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Policy and Research Papers

Civilian Peacekeeping Capacity: Mobilizing Partners to Match Supply and Demand

The timely deployment of suitably qualified civilian personnel is a challenge that none of the organizations that deploy peacekeepers has yet addressed. This challenge has floundered on the periphery of the peacekeeping debate for many years, but a 2010–11 UN civilian capacity review provides a unique opportunity to focus attention on the problem. This article proposes the formation of a global civilian capacity partnership that brings together the training and roster community, the UN Secretariat and a grouping of interested states, with the aim of significantly improving the UN Secretariat’s ability to identify, recruit and deploy suitably qualified civilian personnel in a reasonable time, and without adverse side effects for the local community or the mission mandate.


Bridging the Gap: The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the Challenges of Integrating DDR and Transitional Justice

While peacebuilding is a long-term and complex endeavor, a cacophony of actors and agendas, together with a persistent tendency to focus on short-term needs at the expense of long-term priorities, stymie efforts to build lasting peace. Complex problems call for innovative and integrated interventions. The staples of post-conflict peacebuilding — including, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), security sector reform (SSR), rule of law initiatives, and transitional justice mechanisms ranging from prosecutions to truth commissions — are meant to serve overlapping constituencies and common purposes. In practice, however, such initiatives have often operated on separate tracks, leading to redundancy, avoidable tensions, and lost opportunities. This article focuses on the special challenges that arise out of the need to develop more integrated approaches to DDR and transitional justice and argues that the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) must play a stronger role in bringing together this and other pieces of the post-conflict puzzle. Even though the possibility of tension between transitional justice mechanisms and DDR programs cannot be eliminated, careful attention to areas of overlap should be part of innovative and integrated approaches to post-conflict peacebuilding going forward in order to advance common goals. The gains of such an approach would be modest, but worthwhile.

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Training in Vain? Bottlenecks in Deploying Civilians for UN Peacekeeping

UN peacekeeping missions suffer from cumbersome recruitment processes, high vacancy rates and a shortage of civilian staff. This article explores the bottlenecks hampering the recruitment and deployment of trained personnel, especially civilians. Paradoxically, an increased number of trained personnel has not translated into higher deployment rates. Individual factors and structural bottlenecks together accounted for half of the nondeployments. Of the latter, the informal nature of the UN’s recruitment system and the central role played by personal contacts stands out. The article makes the case for an improved link between the recruitment architecture of the UN and its training programmes, and a significant overhaul of the UN recruitment architecture per se. Unless the UN and international training programmes address this paradox, the risk of training in vain will remain.

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Security Sector Reform for Human Security: The Role of International Law and Transitional Justice in Shaping More Effective Policy and Practice

In the post-conflict context, the need to (re)build security institutions that are accountable, rights-respecting, and transparent is the subject of resounding rhetorical tribute in both academic and policy discourse. Yet in practice, ambitious goals of instilling respect for such norms and standards have often been sidelined in favour of more expedient ‘train-and-equip’ components of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process. At the same time, post-conflict initiatives relating to SSR and accountability measures arising out of transitional justice have rarely interacted in theory or in practice. The gaps between SSR policy ideals, on the one hand, and actual SSR practice, on the other — together with the disconnects between SSR and transitional justice initiatives — represent a lost opportunity for the promotion of long-term positive peace. For the most part, though SSR policy ideals strongly resonate with international legal norms, SSR policy and practice have not been heavily driven by a sense of international legal obligation in this regard, nor has SSR programming been seen as a potential means by which states might come to satisfy broader international human rights obligations. In this chapter, I argue that while international legal norms and obligations do not dictate the fine-grain details, they nevertheless help to establish parameters that should guide SSR practice in significant ways going forward, potentially helping to bridge some of the aforementioned gaps. Emerging norms of accountability and the responsibility to protect, for example, together with the importance of guarantees of non-repetition, suggest that the SSR process must become more rights-based and justice-sensitive, predicated on the promotion of both state and human security, both in theory and in practice. At the same time, there is a delicate balance for actors in a process that, historically, has often been heavily funded and, at times, driven by outsiders. International law includes pillars relating to accountability and protection against human rights abuses, but also respect for principles of sovereignty and self-determination. In this regard, well intentioned but heavy-handed agenda setting by international interveners in the security sector is potentially problematic, and the possibility for frictions may be only heightened if international law is imagined to dictate SSR policy in too rigid, technocratic, or detailed a manner. The oft-repeated policy ideal that the SSR process should be ‘locally owned’ could be seen to reflect these international principles, together with the genuine practical limits to what outsiders can do without very strong local political will.

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The Relevance of Security Sector Reform in Humanitarian Intervention: The Case of the European Union in the Mediterranean

Security sector reform (SSR) is a new concept that was adopted by international institutions at the end of the 1990s as a relevant and critical part of development and stabilization processes. It consists of reforming the security sector in those states in which security structures are not able to protect citizens from security challenges facing developing and transitional societies. It includes a large spectrum of services and is strongly based on the abandoning of the classical conception of security as strictly connected with the territorial integrity of a state and the adoption of the broader concept of security and a security agenda that considers the well-being of populations and the respect of human rights. This article aims at analyzing the relevance of SSR in the security relations between European Union (EU) and Mediterranean countries. 

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The Eastern Africa Standby Force: History and Prospects

The Eastern Africa Standby Force is one of the five planned regional forces of the African Standby Force (ASF). Since February 2004 work has been underway to raise an Eastern Africa brigade to operational status. However, Eastern African states may prefer to solve their security problems in a unilateral military fashion, rather than through the integrated model of the ASF. Resources, as always in Sub-Saharan Africa, are scarce, operational capability appears to be growing only slowly, and significant training and airlift problems are unsolved. As these problems are common to all five brigades, some thoughts are presented in the conclusion to provide a simplified ASF way forward.

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