Reports by region: Africa

  • Transition Compacts: Lessons from UN Experiences
    By Rachel Locke and Vanessa Wyeth
    International Peace Institute
    Published May 15, 2012

    This meeting note captures the proceedings at a seminar on November 2, 2011 on “Transition Compacts: Lessons from UN Experiences.” The seminar sought to learn from previous agreements on peacebuilding and development priorities between national governments and international partners in fragile and conflict-affected states.

    During the meeting, the International Peace Institute presented a study on United Nations experiences with this first generation of “transition compacts,” a summary of which is included at the end of this note.

    The seminar was hosted by IPI and organized in collaboration with the United Nations and the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), a subsidiary body of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Participants included officials from the UN, its member states, the World Bank, and INCAF. The meeting was convened under the Chatham House rule of nonattribution.

    All Regions, UN Peace Operations | Posted May 15, 2012
  • Engaging Nonstate Armed Groups on the Protection of Children: Towards Strategic Complementarity
    By Jérémie Labbé and Reno Meyer
    International Peace Institute
    Published May 15, 2012

    This issue brief provides an overview of the legal, political, and operational frameworks protecting children from the effects of armed conflict, notably from violations by nonstate armed groups. The UN Secretary-General has repeatedly emphasized the need to “more consistently and effectively engage non-State armed groups in order to improve their compliance with the law,” including international human rights and international humanitarian law. This is of particular importance with regard to child protection as armed conflicts have far-reaching impacts on children, who are among the most vulnerable members of society.

    The report explores some of the limitations of these frameworks and their mechanisms, and discusses ways to maximize the comparative advantages of different actors when engaging nonstate armed groups to improve the protection of children’s rights.

    In part of the conclusion, the authors write:

    "A concerted and strategic use of complementary approaches, including those outside of the monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) framework, would contribute to improved protection of children from the effects of armed conflicts. Such “strategic complementarity” would help maximize the comparative advantages of each actor for different purposes: to overcome access problems, notably when the states concerned are opposed to the UN’s engagement with nonstate armed groups; to develop specific responses tailored to the characteristics and sensitivities of each nonstate armed group; and to offer alternative approaches to overcoming nonstate armed groups’ perceptions of some actors’ bias in particular contexts. Such alternative approaches already exist but are seemingly overlooked in the MRM framework. Better interaction with actors operating outside the MRM would respond to the legitimate concerns of duplicating efforts and sending mixed messages on the applicable standards."

    PoC with Responsibility to Protect, Protection of Civilians, All Regions | Posted May 15, 2012
  • DR Congo: Local Communities on the Front Line
    By Erin Weir and Peter Orr
    Refugees International
    Published April 25, 2012

    The day-to-day reality for ordinary people in the Democratic Republic of Congo includes all of the following: latent insecurity, ongoing military operations, and systematic attacks by armed groups – including units of the Congolese military. The international community has been providing humanitarian assistance to the DRC for over a decade and a half, but the need remains acute. The local UN peacekeeping operation (MONUSCO) dedicates the majority of its scarce resources to the protection of civilians, and will need to maintain this critical effort for the foreseeable future. Creative protection efforts by the peacekeepers need to be reinforced and supported. Protection monitoring and coordination efforts – led by the UN Refugee Agency – also need to be repaired.

    Africa, PoC with Responsibility to Protect, Peacekeeping Doctrine, Protection of Civilians, Security Sector Reform, UN Peace Operations | Posted April 25, 2012
  • Learning from Sudan's 2011 Referendum
    By Joe Temin and Lawrence Woocher
    United States Institute of Peace
    Published April 16, 2012

    This report is based on research conducted in Khartoum, Juba, Washington, and elsewhere in the aftermath of Sudan’s 2011 referendum. It seeks to answer a simple question: Why was the2011 referendum on the secession of southern Sudan largely peaceful despite predictions for renewed civil war? The report examines possible answers and attempts to formulate lessons for global conflict prevention that may emerge from the peaceful Sudan referendum experience.- Numerous predictions asserted that the referendum on the secession of southern Sudan would lead to renewed civil war.- Despite ongoing violence in many parts of Sudan and South Sudan, the referendum process was largely peaceful.

    - Numerous predictions asserted that the referendum on the secession of southern Sudan would lead to renewed civil war.

    - Despite ongoing violence in many parts of Sudan and South Sudan, the referendum process
    was largely peaceful.

    - This unanticipated result may prove a relatively rare instance of documented success in conflict prevention.

    - Warnings of impending violence came from many sources. They were timely but tended to be vague. Whether they were overly dire because of faulty assumptions about the conflict dynamics deserves scrutiny.

    - Two prominent narratives explain why the referendum process was peaceful: one that emphasizes domestic factors and another that focuses on international intervention by Africans and westerners. It is highly likely that both contain important explanations for the peaceful referendum.

    - People in Sudan and South Sudan tend to emphasize the domestic narrative; members of the international community tend to focus on international engagement.

    Several lessons for global conflict prevention can be drawn from the Sudan referendum experience:   

        - Preventing conflict in what seems like dire circumstances is possible.    

        - Coordinated outside actions should support local conflict-mitigating dynamics.    

        - Technical actions, such as election or referendum logistics, can have a significant positive impact on political processes.   

        - International actors need to be receptive to taking preventive action.   

        - Focusing on successes, as well as failures, is critical.

    Africa | Posted April 16, 2012
  • Security Council Working Methods and UN Peace Operations: The Case of Chad and CAR, 2006-2010
    By Alexandra Novosseloff and Richard Gowan
    Center on International Cooperation
    Published April 11, 2012

    This paper, the second in a series on Security Council working methods and the performance of peace
    operations, addresses the Council’s engagement in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) from early 2006 to the end of 2010. While the Council explored options for deploying some sort of UN peacekeeping presence to these countries from mid-2006 onwards, these discussions were secondary to much higher-profile debates about the possibility of a large-scale force in Darfur. After Chad had stated its initial opposition to a UN military deployment, France initiated proposals for the deployments of an EU
    military mission linked to a UN police presence to Chad and CAR in mid-2007.
    After lengthy negotiations, the two organizations deployed in early 2008, and operated in parallel until March 2009. The EU mission then closed, following a pre-arranged schedule, while the UN mission (MINURCAT) deployed a military presence. However, Chad put a growing number of obstacles in MINURCAT’s way, and eventually withdrew its consent altogether. MINURCAT ended its operations in
    December 2010.
    The goal of this paper is to show how the Security Council’s working methods affected its dealings with Chad and CAR prior to the launch of MINURCAT and the parallel EU mission (EUFOR Tchad/RCA) and its oversight of the two operations from 2008 to 2010. While the two missions’ performance was shaped by multiple contextual factors (and in EUFOR’s case, European politics) it offers lessons about the relevance of working methods to an operation’s effectiveness. This is particularly true because MINURCAT was subject to almost constant political pressure from the government of Chad, and the Council’s working methods inevitably shaped elements of its response to this pressure.

    Africa, African Union Peacekeeping, UN Peace Operations | Posted April 11, 2012
  • Empowering Local Peacebuilders
    United States Institute of Peace
    Published March 26, 2012

    Peacebuilding operations in conflict and post-conflict societies often undermine local capacity, ownership, and sustainability. The acknowledged remedy is to empower local actors to take the lead in planning and implementing programs, but few empowerment strategies that work in practice have been documented and explained.

    PoC with Responsibility to Protect, Peacekeeping Doctrine, Protection of Civilians, Security Sector Reform, All Regions, UN Peace Operations, US Gov't Peacekeeping Issues | Posted March 26, 2012
  • Peace Operations Partnerships: Complex but Necessary Cooperation
    By Richard Gowan and Jake Sherman
    Center for International Peace Operations
    Published March 19, 2012

    In a short paper for the Center for International Peace Operations, the German think-tank, Jake Sherman and Richard Gowan argue that as NATO pulls back from Afghanistan and the UN downsizes some missions (including those in Haiti and the Congo) organizations including the AU, Arab League and ASEAN may take more responsibility for new peace operations.

    In cases including Afghanistan, Kosovo, Somalia and the Congo, multiple organizations are working together to consolidate stability and build functioning states. Although NATO and the UN are the main actors in global peace operations today, it is likely that a variety of other organizations including the African Union (AU), the Arab League and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will play an increasingly prominent role in the future. These actors will need a great deal of help, ranging from military assistance to administrative back-up. The UN, NATO and EU will be called upon to play significant supporting roles. Managing these complex partnerships will be essential to making existing and new peace operations succeed.

    African Union Peacekeeping, NATO & EU Peacekeeping, Peacekeeping Doctrine, Protection of Civilians, Security Sector Reform, All Regions, UN Peace Operations, US Gov't Peacekeeping Issues | Posted March 19, 2012
  • Briefing Paper: Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2012
    Center on International Cooperation
    Published March 16, 2012

    The past year could have been a disastrous one for U.N. peacekeeping. Twelve months ago, Côte d’Ivoire appeared to be on the brink of renewed civil war in spite of the presence there of United Nations and French forces. South Sudan’s vote for independence in January 2011 also had the potential to unleash mass violence. From Haiti to Liberia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, peacekeepers were charged with overseeing elections that might have resulted in significant instability. In Somalia, U.N.-mandated African Union (AU) forces were locked in grinding combat with Islamist al-Shabab rebels. 

    Yet peace operations demonstrated an unexpected degree of resilience overall, as chronicled in the Center on International Cooperation’s new Annual Review of Global Peace Operations. The U.N. reasserted itself in Côte d’Ivoire, and though presidential polls in the DRC proved to be deeply flawed, those in Haiti and Liberia were conducted relatively smoothly thanks in part to the U.N. In Somalia, al-Shabab pulled back from Mogadishu as the AU forces took the initiative. Other regional organizations also found themselves being drawn into peace operations: The Arab League sent an admittedly ill-fated observer mission to Syria, while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations mandated an observer mission to help reduce tensions on the Thai-Cambodian border.

    All Regions, UN Peace Operations | Posted March 16, 2012
  • Peace Operations Partnerships: The UN Security Council and (Sub-)Regional Organizations
    By Mauricio Artiñano
    Center for International Peace Operations
    Published March 16, 2012

    Since the end of the Cold War, the UN Security Council has consistently partnered with regional and subregional organizations around the world within the framework of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, including through the authorization of peace operations by these organizations. Enhanced consultation and more fluid interaction between the Council and regional organizations can have an immediate impact on the successful conduct of peace operations on the ground and would also improve long-term trust and cooperation between the Council and its partners. This policy brief sets out several recommendations for the Council and regional partners to consider in order to improve cooperation at the strategic and political level on the planning, management and oversight of peace operations. The recommendations aim to strike a realistic balance between the demands of certain regional organizations for a more horizontal relationship with the Council, and the wariness of some permanent members of the Council towards such proposals.

    All Regions, UN Peace Operations | Posted March 16, 2012
  • Peace Operations Partnerships: Assessing Cooperation Mechanisms between Secretariats
    By Joachim Koops
    Center for International Peace Operations
    Published March 16, 2012

    During the last decade, peace operation partnerships between the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations have advanced considerably both in operational and institutional terms. With the growing involvement of regional organizations in the area of peacekeeping, coordination between the UN and its potential partners is important in order to avoid duplication or outright inter-organizational rivalry. Recognizing that institutionalised relations between the UN and emerging peacekeeping actors such as the European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and even NATO can lead to beneficial burdensharing and mutual reinforcement, organizations have made conscious efforts to move from ad-hoc cooperation to more permanent and predictable mechanisms. Effective peace operations partnerships depend on coherent and strategically structured relations at the inter-secretariat level: different organizational cultures, agendas and approaches need to be systematically integrated. Despite some progress in UN-EU, UN-AU and UN-NATO relations, significant challenges persist in designing, maintaining and improving interorganizational schemes for peace operations.

    African Union Peacekeeping, NATO & EU Peacekeeping, Peacekeeping Doctrine, All Regions, UN Peace Operations, US Gov't Peacekeeping Issues | Posted March 19, 2012

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