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Forskningsprosjekt

Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network

NUPI together with 40 partners from across the globe have established an international network to undertake research into the effectiveness of peace operations.

Themes

  • Defence
  • Security policy
  • NATO
  • Development policy
  • Diplomacy
  • Foreign policy
  • Europe
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • North America
  • South and Central America
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • The EU
  • AU

Events

Peace operations are among the most important international mechanisms for contemporary conflict management. However, their effectiveness remains the subject of debate in both the policy and academic communities. International organizations that conduct peace operations, like the United Nations, have come under increasing pressure to justify their impact.

Although various initiatives are underway to improve the ability of these organizations to assess their performance, there is a lack of independent, external research about the effectiveness of peace operations.

To address this gap, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) together with 40 partners from across the globe have established an international network to undertake research into the effectiveness of peace operations. Of these, 18 were included in a Research Network Project funded by the Norwegian Research Council between between 2018-2022. The overall aim of EPON is to enhance the effectiveness of international peace operations, by enabling and supporting collaborative research.

EPON is the first global research network that will use a shared methodology to assess the effectiveness of contemporary peace operations. The data generated will be freely available to the global peace operations community, with the overall aim to enhance the effectiveness of international peace operations.

Related projects:

Below please find a list of all the EPON reports and related publications  

EPON events, news and streams:

 


 


 

Podcasts from EPON:

  • What effect is United Nations peacekeeping having in South Sudan?
 
  • Effectiveness of Peace Operations: The case of Mali with Jaïr van der Lijn



 



  • How effective is the African Union mission in Somalia?
 



 



 



  • On 7 November 2018, an EPON panel was organized as part of the Geneva Peace Week, hosted by one of the members of the network: the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) and one of the network's Board members, Annika Hilding-Norberg. Here, the network shared the initial findings of the first three pilot studies:
 



Want to know more about NUPI's work on these topics? Check out our pages on peace operations and the UN.

Project Manager

Cedric H. de Coning
Research Professor

Participants

Kari M. Osland
Director
John Karlsrud
Research Professor
Natasja Rupesinghe
Former employee
Andrew E. Yaw Tchie
Senior Research Fellow
Asha Ali
Advisor
Jenny Nortvedt
Former employee
Eli Stamnes
Former employee

Articles

Articles
Analysis
Articles
Analysis

The past, present and future of Peacekeeping

What can we say about UN Peacekeeping after 75 years of operations? In this episode of the NUPI podcast The World Stage, experts give their take on the missions and what their future look like.
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Nation-building
  • United Nations
  • AU
Articles
News
Articles
News

EPON Seminar on Examining the Effectiveness of a New Generation of African Peace Operations

On 20 October, the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network, the Training for Peace Programme and the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership hosted a seminar under the title “Examining the Effectiveness of a New Generation of African Peace Operations” at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in South Africa.
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
men holding african flags.png
Articles
New research
Articles
New research

The critical role of human rights in UN peace operations

In a new EPON report, experts highlight the importance of human rights work in United Nations peace operations.
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Human rights
  • United Nations
Articles
New research
Articles
New research

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.

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

EPON at Stockholm Forum for Peace and Development 2019

On 14-16 May 2019, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-hosted the 2019 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development titled ‘From crisis response to peacebuilding: Achieving synergies’.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Insurgencies
  • United Nations
News
News

New book: UN Peace Operations in a Changing Global Order

In this book launch interview, editors Mateja Peter and Cedric de Coning reflect upon findings from their most recent book, identifying four global transformations and their implications for UN peace operations.

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
Bildet viser en FN-soldat i Mali
News
News

Four global transformations are changing UN peace operations

The global order is changing – how will that uncertainty impact UN peace operations?

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
Bildet viser en FN-soldat i Mali
News
News

WORLD PEACEKEEPING DAY: UN Peacekeeping at 70

UN peacekeeping faces significant challenges and some question whether it can remain relevant, but most countries agree on the importance of the UN as the centrepiece of global governance, and that peacekeeping is its flagship enterprise.

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
News
News

Can a new approach change the UN?

The world is facing enormous challenges in light of protracted crises and conflicts. The United Nations are looking for answers with the new ‘sustaining peace’ approach. What are the chances of the new approach to change the UN and create sustainable peace? Cedric de Coning offers a current overview.

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • United Nations
The image shows peace doves
News
News

The UN we need?

Is UN Peace Operations adapting fast enough to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing global landscape?

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
The image shows a UN peacekeepier
News
News

New book: Rising Powers may fundamentally change peacebuilding

What exactly is new and innovative about the peacebuilding approach of the rising powers from the Global South?

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • South and Central America
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • United Nations
News
News

Article on UN from NUPI researcher most downloaded

Read Senior Research fellow John Karlsrud's opan access article.

  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • United Nations
News
News

NUPI co-hosts UN Peace and Development Advisor Fellowship

UN Peace and Development Advisors (PDA) gather at NUPI.

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict

New publications

Publications
Publications
Alexandra Novossoloff

A Comparative Study Of Older One-Dimensional UN Peace Operations: Is the Future of UN Peacekeeping its Past?

Over the last few decades, the focus has been on the UN’s large multidimensional peacekeeping missions in Africa. However, half of the UN’s current peacekeeping missions are small observation-type operations that were first established during the Cold War in places like Cyprus, the Golan and Lebanon. This report asks if this type of smaller and less intrusive mission will become more prominent again as we enter a new period of great power rivalry and turbulence. These observation-type operations have been useful for preventing escalation by monitoring ceasefire lines or buffer-zones, but they are not suited for peacemaking and need to be complimented with envoys and diplomats that work to resolve the larger political issues along with members of the Security Council and host nations. The report recommends that peace operations (consisting of a variety of options for a diversity of needs and contexts) should be at the core of the “New Agenda for Peace”, envisaged by António Guterres to be presented at the General Assembly by September 2023. If a new era of great power rivalry requires the UN to once again adapt UN peacekeeping, then its experience through observation and monitoring operations, will provide it with a rich resource of options and models to choose from.

  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • United Nations
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  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Fiifi Edu-Afful

A Forgotten People in An Unstable Region - The Effectiveness of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei Executive Summary

Established in June 2011, UNISFA aims to foster peace, stability, and development in the disputed Abyei region. Focused on implementing the Abyei Protocol, the mission addresses border demarcation (through the Joint Border Verification Monitoring Mechanism for the Sudan-South Sudan boundary since South Sudan’s independence in 2011) and security concerns and supports local governance through engagement with administrations. However, since 2011, UNISFA’s effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate and protecting civilians has been questioned as sporadic and spontaneous violence remains very high. While the overall security situation in Abyei has shown signs of improvement, persistent conflict dynamics stemming from intra- and inter-communal tensions, hired armed elements, and humanitarian challenges continue to set the region back. The rise of communal conflicts between new ethnicities and communities entering the “Abyei box” – often referred to as the Abyei area – has led to further tensions with the mission over its ability to protect civilians. In this Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) study, the authors set out to explore the effectiveness of UNISFA in meeting its mandated tasks in several areas. These include: 1. Protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence; 2. Support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism; 3. Provide de-mining assistance, technical advice, and security; and 4. Provide aid to humanitarian personnel and oil infrastructure in the Abyei Administrative Area (AAA), respectively. The report examines how effective the mission has been in meeting its core mandate, what we can understand from the mission’s success and challenges, and how adaptive the mission has been regarding the ongoing crisis in Sudan and South Sudan and its impact on Abyei, which has strategic and broader implications for the mission. Co-authors Dr Andrew E. Yaw Tchie – Senior Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Training for Peace Programme. Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful – Visiting Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the American University School of International Service and the University of Maryland Department of Government & Politics. He was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC). Contributing authors Christian Ulfsten – former Research Assistant with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Ruth Adwoa Frimpong – Project Consultant with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) Nigeria. EPON series editor Dr Cedric de Coning, Research Professor – Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • United Nations
Screenshot 2024-04-22 at 15.46.57.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Fiifi Edu-Afful

A Forgotten People in an Unstable Region - The Effectiveness of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei

Established in June 2011, UNISFA aims to foster peace, stability, and development in the disputed Abyei region. Focused on implementing the Abyei Protocol, the mission addresses border demarcation (through the Joint Border Verification Monitoring Mechanism for the Sudan-South Sudan boundary since South Sudan’s independence in 2011) and security concerns and supports local governance through engagement with administrations. However, since 2011, UNISFA’s effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate and protecting civilians has been questioned as sporadic and spontaneous violence remains very high. While the overall security situation in Abyei has shown signs of improvement, persistent conflict dynamics stemming from intra- and inter-communal tensions, hired armed elements, and humanitarian challenges continue to set the region back. The rise of communal conflicts between new ethnicities and communities entering the “Abyei box” – often referred to as the Abyei area – has led to further tensions with the mission over its ability to protect civilians. In this Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) study, the authors set out to explore the effectiveness of UNISFA in meeting its mandated tasks in several areas. These include: 1. Protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence; 2. Support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism; 3. Provide de-mining assistance, technical advice, and security; and 4. Provide aid to humanitarian personnel and oil infrastructure in the Abyei Administrative Area (AAA), respectively. The report examines how effective the mission has been in meeting its core mandate, what we can understand from the mission’s success and challenges, and how adaptive the mission has been regarding the ongoing crisis in Sudan and South Sudan and its impact on Abyei, which has strategic and broader implications for the mission. Co-authors Dr Andrew E. Yaw Tchie – Senior Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Training for Peace Programme. Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful – Visiting Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the American University School of International Service and the University of Maryland Department of Government & Politics. He was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC). Contributing authors Christian Ulfsten – former Research Assistant with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Ruth Adwoa Frimpong – Project Consultant with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) Nigeria. EPON series editor Dr Cedric de Coning, Research Professor – Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • United Nations
Screenshot 2024-04-22 at 15.46.57.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Charles T. Hunt, Adam Day, Fiifi Edu-Afful

UN Peace Operations & Human Rights: A Thematic Study

This study of the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) examines the contributions of the UN’s human rights work within a wide range of UN peace operations, including peacekeeping missions, special political missions (SPMs), and regional prevention offices. The core questions of this study were: (1) How does the UN’s human rights engagement contribute to the overall impact of UN peace operations, including the protection of civilians (POC)? (2) Overall, how do UN peace operations themselves contribute to human rights outcomes? and (3) What lessons can be drawn by comparing different UN peace operations in terms of building better synergies between human rights-focused activities and the other work of missions? The goal of the report is to offer a comparative, empirically backed assessment of the ways UN peace operations efforts to advance human rights contribute to mission effectiveness and broader mission objectives. Lead author Prof. Charles T. Hunt – Senior Fellow, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research/ Senior Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies/Professor of Global Security, RMIT University Co-authors Ms Emma Bapt – United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Dr Adam Day – United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful – Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) Ms Abigail Gérard-Baldé – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Ms Hafsa Maalim – Independent researcher Ms Wendy MacClinchy – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Ms Nadia Nata – Independent researcher Dr Claudia Pfeifer Cruz – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Human rights
  • United Nations
EPON Human Rights report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Human rights
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Charles T. Hunt, Fiifi Edu-Afful, Adam Day

UN Peace Operations & Human Rights: A Thematic Study Executive Summary

This study of the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) examines the contributions of the UN’s human rights work within a wide range of UN peace operations, including peacekeeping missions, special political missions (SPMs), and regional prevention offices. The core questions of this study were: (1) How does the UN’s human rights engagement contribute to the overall impact of UN peace operations, including the protection of civilians (POC)? (2) Overall, how do UN peace operations themselves contribute to human rights outcomes? and (3) What lessons can be drawn by comparing different UN peace operations in terms of building better synergies between human rights-focused activities and the other work of missions? The goal of the report is to offer a comparative, empirically backed assessment of the ways UN peace operations efforts to advance human rights contribute to mission effectiveness and broader mission objectives. Lead author Prof. Charles T. Hunt – Senior Fellow, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research/ Senior Research Associate, Institute for Security Studies/Professor of Global Security, RMIT University Co-authors Ms Emma Bapt – United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Dr Adam Day – United Nations University Centre for Policy Research Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful – Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) Ms Abigail Gérard-Baldé – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Ms Hafsa Maalim – Independent researcher Ms Wendy MacClinchy – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) Ms Nadia Nata – Independent researcher Dr Claudia Pfeifer Cruz – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Human rights
  • United Nations
EPON HR Executive Summary report cover.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • Conflict
  • Fragile states
  • Human rights
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

How effective is policing in protecting civilians in peace operations? Lessons from the UN Mission in South Sudan

Policing, as a governance service, is part of a multidimensional peace operation deployed to respond to conflict and other crises. It helps prevent conflict relapses, build sustainable peace, ensure the rule of law and justice, protect and promote human rights, and protect civilians. In various reports and resolutions, the United Nations (UN) recognises the invaluable role of the police in international peace interventions. This monograph analyses the effectiveness of policing in protecting civilians in the case of the UN Mission in South Sudan. It sets out lessons and prospects for enhancing the effectiveness of policing in peace operations in protecting civilians.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UN Policing in Africa report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

A quest to win the hearts and minds: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Task Force

In January 2015, the African Union (AU) authorised the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) as a regional security arrangement of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to deal with the threat of Boko Haram (BH) in the Lake Chad region. Its mandate includes the responsibility of ensuring a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the BH insurgency, reducing violent attacks against civilians, facilitating stabilisation programmes in the Lake Chad region, facilitating humanitarian operations, and the provision of assistance to affected populations. To achieve its mandate, the MNJTF undertakes both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. Its mandate has been renewed annually since 2015, and in December 2022, the AU renewed its mandate for another 12 months. This report assesses the effectiveness of the MNJTF in delivering on its three mandate priorities to generate recommendations. It is important to note that the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) renewed the mandate of the MNJTF earlier than expected, and as a result, this report offers reflections on how to enhance the effectiveness of the mission going forward. Despite long standing constraints, such as insufficient funding, gaps in operational command and control, inadequate equipment and an intelligence-sharing cell, the MNJTF has recorded appreciable successes. Its efforts and successes have counteracted BH and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists, resulting in a significant decline in attack incidents in the region. In addition, they have created a conducive environment for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their communities and the resumption of trade between the northeast of Nigeria and neighbouring markets in Cameroon and Chad. The recent acquisition of assets, growing coordination among the sectors, and shift from a defensive to an offensive posture brought about by the current Force Commander (FC) are some factors contributing to the recent successes of the MNJTF. Nevertheless, the lack of policing capability, intelligence gaps, evolving terrorist-organised crime dynamics, and resource-capacity mismatch are some of the current impediments to the efforts of the MNJTF to end the menace posed by terror groups in the Lake Chad region.The partnership between the AU and the MNJTF is considered vital not only for the mission’s credibility but also for the critical role the AU can play in appropriately resourcing the MNJTF. While the general conclusion drawn from respondents was that the AU was doing its best to improve the situation, there was still a need for it to do more in certain important areas. This situation calls for the prioritisation of current challenges and for appropriate deployment of available resources to address them. To enhance the capacity and effectiveness of the force in combating terrorism in the Lake Chad region, the report recommends prioritising developing police capacity across member states, strengthening the MNJTF intelligence capacity, aligning training with core priority areas to close capacity gaps, and institutionalising a due diligence framework for funds utilisation. The prospects of the MNJTF achieving its core responsibilities in the months and years ahead will depend to some extent on how the mandate renewal recognises and allocates sufficient resources to address areas of priority concerns.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
MNJTF report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
Publications
Publications
Report
Lotte Vermeij

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

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.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
EPON Protection report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Fiifi Edu-Afful, Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Festus Kofi Aubyn, Ousmane Aly Diallo, Mariana Llorens Zabala

Shifting from External Dependency: Remodelling the G5 Sahel Joint Force for the Future

After a decade of battling jihadist and violent extremist groups in West Africa, France has initiated the restructuring and relocation of its largest overseas military mission in the Sahel with an announcement of the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane (the French military counterterrorism intervention) from Mali. The exit over the coming months may signify an important shift of western military operations in Mali and the Sahel. France’s deployment in the Sahel was initially triggered by the activities of Tuareg separatists in the northern part of Mali. Islamic extremists closely associated with Al-Qaeda took advantage of the situation, seizing north Mali and spreading their activities southwards in 2012. Despite French counterterrorism operations, instability worsened, and Islamists controlled vast swathes of northern and central Mali, parts of Burkina Faso, and western Niger. Over time, under the motivation of France, the G5 Sahel Joint Force (G5S-JF) was created to address the everyday challenges of terrorism and transnational organised crime among the five member states (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). For a force supported by three United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2359 (2017), 2391 (2017) and 2480 (2019); and with a force strength of 5600 troops organised around three sectors, its operational successes have been a mixed bag (ten joint border operations). Operation Barkhane together with European Union Training Mission Mali (EUTM), the Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali) and Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has enhanced the operational readiness and capabilities of the G5 Sahel through mentoring, training, and funding of the joint-force operations. Additionally, these external operations, particularly Barkhane, have been supportive of the activities of G5S-JF by providing intelligence, supporting logistical and joint planning, providing aerial and air support, and engaging in medical evacuation. Notwithstanding, the Joint Force has been contending with weak intelligence, shortfalls in equipment, limited aerial capabilities and a lack of rapid response, which invariably hinders operational effectiveness. The Joint Force represents an essential step toward addressing the instability that affects Mali and the broader Sahel, but as of yet, the G5S-JF has been unable to fully demonstrate its effectiveness as a force despite significant support from donor countries such as France. Moreover, it is uncertain how Mali´s withdrawal from the Joint Force will impact on the overall strategy of the G5S-JF and its sustainability going forward, especially given Mali’s recent announcement of withdrawing from the G5 Sahel. The departure of Barkhane, together with Takuba and other European arrangements from Mali, raises many unanswered questions about the funding, operational capacity and political cooperation between the other member states of the Joint Force. Even though France has reiterated that it will continue to support peacekeepers serving under MINUSMA; and Malian troops continuing to battle Islamic violent extremism after the Barkhane withdrawal, the response time to jihadist attacks and activities inside Malian territory will not be the same. Without Barkhane, the G5S-JF will struggle to protect civilians, evacuate soldiers in need of medical attention, and support effective joint planning and coordination of G5S-JF and intelligence sharing —which has been instrumental in the fight against jihadist. To address emerging challenges, enhance the ability of the G5S-JF and sustain its support, this report proposes four possible options that could fill the gap resulting from the current security vacuum being created following the possible withdrawal of some of the external military forces from Mali, and Mali itself from the G5S-JF. In arriving at these proposed options, emphasis is placed on regional perspectives, which draws on African frameworks and the use of African resources, experience, capabilities and understanding. The report argues that this would allow better ownership and closer proximity to the issues, ensuring that international partners are not dictating how the region and African Union (AU) Member States (MS) should solve challenges. The evaluation considered the full spectrum of options to include: A reconfigured and scaled-up G5 Sahel Joint Force (Plus); A reconfigured G5 Sahel Joint Force and revised MISAHEL through the AU, ECOWAS, ECCAS and CENSAD; An integrated ECOWAS (deployment of the African Standby Force) utilising the G5 Sahel force; and Elevating the G5 Sahel force to an AU (Peace Enforcement mission) with UN support. The proposed options focus on military and hybrid solutions that can tackle existing challenges in the Sahel and West Africa as a whole. However, defeating jihadism and violent extremism is essentially a job that should include intelligence and police authorities to win the hearts and minds of the population, but this cannot be done solely with hard stabilisation efforts. Tackling the vast challenges in the Sahel requires a careful mix of adaptive, agile and sustained efforts that cut across social, economic, political, developmental, humanitarian and recovery instruments and support. Thus, the report suggests additional stabilisation efforts to support the Sahel focused on local, national, regional and international initiatives that can connect to the ground and tackle internal challenges comprehensively. These initiatives, it will be argued, can plug into existing structures but also help to support structures not fully recognised. Efforts to resolve the problems in the Sahel stand a much greater chance of success if fully supported with buy-in from the AU, together with ECOWAS and support from the UN, EU and donors that can draw on the full spectrum of available instruments which have a demonstrable desire to work with like-minded partners. The authors of this report believe that a scaled-up and reconfigured G5 Sahel Joint Force (G5 Sahel Plus) option (discussed below) would have been the optimal model. However, following the recent withdrawal of Mali from the G5S-JF and the deteriorating political landscape in the region and between states, the authors’ reassessment calls for an AU Peace Enforcement mission as the most appropriate, given the current situation. It is important to note, the recommendations provided in this report hinge on the ability of the current and former G5S-JF states to address and resolve the deteriorating political situation, which is fluid in nature and continuously evolving. This will require all states (current and former G5S-JF) to recognise that they need each other to address these challenges, and that any reconfiguration (the models provided in this report) depends on the political situation being fully addressed. There is a need, as the models indicate, to have more joint efforts between the AU and ECOWAS to assist in resolving the current impasses in the region.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
G5 Sahel report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
Publications
Publications
Report
Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé, Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Olajumoke ( Jumo) Ayandele, Thea Willoch Njaastad

UNITAMS Mandate Renewal Study: Fostering a Process of Trust and Inclusivity

The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was established on 3 June 2020 under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2524 to support Sudan during its transition to democratic rule and it was renewed the following year through SC 2579(2021). UNITAMS was conceived of and designed to respond to new and long-standing issues in Sudan: the political transition process that began with the December 2018 revolution and the legacy of armed conflicts. The Mission’s mandate explicitly recognises the adverse effects of climate change on the stability of Sudan and stresses the need for appropriate risk assessment and risk management strategies. Yet, since the adoption of the Mission’s mandate in June 2020 and its renewal in June 2021, Sudan’s political, security and economic situation has deteriorated significantly. An attempted military coup in September 2021, followed by a successful coup d’état on 25 October 2021, has further worsened Sudan’s political crisis, increasing insecurity, undermining the economy, and resulting in the interruption of bilateral and international funding – all amidst the continuing global pandemic. This fast-changing political, security and economic context has placed UNITAMS in a very delicate position in relation to the host government. It has required UNITAMS to focus a significant portion of its attention on good offices and diplomacy so that, together with the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and other international partners and Sudanese stakeholders, it can support a process aimed at bringing Sudan’s transition back on track. While the UNITAMS mandate remains relevant and adequate, the Mission must continue to be allowed the flexibility to adapt its focus to the fast-changing dynamics on the ground. UNITAMS’ good offices’ role should remain at the centre of the Mission’s efforts during the next mandated period, helping Sudanese stakeholders to find an inclusive political settlement that can secure a transition to democratic rule in the medium to long term. At the same time, the Mission should continue its work in support of its other objectives and priorities, including the protection of civilians, the implementation of the peace agreement, and advisory and capacity building, particularly related to the rule-of-law sector. The Mission should strengthen its focus on and ability to integrate climate-related security risks into its analytical work, especially as it relates to supporting local conflict prevention, mitigation and reconciliation efforts to prevent inter-communal violence. While there has been significant progress in strengthening collaboration among the UN, AU and IGAD, maintaining and sustaining the partnership must remain a key priority in the Mission’s work to promote regional stability.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UNITAMS report cover.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

UNMISS 2022 Mandate Renewal: Risks and Opportunities in an Uncertain Peace Process

Ahead of the March 2022 renewal of the mandate for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) conducted an assessment focused on two core mandate areas: protection of civilians (PoC) and support for the peace process. Based on the assessment to follow, the report lays out several strategic considerations for the new UNMISS mandate

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UNMISS 2022 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

MONUSCO’s 2021 Mandate Renewal Transition and exit

In December 2021, in the context of mounting political tensions and growing insecurity in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will decide whether to renew the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The state of siege declared by President Tshisekedi in May 2021 has yet to stabilize the provinces in which it has been implemented. The political coalition in power remains fragile, and social and iden- tity-based conflicts are on the increase. Everyone expresses the need for stability, but effective strategies and decisive actions are still lacking. The joint transition plan developed by the United Nations team with participants from agencies, funds and programmes, and the DRC govern- ment recognizes the complexity of stabilization and provides a holistic plan for long-term sta- bility and peace recovery. This plan goes beyond traditional peace processes and expands its reach to social and economic issues. Although very ambitious, it offers a necessary bold step toward a responsible transition with clear benchmarks and a timeframe. This transition plan speaks to Congolese expectations toward MONUSCO, with priority accorded to the security situation in eastern DRC and the eradication of armed groups, based on three focus areas: the need for institutional reforms, an emphasis on holistic peacebuilding, and a people-centred approach to stabilization. The Security Council will have to decide how to strengthen and support these multiple reform processes by ensuring they are depoliticized and objective. Security sector reforms, administrative reforms, and fair redistribution of the dividends from natural resource exploitation will be central to the effectiveness of institutional reforms. The upcoming mandate should also look at how instability is caused/driven by not only violence and armed conflict, but also by socio-economic factors (inequalities, competition) and the weak social contract. For instance, despite the estimated labour participation of 64.07 per cent, the persistent high poverty rate (80 per cent, according to the 2019 UN Human Development Index Report) constitutes one element with the potential for social instability. One example of the weak social contract is the government’s struggle to provide essential services such as free education. Since the beginning of the 2021/2022 school year, in October 2021, many primary and secondary school children, and their teachers, have been protesting the lack of governmen- tal support to provide funding to public schools. These protests come in addition to others in sectors such as healthcare and public transport. All these elements fuel social and institutional instabilities, in turn affecting the prospects for a sustainable peace. It is important that the terms and framework of the mandate and logistical support to the DRC be expanded to include these areas as key determinants of stability. There is a need for a people-centred approach in defining stabilization, which must be locally owned and driven. While the UN mission supports the DRC in re-establishing peace, MONUSCO remains an outsider in this setting: it is up to Congolese and the DRC government to lead the process: local voices and adaptation to local contexts and strategies must be taken into consider- ation and included. MONUSCO can achieve its goals only if it focuses on ensuring local own- ership of the peace process. The Security Council can empower the mission to this end, through a more reflective and context-sensitive mandate.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • AU
MONUSCO 2021 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • AU
Publications
Publications
Report
Alexandra Novossoloff

Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and The Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary- Ge...

This report assesses the extent to which the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) along with the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary- General on Cyprus (OSASG) – also called the mission of the Good Offices – is achieving its mandate enshrined in Resolution 164 of March 1964. In 2024, the UN Missions in Cyprus will celebrate the 60th anniversary of their presence in the country, and it seems timely to analyse their impact and effectiveness over the years. The EPON report looks for the first time at what the peacekeeping research community has called “legacy operations”, those born during the Cold War and still in place today. UNFICYP is the eighth peacekeeping mission created since 1948. The report looks also at the interaction between peacekeeping and peacemaking in the context of a frozen conflict, often referred to by researchers and scholars as the “Cyprus problem”. Cyprus is a unique case in international relations and peace operations. Its capital city is the only remaining divided capital in Europe and in the world. Cyprus is the only country in the world to have “Guarantors” with a right to intervene and station troops on a permanent basis. The report acknowledges the role of prevention of UNFICYP to the extent that the people in Cyprus tend to forget that no cease-fire agreement exists between the parties. Peacekeeping has been successful at creating a comfortable status quo that peacemaking has yet been unable to break down. In this context, the lack of will from the parties to engage in a meaningful political process has limited the UN’s effectiveness.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UNFICYP-OSASG 2021 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Arthur Boutellis

MINUSMA’s 2021 mandate renewal in uncertain times

The Security Council will renew the mandate of the 8-year-old United Nations Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in June 2021 at a time of multiple transitions: on the Malian side with the Transition government due to end in February 2022, and on the mission side with a new SRSG. It also comes at a time of great uncertainties over the future of the peace process and political transition, but also over the future of the French regional military operations Barkhane and the Joint Force G5 Sahel. The overall security situation has deteriorated in Mali and beyond in the Sahel since 2013. Yet, Northern Mali enjoys a semblance of stability as the two rival coalitions of signatory armed groups found a modus vivendi. But progress in the implementation of the peace agreement is slow, state presence minimal, and attacks on a more resilient MINUSMA continue. Although violence has decreased in Central Mali since September 2020 largely due to the brokering of local agreements of different sorts, insecurity continues to spread further to the South of Mali. There seems to be a general consensus that the two strategic priorities of the MINUSMA mandate should remain to support the implementation of the Algiers Agreement by the Malian parties and to facilitate the implementation of a comprehensive politically led Malian strategy to protect civilians and re-establish State authority in Central Mali. The main issues for discussion will be how to carry out these priorities more effectively and how to best add to the mandate elements pertaining to supporting the Malian Transition without diverting limited resources away from the first two strategic priorities. Beyond the strategic priorities, issues of human rights and accountability, people-centered approaches, strategic communication, women’s participation, and climate-related security risks are also discussed in this report. Many of the challenges the mission is facing will however not be resolved by an adjusted mandate alone; but a clearer strategic direction from MINUSMA’s leadership strongly backed by a unified Security Council can certainly help.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
MINUSMA 2021 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)

The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) began its deploy- ment to Sudan in 2007 in the midst of widespread violence. UNAMID was the largest peace- keeping operation in the world at the time. Its drawdown and transition began a decade later, and today less than one-quarter of that force remains, concentrated in a small area in central Darfur. The intervening years witnessed a moribund peace process and a scorched-earth govern- ment military campaign against Darfuri rebels that killed thousands of civilians. A popu- lar uprising against the ruling system erupted in December 2018, and in April 2019, Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since 1989, was deposed. The new transitional government and military-civilian Sovereign Council are now seeking to rescue a struggling economy and make peace with the people on Sudan’s peripheries. While the recently endorsed Juba Agreement brings new hopes for peace in Darfur, the way forward remains far from certain. With nearly two million IDPs, a deep humanitarian crisis, and rising levels of violence, Darfur in 2020 is far from being a stable place as UNAMID—the African Union and United Nations’ most important tool for security and stability—appears set to depart. This report assesses UNAMID’s impact over a ten-year period (2007-2017) and across its three strategic priorities: mediating between the government and non-signatory armed movements; protecting civilians, monitoring human rights, and facilitating humanitarian assistance; and supporting the mediation of community conflict. The report also makes observations and draws lessons from UNAMID’s transition (2017- 2020), a process still underway and for which it is too early to assess the definitive impact. Reflecting upon UNAMID’s unique features, the report includes lessons from the hybrid nature of the operation, as well as from the challenges posed by fragile host-nation cooper- ation. It draws on existing analyses and data as well as more than 140 interviews and focus group consultations with 700 community members in Darfur.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
EPON UNAMID 2020 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
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Publications
Report

Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

The Central African Republic is emerging from a long history of slave raiding and trading, French concessionary colonialism, and authoritarian political rule. In December 2012, tensions escalated into civil war characterised by sexual and gender-based violence and near-gen- ocidal fighting. The United Nations Security Council authorised the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) to deploy in September 2014, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The Mission has the most complex of all current peacekeeping mandates. Of the three primary tasks in MINUSCA’s original mandate: (1) protecting civilians, (2) overseeing a political transition, and (3) extending state authority, the operation has fulfilled the second task, and is effectively working toward achieving the first and third. The Mission has helped to avert wide-scale killings and possible genocide, mitigate sexual violence, monitor human rights, protect vital humanitarian aid delivery, enable the development of female participation and leadership, build state capacity (especially in policing and justice), and enable democratic elections. In a creative, “bottom-up” approach to peace, the 15,000 members of MINUSCA have helped to establish dozens of local peace and reconciliation committees. Regional powers and MINUSCA have complemented this approach with a “top-down,” high-level, peace process that resulted in the landmark February 2019 Peace Accord. Several groups, however, con- tinue to spoil the peace. Armed groups control 75-80% of this lush, resource-rich, and land-locked country. The political economy of the conflict tends toward strengthening armed groups and spoilers. MINUSCA remains unpopular among many Central Africans. Dis- and misinformation about the upcoming 2020-21 elections and COVID-19 continue to under-mine progress. MINUSCA is helping to stabilise – providing a vital service to the country, region, and world – but it will be difficult to fully implement its mandate and depart a peaceful and prosperous Central Africa anytime soon.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
MINUSCA 2020 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Jaïr van der Lijn, Linda Darkwa, Fiifi Edu-Afful, John Karlsrud, Natasja Rupesinghe

Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Until 2016 MINUSMA managed to strengthen stability in northern Mali, decreasing the number of civilians killed in the conflict, and allowing large numbers of displaced persons to return home. MINUSMA also assisted the peace process, culminating in the 2015 Algiers Agreement. Many of these achievements are still standing. However, since 2016 MINUSMA’s effectiveness in terms of stabilisation and the protection of civilians has decreased. In the North, the signatory parties have been making slow progress in the implementation of the Algiers Agreement and the 2018 Pact for Peace. In addition, central Mali has destabilised significantly, as Jihadist activities have stoked a vicious cycle of inter-communal violence that has reached unprecedented levels. MINUSMA has only been mandated to help the Malian government address the situation since June 2018. As one of the largest multidimensional peacekeeping operations – currently including nearly 13,000 soldiers and 1,800 police officers from 57 contributing countries, and almost 750 civilians – MINUSMA has been provided with significant resources and an extraordinarily ambitious mandate. However, the Mission finds itself at a crossroads. It needs time to succeed, but this is valuable time Mali does not have. Civilians have come under increasing attack, and the US, in particular, is losing interest in supporting a costly UN peace operation that is not able to deliver quick results. This report considers the degree to which there is an alignment between the mission’s resources and its mandate. It also makes an assessment of the options available to the Mission to increase its effectiveness in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
MINUSMA 2019 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Alexandra Novossoloff

Assessing the Effectiveness of the United Nations Mission in the DRC/MONUC-MONUSCO

The report focuses on both the most recent period of MONUSCO’s mandate (2013-18), and takes into account the work of the MONUC since 1999, thereby taking a long-term view of the peacekeeping presence in the country. The UN peacekeeping engagement in the DRC since the end of the Second Congo War has spanned nearly 20 years, three presidential elections, eight Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General, and numerous political and security crises involving national and regional actors and non-state armed groups. The Mission has reinvented itself, tried to adapt to changing conflict dynamics, and had to shift its posture due to demands from the Security Council, the Congolese government and regional states, as well as in response to recent funding cuts. As one of the largest multidimensional peacekeeping operations – currently including 15,000 soldiers and 1,300 police officers from 124 contributing countries, as well as 3,400 civilians – MONUC-MONUSCO has been provided with significant resources and an extraordinarily ambitious mandate. Assessing the match between resources and mandate and the ways the Mission has adapted its approaches to be effective in extremely challenging circumstances are the key objectives of this report.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
MONUC-MONUSCO 2019 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report
Adam Day

Assessing the Effectiveness of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

The report focuses on the most recent period of UNMISS’ mandate (2014-18), aiming to provide a “snapshot” of the mission’s work across its four main mandate areas: the protection of civilians (PoC), facilitation of humanitarian delivery, promotion of human rights, and support to the peace process. As a large, multidimensional peacekeeping operation – with 17,000 troops, 2,000 police and 2,000 civilians – UNMISS has been provided with significant resources and an extraordinarily ambitious mandate. Assessing the match between resources and mandate, and the ways the Mission has adapted its approaches to be effective in extremely challenging circumstances is a key objective of this report. Throughout its existence, UNMISS has been part of a much broader regional and international constellation of actors working to stabilise the country and encourage conflict parties to enter into a meaningful peace process. In many cases, UNMISS has played a limited supportive, coordinating, or otherwise indirect role in the overall trajectory of the country; in others, it is a central actor in the eyes of the people of South Sudan. This presents a challenge to any assessment of the Mission because, at most, UNMISS can be considered one contributor among many working together to end the civil war and lay the foundations for durable peace. Causality in these settings is difficult to establish. Nevertheless, drawing on the substantial data and analyses available, and interviews with more than 260 people in South Sudan and the region over several weeks, this study presents a set of evidence-based findings about the impact of the Mission and the factors that have enabled and inhibited the fulfilment of its mandate.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
UNMISS 2019 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
Publications
Publications
Report

Assessing the Effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

This report assesses the extent to which the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has achieved its current strategic objectives and what impact, if any, the mission has had on broader political and security dynamics in Somalia.

  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
  • AU
AMISOM 2018 report cover 2.png
  • Africa
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
  • AU
Publications
Publications
Scientific article

The Joint Force of the G5 Sahel: An Appropriate Response to Combat Terrorism?

The Joint Force of the Group of Five of the Sahel reflects the commitment of African states to cooperate to address common security challenges. Yet, little is known about its counter-terrorism strategy for the region. This article focuses on the security pillar of the G5 Sahel, the Joint Force (FC-G5S), and provides a critical examination of its mandate to combat terrorism in the Sahel. It explains the context into which the force was deployed and provides an overview of its conceptualisation and configuration. It demonstrates that in its current form, there is a danger of advancing a security-first stabilisation strategy that relies heavily on military-led counter-terror operations to contain and deter the threat of terrorist groups which can have serious consequences for local communities living among insurgents. The article argues that while establishing firmer border control and enhanced intelligence-sharing between the G5 Sahel states is important, the current counter-terror response risks depoliticising insurgents, and neglects the sociopolitical and economic grievances and problems of governance that have enabled violent extremism to take root in the first place. Removing the categorisation of jihadist insurgents as terrorists only and understanding their multifaceted identities – some as legitimate social and political actors – would open up more policy responses, including dialogue and conflict resolution.

  • Security policy
  • Terrorism and extremism
  • Regional integration
  • Africa
  • Conflict
  • Nation-building
  • Nationalism
  • Insurgencies
  • AU
  • Security policy
  • Terrorism and extremism
  • Regional integration
  • Africa
  • Conflict
  • Nation-building
  • Nationalism
  • Insurgencies
  • AU
Publications
Publications
Report

Researching the Effectiveness of Peace Operations, Seminar Report, 31 May – 1 June, Oslo

The African Union (AU), European Union (EU), and United Nations (UN) are under increasing pressure to justify the effectiveness of the peace operations they deploy. Justifying this effectiveness requires precise assessments based on systematized and evidence-based data. Per now, however, this data is lacking, a gap the global research community could help address. On 31 May and 1 June 2017, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) hosted a seminar that brought together thirty participants from the AU, UN, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as research institutes and think tanks from across the globe. The aim of the seminar was to share insights on how best to research the effectiveness of peace operations and to explore the establishment of a network that could seek to address this gap. The seminar discussed how to research and measure the effectiveness of peace operations. It looked at current definitions and conceptualizations of effectiveness, and it discussed the varying perceptions stakeholders have of the effectiveness of peace operations. The group also explored the options for establishing a network dedicated to research on the effectiveness of peace operations. The seminar agreed on the value of establishing such a network, with an aim to produce knowledge that is both academically valuable and relevant for policymakers. Hence, it considered different organizational modalities for a potential research network, with regards to governing principles, funding, and how researchers could undertake joint research projects. This report summarizes the key conclusions and recommendations from the seminar, and lists what the next steps may be for the establishment of a research network on the effectiveness of peace operations.

  • Peace operations
  • United Nations
  • Peace operations
  • United Nations

Themes

  • Defence
  • Security policy
  • NATO
  • Development policy
  • Diplomacy
  • Foreign policy
  • Europe
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • North America
  • South and Central America
  • Peace operations
  • Humanitarian issues
  • Conflict
  • International organizations
  • The EU
  • AU

Project Manager

Cedric H. de Coning
Research Professor

Events

Participants

Kari M. Osland
Director
John Karlsrud
Research Professor
Natasja Rupesinghe
Former employee
Andrew E. Yaw Tchie
Senior Research Fellow
Asha Ali
Advisor
Jenny Nortvedt
Former employee
Eli Stamnes
Former employee