Our work

Combining research excellence with deep knowledge of the multilateral system to generate innovative and practical solutions.


As an agile think tank with deep-rooted experience of the wider UN system, UNU-CPR is in a position to innovate, identifying new ways to solve interrelated public policy challenges. In some cases, these may be short-term priorities. In others, they may be the beginning of long-term projects that we undertake and to help lead UN policy debates into new and emerging areas of interest to the United Nations and its Member States.

UNU-CPR's research is delivered through three research pillars:

Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace

This research programme helps the UN and its partners develop and implement effective, evidence-based policies to prevent violent conflict around the world. Its goal is to combine evidence and analysis to influence policy discussions in New York and other policy centres and – equally or even more importantly – inform prevention and conflict resolution initiatives in the field. 

Equitable Development 

Research under the Equitable Development pillar generates new evidence, and assesses and develops policy tools that support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDGs 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reducing inequality) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

Anticipatory Action and Innovation 

Our focus on prevention has meant building a foresight capacity, delivering scenario-based futures analyses, identifying new trends that may affect the work of the multilateral system, and offering innovative solutions for them. In particular, it has meant work on the role of AI-driven technologies in creating new risks, researching the effects of newly generated large-scale population movements, and examining how the COVID-19 response may have affected the health and wellbeing of people around the world.

UNU-CPR research is also reflected in several strategic research themes:

Governance of AI

This theme is designed to inform the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States as they attempt to strengthen the global governance of Artificial Intelligence, exploring ethical considerations and potential policies and regulatory measures. Access the 'Governance of AI' webpage here: https://unu.edu/cpr/governance-ai     

Climate, Peace, and Security 

This theme explores the ways that climate change or environmental degradation affect peace and security concerns, and identifies how best to respond to these so-called ‘climate-security’ challenges in peacebuilding contexts. Access the 'Climate, Peace and Security' webpage here: https://unu.edu/cpr/climate-peace-and-security