A Joint UNITAR-Nonviolent Peaceforce Online Course

H.E. Ms. Isabelle F. Picco Vice-President of the General Assembly (GA) welcomes the UCP e-learning course with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and  Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee looking on.The e-learning course on Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians was introduced today at the United Nations High Level Forum on Culture of Peace in New York.  The six module course developed jointly by the UN Institute for Training and Research and Nonviolent Peaceforce, will be available online in early 2015.

 (Published Sept. 20, 2014)

H.E. Ms. Isabelle F. Picco Vice-President of the General Assembly (GA) on behalf of H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe
 GA President highlighted the course in her opening remarks:

Indeed, the very essence of our United Nations is to promote and work toward creating a culture of peace. The quest for peace is reflected throughout our UN Charter and embodied in these words of the preamble, which call on all of us to [quote] “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours” [end quote]. The desire for peace drives this organization and the work we do in nearly every programme, office and department. 

In this respect, I welcome the initiative of UNITAR, in collaboration with Nonviolent Peaceforce, to develop an online course called Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians from Violence. The course supports efforts for sustaining a global culture of peace by engaging civil society and other relevant stakeholders in bringing about peaceful settlement of violent conflicts and is designed to foster intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace.

Individuals as well as organizations will be able to take this course which will give students a thorough understanding of the principles, methods and skills required for unarmed civilian protection.


What is UCP?

Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) is the practice of deploying unarmed civilians before, during, and after violent conflict, to prevent or reduce violence, to provide direct physical protection to other civilians, and to strengthen or build resilient local peace infrastructures.

UCP methods include:

Proactively engaging with all stakeholders especially through physical presence at the field level.

Opens channels of communication between conflict parties, quells rumors, and supports interventions to prevent escalating violence.

Ceasefire monitoring, control, and early warning/early response systems.

Strengthening and supporting civilian capacities essential in the transition from war to a sustainable peace.

The Course

The online course on Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians is designed to contribute to national, regional and international efforts directed at protecting civilians and sustaining peace. The overall goal of the course is to provide an introduction to the foundations of UCP (its principles, methods, and required skills) as well as to offer an overview of UCP in practice.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

• Recall the key principles and sources of guidance of UCP;
• Illustrate UCP methods and required skills;
• Summarize key steps in preparation for entering a community;
• Devise key actions to undertake while entering, living in, and exiting a community.

The online course is composed of five modules that will be completed over six weeks. Modules are as follows:

Module zero = Overview (advocacy purposes)
Module one = Introduction to unarmed civilian protection
Module two = UCP: Principles and sources of guidance
Module three = UCP: Methods and required skills
Module four = UCP in practice (1): Preparing to enter and entering a community
Module five = UCP in practice (2): Living in and exiting the community

Who should take this course?

• Leadership and staff of aid organizations working in conflict situations and interested in strengthening their capacities to protect the people they serve as well as their own staff;
• Individuals and groups of people who are interested to take part in UCP activities in the field;
• Civilian, military and police personnel working in conflict and post-conflict environments (as part of a UN or non-UN operation) interested in gaining an appreciation of UCP principles, methods and required skills.

Course schedule

The course will be open upon request throughout the year. Both groups and individuals will be eligible to participate. For institutions interested in enrolling a larger number of participants, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; for individuals, please check course dates at: www.unitar.org/event

Download: Course Flyer
Download: Course Description

You can protect civilians who are living in or fleeing violent conflict. Your contribution will transform the world's response to conflict.