On the eve of the UK Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London, UNA-UK and partners produced key points on the use of force and local ownership.
Working with Chatham House and the University of Reading, UNA-UK organised a roundtable on 7 September 2016 on the theme of 'Challenges to People-Centred Peace Operations'. Participants included UN officials, government representatives, NGOs, academics and practitioners.
The Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peacekeeping Operations, published in 2015, identified a "people-centred approach" as one of four essential shifts in peace operations. It emphasised the need for UN personnel to engage more deeply and inclusively with the people they are committed to helping and to ensure that peacebuilding processes in host countries are locally owned. At the same time, peace operations are under increasing pressure to use force to fulfil their mandates, including to protect civilians – actions that often sit uncomfortably with efforts to engage local communities and that are couched in high-level political negotiations distant from field locations.
Drawing on examples from the field, the event examined the tensions and potential synergies between these two aspects of ‘people-centred’ peace operations, with a view to providing recommendations for the training of personnel and guidelines for mission leadership. It generated key points in the following areas: reneweed momentum on reform implementation, the strategic use of force, clarity on "local ownership" and "community engagement" (as concepts and in practice), mission capacity, training and communications.