REPORT

UN Peacekeeping Operations at a Crossroads: The Implementation of Protection Mandates in Contested and Congested Spaces

EPON-Protection-Report
UN Photo/Marco Dormino

The Protection of Civilians remains a critical feature of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, offering unique support to populations at risk in fragile and failing states, with a focus on long-term stability and peace. Hosting nations are, however, increasingly engaging the support of bilaterally deployed forces and private military contractors to achieve military and security objectives, often at the expense of existing peace and diplomatic processes and human rights. Adapting and responding to these changing environments is essential for UN missions in terms of retaining their relevance and realising their mandated protection objectives. This requires improved support and resource allocation and improved utilisation of existing resources.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and conversations with representatives of UN peacekeeping operations and UN Headquarters, this report explores challenges and opportunities in the implementation of protection mandates of four multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations, namely, MINUSCA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, and UNMISS. It offers insights into contextual challenges arising from the volatility of the environments in which they work and internal challenges related to the complex nature of jointly implementing civilian, military, and police protection activities.

Given the crossroads UN peacekeeping operations find themselves at, the report provides forward-looking recommendations and encourages reflection and flexibility to support enhanced engagement on key protection issues that are integral to international peace and security.

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