Considering the Protection of Civilians during UN Peacekeeping Transitions

In contrast to recent transitions, the next wave of UN peacekeeping transitions is set to occur in contexts where civilians continue to face threats of physical violence. These transitions are likely to have major implications for the protection of civilians (POC), which should be a key consideration for the UN when planning these missions’ exit strategies. As part of the transition process, the UN needs to shift its strategic and operational approach to POC.

This issue brief outlines how the strategic goals of POC will change during a transition and how the operational approach to POC across the UN system will need to be adapted. It examines the shift from mission-driven POC strategies to nationally led POC plans to ensure the sustainability of POC gains and mitigate the risk of violence following a mission’s departure. It also explores the need for a UN system-wide approach to POC—one that involves all relevant UN entities—to reconfigure and manage this aspect of the UN’s engagement in crisis settings and the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.