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Promoting the prevention and settlement of conflicts
Updated: 13 hours 13 min ago

The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the US and Xi Jinping’s China

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 18:24
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On July 7th, IPI hosted a Global Leaders Series event featuring a conversation with The Honorable Kevin Rudd on his newest book The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict Between the U.S. and Xi Jinping’s China.

The Honorable Kevin Rudd has studied, lived in, and worked with China for more than forty years. The Avoidable War demystifies the actions of both the US and China, explaining and translating them for the benefit of the other. The conversation at IPI focused on the book’s relevance to the multilateral system.

Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia, President of the Asia Society, and Chair of IPI’s Board of Directors

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and CEO

The Situation in Libya: Reflections on Challenges and Ways Forward

Wed, 06/29/2022 - 17:46

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) by the end of July 2022. Deliberations on UNSMIL’s mandate are unfolding amid a protracted political impasse. Since March, renewed competition between the two rival executives has paralyzed the UN-endorsed framework that emerged from the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. This competition among elites has also drawn attention away from the underlying drivers of violence and insecurity and caused the political, security, economic, and human rights situations to deteriorate.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on June 9, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in Libya in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of UNSMIL’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants agreed that the UN continues to be an important partner to Libya and that UNSMIL’s mandate is broad and flexible enough to enable continued engagement. Nonetheless, it will be essential for the UN Security Council and UNSMIL to recalibrate international support to the country in the coming months. To this end, participants urged the UN to leverage its role as an impartial actor that can increase cohesion among the various dialogue initiatives, hold stakeholders accountable, and sustain engagement with civil society groups. Participants also identified the need for the UN to develop and implement a more holistic approach to its mandate by focusing more on economic issues and mainstreaming human rights across all processes. Further, participants noted that UNSMIL needs to effectively communicate its strategy and priorities, including its desired “end state.” Finally, participants urged both the Security Council to remain unified and continue prioritizing Libya and member states to ensure that their actions are consistent with their stated positions.


IPI President Briefs UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting Ahead of the 20th Anniversary of the Rome Statute

Fri, 06/24/2022 - 19:48

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After being adopted by 120 states, the International Criminal Court (ICC) officially became operational when its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002. Ahead of the Rome Statute’s 20th anniversary, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held an Aria-Formula meeting on June 24, 2022, where states convened to renew their commitment to the statute and consider ways in which the ICC can contribute to accountability and the fight against impunity. Participants were asked to reflect on the relationship between the ICC and the UNSC and how best to support existing Security Council referrals to the ICC. During this crucial meeting, IPI President and CEO Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein presented a briefing to the Security Council.

In his briefing, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlighted the importance of demonstrating moral consistency among the UNSC and ICC, saying, “[T]o have any credibility with the millions of people out there, people who need desperately both of these institutions to function, and function properly, the Council and the Court must demonstrate – to the maximum extent possible, consistency. Moral consistency.” In addition, he referenced the historical significance of the Rome Statute and the heavy responsibility the ICC holds to serve justice and protect international peace and security.

Expanding Conceptions of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence among Military Peacekeepers

Thu, 06/23/2022 - 18:22

UN peacekeeping missions tend to frame conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) narrowly both in terms of who its victims are and who is best placed to address it. The victims of CRSV are usually assumed to be women and girls, and there is often an expectation that women peacekeepers will be better able to address CRSV than men. These assumptions reflect the frequent conflation of CRSV with “violence against women and girls,” as well as with “sexual and gender-based violence.” They also reflect the broader conflation of “women” and “gender” throughout UN policy documents and training resources for military peacekeepers.

This issue brief explores how the UN system currently understands CRSV and SGBV, how this understanding affects the responsibilities, roles, and perceptions of military peacekeepers, and how UN policies—especially those focused on military women’s participation in peacekeeping—might be more inclusive. It draws on desk research as well as interviews with practitioners, UN personnel, and academic gender experts, as well as insights shared in several closed-door, expert-level workshops.

The paper concludes that the current narrow understanding of CRSV harms victims of sexual violence who are not women and girls, including men and boys as well as sexual and gender minorities. Beyond the victims, narrow understandings of CRSV also harm women peacekeepers. Those pushing to increase the number of uniformed women peacekeepers often emphasize their added value in preventing and responding to CRSV. This assumption can perpetuate the idea that women peacekeepers’ primary added value is their gender identity and saddles them with additional responsibilities, often without adequate training, resources, or authority.


IPI VP Lupel Speaks at European Parliament on Multilateralism and the Future of Human Rights

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 18:06

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As clear evidence of war crimes and violations of international law have come to light in the war in Ukraine, the fight against impunity has garnered new attention. This is not just true for Ukraine but for the entire world. The task of reprioritizing the protection of civilians and human rights has become increasingly urgent.

To address this global challenge, the European Parliamentary Research Service in partnership with Fight Impunity and No Peace without Justice held its first International Annual Conference, entitled “The Future of Human Rights and the Fight Against Impunity.” The event took place at the European Parliament in Brussels from June 16-17, 2022, bringing together leading figures from the EU, UN, and NGOs. Throughout both days, participants aimed to shed light on abuses against human rights, foster a better-informed public debate on the subject, and help generate a stronger commitment to prioritize it with international resources.

IPI Vice President and COO Adam Lupel participated as a speaker at the conference’s fourth session on “Threats to Peace and Democracy.” His presentation examined the fragmentation of international order, the crisis of multilateralism, and the overall weakening of commitments to international law. Commenting on the atrocities taking place in Ukraine, Dr. Lupel said: “The principles of non-aggression, inviolability of state borders, and limitations on the use of force…are under threat by the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Without adherence to these basic norms, you lose the very conditions for the possibility for the international rule of law.”

Watch his full remarks here>>

In addition to Dr. Lupel, the panel featured remarks by Nadia Volkova, Founder & Director of the Ukrianian Legal Advisory Group; Ayman Nour, former member of the Egyptian Parliament and Presidential Candidate; and Shada Islam, Visiting Professor, College of Europe. The panel was moderated by MEP Christophe Hansen, Member of the European Parliament for Luxembourg.

Both days of the conference are available to watch at the recordings below.
June 16, 2022 (Day 1)
June 17, 2022 (Day 2)

Masculinities and Violent Extremism

Thu, 06/09/2022 - 16:32

While only a small percentage of men become involved in violent extremism, the majority of violent extremists are men. Across the ideological spectrum, violent extremist and terrorist groups exploit male sentiments of emasculation and loss of power and appeal to ideas of manhood in their recruitment efforts. Yet policymakers rarely focus on gender to help them understand why some men engage in violence and others do not or what role peaceful notions of masculinity play in preventing radicalization and terrorism. Similarly, male-dominated counterterrorism institutions rarely pose the question of how masculinities shape these institutions and their approaches to counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE).

This report discusses masculinities—the socially constructed ideas of what it means to be a man—as they are constructed and used by violent extremist groups, as they exist in and interact with society, and as they interplay with the state. It draws on examples pertaining to both “Islamist” and extreme right-wing terrorism, considering differences not just between but also within these ideologies.

The report argues that while current efforts to “mainstream gender” in counterterrorism and CVE do not focus on masculinities, a masculinities-focused approach must avoid repeating the shortcomings of existing counterterrorism and CVE approaches aimed at women; be grounded in a robust human rights framework to avoid perpetuating gendered harms; be based on an understanding of the links between extremist violence and gender inequality at the societal level; and recognize and address the harmful role masculinities play within counterterrorism and CVE institutions themselves. It concludes by recommending that state, multilateral, and civil society actors engaged in counterterrorism and CVE:

  • Conduct more policy-oriented research and analysis on the link between masculinities and violent extremism;
  • Integrate a gender perspective—including a focus on masculinities—across all counterterrorism and CVE policy and programming;
  • Monitor and evaluate the gendered impact of counterterrorism and CVE interventions using a robust human rights framework; and
  • Address the harmful role masculinities play within counterterrorism and CVE institutions.


UN, EU, and NATO Approaches to the Protection of Civilians: Policies, Implementation, and Comparative Advantages

Wed, 06/08/2022 - 16:22

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On June 8th, IPI together with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN cohosted a virtual policy forum on “UN, EU, and NATO Approaches to the Protection of Civilians: Policies, Implementation, and Comparative Advantages.” The event provided an opportunity to present and discuss a recent IPI policy paper examining the conceptualization of the protection of civilians (POC) in the UN, the European Union (EU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), with recommendations to strengthen POC efforts within and across the three organizations.

Since the early 2000s, the UN, the EU, and NATO have developed their own conceptual and operational approaches to POC. These approaches have evolved in reaction to changing dynamics in armed conflict as well as institutional and membership priorities. These have contributed, for instance, to the UN’s shift from large-scale multidimensional peacekeeping operations toward smaller special political missions and the shift from executive military operations toward training missions within the EU. More recently, the return of large-scale military conduct in Europe following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the prospect of increasing use of hybrid warfare raise questions about the capacity for regional and international organizations to effectively protect civilians.

Considering these far-reaching geostrategic shifts, this policy forum will provide the opportunity to discuss how the UN, the EU, and NATO can adapt their POC approaches to a new era of operations and pursue greater inter-organizational cooperation to revitalize POC while retaining their distinct mandates and strategic approaches.

Read the policy paper>>

Opening Remarks:
Ambassador Mark Zellenrath, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Mr. Joachim A. Koops, Professor of Security Studies and Scientific Director of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
Mr. Dirk Druet, Adjunct Professor McGill University and IPI Non-Resident Fellow
Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Permanent Representative, EU Delegation to the UN
Ms. Marla B. Keenan, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Stimson Center
Ms. Eva Svoboda, Deputy Director of International Law and Policy, ICRC

Ms. Agathe Sarfati, IPI Senior Policy Analyst

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Voices from the Field Featuring James Swan, SRSG and Head of UNSOM

Mon, 06/06/2022 - 17:00
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As part of the “Leading for Peace: Voices from the Field” series, IPI hosted James Swan, current Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, on June 6, 2022. Swan shared his reflections on the current situation in Somalia following the recent presidential and parliamentary elections and their implications for UN engagement moving forward.

Swan was appointed in May 2019 as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Prior to this appointment, Swan spent much of his career serving in the US government supporting African countries facing complex political transitions. He served as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 2013 to 2016, US Special Representative for Somalia from 2011 to 2013, and Ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011.

Earlier in his career, Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2006 to 2008 and Director of African Analysis in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006. Prior to this, he held various assignments in the DRC, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Cameroon, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Swan holds a B.Sc. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an MA degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a master’s degree in security studies from the National War College.

H.E. Mr. James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)

Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and COO

The Impact of Women Peacekeepers on Public Support for Peacekeeping in Troop-Contributing Countries

Tue, 05/31/2022 - 20:18

There are several common assumptions about how women peacekeepers may impact public opinion in the countries from which they deploy. Women peacekeepers may boost public support for peacekeeping by increasing the perceived legitimacy of peacekeeping missions. They may also boost public support for women’s rights by challenging norms around the roles women should perform. Finally, there is a belief that the death of women peacekeepers could decrease support for peacekeeping.

Drawing on two rounds of online public surveys in India and South Africa, this issue brief tests these assumptions. It also draws on an additional survey of UN member-state representatives in New York to understand how decision makers believe the deployment of women alters public support for peacekeeping.

Overall, the surveys revealed relatively high levels of support for peacekeeping in both India and South Africa. Moreover, member-state representatives in New York indicated that they not only value public opinion on peacekeeping and consider it when making deployment decisions but also believe that the deployment of women peacekeepers increases support for UN peacekeeping. However, differences between the surveys of the two countries underscore that women peacekeepers may be perceived differently by the public in different contexts and may not always increase support for peacekeeping or women’s rights. Therefore, scholars and policymakers within national governments and the UN should consider how the deployment of women may interact with other social, cultural, and political norms and practices to moderate how the public will perceive and react to women peacekeepers.

Seven New Members Join IPI’s Board of Directors

Fri, 05/20/2022 - 20:02

On May 10, 2022, the International Peace Institute’s (IPI) Board of Directors elected several new members.

The Honorable Kevin Rudd, Chair of IPI’s Board Directors, said: “I’m delighted to announce the seven new members who have been elected to join IPI’s Board of Directors. Their collective experience, integrity, and knowledge of international affairs will help lead the organization forward as we innovate to face the ever-evolving global challenges of the day.”

New Members of IPI’s Board of Directors (Listed in alphabetical order by first name)

Amy Towers: Former Chief Operating Officer of Glenview Capital Management; Founder of the Nduna Foundation; Co-founder (in partnership with UNICEF Zimbabwe) of CCORE, the Collaborating Centre for Operational Research and Evaluation in Harare, Zimbabwe; and Trustee for Women for Women International

Badr Jafar: CEO of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum; Founding Patron of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the Cambridge Judge Business School; and Founder of the Pearl Initiative

Ewout Steenbergen: Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, S&P Global; and Chair of the Board of Directors of UNICEF USA

Mads Nipper: President and CEO of Ørsted
(Ørsted is the largest energy company in Denmark—globally producing 90% of their energy from renewable sources.)

Michelle Yeoh: PSM, Actor; Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); and Road Safety Ambassador for the “Make Roads Safe” campaign and the FIA Foundation

Owen Pell: President of the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities; and Retired Partner of Counsel, White & Case LLP

Suzy Wahba: Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University; Former Anchor on Bloomberg Television; and Former Vice-Chair of Hands Along the Nile

An invitation has been extended to an eighth new board member and the matter is now pending.

IPI’s Board of Directors provides strategic leadership, oversight, and guidance for the organization on matters concerning governance and financial sustainability, working closely with the President and CEO.

Prioritization and Sequencing of Security Council Mandates: The Case of MINUSMA

Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:01

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in June 2022. In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on April 19, 2022. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in Mali in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MINUSMA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants agreed that MINUSMA has an important role to play in Mali and that the mission’s mandated priorities still align with the areas where the UN can bring the most added value. But they also noted that MINUSMA alone cannot address all the critical challenges and that the mission is already spread thin across a dangerous operating environment. Given the rapidly changing dynamics in the country and throughout the Sahel region, some participants saw this as an opportunity for the UN Security Council to engage in strategic reflection about MINUSMA’s future.

Participants raised several points for consideration during the upcoming negotiations on MINUSMA’s mandate renewal:

  • Focus more on the political dimensions of the mandate, including not only the governance transition but also the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement;
  • Reinforce the urgency of progress on the reforms needed to undertake legitimate elections;
  • Provide diplomatic support to ECOWAS in its negotiations on a consensual transition timetable;
  • Work with the transitional authorities to articulate a shared vision for the protection of civilians, including through the reduction of harm to civilians by the Malian armed forces and the removal of access restrictions for mission personnel;
  • Continue focusing on human rights monitoring, investigation, and reporting; and
  • Urgently fill the mission’s capability gaps to meet the requirements set out in the Force Adaptation Plan as well as additional requirements following the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane and the Takuba Task Force.

Women, War, and Leadership: A Gendered Perspective on Peace and Conflict in Ukraine

Thu, 05/19/2022 - 16:52
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On the occasion of a visit to the United States of a delegation of Ukrainian women leaders, IPI and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) co-hosted an event on the gender dimensions of the war in Ukraine on May 19th. The delegation included members of the Ukrainian parliament, human rights advocates, anti-corruption experts, and influential civil society activists who shared information about the ongoing war in Ukraine and the external support needed to advance a peace process.

Women and girls always suffer from the atrocities of war, yet they are not just silent victims. From the first days of the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian women have fought in the military and territorial defense forces, served on the diplomatic and informational front lines, and played a central role in decision making. They have saved dozens of lives as doctors, nurses, hospital workers, volunteers, activists, and train conductors. They have given birth in metro stations and basements used as bomb shelters. They continue to support the economy through their work in agriculture, manufacturing, information technology, and the service sector, as well as by running businesses. Those living overseas have organized mass protests in countries all over the world.

However, hundreds of women and girls in Ukraine have become victims of sexual assault and torture committed by the Russian army, and reports have documented the increasing use of rape as a weapon of war. At the same time, women and girls who have fled to Poland struggle to access abortions and are vulnerable to human trafficking and victimization by their hosts. As most men are prohibited from leaving Ukraine, many women refugees also bear multiple burdens as caretakers of children and the elderly and the sole breadwinners for their families.

Despite the critical role women are playing in Ukraine, the perspective of women has been noticeably absent from the dominant narratives about the war. To remedy this, this event provided a gender perspective on the war in Ukraine, focusing on the vital need for women’s involvement in both a potential peace process and the eventual process of national reconstruction.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and COO
Mr. Marcel Röthig, Director, Ukraine and Moldova Office, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Ms. Halyna Yanchenko, Member, Ukrainian Parliament
Ms. Olena Tregub, Secretary General, Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO)

Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of the Women, Peace, and Security Program

Perceptions of Women Peacekeepers

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 16:20
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On May 18th, IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security team hosted a virtual policy forum on “Perceptions of Women Peacekeepers.”

Policymakers and scholars claim that women peacekeepers will improve the credibility and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations. However, public perceptions of women peacekeepers can vary greatly across contexts, and assumptions that women will improve perceptions of peacekeeping operations may rely on gender stereotypes and place a double burden on women peacekeepers. This event explored how the general public perceives women peacekeepers both within host communities and within troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs). It also examined how the claim that women peacekeepers impact operational effectiveness by increasing legitimacy may risk stereotyping and instrumentalizing women peacekeepers.

The event included a short presentation of the results of surveys exploring how the deployment of women peacekeepers impacts attitudes toward peacekeeping in T/PCCs. These surveys examined whether the general public in India and South Africa react differently to both the deployment of and casualties among women peacekeepers compared to men peacekeepers. This event and the related research are part of the Women in Peace Operations (WIPO) project, a multi-year initiative of IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security program funded by the Government of Canada’s Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations.

Opening Remarks:
Dr. Jenna Russo, IPI Director of Research and Head of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations
Rear-Admiral Rebecca Patterson, Chief of Staff, Chief Professional Conduct and Culture

Dr. Laura Huber, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Mississippi
Ms. Suzy Nyuon William, Lawyer and Independent Researcher, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
Dr. Lindy Heinecken, Professor and Vice Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Colonel Md Mamun Azad Salehin, Armed Forces Division, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of the Women, Peace and Security Program

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UN Peacekeeping and Protection of Civilians from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Mon, 05/09/2022 - 22:30

While all UN multidimensional peacekeeping operations are mandated to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), the missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as in the Central African Republic, are also mandated to protect civilians from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). While SGBV is often used and understood interchangeably with CRSV, SGBV is broader in scope, as it encompasses nonsexual forms of gender-based violence and need not be connected to armed conflict.

This report examines how missions are implementing their mandates to protect civilians from SGBV, including CRSV, and assesses good practices, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. The report draws on lessons learned from the UN missions in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the DRC (MONUSCO). It considers how the complexities of preventing and responding to SGBV necessitate a whole-of-mission approach to the protection of civilians (POC) that encompasses not only physical protection from violence but also activities that address cultural norms related to gender, strengthen the rule of law, and enhance women’s participation. This report thus considers a range of protection activities carried out by missions, as well as structures and processes that promote the effective integration of gender into mission planning and activities.

The paper concludes with several recommendations for UN peacekeeping missions, the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO), and member states on the Security Council to strengthen work on SGBV:

  • Provide clear guidance on what it means to protect civilians from SGBV as part of a peacekeeping mandate;
  • Systematically and meaningfully integrate gender advisers and women’s protection advisers into POC planning at the strategic and operational levels;
  • Include gender-sensitive indicators in monitoring and reporting systems and prioritize the gathering of sex-disaggregated data;
  • Take a holistic approach to protecting civilians from violence, recognizing the risks of armed responses and prioritizing partnerships; and
  • Continue to combat impunity and engage with governments and armed groups to promote accountability.


IPI & Dallaire Institute Host Workshop on Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement

Thu, 05/05/2022 - 23:18
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From May 3-5, IPI’s Women, Peace and Security Program co-hosted a three-day workshop with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security. The workshop, titled “Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement in Peacekeeping,” took place at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana.

Community engagement is essential for UN peacekeeping missions; however, practical engagement in peacekeeping missions must include understanding the gendered and aged dimensions of peacekeeping practices. Effective community engagement requires paying particular attention to how gender and age affect the power structures inherent in peacekeeping settings. Thus, gender and age sit as cross-cutting themes that enhance engagement and therefore better peacekeeping practices.

The “Gender, Childhood, and Community Engagement in Peacekeeping,” workshop brought together both researchers and practitioners involved in the vital work of community engagement in UN peacekeeping. Participants presented their current work and discussed theoretical, methodological, and practical perspectives. Activities included both the presentation of current work, as well as roundtable discussions between researchers and practitioners to address both policy and practical implications. From the panels and discussions, recommendations arose for both researchers and practitioners to implement into their current work.

Key findings from the workshop will be summarized in a report co-published by IPI and the Dallaire Institute and will be available on IPI’s website.

Watch the opening ceremony and public panels in French:

For further information regarding speakers, please click here.

Vaccine Equity in Conflict-Affected Areas: The Challenges of Development, Production, Procurement, and Distribution

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 06:00

While the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in all countries and communities, the pandemic is having a disproportionately large impact on vulnerable populations, such as people living in areas affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. Vaccines hold enormous promise to mitigate these impacts, but the complications inherent to armed conflict make accessing vaccines especially challenging. Even when countries do receive vaccines, they often face challenges in rolling out vaccination programs, whether because they lack adequate capacity or because the doses are set to expire or are not acceptable to the communities set to receive them.

This issue brief focuses on the challenges of equitably distributing COVID-19 vaccines to populations in conflict-affected areas. It begins by looking at general issues related to the development, approval, production, procurement, and distribution of vaccines. It then examines the particular challenges to distributing vaccines in conflict-affected areas both before and during the vaccine rollout.

The report concludes with several recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to improve the delivery of vaccines in conflict-affected areas:

  • Redistribute global resources to increase the supply of vaccines to conflict-affected countries;
  • Increase the transparency and predictability of global vaccine supplies;
  • Enhance cooperation and coordination at the national and local levels to deliver vaccines to conflict-affected areas through existing humanitarian response mechanisms; and
  • Ensure that vaccination campaigns in conflict-affected areas adhere to humanitarian principles.


Reform or Dissolve: Ukraine’s Challenge to the United Nations

Thu, 04/14/2022 - 16:44
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On April 14th, IPI hosted a conversation among three former UN senior officials entitled “Reform or Dissolve: Ukraine’s Challenge to the United Nations.”

Speaking to the Security Council on April 5th, President Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a blistering critique of the UN peace and security architecture. “It is now clear,” he said, “that the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 during the creation of a global international security organization have not been achieved. And it is impossible to achieve them without reforms.”

It is hard to disagree with this statement, but is real reform possible? Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine represents a seismic event in the global system that has shaken the foundations of the global peace and security architecture. Has the international rule of law been damaged beyond repair? Or does the war present an opportunity to change the system for the better? If not now, then when? If now, then how?

In the second of a series of events on the situation in Ukraine, three former high-UN officials addressed these difficult questions and more in conversation.


Mark Malloch Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations, former UN Deputy Secretary-General and Administrator of the UN Development Programme

Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report, former UN Under-Secretary-General and Head of three UN Peace Operations

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers

Mon, 04/11/2022 - 17:30

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On April 11th, IPI together with the Elsie Initiative is cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “Blue on Blue: Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers.” This event launched the policy paper by Phoebe Donnelly of the International Peace Institute, Dyan Mazurana of Tufts University, and Evyn Papworth.

While addressing sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by UN peacekeepers has risen as a priority, alongside increasing military women’s participation in peacekeeping forces, there has been almost no attention to sexual abuse of peacekeepers. This study is among the first to investigate, document, and analyze sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault of women and men military and police peacekeepers serving in UN and African Union peacekeeping missions.

The authors gave a short presentation of the study’s findings and their recommendations. Panelists then discussed the research findings and challenges and opportunities for taking action to address sexual abuse against peacekeeping personnel. Panelists also connected the recommendations and general findings of the paper to their own work and discussed steps for implementation.

This event and the related research are part of the Women in Peace Operations (WIPO) project, a multi-year initiative of IPI’s Women, Peace, and Security program funded by the Government of Canada’s Elsie Initiative.

Welcoming Remarks:
Dr. Adam Lupel, IPI Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Opening Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN

Dr. Phoebe Donnelly, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Women, Peace, and Security Program
Dr. Dyan Mazurana, Research Professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University
Ms. Jane Connors, Victims’ Rights Advocate for the UN
Dr. Purna Sen, Visiting Professor, London Metropolitan University, and former Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination, UN Women
Ms. Phillipa Adams, Chair, UN Strategic Police Advisory Group, Permanent Mission of Australia to the UN
Mr. Jon Christian Møller, Police and Justice Adviser, Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN

Ms. Gretchen Baldwin, IPI Research Fellow for Women, Peace, and Security

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Blue on Blue: Investigating Sexual Abuse of Peacekeepers

Fri, 04/08/2022 - 17:42

It is commonly assumed that the main threats to uniformed peacekeepers originate from outside of peacekeeping missions. However, many women (and some men) deployed as military or police peacekeepers are subjected to sexual abuse by other members of the organizations they serve. Until now, there has been little research specifically focused on this sexual abuse by uniformed peacekeepers against their peacekeeping colleagues.

This paper helps fill that gap, drawing on a survey of peacekeepers as well as data from interviews and a closed-door workshop. It presents findings related to the extent, frequency, and type of abuse peacekeepers have experienced and witnessed; the perpetrators of this abuse; the organizational cultures that enable it; and peacekeepers’ perceptions of the UN’s response. These findings reveal that while sexual abuse is a major threat to uniformed peacekeepers, especially women, the UN and troop- and police-contributing countries (T/PCCs) have not adequately responded to the issue. This lack of attention is in contrast to the relatively robust architecture for reporting on and investigating sexual exploitation and abuse of host communities in peacekeeping environments.

To successfully prevent and respond to sexual abuse within peacekeeping missions as well as increase women’s meaningful participation in peace operations, the report concludes by providing several recommendations across four broad areas for the UN and T/PCCs:

  1. Transform the organizational cultures that enable sexual abuse of peacekeepers;
  2. Mandate robust training to prevent sexual abuse of peacekeepers;
  3. Require T/PCCs to address sexual abuse of peacekeepers within their contingents; and
  4. Create a robust, confidential, and victim-centric reporting and investigation infrastructure.


An Unfinished Agenda: Carving Out Space for Humanitarian Action in the UN Security Council’s Counterterrorism Resolutions and Related Sanctions

Thu, 03/31/2022 - 17:20

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, the UN Security Council has developed two main streams of work related to counterterrorism: the sanctions regime established by Resolution 1267 and measures under Resolution 1373. However, these resolutions and related sanctions regimes have been criticized for failing to safeguard and facilitate impartial humanitarian action. In response, the council has progressively incorporated language that better considers international humanitarian law (IHL) and humanitarian principles. Despite these efforts, humanitarian organizations have continued to criticize counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes for inhibiting humanitarian activities.

This policy paper considers how the Security Council’s counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes can continue making progress to better protect humanitarian action. It begins by describing the council’s main streams of work on counterterrorism as well as their subsidiary organs. The second section discusses the impact of these counterterrorism measures on impartial humanitarian activities. The third section then reviews the incremental steps taken by the Security Council to incorporate language relevant to IHL and humanitarian affairs into these measures. The fourth section analyzes the four most recent counterterrorism-related resolutions adopted by the Security Council.

The paper concludes with policy recommendations for entities both within and outside of the UN to better safeguard humanitarian action within counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes:

For humanitarian organizations, relevant civil society groups and UN entities, and independent experts:

  • Advocate to keep humanitarian action high on the Security Council agenda;
  • Monitor the implementation of the humanitarian exception for Afghanistan; and
  • Issue independent opinions on advisable forms of humanitarian carve-outs.

For the UN Security Council and other UN member states:

  • Reinforce implementation and monitoring of provisions in Security Council resolutions pertaining to IHL and humanitarian action;
  • Provide adequate resources to monitor the impact of UN counterterrorism measures and related sanctions on humanitarian action;
  • Amend language in UN counterterrorism resolutions and related sanctions regimes to facilitate humanitarian action; and
  • Empower elected members of the Security Council to be agents of change.



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