NEW YORK, DECEMBER 7 – The Security Council first established protection of civilians (POC) as an explicit mandate for a peacekeeping operation in 1999. Since then, POC has gained prominence both conceptually and in practice, and has been institutionalized as a central paradigm for peace operations. However, missions mandated to protect civilians face increasingly challenging environments in theatres where there is little peace to keep, no viable political process, and state authorities unwilling or unable to fulfill their own protection responsibilities. In this context, and in the context of a lack of a unified vision around POC, criticism over the potential tension between protection of civilians, political processes, and exit strategies has arisen.
The Permanent Mission of Italy and of the Netherlands, who are splitting a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for 2017-18, are hosting a policy forum on this issue at the International Peace Institute in New York. The Permanent Representative of Italy, Sebastiano Cardi, and the deputy permanent representative of the Netherlands, Lise Gregoire, will Gove the opening remarks. IPI’s latest issue brief will serve as a backdrop to the discussion, analyzing and explores possible directions to reframe the protection of civilians paradigm for peace operations, identifying several factors limiting effective delivery of POC mandates.
As the DPKO/DFS Policy on Protection of Civilians will be updated in 2018, and with the prospect of the secretary-general defining a new POC vision, this policy forum will explore specific considerations on how the POC paradigm should be redesigned to fit hostile environments where peacekeepers are targeted, obstructed, manipulated, or sidelined. Participants will also discuss ways in which to reconcile POC with political processes and exit strategies, and reinforce accountability.
This event is the first in a series of discussions on POC that will be held over the next two years at IPI, in the framework of its new Protection of Civilians program. (@OnuItalia)