Editor's Choice

2022 Editor’s Choice: Global Observatory Must Reads

The editors of the Global Observatory have compiled some of 2022’s notable and most-read articles that speak to both global events and new thinking on peace and security, United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, gender and security, and the climate crisis.

Peace, Security, and Challenges for Peace Operations

Articles on peace, security, and UN peace operations made up the majority of our most-read GO posts in 2022. Here are some essential reads:

  • In our second most-read article of the year, Colin Robinson laid out the contours of the new African Union mission in Somalia and the limited prospects for change in the security situation.
  • Anjali Dayal looked at the “crisis of consent” in UN peace operations, particularly in Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in our third most-read piece.
  • Nina Wilén and Paul D. Williams assessed the fundamental problems for international military interventions in the Sahel.
  • Gwinyayi Albert Dzinesa offered lessons for an adaptive peacebuilding approach to Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (DDRR) in Mozambique.
  • IPI’s Jenna Russo explored the links between protecting civilians and pursuing political solutions to conflict in UN peacekeeping.
  • IPI’s Youssef Mahmoud proposed a new approach to sustaining peace in Africa that moves beyond focusing on the absence of violence and treats peace as the norm.

Improving Sanctions

Our recommended readings on sanctions looked at how to improve sanctions regimes and safeguard humanitarian action in Mali, Russia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia, and elsewhere, and offer lessons for implementing the UNSC’s recent cross-cutting and standing humanitarian exemption to all its sanctions regimes.

  • In our most-read article of 2022, Festus Kofi Aubyn explained that ECOWAS sanctions in response to the coup in Mali should be targeted, or risk being counterproductive.
  • Erica Moret explored how sanctions against Russia mark a new page in global sanctions practice.
  • IPI’s Agathe Sarfati outlined ongoing challenges to the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance on the ground in Afghanistan.
  • Naureen C. Fink on the intersection between UN Security Council counterterrorism sanctions and humanitarian activity.
  • Agathe Sarfati looked at humanitarian carve-outs in UN sanctions regimes.

Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Russia’s war on Ukraine has had profound effects for Ukraine, the region, and global security. Take a look back at our most-read pieces on the war:

  • Paul D. Williams examined Russia’s perversion of the important international concept of “peacekeeping” in Ukraine and elsewhere.
  • Kseniya Oksamytna disputed the narrative that NATO played a role in “provoking” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and examined Russia’s history of interacting with international organizations.
  • Andrian Prokip outlined the challenges for Europe in the face of Russia’s energy “blackmail”
  • Rita Abrahamsen analyzed imperialism, non-alignment, and the interests of the African bloc at the UN in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
  • In an interview from April, Paul Poast discussed NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion, the shifts in European Union defense policies, and how the war might end.

New Thinking on Women, Peace, and Security

Many of this year’s highlights on women, peace, and security (WPS) looked at gender and securitization, including contributions to our annual series:

  • Gretchen Baldwin and Taylor Hynes offered a primer on gender and securitization.
  • Callum Watson explored a central tension for the WPS agenda—pursuing demilitarization or a broadening of security structures to include gender and human security—in his piece on small arms control.
  • Christelle Comair argued that reinvesting in women’s participation in peace processes is key to addressing emerging challenges in the conflict resolution field at large.
  • In an October interview, Margot Wallström discussed spreading feminist foreign policy, the backlash to women’s rights in 2022, Sweden joining NATO, militarization, and the climate crisis.

Responding to the Climate Crisis

This year’s most-read pieces on the climate crisis helped to contextualize the depth of the disaster and the problems with current responses:

  • Rachel Killean analyzed the benefits, challenges, and limitations of criminalizing “ecocide” as a means of addressing environmental destruction.
  • As part of our WPS series, Carol Cohn and Claire Duncanson wrote about the gendered dynamics of securitizing the climate crisis.
  • Cedric de Coning and Hafsa M. Maalim made the case for integrating sustaining peace into the UN’s peace and security-related responses to the climate crisis.

Progress on UN Financing

Finally, two of our top posts from 2022 offered insights on UN financing for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace:

  • IPI’s Daniel Forti reviewed the 2022 UN peacekeeping budget and questioned whether it reflected progress for UN peace operations or a fleeting moment of consensus.
  • IPI’s Youssef Mahmoud looked at the achievements of the UN General Assembly’s September resolution on financing for peacebuilding, and outlined the necessary conceptual shifts for an approach to financing peacebuilding and sustaining peace that moves beyond treating funding as an end in itself.