This is the second edition of the Global Peace Operations Review (GPOR) annual compilation. It is the first to collect a full year’s worth of content from the website in a single publication. Using an online platform allows us to constantly innovate, and we plan to continue to evolve between these annual releases. Producing the annual compilation allows GPOR to curate this material thematically in a fully searchable and citable electronic book. If you’re reading this in PDF format, any text highlighted in blue is hyperlinked back to the website. Like last year, the book will be available for free online. It will also be available for a modest fee to cover costs as a print-on-demand edition via Amazon.
For those implementing and studying UN peace operations, 2015 was the “year of reviews.” In June there was the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, formally titled Uniting Our Strengths for Peace, but affectionately known as the HIPPO report. In the same month, the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) for the 2015 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture delivered its report, The Challenge of Sustaining Peace. In October 2015, Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace was the report of the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325. 2016 was the year the system digested this vast body of information. These reports identified many complex issues beyond the mandate of the outgoing UN Secretary-General. His so-called implementation report picked the low-hanging fruit from the HIPPO, but much remained to be debated. The content of the Review in 2016 can therefore be regarded as capturing much of this unfinished business. These are the difficult challenges being passed to the new Secretary-General for implementation in 2017 and beyond.GPOR readers by city from its launch in June 2015
Many, but not all, of these issues made the pages of the Global Peace Operations Review in 2016. In the quest for better peacekeeping, the United Nations still struggles with implementing mandates that commit it to protecting civilians in conflict zones such as DR Congo or South Sudan. Too often, when crisis arrives in a UN peace operation, the leadership discovers hidden caveats that expose the gaps between what the Security Council has authorized and what troop contributing countries are willing to implement. Such gaps are defining the limits of usefulness of this tool and raising questions about the conditions under which the UN should walk away from peace operations.
The annual compilation is divided along thematic lines. Starting with our traditional strategic summary, we then focus the largest amount of our content on better peacekeeping, in line with CIC’s goal in its peace and security programming to support the continuous improvement and effectiveness of peace operations. Conflict prevention, a theme that emerged from all the big reports of 2015, comes next. Our chapter on Women, peace, and security then follows. Given the concentration of UN peace operations on one continent, this year we started a thematic page on African peace operations. We have replicated this in the annual compilation. We have also expanded our focus on peacebuilding, which now has its own section to emphasize the fluidity of the spectrum of operations and illustrate that there is no distinct place where a peace operation ends and peacebuilding begins. Finally, looking ahead throughout the year we had several pieces that examined the specific challenges facing the next UN Secretary-General.
For those of us who study peace operations, our New York-centric community can feel like a small and insular group. Since its launch in June 2015, the Global Peace Operations Review has shown that many of the issues we are debating do in fact resonate with larger and wider audiences. Our analytics have identified more than 36,000 users who have visited the site more than 55,000 times to read more than 88,000 pages of content.
In 2016, our first full calendar year, GPOR had more than 25,000 unique visitors. The website has significant groups of readers clustered in Washington, London, Stockholm, Paris, and Geneva. Among the top 25 cities in 2016 are growing visitors from Nairobi, Berlin, Ottawa, Monrovia, Oslo, Addis Ababa Canberra, New Delhi, Cairo, and The Hague. More recent statistics show new cities such as Lagos, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong popping up. Besides these numbers, we continue to receive positive and direct feedback from readers in primary target audiences in international organizations, permanent missions, foreign ministries, and peace operations. The growing number of readers in academic institutions is also welcomed.
Such growing support from our readers and contributors is gratifying, but we could not have continued this year without the generous financial and in-kind support from our donors. In particular, we would like to thank the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the French Ministry of Defence, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Note: CIC derives no income from the print-on-demand version of this publication and we are making it available at cost price for those who would like to access it in the paperback format.