April 20, 2021
A Comprehensive Approach to Protection of Civilians Mandates in Peacekeeping Operations
From the 2015 High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) Report to the 2020 Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34), peacekeeping normative frameworks and policy documents reference the importance of people-centered approaches as a core element in ensuring more effective performance of peace operations. The integration of protection of civilians (POC) mandates in armed conflict into the Security Council agenda and their development through the adoption of more than 100 thematic resolutions addressing protection of civilians-related issues demonstrates the UN’s commitment towards making peace about the welfare of people. Today, six peacekeeping operations are mandated with protection of civilians. On the ground, they take an integrated; whole-of-mission approach to the implementation of these mandates, through the work of civilian, police and military personnel, supported by peacekeeping’s guiding principles. These efforts include numerous areas of engagement, from political advocacy, dialogue and mediation, to building capacity of state protection actors, to the provision of physical protection. With the measures put in place to restrict movement and limit direct contact between peacekeepers and the communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “robust” approach of protecting civilians has been put to the test. This has further highlighted the importance of empowering “people” and fostering community resilience as a central objective of peacekeeping operations. This session will emphasize the imperative of recalibrating the protection of civilians -related tasks of peacekeeping operations towards empowering local communities, including women, youth, refugees and IDPs, by providing them with the necessary tools to mitigate threats and build resilience within the contours of broader national efforts and political processes. This should be mainstreamed in the long-term vision of their contributions to building and sustaining peace, and in preparation for their drawdown and exit.