UN: Strengthening peacekeeping requires collective action

Highlighting complex and evolving challenges, the head of UN peacekeeping on Wednesday called for heightened vigilance and a more robust response to existential threats against both peacekeepers and those they strive to defend.

“Improving peacekeeping is, by its very essence, a collective endeavour,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council on Wednesday.

“Ensuring that our missions are fit for purpose and perform well, requires action by all of us and all of us working together,” he added, noting the role of the UN Secretariat, Member States, countries which contribute personnel, host nations and regional organizations.

In his briefing, Mr. Lacroix outlined steps taken by the Organization and the results these have yielded. One of the key areas includes assessing peacekeepers’ performance.


Read more at UN Website

Preparations for GAP game’s final evaluation on their way

On 21st August, 25 representatives of the GAP partner organisations gathered in TCD to prepare for the final evaluation of the GAP game. Everyone had been sent the game a few days earlier so that they could play through the whole story.

Prof Anne Holohan, the PI of the project, introduced the plan of evaluation workshops and discussed the PowerPoint slides that will be shown by trainers, as well as the forms needed for evaluation. There were lots of useful comments from the participants that we will be taking into account when finalising the preparations. Next Anne and Mascia Toussaint from Enquirya introduced the pre-game quiz and everyone had a chance to try a section of it on the iPads or laptops.

After the break, Mads Haahr from Haunted Planets demonstrated how to play the game, stressing all the important issues like the user ID, differentness modes, pausing and saving the game and accessing the assessment results. This led on to the presentation by a representative of Adapt and a special consultant for Fully-Verified. He explained the in-game assessment and how to read the result. Later we discussed the post-game quiz and the trainer’s manual and eventually the interview questions that will end the evaluation workshop.

It was a busy, but very informative day with an excellent contribution from everyone who participated. We have made a note of all the comments and suggestions and these will feed into the final evaluation.

So where do we go from here?

The GAP team will be travelling to Portugal, Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Northern Ireland and will finish in Dublin. In each location there will be 10 young police or military, who haven’t been deployed and two trainers taking part in the workshop. We will follow the schedule from the training day with the introduction, pre-game quiz, playing through the game, post-game quiz, discussion and interviews.

We are looking forward to testing the GAP game, which is the impressive result of two years’ work of the whole GAP Consortium, with contributions from end-users!

“United Nations peacekeeping and internal legitimacy” by Sarah von Billerbeck

All talk and no action or no action without talk? Peacekeeping will struggle to be successful if it is not viewed as legitimate by host country populations, donors, troop contributing countries and other beneficiaries. But it will equally struggle to be successful if it is not viewed as legitimate by DPKO staff themselves.

When I worked for the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Congo – MONUC at the time – I once hosted a local politician for a meeting. As we walked to my office, he commented on the many posters lining the corridor celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of UN troops and the accomplishments of the mission – for example, the number of police officers trained or ex-combatants demobilised. He noted that these weren’t put up for the benefit of outsiders: they were in a restricted part of the building and were therefore clearly aimed at the UN staff who passed them every day.

I had never really noticed this ‘self-celebration’ before, this internally-directed ‘advertising’ of the good work of UN peacekeeping personnel and of the legitimacy of our efforts for peace. For the first time, it struck me as something relatively widespread in peace operations as well as something entirely lacking in studies of peacekeeping and legitimacy. Now an academic who researches the UN, I’ve undertaken a large-scale study across three international organisations (the UN, NATO and the World Bank), conducting nearly 90 detailed staff interviews to find out why, when, and how these staff seek to build and maintain legitimacy not for others, but for themselves.

Read an article by Sarah von Billerbeck from University of Reading at Dag Hammarskjöd Foundations home page.

Apply for conference on Developing The Future of Education, October 30-31 2018, Abu Dhabi

The UAE 2021 National Agenda aims to develop a world-class education system. There have been a series of initiatives by the Government to raise standards in education that includes aspirations for citizenship, raised educational attainment, a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation, research, science, technology and an education system above international standards.

The overall improvement in the educational world will only happen with strong synchronization of all stakeholders involved who are all working towards a common goal.

Register to EU – CIVCAP final conference on 12th September in Brussels

EU-CIVCAP final conference
Improving EU capabilities for conflict prevention and peacebuilding: Mapping lessons, best practices, and policy opportunities
September 12 th, 2018
CEPS, Place du Congrès 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium


The final conference of the Horizon 2020 project EU-CIVCAP serves to showcase the key lessons and best practices identified in the project’s research and the relevance of its main findings for policy-makers and practitioners in EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

The discussion in the three thematic panels will serve to articulate policy implications and test the practicalities of implementing the project’s main recommendations to improve EU capabilities for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The conference will also map relevant ongoing policy processes in the context of the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, in particular, current discussions about the Global Civilian Compact, the Joint Communication on resilience, the integrated approach to conflicts and crises, and the MFF negotiations.


More information at the conference website.

UN Secretary-General: “Wind blowing in the direction of peace in Africa”

Recent developments in Africa indicate that the continent is increasingly moving in the “direction of peace” and enhanced security, the United Nations Secretary-General told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.

António Guterres was there to take part in the second annual UN-African Union conference, part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations. The two-day meeting covers a wide range of topics, and Mr. Guterres spoke about the partners’ close collaboration in areas such as peace and security.

“We feel a wind blowing in the direction of peace,” he said, referring to recent developments such as the historic visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister to rival and neighbour Eritrea, as well as peace talks on South Sudan, where conflict has raged since 2013.

“All this gives us hope that the Leo Hamel’s continent will be moving more and more in the right direction in peace and security,” he added, telling delegates that the UN could not afford to fail in its dealings with the continent.

When African troops are fighting terrorists in the Sahel, they are not only protecting the citizens of the Sahel. They are protecting the whole world – UN chief António Guterres.


Read more at UN website.

Newsletter of July 2018 has been published: Call for papers extended to 31st August 2018!

GAP Newsletter for July 2018 has been published. The newsletter concentrates on the final evaluation plan of the GAP Game.


Inside this issue:

GAP Conference , January 10 & 11th, 2019

Final Evaluation Plans

The GAP Game Story

Developing the Out-Of-Game Assessment

GAP Workshop for Performance Rating in Serious Games


You can access the newsletter here.

Gaming Peace: A Call for Peacekeeper Roles

Peacekeeping games can introduce the warfighter as many FPS games have, but have an element of decision-making, morality and allow for the games’ eventual outcome to have a different ending to reflect the morality and decision-making of the player. There are FPS games that test your morality, such as Spec Ops: The Line.

FPS games would not be the only ones that would be affected. Diplomacy has been a part of some strategy games for some time and there is a whole plethora of strategy games that test your diplomatic skills, such as the Total War series. The diplomatic aspect can be further explored. There is the ability in the Total War series, to create alliances, negotiate truces and trade agreements, but it is tantamount to bribing the computer AI with resources than a multifaceted diplomatic effort.


Read more at Defence Report.

NGOWG releases it’s Annual Policy Brief: Mapping Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council: 2017

The overall aim of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security’s (NGOWG) policy brief is to assess the implementation of the women, peace, and security (WPS) policy framework in the work of the Security Council. The analysis and recommendations build on our well-established policy guidance project, the Monthly Action Points (MAP) on Women, Peace and Security, as well as broader advocacy over the course of 2017.[1]

Over the last 18 years, the eight resolutions adopted by the Security Council on WPS have formed a strong foundation for the operationalization of the WPS agenda by the UN system and Member States, resulting in, at a rhetorical level, an acknowledgment of these issues as important. The WPS agenda recognizes that conflict has gendered impacts, and that women have critical roles to play in peace and security processes and institutions. Taken holistically, this agenda recognizes that a gender-blind understanding of conflict significantly undermines international peace and security efforts. Women, peace and security is, therefore, not only a principle but a call to action for Member States, the Security Council and the UN system.

Read more at NGOWG’s website.

Apply for CMI’s Peace Innovation Challenge

CMI and its partner organisation Masarat are jointly launching a Peace Innovation Challenge in Palestine. We are looking for new approaches to strengthen women’s engagement and to provide a platform for cooperation.

Women in peacemaking is one of the focus areas of CMI’s global programme. We want to find new approaches and ideas for strengthening women’s engagement and contribution to peacemaking. For this reason, we are launching a Peace Innovation Challenge in Palestine together with Masarat– The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies.

To foster a new generation of peace-builders, creative thinking and broader participation are needed. CMI hopes that the Peace Innovation Challenge will bring added drive to ongoing peace processes and enable new actors to participate. Later this year, the Peace Innovation Challenge will be launched in Ukraine also.

For the teams attending, the challenge is an excellent opportunity to develop skills and showcase their work. The ten most promising teams will get to further develop their ideas with mentoring from leading experts. The deadline for submitting proposals is 20 August, and the most promising innovations will be announced in October. The value of the challenge award is USD 10,000.

Further information can be found on the Peace Innovation Challenge website: www.innovationchallengepalestine.org

More about Masarat  – The Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies: www.masarat.ps (in Arabic)