Focus Area II:
Building and Sustaining

We led programmes to build the competencies of peace and security professionals who are developing initiatives to address the interconnected pandemic-related challenges that continue to impact conflict-affected countries.

In an increasingly uncertain world, peace and security professionals are being challenged to build multidimensional and inclusive peace processes. In 2021, our peace and security learning offerings and initiatives were re-scoped to support responses to the conflict-related challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Encouraging climate action and sustainable peace

Climate change is considered by many as among the greatest risks for peace and security in the 21st century. Learning programmes need to unpack the interlinkages between climate change, peace and security and explore opportunities for promoting inclusive climate action, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. In 2021, hundreds of peace and security professionals participated in learning and knowledge-sharing initiatives. Our goal was to help them analyse climate-related security risks in order to shape integrated responses and recovery plans.

The Climate Sensitive Programming for Sustaining Peace course was refreshed to better unpack the interlinkages between climate change and peace and security. The focus was on conducting localized climate risk assessments and integrating them into programmatic planning throughout peacebuilding programming, from early warning through to mediation and peacekeeping. Participants reported that they gained a better awareness of the risks climate change poses and that they left better equipped with the tools and knowledge to analyse different contexts affected by climate change and insecurity, as well as being able to manage associated risks.

The staff College also hosted three Coffee Hour webinars at the 2021 Berlin Climate and Security Conference. Such informal engagements are useful for assisting stakeholders to learn to create comprehensive climate and security risk assessments that lead to preventative climate security policies.

Looking at the world through a prism of conflict-sensitivity

In conflict-affected areas, pandemic-related health measures such as restrictions on non-essential activities, lock downs, and physical distancing can aggravate the consequences of armed conflict, extremism and crime. To avoid this, it is important for peace and security professionals to adopt a conflict-sensitive lens across their interventions.

Throughout 2021, the Staff College engaged UN staff as well as other stakeholders to integrate conflict-sensitive lenses into their COVID-19 responses and recovery plans. The College’s Conflict-Sensitive Approaches to Programming course was instrumental in helping professionals assess changed contextual information. Several participants reported that the course helped them identify and mitigate conflict risks, and strengthened their ongoing efforts to “do no harm” and “do more good.”

Developing youth, peace and security champions

Inequalities caused by the pandemic have hindered meaningful participation of youth in peace and security processes. In spite of this, young people continue to be important contributors to innovative and effective response and recovery solutions to conflict prevention and resolution processes.

As part of our continued efforts to reinvigorate dialogue and action on the Youth Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda, the Staff College implemented a number of youth programmes. The Realizing the Peace and Security Agenda and the “Youth, Peace and Security Primer” , which were both offered free of charge, were launched in 2021. Created in collaboration with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the Realizing the Youth Peace and Security Agenda is the first ever YPS Agenda course for UN Staff. It is already an instrumental resource for helping UN Staff facilitate youth participation, and engagement so they might more efficiently support peace and security initiatives. Staff continue to gain valuable understandings of coordinating, advising, strategically planning and reporting on YPS issues, as well as analysing the results of YPS programmes.

The Youth, Peace and Security Primer is available in five languages — English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Portuguese. Over 600 people from around the world have enrolled in the YPS Primer. As schools and training programmes remained closed during the pandemic, our YPS primer contributed a much-needed free and accessible training. Practitioners valued learning to establish common bases of understanding approaches for the UN system and partners. With an increased number of course participants expected, this YPS primer is set to play an important role in empowering and training youth stakeholders, and improving their ability to make a positive impact on sustainable peace.

Impact story
Realizing the Youth Peace
and Security Agenda
Read more +

Building trust in political cohesion

A consequence of the pandemic has been diminishing trust in governments and leaders, resource competition, and low social cohesion. Conflict-affected countries have become less equipped to analyse the root causes and drivers of conflict within their borders. The “Conflict Analysis for Sustaining Peace” course was adapted to improve awareness about new and pre-existing drivers of conflict that should be considered both during ongoing assessments as well as in recovery programming initiatives. Similarly, the College’s “Analysing and Engaging Armed Groups” provided peace and security professionals with theoretical knowledge of current key trends and practical tools to conduct analysis of armed groups in order to understand the implications for engagement.

With the pandemic projected to lead to 15 new or resumed armed conflicts before 2023, the Staff College continues to leverage its partnerships and strengthen learning and knowledge-sharing initiatives to build capacity in conflict analysis.