Applying HIPPO & UNSG Recommendations in Central African Republic

On Tuesday October 3rd, representatives from member states, the UN Secretariat, independent experts and members of civil society met at IPI to discuss how to apply the 2015 recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) to the context of the Central African Republic.

The event was the sixth in a series of workshops co-organized by IPI, Security Council Report, the Stimson Center, and the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN to examine how the recommendations related to mandating, planning, and analysis in the 2015 HIPPO report and the follow-up report of the Secretary-General can be applied to country-specific contexts. A similar workshop was held in July on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (main conclusions available here).

The closed door meeting, held under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution, allowed participants to discuss the challenges that face the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), as well as current national and international responses to these challenges. A political strategy on the prioritization and sequencing of the mandate for MINUSCA was also considered ahead of the mandate’s renewal in November.

The first session, chaired by Youssef Mahmoud, IPI Senior Adviser, began by identifying the realities and challenges that MINUSCA currently faces, as well as challenges confronted by the Central African government and civilians on the ground. Speakers were encouraged to not only identify areas of struggle, but also areas of success upon which sustainable peace can be built.

The lively discussion explored a variety of issues such as the protection of civilians, economic drivers of the conflict, troop size and the status and return of refugees. The role of MINUSCA was central to these conversations; particularly in restoring state capacity through security sector reform and supporting capacity building for the national military and police force. In this context, participants assessed what a regional presence in CAR should look like for MINUSCA.

The second session, chaired by Ian Martin, Executive Director of Security Council Report, built on the topics identified as being of key importance, and centered on the prioritization and sequencing of these issues in the future mandate. With a robust mandate and limited resources, many felt that the responsibilities of MINUSCA should be decreased, in an effort to increase the efficiency of a few key tasks. This called into question which tasks should be prioritized as central to the mandate, and what resources MINUSCA would need to achieve these tasks.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Egypt, Canada, Italy, Sweden, China, Central African Republic, France, United States, Russia, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Portugal, Ethiopia, as well as UN staff and members of civil society such as Invisible Children, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Civilians in Conflict, Stimson Center, Security Council Report and the United States Institute for Peace.