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Updated: 2 weeks 5 days ago

Prioritizing, Sequencing, and Streamlining UN Security Council Mandates: Taking Stock of Lessons Learned and Pathways Forward

Thu, 27/06/2024 - 18:24

There have been several efforts to make UN peace operations mandates more realistic, effective, and achievable over the past two decades. Most notably, the 2015 report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) recommended that the council “make use of sequenced and prioritized mandates as a regular practice.” However, several challenges have inhibited efforts to make mandates more fit for purpose, and the extent to which mandates have become more prioritized and sequenced varies. In parallel, the council has sought to move away from lengthy “Christmas tree” mandates in favor of greater streamlining. However, while streamlining is intended to make mandates more focused, these changes have implications for missions’ budgets and operational capabilities, and mission leaders’ decision making.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report cohosted a roundtable discussion on May 14, 2024 to reflect on UN Security Council efforts to prioritize, sequence, and streamline mandates. This roundtable brought together representatives from the UN Secretariat and member states as well as external experts.

Overall, participants agreed that, over the past ten years, the council’s decisions to prioritize and sequence mandates have impacted missions’ work and resource allocation. Participants expressed differing opinions over whether and how the council should prioritize and sequence mandates in the future. Participants also identified the budgetary and operational opportunities and risks presented by streamlining mandate language moving forward.


Mobilizing Finance for Climate, Inequality, and Sustainable Development: New Taxes and Levies

Tue, 18/06/2024 - 17:00
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If the average global temperature rise is to be limited in line with the 2015 Paris agreement, climate finance will need to increase to about $9 trillion a year globally by 2030, up from just under $1.3 trillion in 2021–2022. To identify ways forward, IPI hosted a virtual panel discussion on June 18th on “Mobilizing Finance for Climate, Inequality, and Sustainable Development: New Taxes and Levies.”

Countries are converging around the idea of new global taxes to fund action to address a wide variety of needs, including inequality, poverty, and climate action. Levies on shipping, fossil fuel production and subsidies, air travel, and financial transactions feature prominently in agendas to reform the international financial architecture. Barbados, France, and Kenya have launched an International Tax Task Force on climate-related levies to judge the viability of these and other options for global taxes. Brazil, in its chairmanship of the G20, has promoted the idea of a “billionaire tax” on extreme wealth.

Such ideas are hardly new, but they are newly relevant given recent progress on international tax cooperation. Since 2021, when OECD countries agreed to impose a minimum effective rate of 15% on corporate profits, 140 countries have signed on to this policy. Tax reform efforts in the UN have also picked up speed. Following a historic breakthrough at the UN General Assembly in November 2023, the UN has now started negotiations on the terms of reference for a new Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation.

Some of the questions under discussion included:

  • The Marshall Islands are on the frontlines of climate change impacts, particularly the rise of sea levels. It is also on the frontlines of efforts in the International Maritime Organization for a global levy on shipping. Why is this levy important?
  • What is the International Tax Task Force’s mandate, and what do they hope to achieve?
  • Global taxes and levies for climate change are not new ideas. Indeed, we’ve been talking about carbon pricing for decades. Why is this time different?
  • Brazil is hosting the G20 this year and COP30 next year, so it is well-poised for leadership. What does the wealth tax mean for Brazil’s climate and development efforts, at home and abroad?
  • How are International Climate Solidarity Levies (ICSLs) distinct from other global tax initiatives?

Welcoming Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO of the International Peace Institute

Benito Müller, Managing Director, Oxford Climate Policy
Tina Stege, Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands
Laura Carvalho, Global Director of Equity, Open Society Foundations, and Associate Professor of Economics, University of São Paulo
Pascal Saint-Amans, Adviser to International Tax Task Force
Michael Franczak, Research Fellow, International Peace Institute

Jimena Leiva Roesch, Director of Global Initiatives, International Peace Institute

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Maintaining the Momentum on UN Security Council Resolution 2664

Thu, 06/06/2024 - 23:24

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IPI in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, cohosted a roundtable discussion on “Maintaining the Momentum on UN Security Council Resolution 2664 and Its Humanitarian Carve-out for the UN ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime.” This roundtable is part of a project on “Sanctions and Humanitarian Action: Promotion and Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2664.”

In December 2022, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2664. This resolution provides a cross-cutting humanitarian carve-out to asset freezes under all Security Council sanctions regimes, including the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and al-Qaida regime. However, the application of the humanitarian carve-out to the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and al-Qaida regime, which has been described as having the widest impact on humanitarian action, will expire in December 2024 unless the Security Council decides to extend it.

This was the second roundtable that IPI and Ireland hosted, which considered the positive changes brought by the resolution and examined what efforts are still needed to ensure its full implementation and impact. Participants also considered the case for the resolution to continue to be applied to the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and al-Qaida regime beyond December.

The workshop, convened under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution, brought together representatives from humanitarian organizations, the UN Secretariat, member states, the banking sector, and civil society groups, as well as independent experts.

Global Leaders Series Featuring President of Guatemala H.E. Bernardo Arévalo

Tue, 04/06/2024 - 22:52
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IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event on June 4th featuring H.E. Bernardo Arévalo, President of Guatemala. The conversation between IPI President Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and H.E. Bernardo Arévalo centered around current issues facing Guatemala, sustainable development, and goals for the future.

During the event, President Arévalo reflected on the 25 years since the peace accords were signed, highlighting the need to address corruption and build democratic and inclusive institutions. He noted the unique nature of Guatemala’s accords, stating, “In contrast to most of the peace accords that were signed at that time, the accords in Guatemala were not only about ending the conflict but about having a blueprint for a democratic and inclusive future.”

He also highlighted his plans for his presidency, focusing on tackling corruption and crime through strengthening institutions. He emphasized, “We need to be able to strengthen our capacity to address crime today, but at the same time build the conditions that will enable young people simply not to consider worth to engage in criminal activities.”

Bernardo Arévalo currently serves as the 52nd president of Guatemala, having assumed office on January 15, 2024. A reform candidate of the Movimento Semilla party, he campaigned primarily on an anti-corruption platform while also frequently discussing Guatemala’s development and security needs. He previously served as a deputy in the Congress of Guatemala from 2020 to 2024, as Ambassador to Spain from 1995 to 1996, and as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 1995.

The New Agenda for Peace and Peace Operations

Wed, 29/05/2024 - 23:51

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IPI in partnership with the French Ministry of Armed Forces, cohosted the 2024 Peacekeeping Observatory Annual Workshop on May 29, 2024. The full-day workshop focused on the implementation of recommendations from the New Agenda for Peace that pertain to peace operations. This hybrid event convened over fifty participants, including UN personnel, member states, and other experts from civil society organizations.

Held at a critical moment of reflection on the future of peace operations, the workshop provided an opportunity for participants to deliberate on efforts to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of missions in today’s political environment and ahead of the Summit of the Future, to be held on September 22 and 23, 2024, in New York.

The workshop was divided into four sessions:

Session 1: Understanding Resolution 2719: What Comes Next for the UN and AU?

This session featured experts from the UN/African Union (AU) Partnerships Team in the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), the Permanent Observer Mission of the AU to the UN, and civil society organizations. Participants discussed the impact of Security Council Resolution 2719 on peace operations and the UN–AU partnership. The discussion highlighted the need for enhanced coordination and strategic alignment between the UN and the AU, the importance of flexible and adaptive mechanisms to support AU-led peace operations, and joint efforts in political, financial, and operational planning to ensure effective implementation and oversight.

Session 2: Lessons Learned from the Support Office Model

During this session experts examined the work of the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) as a model for UN support to AU-led missions, with a focus on its operational support to the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS.) It featured key contributions from Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNSOS Aisa Kirabo Kacyira and her senior adviser, as well as other independent experts. The dialogue highlighted the significance of UNSOS in enhancing the logistical and operational effectiveness of ATMIS through robust partnerships, joint strategic planning and trust-building with key stakeholders. However, participants also recognized that challenges such as unmet expectations, limited financing, and the lack of alignment of military and political strategies persist and necessitate a continuous focus on collaboration, accountability, and adaptable support frameworks for future missions.

Lunch Session: Briefing on Negotiations around the Pact for the Future and Language on Peace Operations

Within this session, representatives of the permanent missions of Namibia and Germany to the UN briefed the attendants on negotiations around the Pact for the Future with a focus on the language on peace operations. The briefers highlighted areas of relative consensus among member states, including broad-based support for peace operations, as well as some areas that have been more politically difficult to negotiate. The briefers also reflected on the need for further peacekeeping reforms to address future peace and security challenges. In addition, they highlighted the importance of ensuring peace enforcement is undertaken in service of a political process and ensuring sustainable and adequate financing and support.

Session 3: Strengthening the Institution of UN Peacekeeping

The final session recognized the need to fortify UN peace operations as an important tool for collective security, alongside growing efforts to support partner-led operations. It emphasized the need for UN peacekeeping structures to adapt to contemporary challenges through innovative approaches and modern technology and to learn from past failures. Participants called for strengthening the tools the UN has at its disposal to address threats in multiple domains and the need to rebuild trust with local populations.

As part of the 2024 Peacekeeping Observatory project, IPI is publishing a series of issue briefs on UN peace operations and the New Agenda for Peace, including “Implementing Resolution 2719: What Next for the UN and AU?” authored by Jenna Russo and Bitania Tadesse; “The Support Office Model in Somalia: Lessons Learned and Implications for Future Settings,” authored by Paul Williams; and “The Protection of Civic Space in UN Peacekeeping Operations,” authored by Lauren McGowan.

The Peacekeeping Observatory is a multiyear IPI project examining emerging issues and challenges in peace operations. It is funded by the French Ministry of Armed Forces.

25 Years of POC and the UN Security Council: Challenges and Opportunities

Mon, 20/05/2024 - 18:05
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The Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN, in partnership with IPI, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mozambique to the UN, the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), hosted a policy forum on May 20th on “25 Years of POC and the UN Security Council: Challenges and Opportunities.”

This year marks 25 years since the Security Council first recognized the protection of civilians (POC) as a matter of international peace and security. Since then, POC has become widely institutionalized within the council’s work, as well as the UN more broadly, elevated as a core issue on the council’s agenda, and designated as a priority among mandated peacekeeping tasks.

At the same time, POC continues to face significant challenges resulting from flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws (IHL/IHRL), including by some UN member states. These violations not only have devastating consequences for civilians in conflict settings but are also a symptom of an erosion of the normative frameworks that underpin the international system. This erosion calls into question the role of the UN Security Council in protecting and upholding such norms, especially as in some cases council members have been directly or indirectly involved in violations.

The purpose of this event was to take stock of the council’s engagement with POC over the past 25 years and assess opportunities for it to further strengthen POC norms amid contemporary political and security challenges. This conversation took place as the international community prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, presenting an opportune moment for wider reflection on the fundamental principles of IHL/IHRL that underpin the POC agenda.

Naz K. Modirzadeh, Professor of Practice, Founding Director, Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, Harvard Law School
Laetitia Courtois, Permanent Observer and Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Hichem Khadhraoui, Executive Director, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
Edem Wosornu, Director, Operations and Advocacy Division (OAD), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Adam Lupel, Vice President and COO, International Peace Institute

Closing remarks:
H.E. Pascale Christine Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN

Analyzing the Effectiveness of Institutional Training for Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment in Peacekeeping

Fri, 17/05/2024 - 22:10

IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) team, in partnership with the Gender and Security Sector Lab (GSS), hosted a virtual research workshop on “Analyzing the Effectiveness of Institutional Training for Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (SEAH) in Peacekeeping.” This May 17th event and related research are part of the Gender and Peace Operations Project, a multi-year initiative of the IPI WPS program funded by the Government of Canada’s Elsie Initiative.

One of the ways that the UN seeks to combat SEAH is through training. This research project seeks to understand how training at the national and international level (completed in-academy, in-service non-academy, pre-deployment, or during deployment) on topics related to gender and SEAH can influence perceptions (and potentially behavior) of military and police while deployed in UN peace operations. This discussion will support an upcoming report co-authored by IPI and GSS on the effectiveness of training for SEAH in peacekeeping.

To better understand the relationship between institutional training and SEAH, the researchers will employ a series of statistical tests, using cross-national survey responses from security personnel from ten different countries and twelve security institutions. This data was collected using the Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations (MOWIP) methodology for barrier assessments of military and police. With this data, the researchers will evaluate whether surveyed personnel who have engaged in different types of training (general gender or WPS training, training on the prevention of SEA, gender training for leadership, institutional harassment training, or specialized gender training on preventing sexual violence or civilian protection) have 1) different knowledge of gender mainstreaming policies and practices, such as UNSCR 1325; 2) different views of the integration and participation of women in peacekeeping; and 3) different beliefs and perceptions of SEAH.

Over 30 people attended the research workshop, with participation from civil society, academia, peace operations and training personnel, as well as various UN entities, including the Office of the Special Coordinator on Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (UN-OCSEA). The policy paper for this project will be released towards the end of 2024.

Small States and Global Governance: Managing the Challenges of Emerging Technologies and “Frontier Issues”

Wed, 08/05/2024 - 20:39

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This May 8th roundtable discussion, the final in a series of three sessions in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Singapore, focused on the topic of small states and their role in global governance relating to new and emerging issues such as cybersecurity, digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and outer space.

These frontier domains pose both immense opportunities for development and potential risks that could further widen divides between and within countries. Small states must work together to build multilateral governance frameworks, rules, and norms that allow them to effectively manage the challenges posed by these issues, while not stifling innovation and growth. At the same time, they must find ways to level the playing field in the development and deployment of new technologies, so that all can benefit equitably, especially the small states themselves.

To guide the conversation, participants considered the following questions:

  • What are the particular challenges faced by small states in dealing with emerging technologies, and are there existing avenues in the UN or other multilateral platforms that can help them to address these?
  • What important elements ought to be considered in establishing governance frameworks and norms vis-à-vis frontier issues, that would help to build the most conducive environment for small and developing states to best harness the potential and opportunities of technologies?
  • How can small states best contribute to growing global conversations on frontier issues and project their voices in these efforts, and how can they support each other in their endeavors?

The event was co-organized in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Namibia, New Zealand, Samoa, Senegal, Switzerland, and Qatar.

Discussions will be captured in a final report to be prepared at the conclusion of the roundtable series.

Passing the Baton: Learning from the Experience of Brazil on the Security Council

Tue, 30/04/2024 - 23:22

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In recent years, the ten elected members of the Security Council (E10) have come to play a more prominent role, exerting increased influence in the council’s working methods, thematic issues, and some country files. The contributions of the E10 are particularly felt during times of constrained political space among the council’s permanent members (P5), as currently seen. In such cases, the ability and willingness of the E10 to work together across areas in which they have common interests has helped to spur the council’s work. Because gains made by the E10 are often based on the efforts and innovations of individual member states, experiences must be shared with incoming and future elected members to maintain momentum.

IPI is working to capture the experiences of outgoing elected members after their council terms end. While some member states undertake internal reviews of their council terms, they are not usually shared externally, which prevents their experiences from benefiting future council members.

To help the process of gathering lessons learned, IPI hosted a closed-door roundtable on April 30th, focusing on Brazil’s council term from 2022 to 2023. Some of the questions under discussion included:

  • What were Brazil’s main goals on the council and what strategies did it use to achieve these goals?
  • What were the key barriers and enablers to Brazil achieving its objectives while on the council?
  • How did dynamics among the P5 and E10 affect Brazil’s work specifically and the work of the council more broadly during this time?
  • What political and other events took place during this time and how did they affect the council’s work? What methods were utilized by Brazil and other council members to deal with these events?
  • Did the council’s working methods change during this time? If so, how? What were the implications of these changes?
  • In what ways, if any, did Brazil seek to “pass the baton” on issues it championed while on the council?
  • What are the insights of the experience as a non-permanent member that may be broadly applicable to other E10 and what are more specific to Brazil?
  • What are the perspectives/insights of Brazil as an E10 country in serving as president of the Security Council?

A meeting note summarizing the discussion can be found here>>

Global Leaders Series Featuring H.E. Dennis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly

Wed, 24/04/2024 - 21:32

On April 24th, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring H.E. Dennis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly. The conversation between IPI President Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and H.E. Dennis Francis took place on the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace and highlighted how the work of the UN General Assembly is evolving to meet and address the global crises facing us today.

The interview addressed the principles needed for practical multilateralism efforts and highlighted past examples of its success. The conversation also posed the question, how can those working outside of the UN encourage and contribute to supporting effective international cooperation?

Dennis Francis currently serves as the 78th President of the UN General Assembly. He has had a career spanning approximately 40 years in the Diplomatic Service of Trinidad and Tobago, earning distinction as his country’s longest-serving ambassador. Before demitting office as Director of Multilateral Relations, he served as Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on all multilateral-level matters, including climate change and the negotiations on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Examining the Use of UN Sanctions

Wed, 17/04/2024 - 18:00
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In advance of the Security Council’s open debate on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), IPI, together with the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN, co-hosted a policy forum on April 17th on the topic of “Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Examining the Use of UN Sanctions.”

The purpose of this policy forum was to consider how sanctions have been used in response to CRSV. The discussion examined the relationship between the annual reports of the secretary-general on CRSV and sanctions designations and provided recommendations to enhance complementarity.

The policy forum also launched the IPI publication “UN Tools for Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: An Analysis of Listings and Sanctions Processes,” written by Jenna Russo and Lauren McGowan. The event and publication were made possible with generous support from the government of Denmark.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Christina Markus Lassen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN

Lauren McGowan, Policy Analyst, International Peace Institute
Tonderai Chikuhwa, Senior Policy Adviser, UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Natascha Hryckow, Associate Fellow, Global Fellowship Initiative of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and Former Coordinator for the UN Panel of Experts on Somalia (VTC)
Francesca Cassar, Africa, Economic and Development Coordinator, Permanent Mission of Malta to the UN
Pauline Brosch, Policy Specialist, Protection and Transitional Justice, UN Women

Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

UN Tools for Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: An Analysis of Listings and Sanctions Processes

Tue, 16/04/2024 - 18:24

Since the Security Council first recognized conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) as a threat to international peace and security in 2008, the UN has developed an increasing number of pathways to prevent and respond to such crimes. One of these is the annual report of the secretary-general on CRSV, which includes an annexed list of perpetrators who are credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of CRSV violations in contexts on the agenda of the Security Council. In addition, perpetrators of CRSV may also be designated in UN sanctions regimes. Yet while both of these processes aim to prevent and respond to CRSV, they are not always coherent with one another.

This paper analyzes the relationship between the annual reports of the secretary-general on CRSV and sanctions designations to provide recommendations to enhance their complementarity. It provides an overview of the CRSV annual report and the process for listing parties. It then focuses on designations in sanctions regimes for crimes related to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including the level of coherence between the reporting of the secretary-general and designations in sanctions regimes. Next, the paper analyzes the reporting and political barriers that inhibit more regular designations for SGBV in sanctions regimes. Finally, it provides recommendations to the UN and member states on how to improve the coherence, coordination, and effectiveness of these processes, including the following.

For member states:

  • Explicitly list SGBV as a criterion within all sanctions regimes for contexts where sexual violence may be taking place.
  • Prioritize utilizing existing SGBV-related criteria as appropriate with available evidence.
  • Provide additional resources for panels of experts.
  • Increase coherence between the parties listed in the annual reports on CRSV and the individuals and entities designated in sanctions regimes.
  • Organize an annual field visit for sanctions committees to the context in question.
  • Create a standing capacity within the UN to engage with designated parties, with the aim of encouraging compliance and facilitating de-listing.

For the UN Secretariat and panels of experts:

  • Establish a platform for regularly coordinating and sharing information between the office of the special representative of the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict and panels of experts.
  • Institute more structured handover processes between incoming and outgoing members of panels of experts.
  • Provide more robust training on SGBV for panels of experts.
  • Strengthen CRSV expertise and capacity within the Security Council Affairs Division.

Can the World Bank Deliver on Climate Change? Testing the Evolution Roadmap through Loss and Damage

Mon, 15/04/2024 - 17:55

The establishment of a new Loss and Damage Fund and Funding Arrangements at COP27 and the Fund’s operationalization and initial capitalization at COP28 were milestones in the UN climate regime. The World Bank engaged in the Transitional Committee (TC) process as a potential host and trustee for the Fund, a member of a new “High-Level Dialogue,” and a direct provider of loss and damage (L&D) support. The implementation of the Fund and Funding Arrangements—the mosaic—is the first big test of the World Bank’s commitment to evolving its policies, practices, and relationships.

This paper discusses the World Bank’s engagement with loss and damage, including the context of broader reforms aiming to modernize the Bank, such as the Bank’s Evolution Roadmap, which identifies three guiding elements for the Bank’s evolution: a new mission and vision, a new playbook, and new resources. One of the key components of the Bank’s evolution is the introduction of climate-resilient debt clauses (CRDCs) or “pause clauses.” Pause clauses feature prominently in recent initiatives to reform the international financial architecture, such as Bridgetown 2.0, the Africa Climate Summit’s Nairobi Declaration, and the Vulnerable Twenty Group’s (V20) Accra-Marrakech Agenda.

The paper also discusses the debate over the World Bank’s hosting of the Fund and the set of conditions and safeguards, determined by developing countries, that the Bank would have to meet in order to host the Fund. Finally, the paper discusses priority actions for the High-Level Dialogue, including resource mobilization, institutional protocols, and the losses and damages of the future.

Cybersecurity and UN Peace Operations: Evolving Risks and Opportunities

Fri, 29/03/2024 - 15:36

This paper discusses the growing potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities of UN peace operations. Fast-moving changes in the cyber capabilities of state and non-state actors, the changing nature of asymmetric warfare, and the positioning of the UN in relation to global and regional geopolitics are increasingly placing peace operations in the crosshairs of complex cybersecurity threats. In parallel to these external trends, internal trends in missions’ intelligence, surveillance, and data management technologies also make them more vulnerable to cyber threats. At the same time, there are opportunities for missions to leverage cybersecurity infrastructure to support the implementation of their mandates, including in the areas of mediation and political settlements and the protection of civil society actors.

The paper provides an overview of the cyber threats facing peace operations and opportunities to leverage cybersecurity tools for mandate implementation. It also documents the operational and policy challenges that have arisen and the Secretariat’s efforts to address them. It concludes with several recommendations for the UN as peace operations seek to operate in an increasingly fraught political and cybersecurity environment:

  • The Secretariat should develop cross-cutting operational concepts and guidance for cyber threat assessments.
  • The Secretariat should articulate its understanding of its duty of care for staff privacy and develop operational guidance and expertise for mitigating threats to privacy.
  • When facilitating political processes, peace operations should consider whether cybersecurity measures will be equally effective in deterring hacking attempts by all parties to ensure they do not exacerbate “information asymmetries.”
  • The UN should explore the boundaries around missions evading or obstructing surveillance or intrusion activities by host states to secure their operations.
  • The Secretariat should mitigate the volume of data exposed to external systems, including by deploying UN-owned and UN-operated intelligence and surveillance devices when possible.
Photo credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten


Advancing Feminist Foreign Policy in the Multilateral System: Key Debates and Challenges

Thu, 28/03/2024 - 22:23

Since the first feminist foreign policy (FFP) was adopted by Sweden in 2014, sixteen countries have either published an FFP or announced their intention to do so. Some proponents of FFPs have indicated that these policies can be a way to democratize and transform multilateralism, integrating feminist approaches and principles into multilateral institutions and leading to more inclusive and equitable outcomes. This requires seeing FFPs as not just a “women’s issue” but also as a way to reinvigorate an outdated and inequitable system through transformational change and the interrogation of entrenched power dynamics, including in areas such as trade, climate, migration, and disarmament.

One obstacle to realizing the potential of FFPs is that there is no single definition of feminist foreign policy. Part of the challenge is that there are many interpretations of feminism, some of which reflect a more transformative, systemic approach than others. Ultimately, there is no single way to “do” feminism, and approaches to FFP should, and will, vary. If FFP is to survive and grow, it will encompass contradictions and compromises, as with all policymaking, and civil society and member states will have to collaborate to advance feminist principles in the multilateral arena.

To explore the future of FFPs, the International Peace Institute, in partnership with the Open Society Foundations and in collaboration with the co-chairs of the Feminist Foreign Policy Plus (FFP+) Group, Chile and Germany, convened a retreat on Feminist Foreign Policy and Multilateralism in July 2023. Drawing on insights from the retreat, this paper discusses five ongoing debates that FFP-interested states should meaningfully engage with:

  • Militarization, demilitarization, and the root causes of violence;
  • Global perspectives and postcolonial critiques;
  • The branding and substance of FFPs;
  • The domestication of FFPs; and
  • Accountability and sustainability.
Photo credit: Ministerie van Buitenland Zaken, Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy Conference 2023

Kenya’s National Peacebuilding and Prevention Strategy

Thu, 21/03/2024 - 22:45
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IPI in partnership with the Life & Peace Institute and the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Kenya, Norway, and Sweden to the UN, cohosted a policy forum on March 21st assessing lessons learned from Kenya’s Peacebuilding Architecture Review.

The pursuit of peace, a foundational goal at the establishment of the UN in 1945, requires member states to assume primary responsibility for conflict prevention through initiatives that are nationally owned and people-centered, respect human rights, and enhance inclusivity and social cohesion. Its implementation requires a constant refreshing of peacebuilding and conflict prevention and resolution methods. This year, determining a way forward on these issues will be key to the impact hoped for in the Pact for the Future.

In 2023, in line with the push for national governments to take the lead in “identifying, driving and directing priorities, strategies, and activities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace,” the Government of Kenya commissioned a review of its national peacebuilding architecture. The initiative was spearheaded by the National Steering Committee on Peacebuilding and Conflict Management and assisted by an Independent Panel of Advisors (IPA), with support from the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office and other partners. Resulting from the highly consultative process involving Kenyans from diverse backgrounds, the IPA submitted to Kenya’s political leadership a report with a comprehensive set of observations and recommendations, structured around four pillars: (1) defining a national agenda for peace, (2) promoting political inclusion, (3) enhancing conflict prevention and resolution, and (4) proposing a new institutional architecture for peacebuilding. By pursuing an independent assessment that values the insights and contributions of local peacebuilders and civil society, Kenya demonstrates national ownership and leadership.

The audience heard from the IPA reflecting on its experiences on the review journey and the key findings and recommendations, with a particular emphasis on partnership opportunities in the implementation phase.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Andreas Løvold, Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN
Elizabeth Mary Spehar, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA)
Shamsa Abubakar, Deputy Chair for the Independent Panel of Advisors for the Peacebuilding Review

Raymond Omollo, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Interior and National Administration, Government of Kenya
Lesley Connolly, Team Leader, Global Policy, Life & Peace Institute
Rana Taha, Peace and Development Advisor, United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office, Kenya
Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, Independent Panel of Advisors for the Peacebuilding Review

Jenna Russo, Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, International Peace Institute

Closing remarks:
H.E. Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya to the UN
H.E. Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN

A High-Level Panel Discussion on Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Fri, 08/03/2024 - 18:21

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In collaboration with the Malala Fund and the Atlantic Council, IPI hosted a high-level panel discussion to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th. The event addressed the harrowing reality of millions of women and girls living under systematic oppression at the hands of the Taliban and highlighted the ongoing efforts of Afghan women and the international, legal, and research communities to ensure justice for these abuses—in particular, the momentum around efforts to codify the crime of gender apartheid.

The discussion placed thought-leaders of international law, human rights experts, Afghan women, diplomats, and activists in dialogue to offer insights on the lack of basic rights and fundamental freedoms for women and girls in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s repressive regime took over in August 2021. Panelists shed light on the crimes being perpetrated by the Taliban, called on the international community to recognize these crimes, and discussed developing tools for accountability. The event also offered a platform for the testimony of women and girls impacted by the Taliban alongside that of legal and policy experts on gender apartheid.

Participants heard directly from Afghan women and girls in the audio recordings of the initiative “Inside Afghanistan’s Gender Apartheid,” an interactive audio timeline and collaborative effort between the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and the Civic Engagement Project. The initiative, which was publicly launched at the event, documents the first-hand accounts of life under gender apartheid and analyzes the impact of the Taliban’s increasingly entrenched and institutionalized legal system that curtails freedom, stifles potential, and erodes dignity.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico Alicia Buenrostro Massieu delivered opening remarks, situating the deteriorating state of Afghan women and girls within the larger international imperative to achieve and protect gender equality for all. Articulating the global backlash on women’s rights she instructed, “the pushback is intensifying and so must our response…it is high time to end the systematic exclusion of women and girls.”

Nayera Kohistani, women’s rights defender and teacher, spoke from her personal experience of “dehumanization” and being reduced to a “second-class citizen…with no human agency or dignity.” While she painted a vivid and grim picture of the situation that Afghan women face on the ground where “the Taliban has criminalized [their] whole existence and identity,” she also shared details of Afghan resistance and protest.

Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai labeled the event a true moment of solidarity. She drew attention to the technologies of “highly calculated policies of oppression” that the Taliban relies on, noting that Afghanistan is the only country in the world that forbids girls from completing an education. She emphasized the need for solidarity from the global community with the girls who are “having their childhood and their future stolen” to not only change the conditions for Afghan girls but to also communicate to all girls around the world that their education, humanity, and human rights matter.

Panelists Penelope Andrews, anti-apartheid expert and Professor of Law and Director of the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School, and Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls, provided the legal and policy expertise on the codification of gender apartheid in international law. Drawing from a depth of knowledge on racial apartheid in South Africa, Professor Andrews identified the situation of women in Afghanistan as unequivocal gender apartheid based on the evidence of systemic, vicious, and comprehensive oppression and denial of basic civil and political rights on every level. She made an actionable request: include gender apartheid in the draft convention on crimes against humanity. To galvanize and focus efforts, she said, naming a harm is one of the most influential tools available so there is an imperative to recognize what is happening to Afghan women clearly: “This is gender apartheid – calling this what it is, we can create the conditions for people to be able to live dignified lives.”

Dorothy Estrada-Tanck identified the explicit codification of gender apartheid in Afghanistan as a priority for the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls. While there are legal instruments currently available to address the rights violations women in Afghanistan are facing based on human rights tools built over the last 80 years, Estrada-Tanck pinpointed their insufficiency to identify and frame the mass nature and scale of this “state-sponsored, institutionalized and systematic oppression and subjugation.” Recognizing and codifying this as a crime against humanity is necessary to accurately name and understand the full scope of the elements of this regime and most importantly, to trigger action from the international community. Calling on the international community’s not just moral, but legal obligation to prevent and combat this crisis, she concluded, “This is a test for the multilateral system, where are we going to draw the red line?”

The event was co-sponsored by the Global Justice Center, Rawadari, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and the Permanent Missions of Mexico and Malta.

Opening/Closing Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Peace Institute
H.E. Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Malta to the UN
H.E. Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Laureate
Nayera Kohistani, Afghan Activist and Expert
Penelope Andrews, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law & Director, Racial Justice Project, New York Law School
Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, Chair, UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls

Jomana Karadsheh, International Correspondent, CNN

National Action and the New Agenda for Peace: IPI VP Adam Lupel Speaks at the 2024 Parliamentary Hearing at the UN

Thu, 08/02/2024 - 23:35

Event Video 

The UN Secretary General’s New Agenda for Peace places a strong emphasis on national action to prevent conflict and achieve sustainable development. As a result, national parliaments have an important role to play in the pursuit of a strengthened system of global governance and a more effective approach to collective security.

From February 8th-9th, over 200 parliamentarians from around the world convened for the 2024 edition of the annual Parliamentary Hearing between the UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The hearing took place as negotiations are ongoing for the Pact of the Future and in anticipation of a Summit of the Future that UNGA President Dennis Francis describes as a “once in a generation opportunity” to fast-track transformative solutions for improved multilateralism. This year’s theme, “Putting an end to conflicts: Prescriptions for a peaceful future,” shaped two days of wide-ranging conversations.

IPI Vice President and COO Adam Lupel spoke at the first meeting of the 2024 Parliamentary Hearing on the panel “The Future of Peace and Security: From good intentions to a renewed collective action.” Dr. Lupel identified the decay of universal commitments to international law and normative constraints on the use of force as the principal strategic threats to peace and security. Building on the New Agenda for Peace’s three core principles of trust, solidarity, and universality, he discussed the corrosive effect that geopolitical divisions and interests have had. Commenting on parliaments’ place in promoting universality, Dr. Lupel said “If we want to rebuild our capacity for collective security, we must demand that our leaders are morally and practically consistent in the application of international norms and the protection of civilians so that all countries, all peoples, feel that the system is there for them. And I think parliaments are well placed to make that demand.” Dr. Lupel also stressed that parliaments need to take a long-term view of cultivating the positive conditions of peace and that they have several tools of conflict prevention, such as preventive diplomacy, accountability mechanisms against excessive use of force, and the integration of a diverse range of actors at all levels of decision making. Similarly, he placed extra emphasis on the pursuit of gender equality and the eradication of gender-based violence as a core goal of the New Agenda for Peace that Parliaments are well-placed to effectively champion and achieve.

Honoring Warren Hoge, Former IPI Vice President of External Relations

Fri, 05/01/2024 - 18:00

“He was a consummate professional, a dear friend to so many and so wonderfully decent. He will be sorely missed.” – Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President & CEO of the International Peace Institute

By profession, Warren was a journalist, but by nature he was a diplomat—fully aware of the power of words to engage, to inform, to inspire, to change the world,” said Gillian Sorensen, former Assistant-Secretary-General for External Relations at the UN, when she spoke at Warren’s Celebration of Life on November 29th. The event brought together Warren’s beautiful family, friends, and colleagues to remember and honor Warren Hoge, and the positive impact he had on so many lives.

Warren came to the International Peace Institute as the first Vice President of External Relations following his extraordinary, event-filled 32-year career at The New York Times. Prior to coming to IPI he was the Chief UN Correspondent for the Times. He joined IPI in 2008—the same year IPI opened its own, dedicated event space, The Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development. I had recently joined the organization at that time, and I was fortunate to have him as my supervisor.

When I first met Warren, I was pregnant with my first child. Not long after meeting him, I experienced what many first-time mothers do and was rushed to the hospital thinking something was wrong, only to find I had Braxton Hicks (false labor). It happened so quickly that my husband called the office to let them know I had to miss work to go to the hospital. Not long after I was admitted, the phone rang in my hospital room and – to my surprise – I heard a kind, radio-quality voice coming through the receiver. It was my new supervisor, Warren Hoge, who was calling to check on how I was doing and make sure I was OK. I was moved by his thoughtfulness and the concern he showed. This is one of countless stories that exemplify the compassion Warren had for his colleagues. His management style centered around kindness and care. He was deeply committed to the importance of family life and his face would light up whenever he spoke of his family. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to have learned from him, a person who valued connection and consistently acted with empathy and compassion—the building blocks of peace.

It was very fitting that he came to work at IPI after retiring from journalism. It was at a moment when IPI was beginning to reach out beyond the UN community and organize more events to bring together different sectors working toward our goal of creating a more peaceful and sustainable planet. Warren’s vast knowledge of world affairs, his deep conviction for the importance of international cooperation, coupled with his way of being in the world, informed how the organization evolved.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and CEO reflected that, “He was a consummate professional, a dear friend to so many, and so wonderfully decent. He will be sorely missed.”

In her speech about Warren’s work with the UN, Gillian Sorensen rightly said, “He was an idealist without illusion. A caring critic of the UN. Never demeaning, never dismissive.” She also said, “He knew its [the UN] potential and its limits. He knew its impact on New York City and its many functions beyond peace and security, including health and human rights, and so much more… He believed the UN was imperfect but indispensable. That it was there … as a location for representatives from every nation on earth to come to be heard, to connect, to engage. He believed in the power of diplomacy to make a better world.”

During his time at IPI, Warren spearheaded the original redesign of the organization’s website, wrote NYT-quality coverage of our events, and created the “Distinguished Authors Event Series,” a series of evening receptions featuring authors of recently published books connected to pressing international relations concerns and peace. He co-produced and narrated IPI’s 40th Anniversary film; conducted interviews with world leaders and experts—including almost all of the 2016 candidates for UN Secretary-General; and was the most well-prepared of moderators for countless IPI panel discussions. He was also a devoted mentor to interns and junior staff, and someone who always took the time to provide advice and guidance to those who sought it.

He had a zest for life that uplifted those around him. Being from Manhattan, he developed throughout his life a great love for music, good food, and the theater. He also loved to sing and often filled the office with music, bringing a spirit of joy to the work.

After Warren’s passing, the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, announced to the UN press core, “After retiring from the Times, Warren moved to the International Peace Institute, where he remained deeply involved in international affairs, and kept in touch with so many of you. As we extend our condolences to his wife Olivia and their children, we remember Warren as a true gentleman reporter who was unfailing in his kindness, his easy grace, and detailed reporting of the ups and downs of this institution.”

Following this announcement, American journalist and UN Correspondent for the Associated Press, Edie Lederer, stated: “On behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association, we would also like to send condolences to the family and many friends of Warren Hoge around the world. He was a terrific journalist who reported from South America, Brazil, London, and many global hotspots before coming to the UN. As you so rightly said, he was a charming man and a great raconteur. And he will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him.”

Warren elevated IPI’s work beyond the UN community and into the broader international affairs community around the globe. He exemplified what peace means in practice. He had a natural way of connecting at a heart-level with all those he worked with and interacted with. He led IPI’s External Relations to new heights, broadening its audience and reach – always with sincerity, kindness, and respect. IPI is deeply grateful for his extraordinary contributions.

IPI’s Vice President and COO, Adam Lupel, who worked with Warren for 15 years said it well: “He was among the most memorable of characters imaginable—genuinely kind and generous to all, the greatest of storytellers, a gentleman of capacious heart and warm smile. He will be dearly missed.”

His life lives on in the stories he told, the lives he influenced with his wisdom and wit, and his compassion and care. His empathy, genuine kindness, and contributions to creating a more peaceful world will always be remembered.

~ Mary Anne Feeney, IPI Senior Director for External Relations

Safeguarding Humanitarian Action in UN Sanctions and Counterterrorism Regimes: The Impact and Implementation of Resolution 2664

Tue, 12/12/2023 - 17:41

Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly called attention to the challenges that counterterrorism resolutions and UN sanctions regimes can pose to humanitarian action. In response, the council has progressively incorporated language that better takes into consideration international humanitarian law (IHL), international human rights law (IHRL), humanitarian principles, and the need to protect principled humanitarian action from the potential negative consequences of sanctions and counterterrorism measures. Most notably, in December 2022, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2664, which provides a cross-cutting humanitarian exemption to asset freezes under all its sanctions regimes, including the 1267 counterterrorism regime against ISIL/al-Qaida, to safeguard the timely and effective conduct of humanitarian activities.

In this context, IPI and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in New York hosted a closed-door, hybrid roundtable on November 14, 2023, to assess the implementation and impact of Resolution 2664, including its potential application to counterterrorism measures. This roundtable provided a platform for exchanges between humanitarian organizations, member states, the UN Secretariat, civil society organizations, and independent experts, including those based in Geneva and New York.

There was broad agreement among participants that Resolution 2664 is a milestone achievement representing a fundamental policy shift within the Security Council. However, the resolution does not resolve all obstacles facing humanitarian actors seeking to provide aid in contexts where sanctions from the UN and autonomous regimes, as well as counterterrorism measures, apply. Participants thus provided the following recommendations on how to continue to safeguard principled humanitarian action:

  • Member states should incorporate the obligations of Resolution 2664 into national and regional frameworks;
  • Member states should take steps to apply the humanitarian exemption to autonomous sanctions regimes and counterterrorism measures;
  • Donors should streamline reporting requirements for humanitarian actors;
  • UN entities, humanitarian actors, and member states should invest in greater guidance and capacity building on the implementation of Resolution 2664; and
  • UN entities, international and local humanitarian actors, member states, and the private sector should continue to engage in inclusive, multi-stakeholder dialogue at the national and global levels on the implementation of Resolution 2664 and risk-mitigation measures.