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Do peace operations work? And can they protect civilians?

These were some of the questions raised when researchers from the NUPI-led Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) shared their insights in Washington, D.C. and New York.

EPON Seminar at the Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.

Photo: Jenny Nortvedt / NUPI

EPON Seminar at the Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.

Photo: Jenny Nortvedt / NUPI

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.

EPON seminar at the International Peace Institute in New York.

Photo: Jenny Nortvedt / NUPI

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:

Don’t miss:

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.

  • If you wish to follow EPON events more closely and receive updates on the events, you can join the newsletter here. You can also follow EPON on Facebook and Twitter.

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.


  • Africa
  • North America
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • United Nations
  • AU