“If there was no UN, there would be no one left here,” – Community Leader, Malakal, South Sudan

In many conflict zones worldwide, UN peacekeepers are the only front-line defense for civilians targeted by armed actors. Driven by the voices of those caught in conflicts, CIVIC undertakes research and advocacy and provides technical assistance to promote stronger, and more effective UN peacekeeping operations.

To contribute effectively to UN peacekeeping reform efforts, CIVIC works at multiple levels.

CIVIC’s Peacekeeping Program carries out research in four countries affected by conflict in which peacekeeping operations struggle to implement their mandates: the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mali, and South Sudan.

In each of these countries, we undertake research at the very local-level, gathering the views of communities under threat and the peacekeepers mandated to protect them. We augment this research by engaging at the national-level with the headquarters of UN peacekeeping operations and humanitarian and development actors, national civil society, the diplomatic community, and host state governments. We advocate that these actors take steps to better protect civilians and provide them with examples of good practices (such as policies, guidance and tools) that they could consider adopting to improve the protection of civilians. At the international level, CIVIC encourages decision-makers, including the UN Secretary-General, UN Secretariat officials, and UN Member States to strengthen a peacekeeping mission’s mandate or provide it with the budget and capabilities needed to implement the mandate.

Based on our country-level research and advocacy, we identify good practices and lessons learned that should be institutionalized across the UN system to strengthen all peacekeeping operations. In 2018, CIVIC is working to ensure that:

  • peacekeeping operations’ planning and decision-making is based on threat-based analysis and impact;
  • peacekeeper performance and accountability is improved;
  • peacekeeping operations are mitigating harm to civilians (including harm caused by their own presence and activities and the operations of armed actors that they support); and
  • peacekeeping operations are safely and effectively engaging communities to improve protection.
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Image courtesy of MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti