On November 9, 2009, IPI held a lunchtime policy forum to discuss the key findings and recommendations from the much-anticipated independent study on the protection of civilians in UN peace operations.
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). During that time, the team conducted extensive research that included visits to four UN peacekeeping missions: DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, North-South Sudan, and Darfur. The study was informed by consultations with the UN Secretariat and the study’s advisory group, composed of distinguished personalities in the field.
Over 100 participants attended the event, including representatives from UN member states and the UN secretariat.
The audience heard first from the research team, represented by the team leader, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga of Tanzania, and one of the principal authors, the well-known independent researcher Glyn Taylor.
The team explained that the objective of the study was to examine the process by which protection mandates are drafted in the Security Council, the preparation, planning and training for missions mandated to protect civilians, and the implementation of protection of civilians mandates in the field. The final report took stock of the past and current lessons and provided recommendations to all of the protection actors, including the Security Council, troop and police-contributing countries, DPKO/DFS, and OCHA.
Prince Zeid Raad Al-Hussein, one of the study’s Advisory Group members, spoke of the feasibility of civilian protection by providing historical context of its application in peace operations, dating back to the UN’s first operation in the Congo in 1960-1964. Sir John Holmes and Alain Le Roy, heads of OCHA and DPKO respectively, followed with their initial reflections on the study. Audience members then participated in a question and answer session moderated by the Chair of the panel, IPI Senior Vice President and Director of Studies, Dr. Edward C. Luck.