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Launch Event of the CCW-UNSSC Initiative on Analysing and Understanding Violent Non-State Groups

  • The Old Library, All Souls College Oxford OX1 4AL (map)

This event is organised by the Changing Character of War Programme, University of Oxford and the United Nations System Staff College. A drinks reception will follow the talk. For those that have attended Wednesday evening seminars before, please note that this event is in the Old Library, not in the Wharton Room.

In the last decade, maintaining peace and security has become complicated by an increase in the violence perpetrated no longer exclusively by national armies and armed oppositions but also by an increasingly assertive and brutal range of hybrid actors, such as illegal armed groups, criminal organisations, and transnational networks of illicit trafficking operating in countries including Afghanistan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Myanmar, Honduras, El Salvador, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, sometimes affecting entire regions such as the Sahel or parts of the Middle-East. At the same time, traditional armed conflicts have evolved. Complex insurgencies flourish in peripheral regions where the central state’s presence is scarce or flimsy - perfect conditions for groups like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and ISIL to operate and control large swaths of territory.
Understanding the changing character of armed groups presents novel analytical and practical challenges for UN entities and other international organisations and partners. The UN’s engagement with these armed groups is still developed on an ad hoc basis or is driven by mandates and operational priorities which limits its efficacy. In this launch event we will discuss these challenges and reflect on their implications for changes in armed conflict more broadly. 

The topic will be addressed by the following discussants:

  • Dr. Annette Idler (Director of Studies, The Changing Character of War Programme, University of Oxford)
  • Mr. Chris Rush (Programme Manager for Asia, Geneva Call)
  • Dr. Fabio Oliva (Programme Officer, Peace & Security Programme, United Nations System Staff College