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Chronicle of a Frustration Foretold? The Implementation of a Broad Protection Agenda in the United Nations

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Although the Protection of Civilians (PoC) today is now loosely embedded in the UN system as a whole, a number of issues remain to be addressed at the institutional level for PoC to inform a shared culture of protection. These include a conceptual clarification of whether protection activities are the mission’s mandate per se or a mere part of its many tasks. If PoC is only one of many tasks, what is the raison d’être of peacekeeping missions? At headquarter level, two main challenges remain. How can PoC become part of a shared interagency culture, rather than remaining the sole prerogative or task of OCHA without thereby losing its institutional momentum, and how can UN DPKO take greater ownership to PoC without narrowing it down to mere physical protection? The process of implementation thus far shows that there is a risk that the rising primacy of a narrow conception of PoC – largely consistent with that held by military segments of peacekeeping – will be institutionalized at the expense of the broad concept advocated by OCHA. Finally, there needs to be clearer institutional mechanisms for learning from experience. As of today, the reporting from the field is largely lost to those drafting resolutions.


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1. Internasjonal Politikk 0020577x Vol 69: 108
2. Journal of International Peacekeeping 18754104 2009; 327
3. Journal of International Peacekeeping 18754104 Vol 14: 60 [Crossref]
4. Journal of International Peacekeeping 18754104 2009; 356
5. Security Dialogue 09670106 2001; Vol 32: 325 [Crossref]

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