As part of CIVIC’s broader efforts to ensure that UN member state bodies and the UN Secretariat prioritize the protection of civilians in responses to armed conflict, CIVIC’s UN Program dedicates significant attention to strengthening the protection of civilians through UN peacekeeping operations. To achieve this objective, CIVIC leads in-depth research and strategic advocacy:
- in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, and South Sudan;
- at UN Headquarters in New York; and
- in UN Member State capitals.
CIVIC’s peacekeeping work is based on the theory that UN peacekeeping reform should be civilian-focused and must occur at the local, national, and international levels to be sustained. At the local-level, CIVIC documents the perspectives of communities under threat, local authorities, armed actors, humanitarians, and the peacekeeping personnel carrying out daily activities to protect, often in remote locations. At the national-level, CIVIC engages with a peacekeeping operation’s headquarters, national civil society organizations, the UN agencies and international NGOs, embassies, and host-state government representatives. Through this work, we capture and share good practices and lessons learned within and between peacekeeping mission contexts.
CIVIC also translates what it learns at the local and national levels into recommendations that policy- and decision-makers, including UN Secretariat officials, UN Member States, and civil society, can take forward in multilateral forums. We have a proven track record of influencing:
- the negotiations of UN Security Council resolutions, including peacekeeping mandates;
- UN General Assembly negotiations of peacekeeping budgets;
- and UN policies, strategic reviews of missions, and broader peacekeeping reform initiatives that have been introduced by the Secretary-General and Member States, such as Action for Peacekeeping.
Our primary public reports and policy briefs, private advocacy, and meetings, events, and workshops.
In 2022, CIVIC will continue to focus its efforts to strengthen the ability of UN peacekeeping operations to protect civilians in the following three areas:
- UN peacekeeping missions continue to prioritize the protection of civilians during mission transition and drawdown;
- Protection of civilians early warning and rapid response systems are strengthened in UN peacekeeping operations; and
- UN peacekeeping missions mitigate the risks to civilians that could result from their own presence, activities, and operations (a practice called civilian harm mitigation).
In addition, CIVIC ensures that the following issues are integrated in all our UN peacekeeping-related activities:
- The protection of civilians remains a priority for UN peacekeeping missions;
- Peacekeeping performance is strengthened by ensuring that mandates are matched with adequate means and resources.
- Communities at risk of violence are safely and effectively engaged in mission planning and activities to protect civilians;
- Peacekeeping missions integrate a gender-sensitive approach to the implementation of protection of civilians mandates;
- Mission planning and decision-making is linked to assessments of threats to civilians; and
- Accountability systems for underperformance are improved.
Examples of CIVIC’s Cross-Mission and Peacekeeping Reform Research and Analysis:
- “We Have to Try to Break the Silence Somehow:” Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence through UN Peacekeeping (October 2020 Report)
- Improving the performance and impact of UN peacekeeping operations (June 2021 White Paper)
- Early Warning and Rapid Response Takes Root in UN Peacekeeping (January 2021 Policy Brief (also available in French))
- Data-Driven Protection: Linking Threat Analysis to Planning in UN Peacekeeping Operations (November 2018 Report)