Regional Peace and Security


  • A reorientation of the notion of security occurred in the 1990s — from a state-centric to a people-centred one. It inspired a sea of change in how the United Nations and regional organizations think about and perceive security. At the same time, this has influenced enormously the relations and engagements between these actors and how they discharge their responsibility to the people of the world. This Regional Peace and Security Programme at the UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) is organized around a collection of specific projects and activities that aim at providing capacity support to institutions, states, international organizations and other stakeholders. Moreover, it focuses on thematic issues like Security Sector Reform (SSR), peacekeeping, peace building, peacemaking and gender.

    Focal Point

    Prof. Ademola Abass, Head of the Regional Peace and Security Programme, is the focal point.


    Grounded within the overall mission of UN, this programme aims at conducting cutting-edge research on the contribution of the UN and regional organizations to global peace and security. It is very important for the UN and UNU systems because the UN and its agencies are deeply committed to regional peace and security. At the same time, studying this topic represents an important tool for governments, international organizations and civil society, as they find it more and more difficult to understand security dynamics from a regional perspective.


    The approach in this programme can be characterised by interdisciplinarity, comparative focus and stakeholder participation.


    Gender balance is taken into account in the development of the programme. UNU-CRIS aims to respect this cross-cutting challenge in the division of tasks within every programme and every research project.

    Target Audience

    The audience of this programme includes students, academics, national and regional policymakers, UN staff, and stakeholders.

    Intended Impact

    Impact: Influencing policymaking in the United Nations System
    Target: The target is to contribute to the development of a new vision of global security based upon collaborations between the UN and regional organizations.
    How: This target could be achieved through the development of collaborations with relevant UN agencies.

    Impact: Furthering knowledge in an academic field
    Target: The target here is to study the role of the European Union and other regional organizations in peace and security in a context of challenged and changing multilateralism.
    How: This target could be achieved through the coordination of a European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project with worldwide partners.

    Research Findings

    This programme aims to underline that, concomitant to globalization, there has been growing awareness of a need for a more holistic approach to “security” than traditional nation-state based conceptions. The emerging concept of human security places human beings, rather than national borders, at the centre of focus. It emphasizes the multiple aspects of providing people with security and how these aspects are interrelated. Rather than examining exclusively military responses to violent conflicts, the human security approach advocates exploring diverse ways to prevent them and acknowledges the important role of economic, political, social-psychological, cultural and environmental factors, among others. Not only is the concept of security changing, but so are the optimal ways to address it: global and regional levels of governance are increasingly seen as vital to achieving human security.

    Value Added

    In a 2003 speech, the UN Secretary General called for a new vision of global security based upon collaborations between the UN and regional organizations. UNU-CRIS supports this collaborative process with its research.


    The worldwide dissemination deriving from this project is accomplished through UNU-CRIS publications, research and training activities, and networks.

    Timeline/Programme Cycle

    This is a continuous programme, consisting of a set of projects with specific timelines.


    The progress of the implementation of the programme can be seen by the number and quality of UNU-CRIS publications and in our growing competence in regional peace and security.

  • Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies

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