Year in Review: Top Global Observatory Reads of 2019

In 2019, the Global Observatory continued publishing in-depth article series on a range of topics including climate change, protection of civilians, LGBTI rights, July’s High-Level Political Forum, and women, peace, and security. A few of the most read articles of the year were either a part of those series or on the same topic, including the most read interview. Other popular articles explored the crisis of multilateralism and the need for international cooperation, and an in-depth analysis of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As in previous years, articles published in years prior remained among the top 25 most read. Articles from 2018 on human rights, women’s rights, the children of Islamic State fighters, and the role of women in peace processes, and articles from 2017 on Boko Haram and the African Union Mission in Somalia, were among these.

Below are the 10 most read articles published in 2019:


  • Angel Smith wrote on the political crisis in Spain in early 2019, and what could be expected after the country’s snap election on April 28.
  • Robert Muggah and Melina Risso wrote on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s effort to loosen gun laws in the country and its implications for Brazil’s already high homicide rate.
  • Jon Abbink assessed the changes made by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia one year after he took office, cautioning that the ultimate success of his efforts hinged on the ability of the Ethiopian government to address domestic issues.

Peacekeeping/Sustaining Peace

  • Youssef Mahmoud wrote on the need to reframe our understanding of sustaining peace, and the type of leadership needed for sustaining peace to be possible.
  • Paul Williams, updating a report from 2015, examined how many fatalities the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has suffered based on new evidence.

Climate Change

  • As part of the article series on climate change, Florian Krampe wrote on the relationship between climate change, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace.
  • Also part of the series, Jake Sherman explored how the UN Security Council could better engage on climate change, peace, and security.


  • In light of the regular attention given to China’s cyber power, Lyu Jinghua contextualized the extent of China’s cyber capabilities and the government’s intentions for their use.


  • Early in 2019, the African Union called for the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to the Federal Government of Somalia. Alice Hills analyzed what is needed for that transfer to take place and the likelihood the requirements would be met.
  • Arthur Boutellis wrote on the historical and current use of mercenaries in Africa, and whether and how African and governments and the UN could make use of private military and security companies.