Do peace operations work? And can they protect civilians?
EPON Seminar at the Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.
12 and 14 November EPON organised seminars in New York and Washington D.C. to brief policymakers and practitioners on EPON research findings and future plans.
EPON is a network established by NUPI in 2018 together with over 60 partners across the globe which undertake studies into the effectiveness of specific peace operations using a common methodology. The overall aim of EPON is to enhance the effectiveness of international peace operations, by enabling and supporting collaborative research.
Peace Operations contribute to preventing large-scale conflict
During the seminars in New York and Washington D.C., researchers from the EPON research teams shared their insights from the studies of the peace operations in Mali (MINUSMA), the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), South Sudan (UNMISS), and Somalia (AMISOM). You can read about the EPON lead authors’ insights and thoughts in blog posts on the EPON website here.
One general observation highlighted by the researchers, was how most of the peace operations EPON has studied so far have made significant contributions to preventing large-scale conflict and civil war. However, peace operations are not able to reach sustainable peace on their own.
How can peace operations be effective?
- Political primacy is key. The political will of national and local stakeholders are necessary for bringing an end to violent conflict.
- Peace operations need a comprehensive approach, especially in terms of planning and exiting the missions. The missions need to enable local forces to take over the responsibility before they exit.
- The international expectations of peace operations need to match the mandates, resources, and capacity of the operations. If not, the operations are destined to fail.
Future EPON studies
In addition to the completed studies, the seminars also touched on EPON studies currently being undertaken and planned. The next EPON research studies will focus on the UN multidimensional stabilisation mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), the EU and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the AU and UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and the UN Verification Mission in Colombia.
The panellists in New York and Washington D.C. were:
- Cedric de Coning, Coordinator, EPON; NUPI and ACCORD
- Paul D. Williams, lead author of the EPON study on AMISOM, George Washington University
- Linda Darkwa, Coordinator, Training for Peace programme, and author of the EPON studies on AMISOM and MINUSMA
- Lise Howard, lead author on the EPON study on MINUSCA, Georgetown University
- Thomas Mandrup, author on the EPON study on MONUSCO and UNAMID, University of Stellenbosch
- Borja Paladini Adell, lead author of the EPON study on Colombia, Kroc/PRIO
- Bård Drange, author of the EPON study on Colombia, PRIO
- Adam Day, lead author of the EPON study on UNMISS, UN University
- Jair van der Lijn, lead author of the EPON study on MINUSMA, SIPRI
- Joe Koops, lead author of the EPON study of the mission in Ukraine, GGI and Leiden University
- Geneva Peace Week 2019: Lessons Learned from the OCSE Mission in Ukraine
- Geneva Peace Week 2019: Lessons Learned from the UN mission in Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC and Darfur
The seminars were organised in cooperation with the UN Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET) of the Department of Peace Operations and hosted by the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. and the International Peace Institute in New York. The seminars brought together the UN, government officials, practitioners and experts working in this field to discuss the findings of recent EPON studies.
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NUPI has received funding from the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support EPON and its research, including via the UN Peace Operations project (UNPOP) and the Training for Peace (TfP) programme. For more information about EPON, see its website.