Understanding and integrating local perceptions in UN Peacekeeping

Monday, 30 June 2014

Global | DPKO

Formal guidance issued this month by the Under-Secretaries-General of DPKO and DFS aims to help peacekeeping missions understand local perceptions and, in doing so, better tailor their interactions within the local context and design more effective, inclusive peacebuilding strategies.

The Guidelines build on the research work undertaken by the Civil Affairs team in the Policy and Best Practices Services of the Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET), with the generous support of the Government of Australia, that resulted in the report “Understanding and Integrating Local Perceptions in multi-dimensional UN peacekeeping missions” released in December 2013. The study was based on a comprehensive survey of practice which included extensive literature review, interviews with mission personnel and outside experts as well as an online questionnaire of peacekeeping personnel that yielded hundreds of responses from around the world.

The Guidelines are addressed to all field-based civilian and uniformed UN peacekeeping personnel who interact with members of the population of the host country as part of their duties, as well as those who are responsible for situational analysis, integrated planning and developing recommendations for mission strategy. They encourage mission leadership to take full advantage of opportunities to collect systematically and effectively analyse, information on local perceptions to enhance missions' situational awareness, inform confidence building, and support inclusive post-conflict governance. The Guidelines aim to support more inclusive, responsive and effective peacekeeping by enabling missions to identify trends and developments in a more timely and accurate manner, target and tailor interventions based on the local context and plan for potential future scenarios.

Peacekeepers can find in the Guidelines an inventory of the tools they can use to gather local perceptions, ranging from simple activities such as individual interviews, to large-scale, complex national public opinion polls as well as guidance on how to factor in challenges and ensure that local perceptions are collected in a professional and ethical fashion. The Guidelines seek to supplement existing guidance on monitoring, analysis and planning with a view to enable better decision making and more effective contributions to peacebuilding.