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UCP Manual

Second edition (2021)

Strengthening Civilian Capacities to Protect Civilians Against Violence

"The original version of this manual was developed in 2014-15 as the central component to an online course developed in collaboration with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Since then, the manual has been used as a major component for courses on Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) by several different universities and NGOs for a number of different audiences. Many of them tailored its content to the needs of their own audience and developed additional tools to convey its core messages. ...

In this second edition we have included some of the insights and observations from people who have taught courses on UCP as well as the field practitioners who participated in the good practice workshops. Additionally, we have included recent developments in the international articulation of civilian protection and related topics, such as UN declarations and reports as well as new models of UCP, developed by UCP agencies since 2015."

Arabic and Spanish versions of the second edition are expected in 2022.

building knowledge

Use it as a starting point, or an opportunity to deepen your understanding

Overall Goal

This publication aims to make a contribution to the common objectives of protecting civilians and enhancing nonviolent responses to violent conflict. More specifically, it offers an introduction to the foundations and practices of Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP), its principles, sources of guidance, methods and required skills as well as offering an overview of UCP in practice. Although people have been protecting themselves nonviolently for thousands of years and the idea of unarmed civilian protection as a particular practice has been around for almost a century, it is only in its more recent manifestation that UCP has begun to receive serious attention in UN and donor circles as well as from the leadership of organizations and governments operating in settings of violent conflicts. 


Target audience

This manual is intended to provide an introduction to UCP for people whose work includes or is solely focused on the nonviolent protection of civilians. It includes leadership and staff of aid agencies and civil society organizations working in conflict situations (at different levels and in different capacities) and interested in strengthening their capacities to protect the people they serve as well as their own staff. This second edition of the manual increasingly focuses on UCP as practiced by local civil society, individuals and groups of people, who are interested in protecting themselves and others in their own environment. Though self-protection is not the main focus of this manual, there is much here for people so engaged. The manual also addresses a broader audience including university students, journalists, and 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, practices, methods, and required competencies. Some modules may be of interest to staff of donor agencies, policy makers and diplomats searching for effective and affordable ways to prevent violence and protect civilians.


View First Edition (2015)

In English or in French or in Arabic

Download Low Resolution (2021 English)