International Order & Conflict
Policy Paper

Protecting Civilians In The Context Of UN Peacekeeping Operations

in Program

In December 2009, the United Nations released a much-anticipated independent study, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations: Successes, Setbacks and Remaining Challenges.

One and a half years in the making, the independent study was commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The report was authored by Victoria Holt who was a Senior Associate at the Stimson Center at the time the study was written and Glyn Taylor of Humanitarian Outcomes, with Max Kelly, Future of Peace Operations Program consultant.  The team was assisted by Alison Giffen, Deputy Director of the Future of Peace Operations Program, and Guy Hammond, Research Assistant.  Over the course of the study’s development, the team conducted extensive desk, primary and field research including visits to four UN peacekeeping missions in the DRC (MONUC), Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and Sudan (UNMIS and UNAMID). The study was informed by consultations with the UN Secretariat and the study’s advisory group, composed of distinguished personalities in the field.

The study examines the steps taken to transform Security Council resolutions mandating peacekeeping missions to protect civilians into effective efforts on the ground-following the ‘chain’ of actions that support that process. As such, the study looks at the elaboration of mandates in the Security Council; explores the planning and preparations for missions, primarily within the UN Secretariat; and then considers UN peacekeeping missions themselves, including their interactions with host states and humanitarian actors. 

The security of civilians in post-conflict environments is critical to the legitimacy and credibility of UN peacekeeping missions, the peace agreements they are deployed to help implement, and the institution of the United Nations itself. Likewise, the role of peacekeeping missions in the protection of civilians requires the political support of the Security Council and the main parties to the conflict. This lesson is not new, but needs emphasis, especially given the challenges facing modern peacekeeping missions.

To read the study, click here.

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