a system-wide effort to support the implementation of the sustaining peace agenda in Burkina Faso. Since then, a rapidly deteriorating security situation and an imminent humanitarian crisis have forced the UN, the Burkinabe government, and their partners to recalibrate their efforts. This ongoing recalibration, together with the changes resulting from the UN development system reforms, makes this an opportune moment to assess the state of efforts to sustain peace in Burkina Faso. This paper examines the implementation of the UN’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace framework in Burkina Faso, looking at what has been done and what is still needed. It focuses on the four issue areas highlighted in the secretary-general’s 2018 report on peacebuilding and sustaining peace: operational and policy coherence; leadership at the UN country level; partnerships with local and regional actors; and international support. Burkina Faso provides lessons for how the UN’s sustaining peace efforts can respond to growing needs without a change in mandate. Continued support for the UN resident coordinator in Burkina Faso is necessary to ensure that these efforts are part of a holistic approach to the crisis, together with local, national, and regional partners. Such support could underpin Burkina Faso’s status as a buffer against spreading insecurity in the Sahel and make the country a model for the implementation of the sustaining peace agenda in conflict-prone settings without UN missions.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Peace, Sustainability, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Agathe Sarfati
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The twin resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace adopted by the General Assembly and Security Council in 2016 made a breakthrough in the UN’s conception of peacebuilding. Significant work has since been undertaken to reconfigure the UN system to work toward the implementation of these resolutions, and the UN Peacebuilding Commission has launched a comprehensive review of the peacebuilding architecture to be completed in 2020. To inform this review, this issue brief synthesizes findings related to the operationalization of the peacebuilding and sustaining peace resolutions at the country level. These findings emerged from three case studies published by IPI on Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The operationalization of sustaining peace is assessed across four areas: (1) operational and policy coherence; (2) leadership, accountability, and capacity; (3) financing; and (4) partnerships. The paper concludes that much of the focus to date has been on improving the effectiveness of how the UN delivers its mandates on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. To fully realize the vision of the sustaining peace agenda, its operationalization must increasingly focus on the impact of these efforts. This requires questioning and testing the theory of change underpinning these operational reforms to ensure the UN is effectively helping societies build the foundation for sustaining peace.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peace, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Jimena Leiva Roesch, Masooma Rahmaty
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Sustainable Development Goals, Regional Integration, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Priyal Singh, Daniel Forti
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Peace, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Gabriel Delsol
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In recent years, pastoralism has increasingly become associated with violent conflict. In the Sahel, pastoralism-related insecurity is directly linked to macro-level conflict dynamics in contexts with UN peacekeeping missions, including Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Abyei, and South Sudan. However, the UN system has been slow to adopt a coordinated response to this phenomenon. This issue brief provides a preliminary overview of peacekeeping missions’ efforts to mitigate growing pastoralism-related insecurity in their areas of operation. It analyzes six missions that are active within or near the Sahel region. After framing pastoralism-related security, it explores how the Security Council has addressed this issue in mission mandates. It then looks at how missions have tried to address pastoralism-related insecurity and how they can leverage partnerships with other actors as part of a multi-stakeholder approach. The paper concludes that while peacekeeping missions are not the primary means for addressing the multidimensional drivers of pastoralism-related insecurity, they can help mitigate risks, including through political and logistical support to other actors. Together with these partners, peacekeeping missions should leverage their comparative advantages to help address pastoralism-related insecurity in the Sahel.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Pastoralism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel