The International Peace Institute is an independent, international not-for-profit think tank with a staff representing more than 20 nationalities. IPI is dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts between and within states by strengthening international peace and security institutions. To achieve its purpose, IPI employs a mix of policy research, convening, publishing and outreach.
When a coup d'état or unconstitutional change of government happens, how does the UN respond? This is the question addressed in IPI's latest policy paper: UN Mediation and the Politics of Transition after Constitutional Crises by Charles T. Call.Examining the UN's experience in dealing with such political crises in Kenya, Mauritania, Guinea, Madagascar, and Kyrgyzstan between 2008 and 2011, this report identifies trends across the cases and draws lessons regarding the role of international mediation and the transitional political arrangements that emerged.
- Publication:Translating Mediation Guidance into Practice: Commentary on the UN Guidance for Effective Mediation by the Mediation Support Network, Mediation Support Network
- Publication: Power sharing, transitional governments and the role of mediation, Center for Humanitarian Dialog
Strengthening the UN's Mediation Support Unit, whose standby team of thematic experts have been successfully deployed in several cases;In order to ensure a principled, coherent, and effective response that prevents the escalation of violence and facilitates a country's return to constitutional order, Call recommends:
- expanding and adequately resourcing UN regional offices, which have made singular contributions to mediation efforts;
- appointing mediators with prior professional experience in other multilateral organizations, who can contribute to effective collaboration among international and regional organizations;
- preparing the UN more systematically for addressing electoral disputes;
- enhancing communication between the UN Department of Political Affairs and resident coordinators on the ground;
- creating effective UN mechanisms to monitor transitional arrangements, including power sharing arrangements and other efforts for reconciliation, justice, and conflict-sensitive development.
- Interestingly, Call argues that the UN should be cautious about adopting a blanket policy of denouncing all departures from constitutional order.
The Fifth Annual Trygve Lie Symposium on Fundamental Freedoms focused on the challenges and opportunities for countries to ensure that marginalized groups, particularly women and minorities, gain equal access to political, social, and economic institutions and decision-making processes, and how to forestall manipulation by forces opposed to democracy.
On Saturday, September 26th IPI, together with The Elders, and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted a high-level panel discussion which looked at ways to improve the Security Council’s ability to prevent and halt the commission of mass atrocity crimes.
More on the webcast Preventing Mass Atrocities: How Can the UN Security Council Do Better?
On November 20th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of Sweden cohosted an IPI Global Leaders Series event featuring UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, who discussed leadership and global partnerships in the face of today’s refugee crisis.
View the event page here: Leadership and Global Partnerships in the Face of Today’s Refugee Crisis
On November 18th, the Independent Commission on Multilateralism hosted its second Public Consultation on its Discussion Paper on “Social Inclusion, Political Participation, and Effective Governance in Challenging Environments.”
Access to the full webcast: Social Inclusion, Political Participation, and Effective Governance in Challenging Environments
On November 17th, IPI together with the Folke Bernadotte Academy, SecDev Foundation and ZIF cohosted a global gathering of leading academics, experts, and policy makers focused on the next generation of peace and security challenges.
Full webcast available here: Twenty-First Century Peacebuilding International Expert Forum
On Monday, November 16th, IPI together with the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum cohosted a panel discussion on the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Access to the page of the webcast: Sustainable Development and the World Drug Problem
On November 4th, the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) hosted its first Public Consultation focusing on the findings and recommendations of the Women, Peace, And Security Discussion Paper, and providing an opportunity to reflect on the recent fifteenth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
More details here: ICM Public Consultation on Women, Peace & Security
A panel of academics, experts, and policy-makers considered the next generation of peace and security challenges at this year’s International Expert Forum on governance, peacebuilding, and state-society relations, part of IEF’s series on 21st-century peacebuilding.
The November 17th seminar was the sixth in an annual series held at IPI. Participants aimed to develop stronger policymaking in consolidating peace and building inclusive and ultimately more resilient societies.
Please kindly follow the link to learn more: Governance, Peacebuilding, and State-Society Relations
Watch Jean Marie Guehenno speak with International Peace Institute Senior Adviser Warren Hoge as part of a Global Observatory interview series on international migration and the refugee crisis.
"What we see is that crises are much harder to end today than they were 20 years ago because the agendas have become more complicated, more transnational, and once conflict starts you really don’t know when it ends,” he said, as he stressed the need to focus on conflict prevention.
Mr. Guéhenno also called on developed countries to do more to respond to the humanitarian crises being created by these protracted conflicts.
For full access of the video Refugees & Migrants: Interview with Jean Marie Guehenno, kindly follow the link.
On Tuesday, October 25th, IPI hosted a discussion on the UN Security Council and military interventions with Hardeep Singh Puri, author of Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos.
For full access of the video Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos, kindly follow the link.
Pierre Krähenbühl, the head of the UNRWA speaking at the International Peace Institute on the situation of Palestinian Refugees.
IPI together with The Prevention Project: Organizing Against Violent Extremism, and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) cohosted a policy forum event to discuss the challenges facing the multilateral system in preventing violent extremism.
For details and full access to the video Preventing Violent Extremism: The Challenges Ahead, kindly follow the link.
Policy and Research Papers
In this paper, I will analyze the connections between the multilateral debates and external agendas, on the one hand, and the implementation of rule of law strategies in the field, on the other. The first part of the paper will start with a brief historical overview of the emergence of international support for rule of law institutions and its progressive inclusion into conflict management strategies. I will then proceed with an analysis of the state of the multilateral debate and of the concept of ‘local ownership’, with a view to identify why rule of law programs still suffer from a lack of legitimacy at the multilateral and operational levels.
Since 2004, the rule of law has gained solid attention in the UN community. This year, on September 24th, there is an opportunity to mark a milestone in enhancing its role in the global effort to rebuild societies after conflict, support transitions
and economic growth, and strengthen state institutions. For the first time, the United Nations General Assembly will devote its opening high-level event to the topic.
Over the course of the last twenty years, attention around the rule of law has increased in many different contexts and fora. While its precise definition remains elusive, a sizable “industry” on the rule of law has developed, with its agencies, programs, and scholars. Different views on the precise notion and scope of the rule of law, however, are emerging as we approach the high-level event, making the attempt to adopt a consensual political declaration a painful exercise. A breakthrough is still possible, if additional political e ort is made in the final steps.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
President Michel Martelly of Haiti was widely expected to announce the creation of a new Haitian army on November 18, 2011. Instead, the newly-elected president called for the creation of a civilian-led commission that will have forty days to finalize a plan for the army, which was disbanded in 1995. A draft of the “Martelly plan,” dated August 2011, called for building an army of 3,500 troops that would be operational within three years and progressively take over as the UN peacekeeping force MINUSTAH withdraws.
This issue brief by Arthur Boutellis, IPI Senior Policy Analyst, provides a background to the security sector in Haiti and explores the shape that a new Haitian army might take. It addresses the political context in which the army will be reinstated, financial considerations for the government of Haiti, and the role that the international community could play to support Haitian efforts to build an accountable security sector.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
The purpose of the first International Expert Forum, “Conflict Prevention and Preventive Diplomacy: What Works and What Doesn’t?,” was to explore the theory and practice of preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention. Launched at the International Peace Institute (IPI) in New York on December 15, 2011, the forum is a joint collaboration of the Folke Bernadotte Academy, the SecDev Group, IPI, and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The first forum was divided into three sessions: insights from research; insights from the field; and a stock-taking session focusing on the implications of research and analysis for policy and practice.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
This report will examine some questions relating to the delivery of justice in countries and territories under international administration through the experiences of United Nations administrations in Kosovo (1999— ) and East Timor (1999-2002) and the assistance mission in Afghanistan (2002— ). Though the United Nations had exercised varying measures of executive power in previous missions, notably West Papua (1962-1963), Cambodia (1992-1993), and Eastern Slavonia (1996-1998), Kosovo and East Timor were the first occasions on which the UN exercised full judicial power within a territory.
To view this article, please follow this link.
This paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of constitutional choices made after conflict, drawing upon comparative studies of six constitutions and peace agreements. The paper attempts to synthesize the practical lessons drawn from the cases, with a focus on (i) the constitution-making process; (ii) the extent of reliance on executive and geographical power-sharing; (iii) the viability of checks and balances; (iv) the electoral model; (v) the role of political parties in the transition; and (vi) issues of implementation.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
This meeting note summarizes the discussions at a conference organized by the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) in Praia, Cape Verde on May 18-20, 2011. The conference addressed the need for a sustained effort to strengthen electoral processes in West Africa as a means to consolidate peace and democracy in the region.
Many West African countries face numerous challenges in organizing free, fair, and peaceful elections, and the conference discussed the existing regional and national frameworks that support democracy and electoral processes in the subregion. Best practices and lessons learned from recent electoral processes in Cape Verde, Ghana, and Niger were shared, with a view to informing the organization of upcoming elections in neighboring countries. The role and modalities of electoral assistance were also discussed, supported by concrete cases of UNDP’s electoral initiatives in Niger and Guinea.
The conference further underlined the importance of collaborative initiatives in strengthening democratic processes and preventing conflict. Finally, key standards, processes, and actors that can help to build democracy and stability were discussed: human rights and gender-equality norms, electoral litigation, and the role of security forces and the media during electoral processes all present opportunities to reduce election-related violence and improve election outcomes in West Africa.
The note also reprints the full text of the “Praia Declaration on Elections and Stability in West Africa,” which was adopted at the close of the conference.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
A new IPI report identifies the security sector in Côte d’Ivoire as a root of a decade of crises there and discusses how comprehensive security-sector reform is a key to preventing a return to armed conflict in the future.
The report provides a historical perspective as to how the Defense and Security Forces in Côte d’Ivoire were at the root of the 2002 crisis, why successive peace accords failed to produce security sector reform, and how the failure to reunify the Ivoirian security forces prior to holding the 2010 presidential election was a key factor behind the recent crisis and contributed to its escalation into a military confrontation.
The report also includes recommendations on how to focus reform on changing the relationship among politicians, security institutions, and the larger population, as part of a broader reconciliation process among Ivoirians themselves.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
Security sector reform (SSR) remains a relatively new and evolving concept, one that brings together practitioners and academics from many different backgrounds. The application of SSR differs from one context to the other, each with its own complications.
However, most of the writing on SSR has a policy focus rather than dealing with the practical issues of implementation. Not much focuses on the “little secrets and skills” required to practically apply SSR policy in post-conflict settings.
This policy paper provides nine recommendations for practitioners to increase their effectiveness in supporting SSR processes in such contexts. While local context should determine how SSR is implemented, these recommendations can help practitioners to accelerate progress on the ground. Though not an exhaustive list, small, smart steps, the paper argues, can go a long way.
The paper’s recommendations on how to practically apply SSR policy are:
1. Locate entry points for ownership
2. Decentralize via second-generation SSR
3. Understand the context, be flexible, and take an iterative approach
4. Reduce uncertainty and build up trust
5. Forge relations between police investigators and prosecutors
6. Support sustainable reforms
7. Build up the “missing middle” within the civil service
8. Consider a low-tech approach for higher yields
9. Put the right skills and systems in place
About the authors:
Rory Keane is the SSR advisor to the head of the UN mission in Liberia.
Mark Downes is Head of the International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
To view this article, please follow this link.
Though the conflict in Syria shows no signs of abating, and hopes for the Geneva II talks in January are dim, this paper argues it is never too early to start planning for peace. The paper examines three recent post-conflict transitions in the Middle East—Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen—and draws lessons for Syria. Among them are the following:
- Drawing from the US experience in Iraq, Bennett argues that while elements of the current regime in Syria may need to go, the state must remain strong to promote stability and encourage post-conflict economic growth.
- Drawing lessons from the Taif Agreement in Lebanon, Bennett argues that Syrians must avoid official sectarianism and focus on establishing a cohesive national identity.
- Drawing from the role of the GCC in the Yemen transition, Bennett argues that regional cooperation, especially on the issue of Syrian refugees, will be critical to ensuring long term security and stability in the Middle East.
To view this publication, please follow this link.
Only fifteen United Nations’ member states provide more than 60 percent of the 104,000 UN uniformed personnel deployed worldwide. How can a more equitable sharing of the global peacekeeping burden be produced that generates new capabilities for UN operations?
Operational partnerships are one potentially useful mechanism to further this agenda. They are partnerships that occur when military units from two or more countries combine to deploy as part of a peacekeeping operation. This report assesses the major benefits and challenges of these partnerships for UN peace operations at both the political and operational levels.
The report begins by providing an overview of the different varieties of partnerships in contemporary UN peace operations and describes the major patterns apparent in a new database of forty-one operational partnerships from 2004 to 2014. It presents case studies of two UN missions that exhibit the full range of operational partnerships: the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The authors explore why some UN member states engage in operational partnerships or might do so in the future, arguing that the reasons include a wide range of both mission-specific concerns and broader political and security-related reasons.
The authors map and analyze what they call the ‘plural security’ landscape in Lebanon, which is characterized by the relatively limited role the Lebanese state plays in providing security and the web of arrangements between public and private security providers.
In January 2016, Kenya suffered its largest ever military defeat at the battle of El Adde in the Gedo region of Somalia. Yet many of the questions surrounding this attack remain unanswered. On the six-month anniversary of the battle at El Adde, this report provides a preliminary analysis of the battle and some of the wider issues with respect to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
This issue brief from the International Peace Institute (IPI) lays out a number of lessons the attack on El Adde can offer to the Kenya Defence Forces, AMISOM, and all peace operations engaged in various forms of stabilization and counterinsurgency.
To access the Battle at El Adde: The Kenya Defence Forces, al-Shabaab, and Unanswered Questions issue brief, kindly follow the link.
This is the final report of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM), an ambitious two-year project conducted by IPI. It identifies how the UN-based multilateral system can be made more “fit for purpose” for twenty-first century challenges.
In a highly consultative process, the ICM has involved more than 340 diplomats, UN officials, and civil society actors in retreats and meetings, and tens of thousands of people in person and online via public consultations.
The ICM’s final report suggests ten general principles to guide a revitalized multilateral system. It also makes concrete recommendations about how to address the specific challenges of our time across fifteen issue areas. This report will be followed by the release of fifteen issue-specific policy papers focused on each of these areas.
To access the ICM Final Report – “Pulling Together: The Multilateral System and Its Future” kindly follow the link.
Investing in Peace and the Prevention of Violence in West Africa and the Sahel-Sahara: Conversations on the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action
The International Peace Institute (IPI), the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs co-organized a regional seminar in Dakar, Senegal, on June 27 and 28, 2016. This meeting brought together sixty participants from fourteen countries, including political leaders, members of civil society, and religious and traditional authorities, as well as representatives of the media, the private sector, governments, and regional and international organizations, to explore alternative measures to address the violent extremism affecting the region.
This paper outlines the recommendations agreed upon by the participants with regards to how the UN and its partners could more effectively prevent violent extremism in West Africa and the Sahel-Sahara subregions, in support of national governments and local authorities and communities and with the active participation of citizens. These recommendations include the need to focus on political participation, improved state-citizen relations, and inclusive dialogue as the primary mechanisms for prevention. They also agreed on the importance of local and regional preventive initiatives, and the need for institutional initiatives to prevent violent extremism to build on existing ones at the regional level, while recognizing the central role and responsibility of states in prevention.
To access Investing in Peace and the Prevention of Violence in West Africa and the Sahel-Sahara: Conversations on the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action study kindly follow the link.
Of the eleven countries most affected by terrorism globally, seven currently host UN peace operations. In countries affected by terrorism and violent extremism, peace operations will increasingly be called upon to adapt their approaches without compromising UN doctrine. But to date, there has been little exploration of the broader political and practical challenges, opportunities, and risks facing UN peace operations in complex security environments. This has created a gap between the policy debate in New York and the realities confronting UN staff on the ground.
This policy paper aims to bridge this gap by examining the recent drive to integrate counterterrorism (CT) and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) into relevant activities of UN peace operations, as well as the associated challenges and opportunities.
Read the full paper on Waging Peace: UN Peace Operations Confronting Terrorism and Violent Extremism
The past year has seen significant progress in Mali, with the signing of a peace agreement in June 2015 and the ensuing decrease in violence between the signatory parties. These achievements have allowed the UN to shift from prioritising cease-fire monitoring to focusing its efforts on the implementation of the peace agreement. In the wake of this shift in context, the mandate of the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is expected to be renewed in June 2016.
In light of the challenges faced by MINUSMA and the expected renewal of its mandate, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-organised a workshop on April 21, 2016, to give member states and UN actors the opportunity to develop a shared understanding of the situation faced by the UN in Mali. This workshop was the first in a series analysing how UN policies and the June 2015 recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) can be applied to country-specific contexts.
For full access to the report on Applying the HIPPO Recommendations to Mali: Toward Strategic, Prioritized, and Sequenced Mandates, kindly follow the link.
This issue brief analyzes the current crisis in Mali within the context of the Sahel-Sahara region as a whole. It discusses the roots of the crisis and details the various responses to date—including national, regional, and international actions—arguing that short-term crisis management will not be sufficient to bring peace and stability to the region.
For full access to Mali and the Sahel-Sahara: From Crisis Management to Sustainable Strategy, kindly follow the link.
How deadly is UN peacekeeping? Have UN peacekeeping fatalities increased over the past decades? Those who have attempted to answer these questions differ drastically in their assessments, in part due to the dearth of data and the variety of calculation methods employed. In order to fix some of these shortcomings and take a fresh look at these questions, this report analyzes trends in UN peacekeeping fatalities using a new dataset compiled by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. As a result of the new data employed and methodological innovations, this report constitutes the most detailed study of UN fatality trends thus far.
To access the full paper Has UN Peacekeeping Become More Deadly? Analyzing Trends in UN Fatalities, kindly click on the link.
This report analyzes five sets of challenges that UNSOA faced from 2009 through to 2015. These challenges revolved around the expanding scope of UNSOA’s tasks, the clash between the UN and the AU’s organizational cultures, the highly insecure operating environment, the size of the theater of operations, and some of AMISOM’s idiosyncrasies. On the basis of these challenges, the report offers several lessons for future UN support for regional peace operations.
To access the full paper UN Support to Regional Peace Operations: Lessons from UNSOA, kindly click on the link.
While the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) may seem antiquated and unlikely to materialize, the mere existence of WMD remains one of the paramount threats to mankind. Nuclear weapons present not only the biggest existential threat, but also the biggest gap in the multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation architecture. In this context, on March 27, 2017, more than 100 countries launched the first UN talks on a global nuclear weapons ban.
This policy paper explores key challenges and developments in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament of WMD, with an emphasis on nuclear arms. Based on extensive consultations with representatives of states, various UN entities, and civil society, as well as subject-matter experts, this paper details recommendations laid out in the ICM’s final report, published in September 2016.
For full access to the ICM Policy Paper: Weapons of Mass Destruction, kindly follow the link.
Logistics support is both critical to the safety and health of peacekeepers and vital to success at every stage of a peace operation—especially in the high-threat environments where both UN and regional peace operations are increasingly deployed. Contemporary peace operations are based on logistics partnerships, with support provided by a range of actors including states, international organizations, and commercial contractors.
This report focuses on logistics partnerships that support UN operations and regional peace operations in Africa. Drawing on two UN missions and fifteen regional operations in Africa, it describes, compares, and traces the evolution of these two kinds of logistics partnerships and provides recommendations for improving them.
For full access to Logistics Partnerships in Peace Operations, kindly follow the link.
This article discusses Ethiopia’s recent military withdrawl from key areas in Somalia, and the speed at which al-Shabaab extremists filled the power vacuum, as a significant reminder of the limited progress made in building a credible Somali fighting force and again exposes the fragility of the country’s security architecture.
For full access to A New Path Emerges for Troubled Somali Security, kindly follow the link.
The first step in an effective countering violent extremism (CVE) strategy is to develop a detailed and nuanced understanding of the relevant communities. Building on a research project completed for Public Safety Canada—which examined the impact of overseas conflicts on Syrian, Afghan, Somali, and Tamil communities in Canada— this paper identifies key insights about the country’s diaspora communities. Serious attempts to address violent extremism begin by accepting the reality that future attacks are as likely to come from within societies as abroad. Diaspora communities can be a country’s greatest asset in combating violent extremism. Strengthening the social capital of these communities is the most promising and cost-effective means to counter the threat of radicalization. This requires a serious commitment to research, dialogue, and law enforcement strategies that promote engagement instead of confrontation.
To access “Diaspora as Partners”: The Canadian Model of Countering Violent Extremism, kindly follow the link.
In August 2017, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien issued an alarming call to address “early warning signs of genocide” in the Central African Republic (CAR). The nature and dynamics of the conflict affecting the country have dramatically evolved in the past few months, and recent episodes of violence have amounted, at a minimum, to ethnic cleansing. What seemed to be a contest between armed groups for economic and political gains has increasingly been entangled with renewed inter-communal, inter-ethnic, and inter-confessional hatred, especially in the central and eastern parts of the country.
For full access to How Can the UN Curb CAR’s Spiral of Violence and Ethnic Cleansing?, kindly follow the link.
Policymakers continuing to wrestle with issue of how sustaining peace, prevention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development work together, could look no further than The Gambia as a case study. The country’s fragile transition since national elections in January this year provide considerable room for studying and responding to the root causes of conflict by pursuing both peace and development in a holistic manner. This focus is in keeping with both sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda, which, while intended to be universal processes, have been criticized in regards to their practical application, both in isolation and in combination.
For full access to The Gambia: An Ideal Case for Prevention in Practice, kindly follow the link.
UN peace operations are confronting crises from all sides: they face ever more complex operating environments in the field, while in New York they face divisions among member states over the very nature of peace operations, a “peacekeeping fatigue” aggravated by scandals, and cuts to the peacekeeping budget.
This report asks whether the reform agenda put forward by Secretary-General Guterres would—or would not—help realize the four strategic shifts called for by the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO)—recognizing the primacy of politics, viewing peace operations as a continuum, strengthening partnerships, and focusing on the field and on people—and under what circumstances.
For full access to Road to a Better UN? Peace Operations and the Reform Agenda, please follow the link.
The 2015 Bamako Agreement was supposed to usher in a new era of peace and stability in Mali. However, not only has there been little progress in implementing the agreement, but the security situation remains volatile. This state of affairs is all the more troubling given the international community’s mobilization in support of the Malian state. Why, in spite of this mobilization, are some warning that the peace agreement is in danger of collapse?
For full access to A Process in Search of Peace: Lessons from the Inter-Malian Agreement, kindly follow the link.
This report takes a look at the state of socio-economic development expectations following the 2018 African Union Summit. It also showcases the challenges that remain in the region. Many of those concerned about the current and future state of their countries were optimistic following the conclusion of the AU Summit, hopeful that the Summit would result in a successful push towards achieving the goals of socio-economic development on the continent.
For full access to the report, Optimism and Unaddressed Challenges After AU Summit, please follow the link.
The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa from 2014 to 2015 underscored the fragility of public health services in countries emerging from protracted conflict, as well as the link between governance and health. In both Sierra Leone and Liberia, war had seriously undermined the health sector. Ebola arrived as the large-scale postwar international presence was downsizing and the responsibility for healthcare was shifting to the governments. Both governments had developed comprehensive health policies and plans, including devolution of health service delivery, but these were not fully implemented in practice. As a result, they were unprepared to address the Ebola crisis. This report explores the response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and Liberia, respectively.
For full access to the article on, Governance and Health in Post-Conflict Countries: The Ebola Outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone, please follow the link
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) began its mandate in one of the most fragile countries on the planet on October 1, 2003. A decade of intermittent civil war had caused Liberia’s gross domestic product to plummet by two-thirds, killed up to 500,000 people, and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population. With UNMIL as its primary guarantor of security, Liberia’s economy recovered, and elections in 2005, 2011, and 2014 were held peacefully. The national population has doubled, meaning Liberia has an entire generation of youth who have little recollection of the country’s troubled past. This article tries to investigate on reasons why UN would put this progress at risk.
For full access to the article on,No Time for a Peacekeeper Exit in Liberia, please follow the link.
In 2016, the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly adopted dual resolutions on “sustaining peace.” With this framework, the UN embraced a prevention approach in its peacebuilding efforts, with continuous attention of the international community from early warning to post-conflict recovery. Sustaining peace emphasizes inclusive dialogue, mediation, accountable institutions, good governance, access to justice, and gender equality. It encourages utilizing existing societal mechanisms and capacities to build resilience and drive positive peace. Yet there is still confusion over what this means in practice. Two recent case studies might shed some much-needed light on the matter: The Gambia and Burundi.
For full access to the article, A Year of “Sustaining Peace”: What Was Learned from Burundi and The Gambia?, please follow the link.
In May 2018, Razia Sultana, a human rights activist and lawyer, addressed the UN Security Council on the Rohingya situation on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. During her time in New York, she spoke with the International Peace Institute’s Sarah Taylor about her work in the region, relating vivid stories of the brutality suffered by the Rohingya.
To read the full interview, Sexual Violence Against the Rohingya: Q&A with Razia Sultana, please follow the link.
The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) completed its mandate on June 30, 2017, after more than thirteen years. One year later, the secretary-general is set to release his “comprehensive study of the role of UNOCI in the settlement of the situation” in the country. This presents an opportunity to examine the many stages or “lives” of a peacekeeping operation, something often overlooked.
This report aims not only to contribute to this learning process but also to go beyond the scope of the secretary-general’s study to examine the trajectory of UNOCI over the years. It provides a historical account of the various phases of the Ivorian crisis and examines how UNOCI evolved and adapted to the circumstances and how the Security Council dealt with the Ivorian dossier.
Based on this assessment, the report draws lessons from UNOCI for other peacekeeping missions. These include the challenges missions face when the consent of the host state is fragile, a permanent member of the Security Council is heavily involved, they have a mandate to certify elections, they take a robust approach to a crisis, they undertake both disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and security sector reform processes, and the UN applies sanctions or arms embargoes.
For full access to the report, The Many Lives of a Peacekeeping Mission: The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire, please follow the link.
A distinct characteristic of United Nations peacekeeping is its impartiality. It is also a reality that for UN peacekeeping to function properly, partnering with regional organizations and other groups is essential. Experiences in Mali and Somalia have, however, exposed the political and operational challenges that partnerships create in maintaining impartiality. The challenge at hand is the dynamic between peacekeeping and counterterrorism efforts, especially as partnerships have expanded—notably in Africa, where regional actors have deployed increasing numbers of counterterrorist forces in the Sahel, Somalia, and Lake Chad Basin.
In order to read, Counterterrorism and Challenges to Peacekeeping Impartiality, please follow the link.
On the 30th of March 2018, UNMIL completed its mandate in Liberia setting the county on a new path towards a Security transition phase. The Security Council hailed the mission’s overall progress toward restoring peace, security, and stability in the country. The drawdown, which UNMIL head Farid Zarif called “one of the most significant milestones for the country and the international community since the end of the civil war in 2003,” will have important repercussions for the future of Liberia and the UN’s broader efforts to sustain peace.
In order to read, Sustaining Peace in Security Transitions: The Liberian Opportunity, please follow the link.
Secretary-General António Guterres launched the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative on March 28 with the aim of rethinking aspects of United Nations peacekeeping. A4P is designed around five “Ps”: politics, performance, partnership, people, and peacebuilding. Others have written on some of these “Ps,” and this piece will delve into the peacebuilding dimension of A4P. To understand peacebuilding, it is important to draw out lessons from how the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding has changed over time, and identify how the A4P initiative can apply these lessons to aspects of peacekeeping.
In order to read, What Peacekeeping Can Learn from Peacebuilding: The Peacebuilding Dimensions of the A4P, please follow the link.
Last April's High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, convened by the president of the General Assembly, comes two years after the concurrent resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council that adopted a new approach called “sustaining peace,” which is aimed at significantly bolstering the international effort to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict.
The secretary-general recently released his first report on how he will implement and operationalise the sustaining peace approach. It is now an ideal time to take stock of how the concept has developed since it was adopted and assess the challenges to its implementation.
To access the full article, "Sustaining Peace: Can a New Approach Change the UN?", please follow the link.
Forced southern migration from the Middle Belt in Nigeria is largely due to drought in the northeastern parts of the country. With Lake Chad dramatically decreasing in size, herders have had to search for alternative pastures and sources of water for their cattle. Subsequent encroachment on settlements and farmland have resulted in disputes over cattle theft and crop damage which have often turned violent, made worse by religious tensions. This mass migration south has also resulted in a vacuum in the north, with militant groups such as Boko Haram moving in to abandoned land.
The Nigerian government have tried implementing a range of measures to slow and prevent this migration of farmers and so far they have placed a heavy emphasis on military responses. This article from IPI looks at the the progress made in relations to plans to replenish Lake Chad and the prospects of this successfully tackling the migration problem.
For full access to the article, Recharging Lake Chad Key to Ending the Conflict Between Nigeria’s Farmers and Herders, please follow the link.
On November 24, 2016, the government of Colombia and the biggest guerrilla group in the country, the FARC, signed a final peace agreement. This accord put an end to the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere and to long and convoluted peace talks. Over the course of the four-year process, there were ups and downs, including a moment of crisis when the public rejected the initial peace accord in October 2016.
Despite many hurdles, this paper argues that the process can be considered a success for the simple fact that it achieved its objective; to convince the FARC to voluntarily set aside its weapons and start the transition to becoming a political party. This paper highlights the key elements that seemed to have worked and those that made progress difficult.
For full access to the report, Made in Havana: How Colombia and the FARC Decided to End the War, please follow the link.
Peacebuilding begins with open dialogue: Engaging Colombian communities to enable an inclusive approach
As part of the work carried out by Interpeace with the Police Unit for Peacebuilding – UNIPEP -, a visit was made to one of the Territorial Areas of Training and Reincorporation in Colombia, with the objective to talk with community members, and learn about the challenges they face in the implementation of the peace agreements.
Through several dialogue sessions, the State authorities were able to define priorities and specific actions to be developed by their local representatives to enforce security measures in their communities, and continue working in the implementation of the peace agreements in the rural areas of Colombia.
For full access to the article, Peacebuilding begins with open dialogue: Engaging Colombian communities to enable an inclusive approach, please follow the link.
In the non-permissive environments where they are often deployed, UN peace operations need to be increasingly creative to implement their mandate to protect civilians. They face particularly acute challenges in contexts marked by violent extremism, such as Mali, where attacks by terrorist groups have greatly constrained the capacity of peacekeepers to protect local populations.
This paper explores the operational challenges that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) faces in implementing its protection mandate. It analyzes protection threats related to violent extremism in Mali and explores the protection strategy, tools, and activities developed by the UN mission to address those threats. It highlights some of the practical constraints of operating in a hostile environment and added complications related to the mission’s proximity to non-UN counterterrorism forces.
To read the report, Protecting Civilians in the Context of Violent Extremism: The Dilemmas of UN Peacekeeping in Mali, please follow the link.
One year ago, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was declared “defeated.” Since then, much attention has been given to the fate of its male foreign fighters, in particular the security concerns regarding their return. Less attention has been given, however, to the children of these fighters—both those born in Iraq and Syria and those brought by their parents to the region.
To access the full paper, The Children of ISIS Foreign Fighters: Are Protection and National Security in Opposition?, kindly follow the link.
For over two decades, keeping the peace in Africa has occupied a major slice of the United Nations Security Council’s time, resulting in many more peace operations deploying on the continent than any other region. Since 2011, one trend has been an increase in ad hoc coalitions intended to stabilize certain conflict zones in Africa. Advocates suggest these coalitions are well suited for dealing with some of the continent’s deadliest transnational armed groups. Yet debate continues over who should authorize, finance, and provide them with various forms of technical, logistical, and security assistance. Outside of their benefits and drawbacks, it is clear that the coalitions pose particular challenges for the African Union (AU).
For full access to Can Ad Hoc Security Coalitions in Africa Bring Stability?, kindly follow the link.
On January 24, peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) opened in Khartoum. Brokered by the African Union (AU), the dialogue brings together government representatives and fourteen armed groups. Difficult negotiations lie ahead, partly because several transitional justice initiatives have already gotten off the ground in recent months. An examination of these initiatives raises a variety of questions about CAR’s peace process.
For full access to Negotiating Peace and Justice in the Central African Republic, kindly follow the link.
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.
To read the full paper, Senior Leadership Training in UN Peace Operations, please follow the link provided.
In September 2018, warring parties in South Sudan signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), which has resulted in several positive developments, including the establishment of transitional committees and a reduction in casualties of political violence. In spite of this, however, the UN mission (UNMISS) and humanitarian actors continue to confront impediments to complete and unhindered success. Threats against civilians continue, armed groups are clashing, and implementation of key R-ARCSS provisions is behind schedule.
In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a workshop on February 6, 2019, to discuss UNMISS’s mandate and political strategy. This workshop offered a platform for member states, UN actors, and outside experts to share their assessment of the situation in South Sudan. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of the mission’s mandate and actions on the ground. The workshop focused on the dynamics of the current political process in South Sudan, including the challenges facing the implementation of the R-ARCSS and continuing threats to civilians, the UN mission, and humanitarian actors. Participants identified several ideas to strengthen and adapt UNMISS’s mandate to help the mission advance its political strategy and achieve the Security Council’s objectives in the coming year.
Workshop participants encouraged the Security Council to maintain the UNMISS mandate’s flexible nature and advised against making radical changes. They highlighted several opportunities to improve the mission’s mandate by refining existing tasks to ensure the mission is well-positioned to respond to changes in the operating environment. Among these, the Council should authorize the mission to provide technical support to the peace process, maintain flexible POC language and mandate the mission to facilitate voluntary returns from POC sites, and encourage continued regional engagement in South Sudan’s political process.
To read the full paper, Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates: The Case of UNMISS, please follow the link provided.
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.
To read the full report, Incorporating Gender into UN Senior Leadership Training, please follow the link provided.
ith its comprehensive goals and re-affirmation of a partnership approach, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the aspirations of local communities working for peace across the world. The review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 during the upcoming High-Level Political Forum, and the overall review by heads of state and government, aim at mobilizing “further actions to accelerate implementation.” This recognizes an urgent need for multilateral organizations, governments, the private sector, and civil society alike to move beyond the policies and politics of the agenda towards the realization of all the SDGs.
How the SDGs will be realized is of utmost importance. Grounded local experiences of integrated SDG implementation, which link all relevant goals for more peaceful societies in a locally relevant and gender and youth sensitive manner, must guide the way the agenda is taken forward.
For full access to the article, Why Integrated Implementation of the SDGs Will Help Build Peaceful Societies, kindly follow the link.
This paper examines the implementation of the UN’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace framework in Liberia, 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. It looks specifically at how the UN country team is adapting its strategy and operations in the wake of the recent transitions in Liberia.
For full access to the paper Sustaining Peace in Liberia: New Reforms, New Opportunities?, kindly follow the link.
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.
For full access to the report Action for Peacekeeping: One Year into the Implementation of the Declaration of Shared Commitments, kindly follow the link.
Papua New Guinea is facing two major challenges to peace: a November referendum on the future political status of Bougainville, the site of a brutal conflict from 1989 to 1998; and the recent increase in intercommunal violence in the Highlands region. This makes it an important test case for the UN’s approach to peacebuilding and sustaining peace and the recent reforms to the UN development system.
This paper examines the implementation of the UN’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace framework in Papua New Guinea, 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.
For full access to the paper Sustaining Peace in Papua New Guinea: Prevention in Practice, please follow the link.
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.
For full access to the paper The Global Pushback on Women’s Rights: The State of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, please follow the link.
From 2003 to 2018, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was ever-present throughout the country. 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 argues that 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.
For full access to the paper The Mission Is Gone, but the UN Is Staying: Liberia’s Peacekeeping Transition, kindly follow the link.
The International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report organized a workshop on September 10, 2019, to discuss MINUSCA’s mandate and political strategy. This paper summarizes the main points raised in the discussion.
For full access to the document Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates: The Case of MINUSCA, please follow the link.
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.
For full access to the report Partners and Competitors: Forces Operating in Parallel to UN Peace Operations, please follow the link.
After more than two years of debate and negotiations, the United Nations will approve the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the centerpiece of its post-2015 development agenda at a summit of world leaders September 25-27. The goals are much broader and more comprehensive than the Millennium Development Goals they replace, and cover a wide range of economic and political issues, including poverty, inequality, hunger, employment, education, the environment, and energy.
Full article available here
One of the main threats to the current world order is the erosion of the rule-of-law based international system. Due to the advent of new technologies and hybrid warfare, the laws of war have also become blurred. A major cause of both of these trends is the emergence of armed non-state actors. This meeting note by the International Peace Institute (IPI) aims to explore this erosion of the rule of law and its impact on justice, peace, and security.
The note stems from a meeting that IPI organised on the theme “The Rule of Law and the Laws of War” from September 6 to 9, 2015 in Salzburg, Austria. The meeting brought together current and former foreign ministers, experts on international humanitarian law, diplomats, academics, journalists, and representatives from civil society. It was part of the IPI Salzburg Forum, a major annual event to address the risks and challenges of today and contribute to more effective multilateral governance in the future.
For the full report on the IPI Salzburg Forum 2015: The Rule of Law and the Laws of War, kindly follow the link.
On April 21, 2016, the International Peace Institute (IPI) co-organized a workshop with the Stimson Center and Security Council Report to assess the challenges faced by the UN in Mali. This event is part of a series of workshops bringing together member states and UN actors to analyze how UN policies and the June 2015 recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) can be applied to country-specific contexts.
This meeting note was drafted collaboratively by IPI, the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report.
To access the full Applying the HIPPO Recommendations to Mali: Toward Strategic, Prioritized, and Sequenced Mandates meeting note, kindly follow the link.
At a time when multilateral and rules-based international cooperation is under intense pressure from growing nationalism and political short-sightedness, the Paris Peace Forum (held November 2018) came as a welcome attempt at countering the zeitgeist and galvanizing new faith in the idea that “international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.”
To read the full article summarizing one researcher's take-aways from the forum, kindly follow the link provided.
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.
To read the full paper, Mission in Transition: Planning for the End of UN Peacekeeping in Haiti, kindly follow the link provided.
In an interview with Lesley Connolly of the International Peace Institute, Susanna Campbell, an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service, discusses how international peacebuilding organizations can learn from the experience of those in Burundi and implement and support more effective peacebuilding initiatives on the ground.
For full access to Peacebuilding, Prevention, and Sustaining Peace, kindly follow the link.
There are no shortages of statistics and data on the increasing rapidity with which our climate is changing, or on its effects. While rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, and extremes in temperature are well-chronicled, the cascading impacts that a transformed climate will have on global peace and security are less clearly understood. This is all the more important since the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide frameworks for addressing climate change for the international community, yet stop short of including peace and security. In light of its mandate, the extent to which the United Nations Security Council can or should take steps on climate-related peace and security issues is an increasingly urgent question.
To read the full article, How Can the Security Council Engage on Climate Change, Peace, and Security?, kindly follow the link provided.
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 concludes with several steps the UN and the international community can take to support substantive progress on WPS.
For full access to the paper Focus on 2020: Opportunities for the Twentieth Anniversary of Resolution 1325, please follow the link.