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  • Author: Simon Chesterman
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Transitional administrations represent the most complex operations attempted by the United Nations. The missions in Kosovo (1999—) and East Timor (1999–2002) are commonly seen as unique in the history of the United Nations. But they may also be seen as the latest in a series of operations that have involved the United Nations in 'state-building' activities, in which it has attempted to develop the institutions of government by assuming some or all of those sovereign powers on a temporary basis. Viewed in light of earlier UN operations, such as those in Namibia (1989–1990), Cambodia (1992–1993), and Eastern Slavonia (1996–1998), the idea that these exceptional circumstances may not recur is somewhat disingenuous. The need for policy research in this area was brought into sharp focus by the weighty but vague responsibilities assigned to the United Nations in Afghanistan (2002—) and its contested role in Iraq (2003—).
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Kosovo, Cambodia, Namibia, Eastern Slavonia
  • Author: Heiko Nitzschke, Karen Ballentine
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: This policy report provides a synopsis of the key findings from case studies on the political economy of armed intra-state conflicts, commissioned by the International Peace Academy's program on Economic Agendas in Civil wars (EAC W ). These findings offer lessons for improved policies for conflict prevention and resolution. Combatants' incentives for self-enrichment and/ or opportunities for insurgent mobilization created by access to natural and financial resources were neither the primary nor sole cause of the separatist and non-separatist conflicts analyzed. Nevertheless, extensive combatant self-financing complicated and prolonged hostilities, in some cases creating serious impediments to their resolu-tion. In all cases, however, these factors interacted to varying degrees with long-standing socio-economic and political grievances, inter-ethnic disputes, and security dilemmas brought about by weak and unaccountable systems of governance. Conflict analysis should avoid "resource reductionist" models in favor of comprehensive approaches that not only account for the complex interrelationship between economic and political dynamics, but also incorporate the political economy of both rebellion and state failure. Improved understanding is required of the role that combatant access to resources can play in shaping a permissive opportunity structure for separatist and non-separatist conflicts relative to other socio-political factors. Different resource endowments affect different sorts of conflicts and benefit combatant parties in distinct ways, depending, inter alia, on the mode of exploitation and how proceeds are managed by the state. "Lootable" resources, such as alluvial diamonds and illegal narcotics are more likely to be implicated in non-separatist insurgencies. They prolong conflict by benefiting rebels and conflict-dependent civilians, compromising battle disci-pline, and by multiplying the number of peace spoilers. "Unlootable" resources, such as oil, gas, and deep-shaft mineral deposits tend to be associ-ated with separatist conflicts, which are often caused by ethno-political grievances over inequitable resource revenue-sharing and exclusionary government policies. Given the importance of lootable natural resources and easily captured diaspora remittances in sustaining many of today's armed conflicts, improved international regulatory efforts to curtail these resource flows are both warranted and necessary. Commodity control regimes need to be strengthened and also complemented by more comprehensive efforts that address the financial flows connected with those resources. However, even the most robust resource control regimes are unlikely to have a decisive or even fully positive impact. Where conflicts are motivated by a mix of political, security, ethnic, and economic factors, curtailing resource flows to combatants may weaken their military capacity but not their resolve to continue fighting. In addition, regulatory regimes may have adverse humanitarian effects by increasing civilian predation by rebels or by stifling civilian incomes. When designing and implementing regulatory regimes, policy-makers need to distinguish between those who exploit armed conflict for profit and power and those who participate in war economies to sustain their civilian livelihoods. The offer of "economic peace dividends" may co-opt belligerents into ceasefires or more formal peace processes. Critically, however, economic inducements are unlikely to achieve these results in the absence of a credible military threat and may risk the creation of "negative peace," where justice and sustainability are deeply compromised and the threat of renewed conflict remains high. Policy-makers need to identify and adequately integrate economic incentives of combatants into a wider set of political and strategic inducements for conflict resolution and peace-building. Today's insurgents increasingly engage in illegal economic activities either directly or through links with international criminal networks. However, insurgency groups have not equivocally transformed into mere criminal organizations as they retain- albeit to varying degrees- military and political goals. While improved interdiction and law enforcement are important policy tools, casting rebellion as a criminal rather than a political phenomenon may risk mischaracterizing legitimate grievances, thereby foreclosing opportu-nities for negotiated resolution, and may lend de facto legitimacy to state actors, regardless of their behavior and role in the conflict. Poor economic governance and state weakness are the critical mediating factors between resource abundance and vulnerability to armed conflict; the first engenders popular grievances, the second makes separatist and non-separatist insurgencies politically and militarily feasible. Policy responses need to focus on structural conflict prevention efforts by, inter alia, designing and supporting tools and strategies for more effective, equitable, and accountable systems of resource management, complemented by longer-term strategies of economic diversifica-tion and poverty reduction. Contemporary intra-state conflicts have strong regional and even global linkages. By increasing the number of potential war profiteers and peace-spoilers and multiplying the points of conflict, these broader dimensions not only affect the character and duration of hostilities, but also complicate the prospects for conflict resolution and post-conflict stability. Both conflict analysis and policymaking need to address these regional dimensions by strengthening the economic management capacities of formal regional organi-zations and ad hoc alliances, complementing- and thus strengthening- national and global conflict management strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Economy
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The International Peace Academy (IPA), in collaboration with and thanks to generous support from the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, convened a high-level retreat on May 16-17 entitled From Promise to Practice: Revitalizing the General Assembly for the New Millennium. The retreat brought together, in an informal setting, approximately twenty-five permanent representatives and a very few deputy permanent representatives in addition to a member of the Secretariat and a key outside expert respectively over dinner and one full day of deliberations at the Greentree Estate in Manhasset, New York.
  • Topic: International Organization, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Karin Wermester, Chandra Lekha Sriram
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: While the promise of conflict prevention has risen to the fore of international policy agenda since the end of the 1990s, its practice and effectivenes remain elusive. Following in the footsteps of peacebuilding, conflict prevention is a loose conceptual framework for the increasingly broad range of actors engaged in conflict-affected zones. The concept of conflict prevention expands the scope of peacebuilding temporally and spatially, calling for the early prevention of violent conflict and the prevention of further outbreaks through "structural" as well as "operational" initiatives. It promises cross-cutting approaches to mitigate the sources of potential conflict rather than merely the symptoms at arguably a lesser cost and with great potential for lasting peace than other forms of intervention. The challenge, of course, is that violent conflict can be hard to predict, especially in the early phases when efforts to prevent its escalation might be most valuable. More, it is harder to prevent effectively, and further to demonstrate that preventive initiatives have been successful.
  • Topic: International Organization, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Author: Ian Anthony
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Information Service
  • Abstract: While states are responsible for honouring any commitments to one another that they make, it has become obvious that they are not always capable of doing so. Where the failure to implement agreed undertakings reflects a lack of financial or technical capacity rather than a deliberate effort to undermine the terms of an agreement it is preferable for all parties to offer assistance rather than criticism and punishment. During the period after the end of the cold war a new type of international cooperation has appeared as states have been willing to render practical assistance to one another in order to reduce common threats. In broad terms military activities have been of three types: facilitating the dismantlement and destruction of weapons; the establishment of a safe and secure chain of custody over weapons or other items; and demilitarization and conversion projects.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gerrard Quille, Stephen Pullinger
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Information Service
  • Abstract: This is the first in a series of Discussion and Policy Papers - published by ISIS Europe and Saferworld - that will trace, analyse and contribute towards developments in the European Union's emerging strategy against the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction (WMD). This first paper has been written for circulation at the EU's Inter - Parliamentary Conference on the 'Non - proliferation and Disarmament Co - operation Initiative' within the framework of the G8 'Global Partnership against Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction', launched in Kananaskis, Canada in July 2002. The authors welcome the initiative by the European Commission to promote Parliamentary interest in this important area of non - proliferation.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada
  • Author: Catriona Gourlay, Catriona Mace
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Information Service
  • Abstract: In this first conference session speakers addressed the ways in which structural reforms could improve the integration and accountability of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The draft constitution then under discussion at the European Convention was evaluated and the session aimed to identify further reforms that could be enacted in order to improve the integration and accountability of EU action in foreign affairs, security and defence.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Holger Anders
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Information Service
  • Abstract: Illicit trafficking and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW)1pose serious threats to international peace and security. SALW proliferation facilitates and fuels violent conflicts, causes grave human suffering and contributes to armed banditry and crime. Moreover, the excessive availability of SALW on licit and black markets hinders conflict resolution and greatly undermines sustainable development.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Author: Natalie Pauwels
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Security Information Service
  • Abstract: The role that the availability of lucrative natural resources including gem stones, minerals and timber plays in the incidence of violent conflict in several countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, is the subject of significant policy debate and academic research. Indeed, it is generally recognised that the trade in certain commodities has played a role in the continuation of several wars, providing resources to both rebels and governments to finance their military campaigns.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Environment, War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Carl Conetta
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: The motivating premise of this study is that nations cannot wage war responsibly or intelligently without careful attention to its costs. The broader context in which "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was conducted -- that is, the campaign against terrorism -- makes attention to the repercussions of war even more urgent. Effective action against terrorism depends in fair part on an effort to win hearts and minds. Success in this effort turns significantly on issues of legitimacy and responsible action, especially with regard to the use of force. And the first principle of responsible action is to take account of its effects.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East