Protection of Civilians: UN Peacekeeping Strategies and Their Effectiveness

Project leader

Lisa Hultman, Associate Professor

Project period


Project Description

Since 1999 the UN Security Council commonly issues explicit mandates to protect the civilian population. This also influences the behavior of the UN and their deployment of UN peace operations to difficult conflict situations. But how is the political ambition of protecting civilians put into practice in the form of peacekeeping strategies that hinder armed actors from committing atrocities? This project examines the effectiveness of UN peace operations in protecting civilians and ending violence when intervening into ongoing conflicts. This includes evaluating the impact of mission capacity and composition. It also examines the behavior of the UN, in terms of how the UN responds to violence against civilians and which strategies are used to protect civilians. These strategies are then compared to assess their relative effectiveness. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is used to systematically address these questions.


Hultman, Lisa. 2017. “Action for Protection: What Peacekeepers Do to Protect Civilians”, in Clayton G (ed) The Known Knowns and the Known Unknowns of Peacekeeping Data, International Peacekeeping 24(1): 28–32.

Hultman, Lisa. 2014. "Robust Peacekeeping: A Desirable Development?", E-International Relations 2 Sept, (accessed on 4 Sept)

Hultman, Lisa, Jacob Kathman, and Megan Shannon. 2014. "Beyond Keeping Peace: United Nations Effectiveness in the Midst of Fighting." American Political Science Review 108(4): 737-753. Full article (©American Political Science Association 2014) Abstract and Supplementary Materials

Hultman, Lisa, Jacob Kathman and Megan Shannon. 2013. “United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War.” American Journal of Political Science 57(4): 875–891.

Hultman, Lisa. 2013. “UN Peace Operations and Protection of Civilians: Cheap Talk or Norm Implementation?” Journal of Peace Research 50(1): 59-73. 

Main Financial Support

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond