Peacekeeping Resource Hub

Policy & Guidance

What is DPKO-DFS Guidance?

Guidance provides direction and helps streamline work processes. Guidance increases the chance that successful approaches are replicated and reduces the risk of repeating mistakes.

DPKO-DFS guidance development responds to the field requirements. Their needs assessments, evaluations and lessons learned studies help DPKO-DFS identify and address gaps in existing official guidance.

Guidance documents range from high-level policy documents to more detailed operating instructions for field missions. DPKO-DFS has three types of guidance:

  • Policy,
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP),
  • Guidelines.

Compliance with policies and standard operating procedures is mandatory.

A policy provides an articulation of an institutional position, intent, and/or direction on an issue or activity in UN peacekeeping. A policy is the basis for institutional consistency in managing peacekeeping issues.

 A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a standing instruction on how to implement a specific task, process or activity, or how to achieve a desired result. It provides institutional recognition of best practice methods or steps to be followed unless ordered otherwise.

Guidelines, on the other hand, provide direction on a specific task, process or activity. Guidelines may include manuals, handbooks, toolkits, or other similar instruction.

Evolution of the Guidance System

Organizational learning has been recognized as a vital component of peacekeeping since the mid-1990s. The Organization began collecting good practices and lessons learned since 1995, beginning with a very small dedicated unit.

By 2000 there was an increasing recognition that to be truly “learned”, lessons had to be not only collected, but also transformed into guidance, and operational direction in a systematic manner. In 2003, the DPKO launched a new guidance system that sought to link the identification and sharing of best practices to the development of policies, guidelines and procedures that reflect those lessons. This system was further refined in 2005, to focus more on a strategic approach to performance improvement.

This approach to “institutional strengthening” was further developed in 2007 through the formation of the Division for Policy, Evaluation and Training (DPET), a shared service of DPKO and DFS.  DPET’s functions are carried out through the Policy and Best Practices Service, the Integrated Training Service, and the Evaluation and Partnerships Units.

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