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Good Practices

Expanding the Field

Global review of good practices in the field of unarmed civilian protection

Although communities have used Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) for generations, it has only relatively recently gained recognition as a valuable method for protecting civilians and contributing to sustainable peace. Now, there is an urgent need to research and document the experiences of organizations on the ground in the last decades, in order to articulate proven, effective strategies methods. There are now more than 70 known groups who practice UCP. However, this does not account for the vast range of community-level UCP initiatives, of which there are countless examples.

In service of this goal,

Nonviolent Peaceforce is spearheading a comprehensive global review of good practices in the field of unarmed civilian protection. The purpose of the good practices process is to strengthen and grow the field of UCP by bringing practitioners, academics, and affected beneficiaries together to reflect on the needs, successes and failure of UCP in these areas.

Follow along the four stages of this process

Stage 1: Case Studies (Book Completed May 2016)

Conducted case studies in four areas of the world where UCP is being practiced: South Sudan, Colombia, the Philippines (Mindanao) and Israel/Palestine. The researchers reviewed the work of more than twenty local and international organizations, and identified and described 77 UCP good practices. Their findings were published in the book "Wielding Nonviolence in the Midst of Violence", edited by Ellen Furnari, who also conducted two of the field studies herself.

Stage 2: Regional Workshops (See reports here, from 2017 - 2021)

Six facilitated consultation groups convened on a regional basis and made up of UCP practitioners, field partners, beneficiaries and academics for three-day sessions to review their work, analyze findings of stage one and validate good practices and emerging themes as well as identify dilemmas or challenges raised but not answered by the cases. 

Nonviolent Peaceforce organized regional workshops with the title “Good Practices in Nonviolent, Unarmed, Civilian to Civilian Protection.” 

See here for the summary of Good Practices Workshops: EnglishFrenchSpanishArabic 

See below for papers that summarize the important discussions, issues and findings of each workshop.

Stage 3: Assemble the first UCP Good Practices conferences (2021 & 2023)

We are assembling the first UCP Good Practices conferences, gathering practitioners, field partners, beneficiaries, policy makers and academics to discuss the findings of the case studies and consultation groups, and validate UCP good practices that can be scaled up and replicated as well as improve upon existing practice. The organizations currently practicing UCP have never all met. The conferences will also help to establish an international UCP network.

The virtual international gathering was held November 12-14 and 19-21 of 2021

The Face2Face gathering in Geneva is tentatively scheduled for 2023

Stage 4: Publish, disseminate and evaluate findings (2021 - ongoing)

Publish, disseminate and evaluate findings. After the good practices are identified, analyzed and validated in stages 1-3, they will be disseminated to all of the organizations currently practicing UCP for integration into training materials. Findings will also be presented to potential new practitioners, policy makers and funders including the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN Department of Political Affairs, UN Friends of Protection of Civilians, regional organizations including ASEAN, the African Union and the European Union; the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and civil society networks like the West African Network for Peace Building, the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Frontline Defenders and War Resisters International. Findings will also be shared with groups working only on the local level.

Good Practices in Unarmed Civilian Protection (Paige McLain, Chris Grathwol, and Will Goltra; Nonviolent Peaceforce and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Lab), February 2021:

Reflections from the Unarmed Civilian Protection/Accompaniment (UCP/A) Virtual Gathering in November 2021 and the six regional UCP/A Good Practices Workshops that preceded it:
English | Spanish | French | Arabic

Countries - Good Practices

Yellow Map IconCountries included in Stage 1 Case Studies

Pink Map Icon Countries where Stage 2 Good Practices Workshops have been held 

Green Map IconCountries where attendees of workshops have worked in with a UCP organization (Note: only one marker per country, with the exception of one additional marker placed on US/Mexico borderlands)

Directory of UCP/A and related organizations