In 2000, the United Nations (UN) first incorporated the protection of vulnerable populations as a key objective explicitly stated in the revised mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Since then, the UN has authorized eleven additional peacekeeping missions that explicitly include protection of civilians (POC) as a core mandated task. More recently, the United States Government has also identified POC in conflict-affected environments as a core national security objective in essential national documents including the White House’s National Security Strategy, the Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities and the Department of State’s First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

The Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) has played a lead role in implementing the United States’ protection of civilians goals by building the capacity of the UN, regional organization, and troop contributing country/police contributing country to address POC issues. Specifically, GPOI, in partnership with the Department of Defense, has worked to enhance POC efforts through the following actions:

  1. Supporting and enhancing POC-related training activities;
  2. Assisting in the standardization, dissemination, and implementation of POC training manuals, guidelines, and doctrine; and
  3. Building GPOI partner country capacity to train peacekeeping personnel on POC issues.

GPOI continues to explore additional ways to enhance POC in accordance with core program objectives as articulated in GPOI strategic and implementation guidance documents.