On December 17th, IPI together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs cohosted a virtual policy forum on “The Accountability System for the Protection of Civilians in UN Peacekeeping.”
Protecting civilians from violence is a priority mandate for most current UN peacekeeping operations. The UN has established a robust normative framework to guide and professionalize the implementation of protection mandates in the field, and missions have developed a number of tools, mechanisms, and activities to strengthen their posture and preparedness to deliver on this core objective.
On a number of occasions, however, UN missions have failed to prevent or respond to attacks and abuse targeting civilians despite being aware of the risk, receiving adequate warning, or being in the immediate proximity of the incident. While many investigations have highlighted shortcomings in performance and called for more accountability, most have remained confidential, and the actions taken to address these failures have often escaped the public eye.
After two decades of policy developments to clarify the roles and responsibilities of peacekeepers to protect civilians and numerous efforts to refine operational approaches in the field, stronger accountability is urgently needed. IPI has undertaken a comprehensive research project to map and evaluate existing accountability tools and mechanisms at the UN, shift the debate around accountability beyond confrontational narratives, and build a culture of positive and proactive accountability for all actors involved in peacekeeping operations’ efforts to protect civilians.
This policy forum provided an opportunity to present the main findings and recommendations of the policy paper authored by IPI’s Senior Fellow Dr. Namie Di Razza. Panelists discussed the recent efforts undertaken by the UN Secretariat, missions, and member states to promote performance accountability in peacekeeping, analyze the remaining gaps, and explore the way forward.
H.E. Ms. Yoka M. G. Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN
Ms. Bintou Keita, Assistant-Secretary-General, UN Department of Peace Operations and Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Dr. Namie Di Razza, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Protection of Civilians
Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, Professor of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs
Mr. Ludovic Grenouillon, Senior Military Strategic Partnership Officer, Office for Peacekeeping Strategic Partnership, UN Department of Peace Operations
Mr. Andrew Leyva, Permanent Mission of the United States to the UN
Mr. Yasser Halfaoui, Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UN
Mr. Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs