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  • Author: Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The growing number of UN personnel deployed to missions in violent, volatile, and complex settings has pushed the UN to take all means necessary to improve the safety and security of its staff and of civilians under its protection. The UN’s Peacekeeping-Intelligence Policy, which was first developed in 2017 and later revised in 2019, has been a central part of these efforts. This paper outlines the difficulties of creating and implementing this policy. It addresses the origin and evolution of UN peacekeeping-intelligence as a concept and explains the need for this policy. It then discusses how peacekeeping-intelligence was and is being developed, including the challenge of creating guidelines and trainings that are both general enough to apply across the UN and flexible enough to adapt to different missions. Finally, it analyzes challenges the UN has faced in implementing this policy, from difficulties with coordination and data management to the lack of a sufficient gender lens. The paper recommends a number of actions for UN headquarters, peace operations, and member states in order to address these challenges: Optimize tasking and information sharing within missions by focusing on senior leaders’ information needs; Harmonize the content of peacekeeping-intelligence handbooks with standard operating procedures while ensuring they are flexible enough to account for differences among and between missions; Refine criteria for recruiting civilian and uniformed personnel with intelligence expertise and better assign personnel once they are deployed; Improve retention of peacekeeping-intelligence personnel and encourage member states to agree to longer-term deployments; Tailor peacekeeping-intelligence training to the needs of missions while clarifying a standard set of UN norms; Apply a gender lens to UN peacekeeping-intelligence; Improve coordination between headquarters and field sites within missions by adapting the tempo and timing of tasking and creating integrated information-sharing cells; and Establish common sharing platforms within missions.
  • Topic: Intelligence, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Namie Di Razza, Jake Sherman
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The effectiveness of UN peace operations depends on the “operational readiness” of their personnel, which refers to the knowledge, expertise, training, equipment, and mindset needed to carry out mandated tasks. While the need to improve the operational readiness of peacekeepers has been increasingly recognized over the past few years, the concept of “human rights readiness”—the extent to which consideration of human rights is integrated into the generation, operational configuration, and evaluation of uniformed personnel—has received less attention. This policy paper analyzes opportunities and gaps in human rights readiness and explores ways to improve the human rights readiness of peacekeepers. A comprehensive human rights readiness framework would include mechanisms to integrate human rights considerations into the operational configuration and modus operandi of uniformed personnel before, during, and after their deployment. This paper starts the process of developing this framework by focusing on the steps required to prepare and deploy uniformed personnel. The paper concludes with concrete recommendations for how troop- and police-contributing countries can prioritize human rights in the force generation process and strengthen human rights training for uniformed peacekeepers. These actions would prepare units to uphold human rights standards and better integrate human rights considerations into their work while ensuring that they deliver on this commitment. Ultimately, improved human rights readiness is a key determinant of the performance of UN peacekeepers, as well as of the UN’s credibility and reputation.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patryk I. Labuda
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Contemporary UN peace operations are expected to implement ambitious protection of civilians (POC) mandates while supporting host states through conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding strategies. Reconciling these people-oriented POC mandates and the state-centric logic of UN-mandated interventions ranks among the greatest challenges facing peace operations today. This report explores how peace operations implement POC mandates when working with, despite, or against the host state. It analyzes the opportunities, challenges, and risks that arise when peacekeepers work with host states and identifies best practices for leveraging UN support to national authorities. The paper concludes that peacekeeping personnel in each mission need to decide how to make the most of the UN’s strengths, mitigate risks to civilians, and maintain the support of government partners for mutually desirable POC goals. The paper offers seven recommendations for managing POC and host-state support going forward: Persuade through dialogue: Peace operations should work to keep open channels of communication and better prepare personnel for interacting with state officials. Leverage leadership: The UN should better prepare prospective mission leaders for the complex POC challenges they will face. Make capacity building people-centered and holistic: The UN should partner with a wider group of actors to establish a protective environment while reconceptualizing mandates to restore and extend state authority around people-centered development initiatives. Induce best practices: Missions should leverage capacity building and other forms of support to promote national ownership and foster best practices for POC. Coordinate pressure tactics: Peace operations should make use of the full spectrum of bargaining tools at their disposal, including pressure tactics and compulsion. Deliver coherent, mission-specific messaging on the use of force: The UN should improve training, political guidance, and legal advice on the use of force, including against state agents. Reconceptualizing engagement with states on POC as a “whole-of-mission” task: The UN Secretariat should articulate a vision and mission-specific guidelines for partnerships with host governments on POC.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wasim Mir
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The UN is currently facing its most challenging financial situation in nearly two decades. Despite taking emergency measures to reduce spending, the UN Secretariat’s severe liquidity problems have been getting progressively worse, to the point where they are starting to affect the UN’s ability to carry out its mandates. The main cause of this crisis is the late payment and nonpayment of member-state contributions. This issue brief breaks down the reasons why certain member states have not been paying in full or on time, which include the withholding of payments to express concerns about specific UN activities and domestic financial difficulties. It then considers the proposals the secretary-general has put forward to address the crisis: replenishing the existing reserves, incentivizing member states to make timelier payments by invoking Article 19 of the UN Charter sooner, and limiting the General Assembly’s use of creative measures to reduce spending. Since these proposals currently have little backing from member states, the paper also suggests looking at alternative approaches, including allowing the UN Secretariat to borrow commercially or pool cash balances. As the domestic dynamics that lead to late payment and nonpayment will not change quickly, the paper urges member states not to ignore the issue and hope that it will resolve itself. They need to urgently consider what measures could help mitigate the crisis as soon as possible.
  • Topic: United Nations, Financial Crisis, Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gretchen Baldwin, Sarah Taylor
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past twenty years, UN peace operations have made progress toward gender equality. Most of their mandates refer to women or gender, and the UN and member states have agreed to numerical targets to increase the percentage of women peacekeepers. Meeting, and exceeding, these targets, however, will require the UN to better understand the barriers and often-unrealistic expectations facing uniformed women. This paper provides an overview of how the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries are trying to integrate uniformed women into missions and how mission mandates interact with the women, peace, and security agenda. It also expounds upon expectations of uniformed women in peacekeeping operations, specifically regarding the protection of civilians, as well as structural barriers, taboos, and stigmas that affect uniformed women’s deployment experiences. It is the first paper published under the International Peace Institute’s Women in Peace Operations project and provides an overview of research that will be conducted through May 2022. The paper concludes with initial findings and guidance for researchers and practitioners. It calls for the UN and member states to consider transformative possibilities for increasing women’s participation that push back against existing assumptions and norms. This requires grounding integration strategies in evidence, transforming missions to improve the experiences of women peacekeepers, and implementing a gendered approach to community engagement and protection.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Peacekeeping, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: On January 1, 2019, a far-reaching reform of the UN development system went into effect. This was referred to by the deputy secretary-general as “the most ambitious reform of the United Nations development system in decades.” While this reform has only briefly been in place, questions have already arisen about its implementation and implications. This issue brief aims to contribute to the understanding of this ongoing reform and its significance. It provides a detailed overview of the UN development system reform at the headquarters, regional, and country levels, highlighting why it was undertaken and identifying some of the political and bureaucratic complexities it entails. The report concludes that more than a year into the reform of the UN development system, significant progress has been made, but it is too early to assess the reform’s long-term impact. What is clear, however, is that bringing about change of this scope will require the UN to adapt not only its structure but also its way of working.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin S. Kennedy, Laura Powers
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Due to their unique and complex nature, UN peacekeeping missions depend on effective leadership. Because few, if any, mission leaders have the requisite skills, knowledge, political judgment, and physical and mental stamina upon being selected, they require continuous, institutionalized, and sustained training and learning support. While the Secretariat has undertaken a number of training and learning initiatives, critical gaps remain. This paper identifies these gaps and analyzes obstacles that impede progress in addressing them. It looks at gaps in three broad areas: knowledge of peacekeeping doctrine, policy, and practice specific to UN peacekeeping; knowledge of UN policies and procedures on financial and human resources management; and leadership and team-building skills. To address these gaps, it recommends that the Secretariat prioritize action in several areas: Centralize responsibility for mission leadership training in a single unit; Integrate training into planning and recruitment processes; Provide more sustained support to training; and Employ new tools such as scenario-based exercises for in-mission training.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adam Lupel, Lauri Mälksoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The international rule-based order has come under threat on multiple fronts. If it continues to deteriorate into an older model based on power politics, small states—by definition vulnerable in a world where only might makes right—are most at risk. This makes them natural defenders of the international order that protects them. How can small countries serve as effective champions of the rule-based order and international law? This paper explores this question by looking at the role of small states on the UN Security Council. The council, with its five veto-wielding permanent members, is perhaps not an obvious place to look at the role of small states. Nonetheless, it presents critical opportunities, as well as difficult challenges, for small states. This paper concludes that small states on the Security Council are well-placed to provide an important, credible voice with moral authority to remind all member states of their obligations under international law, reaffirm normative commitments to compliance, and advocate for a recommitment to a multilateral, rule-based international order. Perhaps not since the founding of the United Nations has that voice been more necessary for all to hear.
  • Topic: International Law, United Nations, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marc Jacquand
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Particularly in the complex environments where it increasingly deploys, the UN depends on a range of functions to implement its mandate. These include but are not limited to provision of security, facilitation of access, medical support, support to staff welfare, logistics, coordination, and risk management. Compared to substantive tasks implemented as part of mandates, these enabling functions, or enablers, have received less scrutiny. As a result, enablers—and their financial costs—are often unknown or misunderstood by member states, donors, and even UN staff. This paper explores these enablers by explaining what they are, why they are needed, how much they cost, and how they are—or should be—funded. It then investigates the challenges the UN needs to tackle to put enablers on a path to sustainable funding, including: Reporting and consolidating data: While data is not the end point, it is a necessary starting point for the UN to engage in dialogue with those who use enablers and those who pay for them. Dedicating the necessary capacity: More spending on enablers is required now if lives and resources are to be saved later. Managing trade-offs: The UN needs to set and articulate clear priorities to guide the difficult trade-offs between different enablers and their associated risks. Integrating operations into planning: Operational planning is critical to avoid retroactive, ad hoc arrangements, especially during mission transitions. Communicating the importance of enablers: Effective communication on the need for enablers is necessary to convince member states and donors to fund them. Ultimately, there must be greater coherence between those who define UN mandates, those who fund them, and those who implement them.
  • Topic: United Nations, Capacity, Data, Operational Planning
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Forti, Priyal Singh
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The United Nations and the African Union (AU) have worked in tandem since the AU’s establishment in 2002. During this time, their partnership has evolved to focus increasingly on conflict prevention and crisis management, culminating in the 2017 Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. But while the organizations’ collaboration on peacekeeping has been extensively studied, other dimensions of the partnership warrant a closer look to understand how to foster political coherence and operational coordination. This report, done in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), therefore considers the evolution of the strategic partnership between the UN and the AU, with a focus on their approach to conflict prevention and crisis management. It looks at this partnership at the member-state level in the UN Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council, as well as at the operational level between various UN and AU entities. It also assesses the partnership across several thematic issues, including the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative; mediation; women, peace, and security; electoral support; peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development; and youth, peace, and security. Based on this analysis, the paper offers several recommendations to guide UN and AU stakeholders in improving cooperation. These include strengthening council-to-council engagement, working toward a collective approach to conflict prevention and crisis management, creating a dedicated team within the AU Peace and Security Department to support the partnership, better aligning work on peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development, building momentum on the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative, and expanding diplomatic capacities to support the partnership.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Crisis Management, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Alexandra Novosseloff, Lisa Sharland
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the UN Security Council has authorized or recognized the deployment of more than forty parallel forces that operate alongside UN peace operations. As the Security Council has deployed peace operations in increasingly non-permissive environments, the division of labor between UN missions and these parallel forces has blurred, and their goals have sometimes come into conflict. This raises the question of whether they are partners or competitors. This report examines the missions that have operated in parallel to UN peace operations to identify how to strengthen these partnerships in the future. It analyzes and categorizes the types of parallel forces that have been deployed and examines the rationales for deploying them. It also looks at strategic and operational challenges, including the challenges unique to peace operations operating alongside a counterterrorism force. Finally, drawing on lessons from past and current parallel deployments, it offers recommendations for member states, the Security Council, and the UN Secretariat. These include: Strengthening coordination of assessments, planning, and application of UN standards: The UN and actors deploying parallel forces should conduct joint assessments and planning when deploying or reconfiguring missions. The UN Security Council should also engage more regularly with parallel forces and encourage the continued development of human rights compliance frameworks for them. Clarifying roles, responsibilities, and areas of operation: Peace operations and parallel forces should clearly delineate their responsibilities and areas of operation, assess the risks of collocating, and improve strategic communications with the local population. The Security Council should also continue to put in place mechanisms to strengthen the accountability of parallel forces, especially when peace operations are providing support that could contribute to counterterrorism operations.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Armed Forces, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre, Namie Di Razza
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Sarah Taylor
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, United Nations, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wasim Mir
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: UN peacekeeping missions are facing cash-flow problems and financial strains due to the late payment and withholding of assessed contributions. Since the inception of UN peacekeeping, the financing of missions has been a challenge, with periods of calm followed by periods of crisis. The UN has been particularly vulnerable to withheld and late payments from its biggest financial contributors. This has an impact on missions’ effectiveness and the ability of troop-contributing countries to deploy. This paper examines how member-state contributions to peacekeeping are calculated, historical and current financing challenges faced by peacekeeping missions, and ideas for placing UN peacekeeping on a firmer financial footing. It recommends reevaluating some of the rules and regulations that govern the management of UN peacekeeping. It specifically recommends: Creating a cash reserve for peacekeeping: A new reserve fund or the relaxation of restrictions to use of the existing reserve fund could help manage liquidity problems. Consolidating peacekeeping accounts: Consolidating the accounts for missions would significantly improve cash management and operational flexibility by allowing the Secretariat to borrow between the accounts of different missions. Streamlining budgeting: Aligning the billing process with the budget period would reduce bureaucracy, reducing the burden on both the Secretariat and member states. Incentivizing budgetary discipline: Allowing some flexibility on the crediting of savings to member states could improve liquidity and incentivize missions to be more disciplined in their spending. Encouraging prompt payments: To encourage member states to meet the deadline for payments, they could be penalized for making late payments or given positive incentives to pay on time.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Finance outlook
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: There are currently fourteen UN sanctions regimes, which member states are legally required to implement. Many of these are implemented in the context of armed conflict, where international humanitarian law outlines obligations to protect the provision of and access to principled humanitarian action. But despite efforts to make sanctions regimes more targeted, they continue to have unintended consequences, including impeding or preventing the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection—particularly when they coexist with counterterrorism measures. This issue brief explains the various ways in which sanctions regimes can impact humanitarian action. Acknowledging that this is not a new issue—though one that may be of increasing concern—it identifies several factors that make it challenging to resolve. Finally, it lays out some avenues for progress, pointing to existing efforts and highlighting where more could be done. Given that sanctions regimes are mostly targeted and that member states are bound to uphold the principles in the UN Charter and international humanitarian law (where it applies), sanctions should protect and not inhibit humani­tarian action. Where sanctions hinder aid, the impact on civilian populations is immediate, and efforts to backtrack will always come too late. Going forward, member states, the UN, financial institutions, and humanitarian actors should proactively and preventively tackle this problem. While the most effective courses of action will require political will, stakeholders at all levels can take incremental steps to help mitigate the impact.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, International Law, Sanctions, Conflict, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chuck Thiessen
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In response to the threat of violent extremism, the UN has adopted a comprehensive approach that involves both aligning ongoing interventions with the goals of preventing violent extremism (PVE) and implementing PVE-specific programming. These initiatives aspire to use human rights-based approaches as opposed to hard-security counterterrorism responses. To date, however, there has been inadequate research on how the UN and other international organizations can promote human rights as part of their PVE programming. This issue brief introduces findings on the strategic shift of UN peacebuilding interventions toward PVE and the barriers these interventions face to protecting human rights, drawing on research conducted in Kyrgyzstan. It concludes that PVE approaches to peacebuilding are fundamentally ambiguous, which may be hindering promotion of human rights. These ambiguities lie both in the terminology and strategies of intervention and in the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism. By clarifying its approach to PVE, the UN can dilute the inherent contradiction in its dual role as a critic and supporter of host states and reduce the odds that its interventions legitimize human rights violations.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Global Focus
  • Author: Jake Sherman
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In September 2018, more than 100 UN member states signed a Declaration of Shared Commitments as part of the secretary-general’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative. The declaration was intended to rally member states to address urgent challenges facing contemporary peacekeeping operations. But one year later, the declaration has not yet translated into concrete action by member states, limiting tangible results for missions on the ground. This issue brief takes stock of progress by the UN and member states in implementing A4P over the past year and looks at where there is momentum and where additional political attention is needed. There is consensus that A4P has helped reaffirm the value of peacekeeping. It also provides a roadmap for incremental reform, a platform for sharing good practices, and a framework for identifying progress. Moving forward, however, it needs to be more than a package of preexisting UN priorities; it needs to become a platform through which the secretary-general sets a new approach to strengthening peacekeeping.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Law, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Taylor, Gretchen Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: For two decades, the women, peace, and security agenda has been the subject of policy development internationally, regionally, and nationally. But by many indicators, the global status of these commitments to gender equality is under threat. In the multilateral system, a growing number of states are questioning established standards of women’s rights, while international policy and programming struggle to adapt to the gendered implications of the changing nature of conflict. This issue brief takes stock of the state of the women, peace, and security agenda in the current geopolitical context, with a view to supporting strategic advances at the upcoming twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). It looks at characteristics of the current geopolitical context that are of concern to the defense of women’s rights, what these changes have meant for how the international community seeks to build peace and improve security, and how we can evaluate approaches to implementing WPS commitments in relation to these pressures on the multilateral system. The paper concludes that in order for the women, peace, and security agenda to be an effective tool, it must move beyond rhetoric and be woven into actionable policy. It must become a driving force behind the development and implementation of peace and security policy and programming rather than being buffeted by political considerations that elide the status and rights of women. This depends on a sustainable increase in resources and improved accountability within the multilateral system.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Women, Multilateralism, Accountability, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Taylor, Gretchen Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: As the twentieth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace, and security (WPS) approaches, the ad hoc nature of and limited accountability for implementation of the WPS agenda are undermining its full promise. This is despite increasing recognition that efforts to build and sustain peace are dependent upon the full participation of women and respect for their rights. There is thus a need for concerted, strategic commitment to addressing the remaining gaps in implementation of the WPS agenda. This paper identifies opportunities for the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Resolution 1325, particularly for the UN Security Council, its member states, and the UN system. It builds on IPI’s scene-setting issue brief “The Global Pushback on Women’s Rights: The State of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.” The paper concludes with several steps the UN and the international community can take to support substantive progress on WPS: Use creative mechanisms to increase women’s participation: The multilateral system can support new initiatives such as the regional women mediator networks. Leverage the tools of the UN Security Council: The council should consistently request gender-sensitive analysis and recommendations, mainstream the WPS agenda across all policies, and better integrate the work of the Informal Expert Group on WPS into its daily work. Significantly strengthen accountability: Increasing accountability requires changing the political calculus for engaging on the WPS agenda, particularly at the national level. Move the focus to the field: Dialogue around WPS needs to shift from UN headquarters in New York to focus more on the countries and regions grappling with conflict. Increase financing: Donors should increase their financial commitments to the WPS agenda and ensure funding supports long-term peacebuilding efforts.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Dabarre
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: While humanitarian action was traditionally designed to be a short-term emergency response, this is increasingly perceived as inaccurate and even undesirable. Humanitarian actors have acknowledged a responsibility to work toward bridging the “humanitarian-development divide” and not to overlook the nexus between addressing and reducing humanitarian needs and building the foundations for sustaining peace.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Current drug policy too often has a negative impact on communities and runs counter to efforts to ameliorate poverty through sustainable development. However, this is often not captured by the metrics used to measure the impact of drug policy. One way to improve these metrics is to align them with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would not only help overcome many of the limitations of drug policies resulting from suboptimal metrics but also make sure these policies enhance, rather than hinder, efforts to achieve the SDGs.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Els Debuf
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: IPI’s research project on mechanisms to investigate attacks on healthcare aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, member states, and other stakeholders in operationalizing Resolution 2286 and the UN secretary-general’s recommendations for its implementation. The project focuses on recommendations regarding the use of international mechanisms to ensure that the “full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations” required by Resolution 2286 are carried out when parties to the conflict are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Through a combination of desk research, key informant interviews, and an expert meeting bringing together stakeholders in the implementation of Resolution 2286 and experts on international fact-finding and investigation into violations of international humanitarian law, the project developed a set of tools, available on this page. These include:
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lucile Maertens, Malkit Shoshan
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, triggered by the UN mission there, killed more than 9,000 people and affected nearly 807,000. This disastrous case drew attention to the negative effect UN peace operations can have on the surrounding communities and environment—something peacekeepers had started paying attention to with the deployment of new large-scale operations in the 2000s. As operations have grown in size, so too has the size of their environmental footprint. This report looks at the environmental impact of peace operations and how the UN has responded, including through policies and guidelines, dedicated staff, and training material. In particular, it assesses the challenges the Department of Field Support faces in implementing its Environment Strategy. Based on this assessment, which includes a detailed examination of the UN mission in Mali, the report puts forward a series of short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations. It concludes that a UN presence should not be a source of stress but should improve local environmental sustainability and build resilience.
  • Topic: Environment, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Global Focus
  • Author: Paul D. Williams, Thong Nguyen
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The last decade has seen more UN peacekeepers than ever before coming from countries neighboring the host state. This report uses the IPI Peacekeeping Database to explore this increase in neighborhood contributions between 1990 and 2017. While less than 3 percent of all UN peacekeepers came from next-door neighbors in the early 1990s, this number had increased to about 20 percent by 2017. This trend runs counter to a longstanding, if unwritten, principle that UN peacekeeping missions should seek to avoid deployment of troops or police from neighbors in order to mitigate the risks associated with these countries’ national interests in the host countries. It also means there would be significant implications if policymakers wished to reverse this trend, which would put major additional pressure on the UN’s force generation process.
  • Topic: United Nations, History, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lisa Sharland
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Partnerships are critical to effective UN peacekeeping, particularly in New York, where the Security Council, the Secretariat, and member states examine proposed reforms and seek consensus on the direction of peacekeeping. Yet throughout the nearly seventy-year history of UN peacekeeping, relations among key stakeholders have frequently fractured due to their often diverging interests. These differences have been compounded by member states’ limited access to information on the roles and responsibilities of different UN bodies in taking forward peacekeeping reforms. This paper examines the intergovernmental processes and partnerships that support and guide the development of UN peacekeeping policy to identify what needs to be considered to build consensus on its future direction. The paper offers several recommendations for the Secretariat, member states, and other stakeholders to strengthen the value and outcomes of intergovernmental processes, as well as the partnerships that guide the formulation of UN peacekeeping policy: Foster understanding of UN peacekeeping challenges and the policymaking process. Strengthen consultation mechanisms. Demonstrate leadership and identify a shared vision. Improve information sharing, reporting, and accountability. Encourage awareness of challenges in the field among stakeholders in New York.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Policy Implementation, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In the past decade, counterterrorism measures have had an increasingly adverse impact on the provision of medical care and the conduct of principled humanitarian action in armed conflict settings. Whether inadvertently or not, they have impeded, and at times prevented, the provision of essential and lifesaving aid, often in violation of international humanitarian law (IHL). This paper aims to assist the Security Council, relevant UN organs, UN member states, and other stakeholders in upholding their obligations under IHL. It maps the UN counterterrorism framework and looks into the extent to which it guides states in complying with these obligations. In doing so, it offers several recommendations for the way forward: All UN resolutions and other UN and national policies that pertain to counterterrorism should contain an exemption for humanitarian activities. Every relevant UN counterterrorism measure should continue to reiterate that counterterrorism efforts need to comply with international law. Humanitarian actors should engage with UN counterterrorism structures more actively, strategically, and systematically. UN bodies that engage in counterterrorism should systematically include humanitarian actors in relevant conversations. The UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate and Office of Counter-Terrorism should better integrate IHL considerations into their work. Member states, UN entities, humanitarian actors, counterterrorism and sanctions experts, and other stakeholders should step up efforts to start a wide political discussion on tensions between counterterrorism and humanitarian action.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alice Debarre
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Armed conflict is a global health issue. Long-lasting and protracted conflicts in particular have consequences not only for the war-wounded but also for the health of entire communities. Over the years, global health actors and humanitarian health actors have developed health policies, guidelines, frameworks, and structures to improve delivery of health services in emergencies or humanitarian crises. Despite these advancements, however, the international health response in conflict-affected settings still faces gaps and challenges. Some policies and frameworks need to be rethought or redesigned, while others need to be better implemented. This paper explores challenges to healthcare provision in conflict-affected settings. These challenges are broadly broken down into three categories: constraints related to the health system and damaged health infrastructure, difficulty for health workers to access populations in need, and restrictions to healthcare provision intentionally or accidentally placed by donors or states engaged on humanitarian and health issues (e.g., through the securitization of healthcare). Tackling these challenges will have a direct impact on the lives of people in conflict-affected settings. However, doing so requires a radical shift in mindsets and the incentives that guide the actions of international health actors. Even so, more incremental changes can also be beneficial. To that end, this report puts forth the following recommendations: Improve coordination between and among humanitarian, development, and global health actors; Respond to context-specific needs; Hold health actors accountable to affected populations for their performance, and; Make responses sustainable. This work is based on a combination of desk research, interviews with more than seventy key informants, and an expert meeting bringing together key stakeholders and experts on global and humanitarian health.
  • Topic: Health, Humanitarian Aid, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus