Strategic Communications for the New Era of UN Peace Operations
As conflicts worldwide increasingly include sophisticated information warfare, the United Nations needs to build smart public communications strategies into every peacekeeping mission it deploys. This problem and concrete steps to solve it were the focus of a Challenges Forum workshop that was webcast on June 23.
Combatants in global conflicts are waging agile information warfare—from polished videos by extremist groups, to their leaders’ Twitter feeds or websites. And even in zones once isolated from global information, United Nations peacekeeping missions now deploy among populations that are growing connected via cellphones and the internet. More than ever, such UN missions need strategic communications to succeed.
To this end, the Challenges Forum workshop first took stock of where the main challenges lie in strategic communications and UN peace operations today; and second, explored best practices from the world of strategic communications both outside and inside the UN system, i.e. what can UN peacekeeping learn about the optimal use of strategic communications to maximize its impact and outcomes; and third, developed practical, concrete and realistic recommendations on innovation for strategic communication and how the UN can secure a position at the forefront in this important evolution that is strategic communication.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Swedish government’s peacebuilding arm, the Folke Bernadotte Academy co-hosted the event with the Challenges Forum.