UN Sanctions and Mediation: Establishing Evidence to Inform Practice


  • Security Council meeting on Threats to international peace and security

    UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

    Expected end date:
    Project Status:
    UNU-CPR RESEARCHERS: Dr Rebecca Brubaker
    EXTERNAL RESEARCHERS: Professor Thomas Biersteker, Dr David Lanz

    Dr Rebecca Brubaker along with her colleagues Professor Thomas Biersteker of the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and Dr David Lanz of swisspeace have presented findings of their final report on UN Sanctions and Mediation: Establishing Evidence to Inform Practice.

    On 19 February 2019, a High-Level Roundtable was hosted by Ambassador Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland at the UN in New York. It was attended by representatives of the Permanent Missions of Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and the US to the UN.

    On 17 January 2020, their findings were presented in Geneva, convened by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Graduate Institute, Geneva, in order to bring together Geneva-based diplomats, policymakers, practitioners and researchers to discuss the implications of the report’s findings for international policy and practice, with a special focus on specific cases, in particular Yemen, Libya and South Sudan.

    The report is based on an 18-month policy research project conducted between the three institutions, with joint teams of sanctions and mediation experts contributing eleven cases exploring “distinguishable episodes of conflict situations” in Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen to inform final findings and recommendations.

    These events follow an earlier workshop at Greentree Estate in New York in November 2018, which brought together selected member states, senior UN Secretariat officials, envoys and senior mediators, as well as prominent academics specializing on UN affairs. The three project managers presented their early findings and subsequent sessions focused on the implementation of such findings to distill practical recommendations.

    The report concludes with twenty policy recommendations intended for the UN Security Council, UN sanctions committees, UN Secretariat, and senior UN mediators. The recommendations are focused on promoting complementarity and avoiding complication between UN sanctions and mediation. It also proffers five areas for further research.