Previous Research

Previous research projects have been sourced from academic institutions, non-government organisations and think tanks in Australia and overseas

These projects assist in the development of national civil-military-police capabilities for Australia, New Zealand and non-government stakeholders.

Protecting Civilians in an Urban Conflict: Lessons from Australia’s Deployment in Timor-Leste

April 2015

The aim of this project was to capture specific lessons about the protection of civilians from Australia’s military and policing deployment to Timor Leste following the 2006 crisis. This ‘snapshot’ of Timor Leste between the April/May crisis in 2006 and the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 was selected because of the challenges that the low-intensity urban insurgency and large-scale displacement presented to the Australian military and police.

The paper offers a series of recommendations for strengthening the ADF and AFP as protection actors and argues that greater interoperability and cooperation are at the core of enhanced protection of civilians.

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Better Together: Regional Capacity Building for National Disaster Risk Management, Elizabeth Ferris, Brookings Institution

August 2014

The Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, with the support of the Australian Civil-Military Centre, is currently undertaking field-based research on the role of three regional organisations – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and the Pacific Islands Forum/South Pacific Community – in building capacity of national disaster management organisations.

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The role of civil-military-police coordination in supporting durable solutions to displacement, Elizabeth Ferris, Brookings Institution

July 2014

Finding durable solutions for those displaced by the conflict is critical to building sustainable peace in post-conflict situations.

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The Private Sector Challenge Report by the Humanitarian Futures Programme

February 2014

The Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) has supported the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP) of King’s College London to undertake a research project, the Private Sector Challenge, which examined the role of the private sector in light of Australia’s own overseas commitments and the interface between the private sector and the military.

The complexities and uncertainties that increasingly face the international humanitarian community far transcend the capacity of any one sector, government or institution to deal with their consequences effectively. New approaches are needed to expand the concepts of humanitarian action and humanitarian actors, and in so doing, to engage with those regarded as ‘non-traditional humanitarian actors’.

This report by the Humanitarian Futures Programme enhances the understanding of civil-military-police stakeholders of the contribution of the private sector in crisis situations, including its form, roles, and trajectories of engagement. It looks at four case studies: Indonesia, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Somalia to examine the role the private sector (excluding private security companies) in natural disaster response and conflict and stabilisation. It also provides a guide to a simulation that the ACMC and the Humanitarian Futures Programme ran in October 2013 to assist Australian humanitarian policy makers and planners identify non-traditional humanitarian actors’ value-added and comparative advantages in different crisis contexts.

The full report is available for download below. The report is also broken down into its various parts below for those who are interested in particular aspects of the project.

Strengthening the rule of law through the United Nations Security Council

October 2013

This is a Linkage Project between the ANU Centre for International Governance and Justice, and the Australian Government’s Australian Civil-Military Centre, funded by the Australian Research Council.

This project advances pragmatic, evidence-based policy proposals designed to strengthen the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) future practice in critical thematic areas, including the importance of the rule of law in securing and maintaining peace based on principles of justice, and the UNSC’s strong commitment to the rule of law in considering the use of force.

The project critically evaluates the theory and practice of UNSC decision-making over the past decade in promoting the rule of law; and identifies policy proposals to increase the UNSC’s ability to strengthen the rule of law in peacebuilding.

The project identifies the role that Australia and other actors might play in promoting these proposals in the UNSC and more broadly.

For more information, view the a series of working papers or alternatively, view the completed publication.

The Prevention Toolbox: ACMC supports Oxford project on how to prevent mass atrocities

September 2013

The ACMC has supported the Oxford Centre for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict to undertake research into how to prevent mass atrocities. This project reflects the ACMC’s mission to support the development of national civil-military capabilities to prevent, prepare for and respond more effectively to conflict overseas.

560600Studies have found that atrocity crimes frequently occur in the context of violent conflict and that factors often identified as root causes of genocide are similar to those identified as root causes of conflict.

It is both politically and morally desirable to act to prevent mass atrocity crimes – rather than to react after such crimes are already underway. However, there is relatively little research on how mass atrocities should or can be prevented, or how atrocity prevention relates to the broader field of conflict prevention. This research is a valuable contribution to Australia’s humanitarian engagement with the international community.

This research identifies a focused set of potential policy tools for preventing mass atrocities. It highlights the most fruitful avenues for international or third party engagement to prevent atrocities and to identify the capacities that need to be built (nationally, regionally, and internationally) to use preventative tools more effectively.

Six policy papers outline the tools for prevention:

  • Mediation
  • Sanctions
  • Military strategies
  • Preventing ideology
  • International Criminal Court
  • Commissions of Inquiry

The Working Paper – A Strategic Framework for Mass Atrocity Prevention – draws together the policy briefs to demonstrate how the Australian Government and other governments can work to create a strong framework that supports atrocity prevention.

A Strategic Framework for Mass Atrocity Prevention
The Prevention Toolbox – Mediation
The Prevention Toolbox – Sanctions
The Prevention Toolbox – Military Enforcement
The Prevention Toolbox – Countering Ideologies
The Prevention Toolbox – ICC
The Prevention Toolbox – COI

Demobilisation and re-integration: Transitioning from combatants to entrepreneurs in post-conflict Bougainville

May 2013

The role of entrepreneurs in reconstruction following the cessation of a conflict remains an under-researched issue. A large and growing body of literature, as well as observations on the ground, shows that conflicts cause immense damage, that reconstruction takes a long time, that the capacity of the public sector in post-conflict communities is weak, and the risk of conflict recidivism remains long after fighting has ceased. Here we discuss the role of private providers, with special attention on ex-combatants, in building and sustaining peace
in contemporary Bougainville.

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ACMC funds new study on regional approaches to disaster management

April 2013

As the frequency and intensity of sudden-onset natural disasters is expected to increase in the future as a result of global warming, it is more important than ever that governments and international responders enhance their capacity to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.


Substantial efforts are underway to enhance the capacity of governmental responders and of international agencies charged with disaster risk reduction and emergency response.  However, much remains to be done at the regional level, a level at which response could be the most effective.

Although regional mechanisms are playing increasingly important roles in disasters, there has been remarkably little research on their role in Disaster Risk Management (DRM). There are few published studies about the relative strengths and weaknesses of regional bodies, much less comparisons of their range of activities or effectiveness in DRM.

The report by the Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics, with the support of the Australian Civil-Military Centre – In the Neighborhood: The Growing Role of Regional Organizations in Disaster Risk Management begins to address that gap. The report provides basic information regarding the work of more than 30 regional organisations involved in disaster risk management. Thirteen of those organisations have sophisticated disaster response mechanisms, and the report draws comparisons and conclusions about how effective those organisations are and whether lessons can be learned to enhance the effectiveness of other regional response mechanisms.

Copies of the report can be downloaded free of charge at:

The two regional studies and the 2-page summaries can also be accessed at:

In Search of Common Ground: Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

April 2013

All around the world, civilians disproportionately bear the devastating impacts of armed conflict.

In 1949 the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict provided the first legal protection for civilian populations. Since then there has been a proliferation of internal armed conflicts where civilians have increasingly become targets of violence. By the year 2000, it was estimated that civilians represented nine out of ten casualties in war.


However, it was not until 1998, that Kofi Annan – Secretary-General to the UN – in a report to the Security Council on the Situation in Africa, noted that ‘protecting civilians in situations of conflict’ was a ‘humanitarian imperative’.

Ten months later, on 12 February 1999, the UN Security Council held the first Open Debate on the Protection for Civilians in Armed Conflict in which it ‘affirm[ed] the need for the international community to assist and protect civilian populations affected by armed conflict.’

Over the last 13 years a significant amount of work has been done to improve the international community’s response in relation to the Protection of Civilians (PoC). This has been led by different actors – the UN Security Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the humanitarian community made up of the UN humanitarian agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)– all working in the same complex humanitarian contexts. But there is still much work to be done.

As part of the Australian Civil-Military Centre’s (ACMC) ongoing program on PoC, ACMC and Oxfam Australia, in partnership with Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope, are currently undertaking a research project entitled In Search of Common Ground: Understanding civilian protection language and practice for Civil and Military Practitioners.

This two-year project, started in mid-2012, aims to determine whether the perceived gap in understanding between the multitude of different protection actors and disciplines is in fact real, or simply anecdotal.

The project aims to counter misperceptions and contribute to greater complementarity in the practice of PoC in the field, as well as to improve coordination between civil and military actors.

The project will also map the theory of, and approaches to, PoC from the perspectives of different protection actors. An evidence base will be developed that canvasses different perceptions of protection work. The project will then make evidence-based recommendations for follow up PoC activities.

To date, this project has developed a chronological evolution of the protection of civilians from 1991-2012 (below), which identifies key documents and where possible provides links.

The ACMC and Oxfam Australia have also published a paper “Evolution of Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” by Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope, which is available for download from the ACMC website.

The project is also developing a survey to identify what practitioners of protection (i.e. military, government civilians, UN, DPKO, NGOs and International Non-Government Organisations) perceive as critical PoC work and practice, and where key gaps and misunderstandings lie.

If you have experience in protection activities and are interested in participating in the survey, or if you have any questions regarding the project, please contact the ACMC on +61 2 6160 2200

Detention of non-state actors engaged in hostilities: the future law—summary report

September 2012

On 15 and 16 December 2011 a conference and workshop were held at the Institute for Transnational and Maritime Security in the Faculty of Law at the University of Wollongong. The conference and workshop were funded by the Australian Civil–Military Centre under a research grant to the university, and the aim was to explore emerging law relating to the detention of non-state actors engaged in hostilities. Discussion centred on legal aspects of the power to detain, processes for transferring a detainee to either another armed force or the local law enforcement authorities, and the legal regimes applicable to this category of noninternational armed conflict.


Download a PDF version of the Summary report

Visit the Brill website to purchase a copy.

Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Missions – RAMSI – Lessons Learned

September 2012

Graeme Wilson – RAMSI Special Coordinator (2009-2011)

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