Protection Conversation: Proactive Protection

The Global Protection Cluster is pleased to be hosting the first of a new series of public events, entitled the ‘Protection Conversation Series’, aimed at advancing shared discussions and reflection with protection allies on key trends and priorities, innovative approaches, and scalable solutions to some of the most pressing protection risks facing crisis-affected communities around the world.

This first Protection Conversation will focus on ‘Proactive Protection’ and will take place virtually on Thursday 16 March from 15h30 – 17h00 CET via the Teams link below. The session is organized by Nonviolent Peaceforce and Norwegian Refugee Council and will feature interventions highlighting examples and successes from their work using unarmed civilian protection approaches and civilian self-protection work, respectively. CINA, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and Right to Protection (R2P) will also share case studies and reflections on how proactive protection is addressing protection risks and supporting strengthened protection outcomes with and for communities experiencing violence and abuse in Colombia, South Sudan and Ukraine. The session will be facilitated by Gemma Davies (Senior Research Fellow, ODI) and reflections will be offered by the GPC’s Coordinator, Samuel Cheung, with space for questions and sharing from participants. 

This Protection Discussion aims to foster enhanced understanding of proactive protection, give concrete examples of such unarmed approaches and share inspiring success stories from the field.

Session Background

In the last 10 years, the level of conflict has increased around the globe: approximately 2 billion people live in areas affected by conflict, and 84 million have been displaced by violence. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that proactive protection approaches can and do play an important role in preventing violence from happening in the first place, or reducing and mitigating its impact when violence cannot be interrupted.

Proactive protection is an umbrella term that encompasses structured approaches carried out at community or individual levels, which can be applied at different stages of the conflict: during the early stages to prevent violence when it is imminent or during the crisis to stop violence or de-escalate tensions.

These unarmed strategies can consist of, for instance, physical presence close to where threatened people live or in protective accompaniment. For communities facing an imminent protection threat, early warning system can be put in place, safe evacuation routes can be identified and civilian self-protection strategies can be enhanced.

While efforts to interrupt violence should be at the forefront of the protection of civilians, the value of this approach remains underutilised and under prioritised by the humanitarian sector. This session will therefore seek to highlight key examples of proactive protection from the field. 

The Protection Conversation Series is an important space for inter-agency dialogue and sharing on key protection issues, approaches and learnings. The Protection Converssations are led by different partners and do not necessarily reflect the positions, definitions or guidance of the GPC.