Archived Events

Preparatory Committee for the Second PoA Review Conference

March 19-23, 2012 | New York, NY

en_header-1For five days, member states gathered for the Preparatory Committee for the second Review Conference for the Programme of Action on small arms (PoA) to set the agenda, adopt rules of procedure, and conduct an exchange of views on possible substantive elements to be discussed in August at the Review Conference. The Prep Com did achieve its procedural goals of adopting an agenda and rules of procedure as well as unanimously endorsing Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria as Chair and President of the upcoming Rev Con. The August Rev Con will examine progress made in the implementation of the PoA determining areas in which member states still require support and other forms of assistance to fully implement provisions to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALWs). The small arms review process is broken down into 6-year periods of Biennial Meetings of States (BMS), Review Conferences, and potential technical Meetings of Governmental Experts (MGE) as was held in May 2011. The review process seeks to enhance, facilitate, and encourage full implementation of the PoA framework, which was universally adopted in 2000, that outlines national, regional, and international measures for combating illicit trade in SALWs as well as diversion of legal arms into the black market. The Rev Con will also seek ways of strengthening and enhancing the separately adopted International Tracing Instrument (ITI).

With regards to substance, there was much debate over the Chair’s summary of ‘Elements for the Second Review Conference’ and its status as a document for the Rev Con. Ultimately, member states agreed to annex the summary to the Final Report of the Prep Com, with the provision that it would represent only a summary of views exchanged written under the sole responsibility of the Chair without prejudices to the views of member states or the right to raise any other issue outside of the paper at the upcoming Rev Con. A key discussion represented in this debate over the status of the Chair’s summary was the question of ’strengthening’ versus ‘enhancing.’ Some member states were concerned that by focusing on ‘enhancing’ the PoA, the instrument would ‘overstep’ its bounds and become a different type of document– due to either a change in legal status or an expansion of its scope to include additional elements such as ammunition.

Along with Reaching Critical Will, Global Action produced a daily monitor of reporting and analysis on the Prep Com. All editions of the Small Arms Monitor can be found here. Additional documentation from the Prep Com can also be located on the RCW website.

For further final commentary on the Prep Com from Robert Zuber, please click here.

For final commentary on the Prep Com from Katherine Prizeman, please click here.

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March 7, 2012 | New York, NY

csw-networking-003For the past two weeks, Global Action has been closely following the official UN sessions as well as the parallel events taking place at the 56th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), focused this year on the theme of ‘Empowerment of Rural Women.’ States have addressed rural women’s participation in agriculture and education, among many other sectors, and how technology can contribute to their participation in all aspects of society. As the sessions came to an end, GAPW and our partners at Soka Gakkai International (SGI) held an evening reception reflecting on some of these discussions focusing especially on priorities directed towards after the close of CSW.

The event featured Ms. Selamawit Tesfaye, Advocacy Officer and Consultant for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), and Global Action’s Director Robert Zuber. Ms. Tesfaye focused her comments on the priority needs of rural women, while Dr. Zuber highlighted the link between women’s participation and overall societal wellbeing as well as the gaps that remain in ensuring a suitable security sector for women to adequately participate.

csw-networking-001-1The takeaways from the event, however, were not limited only to priorities for women’s empowerment as there was also a roundtable of comments from the audience that yielded recommendations on the structure of the CSW system itself for future sessions. Lack of accessibility was one of the most important points of the night- accessibility for those trying to make it to New York in the context of visas and immigration and also for those attempting to obtain UN passes and access to meetings. Nonetheless, the issue of accessibility also includes giving voices to diverse women within the CSW session itself by being part of a system that is designed to target their needs. In the months to come, as the next year’s theme on ‘Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls’ takes shape from the election of the Chair to the formation of the agenda, more needs to be done to ensure that the CSW offers the appropriate avenues to ensure that diverse women’s voices are heard in addressing needs and challenges on the domestic and regional level.

For Ms. Tesfaye’s comments, please click here.

For Dr. Zuber’s comments, please click here.

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Assessing R2P in Venezuela with the World Federation on UN Associations

February 29, 2012 | Caracas, Venezuela

caracas-001We have long contended that the task for diplomats and those groups seeking to partner effectively with them is to invest considerable energies listening to and exploring remedies for state concerns regarding a wide range of sometimes controversial security issues.

In the case of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) norm the tendency for advocates is to divide states into those who support the norm and those who are opposed. It seems to us more prudent to accept that much of the support for and criticism of the RtoP norm is relative. Some governments see the norm as inspirational for a wide ranging application of UN and other international resources to address the threat of mass atrocities. Others see the UN system as significantly flawed, run primarily by large states that refuse to apply the necessary levels of assessment and transparency to help build confidence in the wisdom and efficacy of their decisions.

caracas-003Recently, Global Action was pleased once again to join the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) in their efforts to engage local UN Associations and civil society on RtoP while discussing core objections of some of the more wary governments on RtoP. This time, the workshop was in Caracas and attracted an inquisitive and largely enthusiastic group of 60 NGOs, journalists and government officials who seemed to find the norm compelling despite the Venezuelan government’s largely critical (though evolving) reaction to RtoP. The workshop was led by a useful blend of local and international resource persons who helped participants both understand the norm and explore local options for response. As with other WFUNA events, including in Kenya where we were also privileged to participate, an important thematic contribution is tying protection of civilians and prevention of atrocity crimes to the distinguished legacy of Dag Hammarksjold, former UN Secretary General and a pivotal figure in the UN’s ongoing struggle to build capacity sufficient to meet the diverse and growing expectations that global citizens have of UN agencies.

For a full report on the event as well as Dr. Zuber’s remarks from the workshop, please click here.

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Women as Solutions to and Victims of Mass Atrocity Crimes

February 21, 2012 | New York, NY

gender-and-rtop-003On February 21, a group of 35 scholars and activists gathered at the UN for a GAPW-sponsored event on Integrating Gender Perspectives into the Third Pillar of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). The event featured Naomi Kikoler, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Global Center on the Responsibility to Protect and Maria Butler, Director of the PeaceWomen Project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. We were also joined by two extraordinary Libyan women who spoke eloquently about the time of suffering in their country and offered insights into evolving roles of women in Libya and why the UN authorized response in their country was needed.

Under the able guidance of Melina Lito and with the cooperation of many women leaders in peace and security at the United Nations, we have prepared a draft Background Concept Note on gender and RtoP that will be used at workshops in Caracas, Brussels, Beirut and other settings where policymakers are helping us prepare delegations for this summer’s General Assembly debate on the “Third Pillar’ of RtoP. The hope is that the GA debate will spark more lively interest in the UN’s preventive and reactive toolkit on RtoP. We also hope that the debate will motivate more intense discussion of how the skills and capacities of women can be made fully available to prevent deadly conflict, protect civilians in immanent danger of mass atrocity crimes, and heal the wounds of violence.

The same week also saw  a Security Council  open debate on conflict-related sexual violence featuring briefings from Special Representative to the Secretary-General on the issue, Ms. Margot Wallstrom. Also addressing the Council was one of the extraordinary Libyan activists, Ms. Amina Megheirbi, representing the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. Ms. Wallstrom classified the issue of conflict-related sexual violence as not a women’s issue, but a security issue with much wider peace and security implications than particular instances of rape. This point is particularly important for Global Action as we strive to link such issues to other components of the broader human security agenda. Not only can rape serve as a precursor to conflict, a diagnostic of pre-conflict conditions, and a symptom of impunity, it is also evidence of a weak and insufficient security sector. As is often said by proponents of the women, peace and security agenda, there is no security without women’s security and the aim is not only to protect women from violence, but to also encourage their active participation in political and economic life. A robust sector sector will indubitably support such participation as well as enhance protection mechanisms needed to eliminate such sexual violence in and out of conflict.

For access to the draft Concept Note on gender and R2P, click here.

For a blog post with further analysis on the open debate, please click here.

For access to SRSG Wallstrom’s statement to the Security Council, please click here.

For the NGOWG statement to the Council, please click here.

For the Presidential Statement from the debate, please click here.

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Disarmament Culture in Latin America

February 21, 2012 | Quito Ecuador, Mexico City, Mexico

quito-workshop-001-1As we note often, this is a particularly challenging and interesting time for disarmament policy advocates. The UN Programme of Action on Small Arms is now in its tenth year, and we are co-producing events with governments in capital and at the UN to help stimulate thoughtful activity towards ending the threat of illicit small arms. The Arms Trade Treaty process is nearing the beginning of formal negotiations and we are part of the monitoring team that helps diplomats make the most informed and far-sighted decisions. Later this year, the NPT review will take up the challenge of the Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, a process which we also have opportunity to impact through monitoring and strategic conversations with officials of existing zones.

opanal-mora-001For Global Action, this cycle began in early December with a remarkable event hosted by the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Ecuador with the cooperation of the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLiREC) in Lima and the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs in New York. More recently in February we were invited to participate in a major celebratory and assessment event in Mexico City hosted by El Organismo para la Proscripción de las Armas Nucleares en la América Latina y el Caribe (OPANAL).

moraThe next day, a workshop was held for Mexican NGOs on ‘new disarmament priorities,’ hosted by Lucatello Simone of the Mora Institute in Mexico City and co-organized by Hector Guerra of IANSA and Katherine Prizeman of GAPW. The seminar not only represented the first efforts on disarmament by the esteemed Mora Institute, but also represented the first time that GAPW has been able to test some of the ideas contained in a volume that we are editing for the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs - including the relationship of disarmament education to gender, development and the prevention of mass atrocities.

For a full report on disarmament activities in Latin America, please click here.

For the Introduction to the forthcoming Quito report, click here.
For the Quito program, click here.
For the OPANAL anniversary celebration and seminar program, click here.
For the Mora Institute program, click here.
For information on the recently concluded Arms Trade Treaty Prep Com, including commentary by Katherine Prizeman and Robert Zuber, click here.

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Promoting a Robust Human Security Agenda at UPEACE

December 8, 2011 | University for Peace, Costa Rica

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During a trip to South America for a conference co-organized with the Government of Ecuador on combating the illicit trade in small arms (a report from this conference is forthcoming), Global Action’s Katherine Prizeman was honored to participate in a lunch-time lecture series with students at the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. UPEACE provides the international community with an institution of higher learning focused on all aspects of the peace and security objectives of the United Nations through education, training, and research.

Katherine offered a seminar entitled, “Promoting a robust human security agenda: highlighting links between gender, disarmament, and the arms trade.” As 2012 will be a critical year for many processes on the disarmament agenda, including the ATT negotiating conference, a Review Conference on progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action on small arms (PoA), and a conference to begin work on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ), the seminar at UPEACE was a timely discussion with diverse students poised to take their places as peace practitioners in the world. The linkages addressed in the seminar underscored how porous the concept of human security is as well as how security concerns are essentially indivisible from one another– from women’s participation in disarmament policy to the role of illicit weapons in the perpetration of atrocity crimes. In the context of the ATT and PoA processes, Katherine discussed the need to increase the links between disarmament processes and gender in order to better address these issues in a more comprehensive and multifaceted manner.

Global Action looks forward to many more collaborations with UPEACE and will continue to highlight its important role in peace education for the whole of the international community.

For Katherine’s presentation, please click here.

For more information on UPEACE, please click here.

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Linking Women’s Participation to the Prevention of Mass Atrocities

November 14, 2011 | Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

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In our efforts to fully implement our MOU with the Rutgers University Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Global Action was ‘on stage’ this week in Newark for a presentation focused on our efforts to link the prevention of atrocity crimes and the full participation of women in all conflict prevention and response measures. The focus is a new group organized by Melina Lito that brings together UN and NGO officials from the gender and genocide prevention communities to find ways to influence next year’s General Assembly debate on ‘third pillar’ response capacities under the R2P framework. We anticipate a truly global process to ensure a diversity of recommendations to discuss with diplomats. We hope that our agreement with Rutgers will result in a robust, cutting-edge, fully-funded program that offers hope to a new generation that the threat of mass atrocities can finally be eliminated.

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Day of Discussions and Briefings with Genocide Prevention Colleagues

November 1, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

leah-002Global Action recently hosted two of our partnership organizations, the League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust (LEAH) and Our Humanity in the Balance (OHIB), for a day of briefings on the current situation in Sudan and South Sudan. Our relationship to LEAH has evolved over the past several months as they have begun negotiations  with our OHIB. The negotiations have been directed towards organizing a joint deployment in areas of South Sudan that have been subject to violence initiated against the Nuba people by the Sudanese government. This deployment will provide relief supplies to the Nuba camps that have cropped up along the South Sudan border, but will also provide opportunities for fact-finding and relationship building for subsequent activity in the region, including the launch of LEAH’s new, ambitious monitoring system.

The South Sudan deployment is one of the educational and technical projects proposed by LEAH under its new strategic plan. While we believe that the benefits of deployment are many — including relief provisions for populations under siege as well as enhanced credibility with other genocide prevention organizations and agencies - it is the comprehensiveness of LEAH’s approach that sets it apart, For us, the combination of direct service, monitoring, policy engagement, education and character development add up to a program with diverse focal points and prospects for fruitful collaboration.

Global Action stands ready to provide assistance on policy and connections with international actors who can enhance the benefits of both initial and longer-term collaborative engagements on all of LEAH’s programs. Our judgment is that LEAH and its diverse partners are poised to make many significant contributions to the heavy responsibilities associated with ending the threat of mass atrocities in our time.

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2011 Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

October 28, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

Orzala Ashraf Nemat (left) on behalf of the NGOWGWPS with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN-Women.

A month of celebrations for the 11th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 came to a close on 28 October 2011 with the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. This year’s theme was Women’s Participation and Their Role in Conflict Prevention and Mediation. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN-Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, and ECOSOC President Ambassador Lazarus Kapambwe of Zambia were among the main presenters, followed by Orzala Ashraf Nemat who spoke on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security (NGOWGWPS).

Overall, a number of delegations applauded the work of UN Women and discussed the progress of their respective NAPs. Attention was also paid to the role of civil society in initiating dialogue around these issues as well as acting as critical players in building the capacity necessary to help women participate. This debate is a good annual reminder of the importance of integrating women, peace and security into the Council agenda on a regular basis as well as highlighting the cross-cutting issues involved with securing women’s active participation and full political access.

For a full report, please click here.

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First Committee 2011 Comes to a Close

October 31, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

6283350136_415c6043f2-1This year’s General Assembly First Committee on  Disarmament and International Security met from October 3 through 31. Delegations undertook some of the most difficult issues facing the international community at present– nuclear disarmament, conventional weapons control, and disarmament machinery among others. After general debate and issue-specific discussion finished up, delegations took action on resolutions.

Each year the hope is that the international community can come together in this deliberative body to not only make commitments to disarmament, but also implement those commitments in national policies. It remains to be seen if the commitments adopted this year will be implemented, but the worth of the Committee in and of itself is clear. As High Representative for Disarmament Sergio Duarte stated at its opening, “…the Committee has the capability to make its own independent contribution to advancing multilateral norms in disarmament.”

As has been the case in previous years, Global Action contributed to the First Committee Monitor, a weekly digest of reporting and analysis on the Committee’s work. Global Action focused specifically on discussions related to conventional weapons such as transparency in armaments, military expenditure and the arms trade.

fcm-2011-1_pagenumber001All issues of this year’s Monitor are available here on the Reaching Critical Will website. Also available are statements and voting results.

Global Action was also pleased to present one the NGO statements to the First Committee on the ‘Implementation of the NPT Action Plan including the Middle East WMDFZ.’

For access to all the presentations from civil society, please click here.

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Seeking Remedies for Trafficked Persons

October 25, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

global_report_on_tip_pagenumber001On October 25 at UN Headquarters, a group of panelists led by Joy Ngozi Ezielo, Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, and by Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, continued the UN’s investigation of how the international community can more effectively promote acceptable remedies for people who have been traumatized through trafficking. The panel analyzed the key components of the right to an effective remedy, including restitution, recovery and compensation, in the context of trafficked persons. The challenging question was posed on several occasions: What should be considered adequate compensation for the trauma associated with trafficking? It was also noted that victims of trafficking are often not aware of their rights or know how to access remedies. Moreover, they too often do not receive assistance on an unconditional basis.

For a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), A Global Report on Human Trafficking, from February 2009, please click here.

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Third Committee Addresses the Advancement of Women

October 10-12, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

un-building21The Third Committee of the General Assembly on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs held a three-day session discussing the theme of “The Advancement of Women” during the week of 11 October 2011. The session included presentations from UN Women, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Member states, relevant UN agencies, and international organizations also provided statements.

For a full summary of the discussion, please click here.

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Meeting to Facilitate the Entry-into-Force of the CTBT

September 23, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

ctbto4State parties to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) came together to discuss at the fringes of the high-level meetings of the 66th session of the General Assembly to discuss how to facilitate the entry into force of the CTBT. There have been several such conferences since 1999, when states parties came together for the first time under the treaty’s Article XIV provisions for adoption and ratification. States have met in alternating calendar years since the inaugural Article XIV conference. Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Toth, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the conference.

For the full report, please click here.

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High-Level Summit on Nuclear Security and Safety

September 22, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

UN Photo/Rick BajornasOn Thursday, September 22, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a High-Level Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security during the opening week of the General Assembly’s 66th session. The meeting’s aim was to discuss strengthening the global nuclear safety regime as well as ensuring maximum safety standards for nuclear power. The discussion was prompted as a response to the Japanese Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station disaster in March 2011.

Among many proposals from the member states, the Secretary-General called on the General Assembly to create a United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, the Rio+20 Conference to incorporate this issue into their sustainable development agenda, the 2015 NPT Preparatory Committee to allocate time to discuss nuclear energy and safety, and the IAEA to strengthen its role as a central player in the discussion of nuclear energy safety standards. The SG also called for greater linkage between the international  nuclear response system and the international humanitarian coordination system. The plenary meeting was followed up by two parallel sessions with member states. The points of consensus during the meeting were considerable: strengthening the IAEA, applying the highest safety standards to all nuclear power plants, and ensuring public confidence and trust.

GAPW acknowledges that early notification of accidents is important, but it is not sufficient. Improving international safety and security standards related to construction, maintenance and rapid response to accidents is likewise essential, but does not in and of itself represent full, ‘good faith’ compliance with our responsibility to protect civilians within and beyond borders from radiation and other impacts from nuclear catastrophe. Citizens worldwide demanding inexhaustible supplies of accessible, affordable energy must begin to make judgments on that energy similar to those they make every day in their families - the points at which risk mitigates desire. Whether nuclear energy poses risks greater than fossile fuels and their extraction industries is open to debate. The consequences of nuclear mis-step, however, are not.

For full commentary on the meeting, please click here.

Prior to the meeting, the UN Secretariat released a system-wide study on nuclear power. It is available here.

For the Secretary-General’s opening remarks, please click here. His closing remarks are available here.

Other country statements are available on the RCW website here.

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The Japanese Disaster Six Months On

September 14, 2011 | 866 UN Plaza, NY, NY

1109-aidtakata-gapw-002At the invitation of our partners from the Soka Gakkai International UN Liaison Office, Global Action hosted a reception and discussion on the March 2011 Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster. Representative of AidTAKATA Mr. Kiyoshi Murakami shared the experience of his hometown Rikuzentakata, a small coastline city in northeastern Japan, that was nearly wiped off the map following the tsunami. Of the 24,000 person population, more than half have been displaced and thousands missing following the catastrophic 30-foot tsunami that flooded the city’s coast. Mr. Murakami shared moving photos of the homes destroyed and buildings leveled.

img_1489A former UNHCR official, Mr. Murakami set up AidTAKATA to facilitate reconstruction and rebuilding of Rikuzentakata. AidTAKATA seeks to facilitate not only relief and reconstruction of the city, but also development so that Rikuzentakata becomes a model city for others that have suffered from the devastating consequences of such natural disasters. The 10-year reconstruction plan articulated by Mr. Murakami seeks to repopulate the city to 100,000 individuals, invite new employment opportunities for a diversified population, incorporate ecological city planning and sustainable energy sources, and build a strong city infrastructure to guard against future natural disasters. Operations include the organization of public forums for national and international journalists, establishment of a local radio station, sponsorship of local micro-finance projects, and coordination of contacts with international embassies in Toyko. The overall goal continues to be to involve the city’s residents directly in the relief and reconstruction of their own community.

GAPW supports all our partners in various parts of Japan and seeks to assist in any way we can in their relief and recovery. We welcome the opportunity to bring awareness and offer guidance to on-the-ground organizations such as AidTAKATA.

For the presentation from Mr. Kiyoshi Murakami, please contact us at coordinator[at]globalactionpw.org.

For more information on AidTAKATA, please click here (currently available only Japanese).
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Visit with Chinese Scholars from the Research Center of the UN and International Organizations of Beijing Foreign Studies University

August 18-19, 2011 | 866 UN Plaza, NY, NY

chinese-policymakersAt the request of WFUNA and in acknowledgment of the new and welcome role they seek to play in disarmament, the Responsibility to Protect and other core human security issues, GAPW recently organized two meetings for visiting scholars from the Research Center of the United Nations and International Organizations of Beijing Foreign Studies University. The Center has taken a leading role in helping China enhance its functional leadership at the UN and in other international organizations.

WFUNA’s Chinese visitors were addressed by Edward Luck, Special Representative to the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Norul Rashid from the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and John Ennis and Ewen Buchanan who run the Information and Outreach Branch at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

The Chinese scholars expressed great interest in the presentations and tentatively offered their Center as the site of future national and sub-regional workshops, especially focused on disarmament education and the Responsibility to Protect.

GAPW carefully follows the positions of China in the First Committee of the General Assembly, in the preparations for an Arms Trade Treaty, during GA and other discussions on civilian protection, gender-based violence and the responsibility to protect, and during the Security Council debates. We welcome any and all efforts to assess important UN issues within China and celebrate what appears to be more robust involvement by Chinese academics and civil society representatives in key aspects of human security.

For more information on the Research Center in Beijing, click here (available only in Chinese).

For an English-language brochure on the Center, please click here.

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Building Cultures of Peace
July 29, 2011 | 866 UN Plaza, NY, NY

susan-001GAPW recently hosted an informal breakfast meeting featuring Susan May Granada and Sabsy Palanca, both of the Philippines. The women were on their way to Bogota to kick off a new partnership — the Colombia-Philippines Comparative Learning Exchange — linking faith-based social development and peace advocates in the two countries. A group of UN-based practitioners from the ICR2P, WCC, SGI WFUNA and more gathered to exchange views about implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, the Arms Trade Treaty, and Security Council Resolution 1325 which calls for increased participation by women in all peace and security policies.

Susan, who has abundant experience as a conflict resolution specialist in Muslim areas, now works for Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches - Peace and Reconciliation Commission and has been a longstanding friend of GAPW. Sabsy represents the interest of the Filipino business community in peacemaking through the Spirituality in the Workplace Movement. Not surprisingly there were clear differences of perspective that animated the conversation — differences of setting, of faith perspective, of vocation, even of levels of faith in the UN system. These differences were developed kindly at our meeting but also reminded us of the many struggles and cultural contexts that must continually refresh our policy pronouncements. We not only have to help develop policy, but to ’sell’ it to constituents who are often more baffled by than encouraged by the UN system. Moreover, we must do more to insist that the diverse security needs and aspirations of global constituents continue to inform that policy work.

Susan is one of the people we most trust to help us accomplish these learning and listening tasks. It was a particular pleasure to have her with us.

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High-Level Panel on Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding

July 25-26, 2011| UN Headquarters, NY, NY

official-logo1To close the International Year of Youth, the General Assembly held a two-day High-level panel consisting of two thematic debates and a general plenary session. The overarching theme was “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.” Areas of discussion included: social integration, health care, poverty eradication, sustainable development, employment, and crime. These issues were all more or less reflected in the Secretary General’s opening speech and in individual country statements. The majority of member states agreed that more should be done for young people, as they are ‘leaders of tomorrow’ and will play a central role in thinking and fresh ideas for the future. However, this seems to be just another oversimplified picture, which ultimately does not reflect reality. As the representative of Honduras commented in the plenary - it is wrong to think young people are leaders of tomorrow, because they are leaders of today. Yet, legal, policy and decision making structures remain youth-unfriendly and hard to access.

Likewise, young people did not seem to be too eager to convene their obligations. There were no concrete present or future action plans, or a mention of what has been achieved so far. Pleas for greater financial investment and independence were expressed, but no reference to cooperation and capacity building. Having said that, many governments did not include any youth delegates in their country representation to the meeting, and the panels often had more adult speakers than youth speakers. Therefore, it remains evident that youth was inadequately represented in the High Level meeting on Youth. As this meeting marks the culmination of the International Year of Youth, it is time for movement from commitments to concrete action from governments, UN agencies and youth as a whole. Like a representative of the International Youth Alliance noted, youth represents the biggest untapped asset of all member states and should be regarded as a part of solution, rather than an obstacle.

For more information on the Year of the Youth, please click here for the official UN site.
For the High-level Panel program, relevant country statements, documents, and side event information, please clickhere.
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New Horizons and Old Problems for UN Peacekeeping

July 2011 | Berlin, Germany

fes-berlin-0021Under the leadership of Marius Hennig of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a group of experts from diverse global regions gathered in Berlin on July 7 for working meetings and a public event highlighting the ‘New Horizons’ process and the tools and capacities needed for the international community to provide effective, prevention-based responses to the threat of atrocity crimes. This event was particularly timely given the controversy over NATO implementation of the Libya resolution, the struggles of the UN to come up with a coherent policy on Syria, and persistent (though mostly ignored) calls for the UN to be allowed to develop last-resort response tools that are not dependent on the uncertainties of the troop contributing country model or undermined by slow responses to legitimate findings of atrocity crimes by the Security Council.

The event featured experts in peacekeeping from Nigeria, Nepal, South Africa and other countries in Europe and beyond, as well as David David Haeri, Chief of the Best Practices Section for DPKO. While the FES and most all the participants reinforced the need for more robust capacity in the preventive, early-warning and diplomatic areas, they also understood that even the most effective prevention will sometimes fail. In such instances, our responsibility to protect civilian lives requires an effective, complementary capacity that can quickly enter arenas of violence and provide stabilizing services. In limiting the damage cause by atrocity crimes, timing is critically important. The more quickly we can act to stabilize a dangerous situation, the more quickly societies can restore the peace.

fes-berlin-0041GAPW was pleased to participate in this process primarily through our engagement with our proposal for a UN Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS). While the proposal was not able to be discussed in great detail, it was positioned at the event as both a possible successor to SHIRBRIG and as a UN-based complement to regional rapid-response capabilities such as the EU Battlegroups and the AU’s own rapid-response capacity. While there is not yet sufficient political will to promote UNEPS directly at the UN, there is a growing sense that standing, rapid-response capacities legitimized by the UN itself will eventually find their way into the toolkit of the international community.

For the conference program, please click here.
For an interview with Dr. Zuber on peackeeping issues (in German), please click here.
For Dr. Zuber’s presentation, please click here.
For access to an article from a local Nepalese paper The Rising Nepal in which Dr. Zuber is quoted and the conference is discussed, please click here.
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Linking Conflict Prevention, Illicit Small Arms, and Arms Trade

July 14, 2011 | German House, NY, NY

detlev-002On July 14, as a contribution to diplomatic efforts in New York to prepare for negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty, the German Mission hosted a special meeting of the Group of Interested States in Practical Disarmament Measures (GIS). The event was highlighted by the appearance of Dr. Detlev Wolter, formerly co-chair of the First Committee of the General Assembly and currently Head of Division, Conventional Arms Control, Federal Foreign Office for the German government. Detlev was instrumental in helping establish the GIS process and opening it up to select NGO involvement.

The event featured other interventions, including an especially helpful presentation linking and contrasting the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action on Small Arms by Sarah Parker of the Small Arms Survey. GAPW, which has been involved with the GIS for several years, was also pleased to share a presentation on the impact of small arms on conflict prevention efforts.

detlev-001GAPW has enjoyed a long relationship with Detlev and we were pleased to be able to convene a follow up luncheon in our office which allowed for some frank and hopeful assessments of the current state of disarmament affairs offered by Detlev and some of our UN-based program partners.

For access to Dr. Zuber’s GIS remarks, please click here.

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GA Debate on Regionalization of the R2P Norm

July 12, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

UN Photo/Evan SchneiderThe General Assembly held an interactive thematic debate on the role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect. The dialogue featured two panels, with the morning and afternoon sessions. The morning panel discussed the regional and sub-regional perspective and experience while the afternoon panel discussed the UN perspectives and experience.

The event commenced with opening remarks by Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly and moderator of the dialogue. The panelists for the morning session were Mr. Knut Vollebaek, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the executive secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Mr. Victor Rico Frontaura, secretary for Political Affairs of the Organization of the American States. The morning panel discussions were followed by an interactive dialogue with the member states and the afternoon session opened with remarks by Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The panelists for the afternoon session (also moderated by Mr. Deiss) were Dr. Edward C. Luck, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect and Dr. Francis M. Deng, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide. The dialogue explored ways to improve and strengthen the responsibility to protect concept by reinforcing regional and sub-regional collaborations with the UN in preventing and protecting individuals from mass atrocity crimes.

For the full panel program and background note from the Office of the President of the General Assembly, please clickhere.

For the Secretary-General’s report on “The role of regional and sub-regional arrangements in implementing the responsibility to protect,” please click here.

For a detailed report from the International Coalition for R2P, including member state statements and interventions from civil society, please click here.

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Day of Consultations at CEDAW

July 18, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

cedaw-002On Monday, July 18th, Global Action joined a group of diverse civil society groups in presenting oral statements to the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on “The Protection of Women in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations.” The committee of experts held a day of consultations hearing interventions from civil society as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN-Women, the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Children and Armed Conflict, Margot Wallstrom and Radhika Cooomaraswamy respectively, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, and several others from relevant UN agencies and offices.

Global Action focused its oral statement on recommendations to the CEDAW committee, governments, international actors and civil society for protecting women in conflict and post-conflict situations. These recommendations focused on access to education, the right to fruitful employment opportunities, and political participation. Without access to education and employment opportunities, women are without the tools necessary to participate in public life and take their rightful place in society.

un-cedaw_0Global Action’s full statement submitted to CEDAW is available here.

The Concept Paper from CEDAW on this year’s theme, “Protection of women’s human rights in conflict and post-conflict contexts,” is available here.

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Third ATT PrepCom Comes to a Close

July 11-15, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

ox_02_bangbuck_7_editThis past Friday saw the close of the third preparatory committee for the arms trade treaty (ATT) as diplomats begin to move towards negotiations, which are to take place at next year’s conference in July 2012. As Chair Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan alluded to Thursday afternoon, the preparatory committee stage has run its course in successfully laying groundwork for commencing the 2012 negotiations. Ambassador Moritan’s non-papers successfully provoked a lively discussion last week at UN headquarters on a wide range of topics with particular focus on implementation and final provisions for an ATT.

We commend Ambassador Moritan for leading forward a potentially divisive process that is, perhaps, one of the more complex in recent UN history. Through the provocative language contained in his compilation non-paper, we believe that next year’s negotiations are poised to compress the ideas discussed in the second and third preparatory committees to give birth to refined, consensual arms treaty language. As noted by the Belgian delegation, diplomacy is an art. Ambassador Moritan has provided a solid canvas with the needed shapes, colors, and materials. The task now is for member states to exert a sufficient degree of fluidity, imagination, and creativity to refine the canvas and make the final work of art as ‘striking’ and universally ‘attractive’ as possible.

As has been the case during prior preparatory meetings, Global Action and its partners produced a daily monitor providing both summary and analysis on the previous day’s discussions. They provide a detailed summary of the week’s debate on the various issues fundamental to a future arms treaty.

All editions of the ATT Monitor and related articles are available on the Reaching Critical Will website here.

The Arms Trade Treaty blog is available here. You can also track the discussions using #armstreaty on Twitter.

The Chair’s non-paper is available here.

More information on the ATT PrepCom is available on the UNODA site here.

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Pushing to Protect Children in Armed Conflict

June 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

SRSG Radhika Coomaraswamy

SRSG Radhika Coomaraswamy

The topic of children and armed conflict is of special interest to Global Action to Prevent War, as it addresses two overlapping areas of our work-disarmament and human security. The past week at the UN saw a flurry of events and briefings touching on specific topics within the larger issue of children in armed conflict. Germany has taken the lead on this issue in their capacity as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The week’s events were also pushed by the Special Representative to the Secretary General on Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, in an effort to give this issue the exposure it deserves while keeping in mind the coinciding UN Year of the Youth. The events of the week brought together youth speakers, former child soldiers, UN diplomats, academics and other experts from diverse backgrounds as part of a collaborative effort for forming recommendations, spreading awareness, strengthening commitments and forging consensus about how to better tackle this ongoing issue.

A discussion of children and armed conflict will continue in the form of a thematic debate at the Security Council this month, where Germany intends to submit a resolution that will include attacks on schools and hospitals when naming perpetrators in the Secretary General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. The week’s events certainly brought together many bright figures contributing to important discussion, passionate debate, worthy recommendations and tangible steps forward, but whether or not these efforts will truly lead to measurable results on the ground, the jury is still out.

For a full review of the recent events on children in armed conflict, please click here.

For more information on the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, please click here.
For more information on the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, please click here.
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Global Arms Control Dynamics at the UN

May 26, 2011 | Berlin, Germany

feslogoThis past May 27, GAPW was featured at an event, “Global Arms Control Dynamics at the UN”, organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in Berlin.

FES’s Marius Mueller-Hennig brought together over a dozen members of parliament, government officials and NGOs to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) process, it’s relationship to the UN’s Programme of Action on Small Arms (POA), and the ways in which Germany can magnify its influence during the July Prep Com to create a robust ATT that can identify transfers that are candidates for diversion to non-state actors, for resale to line the pockets of corrupt officials, or for uses that are likely to violate the human rights of citizens. Germany has also taken leadership for the Group of Interested States at the UN which has become a leading forum for states to discuss ways to more fully implement the PoA and link the issues and challenges of small arms to the ATT process.

The session at FES in Berlin produced lively conversations that helped to define Germany’s role, clarify state objections to various aspect s of the ATT, and reaffirm the need for a structure to monitor licit transfers and highlight illicit ones. We were especially pleased by the affirmation of German parliamentarians to seek at ATT that is broad in scope, mindful of human rights obligations, and committed to eliminating loopholes that can be exploited by governments of manufacturers.

For a longer report on the meeting from FES, click here.

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New Media and Social Technology: Addressing Human Security Concerns

June 17, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

social-media-event-001On Friday, June 17th, in celebration of the Week of Global Action Against Gun Violence organized by the International Action Network Against Small Arms (IANSA), Global Action offered a social media workshop “Tweeting to End Gun Violence.” Jessica Erdman and Katherine Prizeman of Global Action led the discussion on how to use social media tools more effectively for carrying out disarmament advocacy and education.

The workshop began with a presentation on the evolving role of social media and new technologies in addressing a wide range of human security concerns. There is no dearth of examples in the news of the importance of social media tools, from the indispensable role of Twitter updates in the Arab Spring to the recent driving protest by Saudi women spurred on by a YouTube video. Jessica Erdman, a researcher at GAPW, then offered concrete tools and tips for using Twitter in an extremely useful “Nuts and Bolts of Twitter” presentation. The audience was then invited to participate in an interaction session whereby participants were invited to compose their own original ‘tweets’ as well as dissect examples of successful and not-so-successful postings.

social-media-event-005-1Global Action has its own social media platform for discussing disarmament and other human security issues. Please see@DisarmDialogues on Twitter and the Facebook page“Disarmament Dialogues” to join the conversation!

For the presentation materials on using Twitter more effectively, please contact coordinator[at]globalactionpw.org

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Hopeful Practices in Central Africa

June 2011 | Limbe, Yaounde and Buea, Cameroon

cameroonGlobal Action greatly values the efforts of our regional partners who are creating innovative activities and strategies to reduce conflict and build sustainable cultures of peace. We wish to highlight the extraordinary efforts of three affiliates in Cameroon who are changing the way peace and security issues are engaged while helping to identify and cultivate important local resources for making lasting change.

In Limbe, Christian Tanyi and the staff of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation (LUKMEF) are completing the current stage of efforts to create a viable Civilian-Military Partnership for Peace to help diverse actors in Cameroon society understand each other better — their security-related aspirations and needs as well as the skills that they will develop and contribute to making their communities more peaceful and sustainable.

For more information on LUKMEF’s important programs in this area, click here.

In Buea, Ben Mforndip Oru is involved in innovative training at the local university to introduce conflict prevention and resolution to a wide variety of professionals, including classroom teachers, tasked with nurturing, guiding and inspiring youth. Ben can be reached at: ben.mforndip@gmail.com.

In Yaounde, Eugene Ngalim and colleagues from the Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace have organized diverse activities to support the international Global Week of Action against Gun Violence. Eugene has been a visitor in our New York office and has familiarized us with the wide diversity of his involvements and successes.

For a French version of their program on Gun Violence click here.

For an English version of their press release, click here.

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Joining WFUNA: New R2P Outreach in Kenya

June 4-8, 2011 | Nairobi, Kenya

africa-youth-001For a number of years, GAPW has pursued partnership opportunities with the World Federation of UN Associations, helping where we can to more effectively address national UNAs with timely policy content and strategies from the United Nations. UNAs worldwide, especially their youth chapters, represent a treasure of commitment and energy that we are occasionally (as we were last month in Austria) privileged to engage.

Most recently, we were pleased to join WFUNA at the UN compound in Nairobi for a multi-faceted day of discussion on the Responsibility to Protect norm. Discussions included diplomats, UN officials and dozens of young practitioners from UN associations in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

africa-youth-002Under the guidance of WFUNA,s Laura Spano and Irene Martinetti, the main agenda was to provide content insight on the RtoP norm - its promise for ending atrocity crimes and its status among governments as expressed through statements and policy activities at the UN. There was also time for the UNA youth to discuss the relevance of the norm to their local and national work on conflict prevention and other, complementary activities.nairobi-conference-2

Among other intervention, GAPW was pleased to join a final panel highlighting the day’s insights and relating those findings to the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld alongside representatives of the Swedish and Kenyan governments.

GAPW very much appreciates the invitation to participate in this event, but even more supports the deepening involvement of WFUNA and individual UNAs in international efforts to prevent and address atrocity crimes.

For more information on the Symposium program, please click here.

For Dr. Zuber’s remarks, please click here.

For remarks from Ambassador S.K. Maina, Director of International Organizations and Conferences, Directorate of the Kenya Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here.

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New Leadership for Security Policy in Europe

May 20-31, 2011 | Vienna, Berlin, and Bonn

20110525-1-054While GAPW is fairly successful in holding together diverse security priorities in its New York-based programs - especially in the areas of disarmament, gender and civilian protection - it is rare to have an opportunity to address multiple areas of security interest overseas with a broad array of skilled participants.

Last month, through the generosity and skill of partners in three cities - the United Nations Youth and Student Association of Austria in Vienna, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Berlin, and the Bonn International Centre for Conversion - GAPW was able to explore strategies for development of its core program areas with a wide range of actors from Ambassadors and UN officials, to parliamentarians and educators.

20110523-1-049

vienna-002

But the highlight for us was the large number of young professionals who appeared at our workshops and meetings, sharing their research, their aspirations, their enthusiasm and determination for change. For example, our own Katherine Prizeman made her ‘policy debut’ in Europe, making splendid presentations on social media in Vienna (Katherine and Marc Melich of the UNYSA in Austria were key organizers of the Vienna workshops) and the gender implications of disarmament in Bonn. Former staffer Ruben Reike and Simona Novinec from Slovenia each made several helpful interventions on the Responsibility to Protect in Vienna, and Marius Mueller-Hennig of the FES organized a spirited parliamentary briefing in Berlin that featured several strong, young policy voices.

bonn-1Youth alone is not a palliative for the blindness and excess of some of us older adults, but it is comforting to know that there are skilled, passionate young people who are investing in innovative communications and policy strategies that can help break longstanding bottlenecks to change on illicit small arms, barriers to women’s full participation in peace processes, and the scarcity of reliable tools at the UN to prevent and address atrocity crimes. These and other challenges are being passed on to the next generation in a mostly unresolved state, virtually demanding a more robust, multi-generational approach that combines dependable ‘coaching’ by older adults with energetic, rigorous and entrepreneurial engagements by younger practitioners. More than anything else, we learned in Europe that we must invest in the development of young professionals as much as in the issues they are preparing to address.

For the full conference program, please click here.

For opening comments from the conference in Vienna from Dr. Robert Zuber, please click here.

For a presentation from Director of the Centro de Educacion e Investigacion para la Paz, Manuela Mesa, please clickhere.

For the presentation from Valerie Rocher, Associate Human Rights Officer, Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, please click here.

For the presentations from Ruben Reike of Oxford on R2P, please click here.

For a presentation of new tools and technologies to address atrocity crimes from Katherine Prizeman, please clickhere.

For remarks from Ambassador Helmut Tichy, Legal Adviser, Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, please click here.

For information on BICC’s research programs, please click here.

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25th Anniversary of the Adoption of the High Right to Development

June 1, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

1467_local1467turkey_1Wednesday’s meeting on strengthening UN support for national capacity building paid special attention to cultivating development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with a view to a human rights-based approach. The meeting was opened by Ms.Kyung-wha Kang, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights (Co-Chair of the UNDG-HRM), as she offered a brief introduction and overview of what the meeting was to cover and how it would be organized. She stressed that the meeting comes at a symbolic moment, as it was the Human Right to Development’s 25th anniversary of its adoption into the UN. The speaker began by explaining the roles of the UN development agencies and the office of the High Commissioner and also provided a timeline of UN action on human rights in the last 20 years. She noted that the concept of the “right to development” includes the following strategies: putting people at the center of development, freedom, active and meaningful participation, non-discrimination, fair distribution of benefits and protection of natural resources, all the while keeping in mind the advancement of political, social and cultural rights of people.

UNDP co-chair, Ms.Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, emphasized UNDP’s key role in helping member states implement and plan their national human rights and development strategies in a coordinating manner. The speaker addressed the role of UNDP, in terms of its role in development focused on human rights and affirmed its commitment to supporting national people-centered development initiatives and their local implementation through member states. UNDP is currently focused on capacity-building for development initiatives and assisting national governments in mainstreaming human rights. Their efforts are also focused on supporting countries to design and institute policies and programs aimed at improving human rights as well as reducing discrimination and inequality.

For a full summary of the event, please click here.

For more information on the IV LDC Conference in Istanbul, please click here.

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Meeting of Governmental Experts on Small Arms

May 9-13, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

photo-1The Open-ended Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE) on ‘preventing, combating, and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects’ opened Monday under the leadership of the Chair, Ambassador Jim McLay of New Zealand. The MGE lasted through the week and sought to address the serious gaps in implementation, specifically the  issues of marking, recordkeeping, and cooperation in tracing, with reference to the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA). This week’s gathering was born of a UN General Assembly Resolution in 2008 that called for a meeting of national experts to share experiences and best practices. The MGE sought to practically address with vigor the various implementation challenges as they relate specifically to the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) adopted in 2005.

Global Action, along with its partners, provided daily monitoring throughout the week for diplomats and civil society attendees. The daily monitors are available on the Reaching Critical Will site here.

Other reports and documents related to the UNPoA and ITI are available here.

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2011 Disarmament Commission Comes to a Close

May 6, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

undc2011-digest1_page1_image3The 2011 substantive session of the Disarmament Commission came to a close on April 21, 2011 after three weeks of negotiations. On April 4, the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) opened its 2011 session under the leadership of Ambassador Hamid al-Bayati of Iraq. The Chairman of the UNDC and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Sergio Duarte offered opening statements for the 2011 session, which was the final session of its three-year issue cycle.

The programme of work spanned three weeks and was composed of three working groups to deliberate on three specific agenda items: recommendations for achieving the objective of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, elements on a draft declaration of the 2010s as the fourth disarmament decade, and practical confidence-building measures in the field of conventional weapons. Despite some positive conversations within the working groups, none of the groups were able to reach consensus on recommendations. As such, there was clear disappointment among many delegations that neither agreement could be reached nor recommendations adopted.

Available here is the DC Monitor Preview Edition released prior to the start of the negotiations.

For further analysis and reporting on the 2011 DC, please see the full set of articles by Global Action and its partners on the Reaching Critical Will blog.

The official Report of the 2011 Disarmament Commission is also available here.

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Naval Strategies Reflect on R2P and UNEPS

April 26, 2011 | Newport, Rhode Island

logoOver the past several years, GAPW has held workshops of varying lengths in diverse global regions that have sought to fully incorporate military leaders and their important perspectives. While the world we envision embraces stronger collective security arrangements including conflict prevention and resolution capacities, our security policy advocacy has been greatly strengthened through contacts with the skills, discipline and field experiences of military leaders. Moreover, the challenges of preserving and enhancing security in communities and nations require that we engage more diverse constituencies in these issues.

As an increasing number of military officials now acknowledge, we must move beyond rigid, military-centric responses to security arrangements in which civilians have a clear stake and accept clear responsibilities. Furthering our efforts to engage military officials and policy analysts on key issues of global security, GAPW recently accepted an invitation to the US Naval War College in Newport, RI to review recent developments on the Responsibility to Protect at the UN. This review included the resolution on Libya, the regionalization of RtoP and the need for more robust implementation tools such as UNEPS.

For two hours, a group of 14 military officers, under the direction of Professor George Oliver, discussed with GAPW the strengths and limitations of UN-based responses to atrocity crimes, the need for more transparent early warning mechanisms regarding such crimes, prospects for standing, rapid-response peacekeeping capacity, strategies for shifting RtoP implementation burdens to regional powers, and the importance of adhering closely to mandates under UN resolutions on civilian protection so that subsequent resolutions are more likely. Part of our mission is to create opportunities for military and other security-sector constituencies to engage in open, honest dialogue with their civil society counterparts and others about the best ways to preserve and enhance security, including the protection of civilians from the threat of atrocity crimes. The opportunity provided by the Naval War College was enlightening and most appreciated. Our next such opportunity will be in five weeks in Vienna at an event on civilian protection that we have co-organized and which will be hosted by the Austrian National Defense Academy.

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Debating the Concept of Human Security

April 14, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

UN Photo

GAPW fully embraces a movement towards a more dependable and inclusive framework of human security. Our three programmatic pillars-disarmament, women, peace and security, and civilian protection- as well as our complementary work on torture, the ‘responsibility to protect’ and other concerns, are synergistically connected and reinforcing as part of the larger aim of enhancing the opportunities and dignity for each individual by reducing conflict and removing ideological and political impediments. The cross-cutting nature of human security allows us to draw connections and underscore linkages between areas of security that might otherwise appear unrelated as well as remain flexible in determining the most compelling and valuable modes of accomplishing our goals.

At the request of its President, Ambassador Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, the General Assembly gathered for a thematic debate on the issue of human security as part of the work of its 65th session. In the context of an evolving security framework, one that has paradigmatically shifted from focus primarily on territorial security to one that is more encompassing and underscores the linkages between security, development, and human rights to enhance the individual dignity of all persons, Ambassador Deiss invited all member states to participate in an interactive dialogue composed of two panels. In response to an increase in the severity of transnational concerns-climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, nuclear weapon proliferation, and terrorism among others-the General Assembly agreed at the 2005 World Summit to further discuss and define the concept of human security. The World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1) recognizes that “all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential.” In March 2010, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released his own report on human security. There has been markedly increased appreciation of an international approach to security that is more comprehensive, people-centered, and multi-dimensional to adequately address the complex concerns of our time.

For a full report on the debate, please click here.

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GA Interactive Debate on the Rule of Law

April 11, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

SG Ban Ki-moon and GA President Joseph Deiss

SG Ban Ki-moon and GA President Joseph Deiss

On April 11, 2011, the Sixty-Fifth General Assembly hosted an interactive thematic debate entitled “The rule of law and global challenges” held at the Economic and Social Council chamber, United Nations Headquarters, NY. Split into two panel discussions, the morning session highlighted the “Rule of Law in Conflict Situations” and was chaired by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the session by highlighting the timeliness of such a debate as political and social change continues to unfold in the Middle East. He stressed that a proper rule of law serves as the fundamental bedrock of an international world order, and praised efforts made by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other tribunals in ushering in a “new age of accountability” where crimes against humanity and large scale violations of human rights will no longer go unpunished. The Secretary-General cited the Security Council’s recent referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC as a testament to the international commitment to the rule of law. The SG also commended the General Assembly’s decision to hold a high-level event dedicated to the rule of law in 2012 as another marker towards progress.

There was consensus among the participants that there must be a balance that faithfully considers the merits of both modern legal formality and traditional conflict resolution. The international community still does not have all the answers in advocating for the rule of law, and must embrace humility as it continues to learn from different conflict situations around the globe.

For a detailed report on the debate, please click here.

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Un débat ouvert du Conseil de Sécurité sur la situation d’Haïti

le 6 de avril de 2011 | L’ONU, NY, NY

« De nombreuses mains rendent le fardeau plus léger. »

UN Photo/Evan SchneiderC’est par ce proverbe créole que la 6510e réunion du conseil de sécurité de l’ONU en date du 6 avril 2011 et sous la présidence de Juan Manuel Santos Calderon a ouvert le débat sur la situation haïtienne. « De nombreuses mains » oui. Car des mains, des bras, il en faut, plus que jamais.

La situation d’un pays encore aux soins intensifs de l’aide humanitaire internationale, économiquement à genou, après le séisme dévastateur du 12 janvier 2010 ayant causé plus de 220 000 victimes requérait en effet urgemment une réflexion sur les mesures qui y ont récemment été mises en place par la communauté internationale et l’ONU. Au lendemain de l’élection du M. Martelly à la présidence haïtienne, « petit miracle » salué par l’ex-président américain Bill Clinton, émissaire particulier de l’ONU en Haïti, et à l’approche de la saison cyclonique - alors que 680 000 personnes vivent encore sous des tentes de fortunes -, le débat pour améliorer la dynamique de stabilisation et d’instauration de l’Etat de droit du pays devenait indispensable.

Pour la version française, cliquez ici.

For a summary of the Open Debate in English, please click here.

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Resolving Youth Conflict in Ethnically Diverse Settings

March 30, 2011 | Robeson County, North Carolina

doc-zuber-of-harlem1Global Action takes seriously the need to listen to and partner with youth, anti-poverty and conflict prevention professionals in diverse cultural settings. The policies for which we advocate at the UN have direct connections to local problems, opportunities and strategies for change. It is these choices and challenges that give life and context to our own, often abstract, work at the international policy level. On March 30, GAPW was pleased to lead a workshop on ‘youth violence’ in Robeson County, NC - one of the most ethnically diverse (home to native Lumbee people) and economically challenged counties in the US. Robeson County agencies, especially the Center for Community Action (CCA), are now partnering on a grant with the University of North Carolina Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention to provide interview-based data on countywide youth violence that can help set policy for local schools and civic agencies seeking to roll back rising levels of youth violence.

Our workshop affirmed the value of data gathering, but also explored how the data could be used to build a culture that was context-appropriate and that can more effectively and fairly address youth violence.

These tangible collaborations between ordinary citizens, schools, civic agencies and academic centers are inspiring to behold. They remind us that there are many sound strategies and robust commitments on display far from our own policy bubbles. GAPW will stay in close touch with this project - as well as the Philanthropy of Community and Women’s Project initiatives of CCA - and seek new pathways of mutual engagement and support.

For a  more detailed report, please click here.

To find out more about the Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention project, click here.

To find out more about the Philanthropy of Community project, click here.

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Building Collaborative Capacities to Protect Civilians and Prevent Atrocities

March 24, 2011 | Washington, DC

Council Authorizes No-Fly Zone over Libya, Tightens Sanctions

Council Authorizes No-Fly Zone over Libya, Tightens Sanctions

On March 24, Global Action led a discussion at the US State Department as part of the inter-agency Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention working group. About two dozen representatives from State, Defense, Justice, Health and Human Services and other Federal agencies were in the conference room.

The one hour session was designed primarily to review recommendations from the book“Healing the Wounds: Speech, Identity, & Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond” - authored principally by Sheri Rosenberg of Cardozo Law School with support from GAPW - along with other recommendations stemming from our own work with the UN’s Genocide Prevention Office, the International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and other key partners. However, the conversation at State quickly turned to Libya and the controversy over the application of a recent Security Council resolution that provided legitimacy for civilian protection activity, specifically in the form of a ‘no fly’ zone. Our position was that Libya represents a legitimate R2P case, but that there are danger signs in the way in which the resolution was interpreted by implementing parties.

GAPW was pleased to have this time with US government officials who face a myriad of challenges in supporting international diplomatic activity while remaining the ‘default’ for military engagement once diplomacy fails. To shift this ‘default,’ we need more robust and reliable, UN-based preventive tools and capacities as well as more ‘good faith’ attention to the limits (and not just the permissions) imposed by UN resolutions.

For the full report on the briefing, please click here.

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Human Rights Committee Review National Performances

March 14-18, 2011 | UN Headquarters, New York, NY

Sir Nigel Rodley, member of the committee

Sir Nigel Rodley, member of the HR Committee

The 101st session of the Human Rights Committee is under way in New York. The Committee represents an unusual structure within the UN system in several ways. A group of independent human rights experts reviews reports on human rights performance submitted by member states and then engages in vigorous interrogation of both what governments contribute and what they omit. States are represented in the discussion by high level officials from capital as well as the Permanent Representative and other officials from the mission in New York.

The experts ask good questions and offer pointed criticism, but also demonstrate a sophisticated grasp of the difficulties states have in changing their ‘culture’ of human rights compliance in light of local political realities. This sophistication was on full display during committee reviews of Togo and Serbia, two countries with long histories of ethnic violence and in the case of Serbia many unresolved issues related to atrocity crimes committed in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Unlike some other parts of the UN system, the committee is clear in its high regard for NGO engagement. NGOs (including our human rights partnerFIACAT), provided testimony to the committee of circumstances on the ground - in prisons, in the security sector, with regard to the status of women, ethnic minorities, etc. - that provide the basis for many of the most penetrating committee questions.

For those fortunate enough to share in the discussions, the committee represents the best of the UN system - robust partnerships with civil society, fair and firm questioning by recognized international experts, and uncomfortable moments for states unaccustomed to having their human rights performance held under the microscope.

For more information on the 101st session and its schedule, click here.

For access to the opening address to the Committee by Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General, click here.

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Monitoring the Second ATT PrepCom

February 28-March 4, 2011 | UN Headquarters, New York, NY

UN Photo/Devra BerkowitzFrom February 28 through March 4, Member States came together for the second preparatory committee prior to the 2012 conference to commence formal negotiations towards an ATT. Ambassador Roberto Moritan of Argentina, chair of the PrepCom, skillfully assumed his leadership role and circulated three ‘non-papers’ covering scope, parameters/criteria, and international cooperation and assistance respectively. These non-papers supplied the framework for a week of vigorous discussions by Member States. Ambassador Moritan subsequently distributed a revised paper on Thursday morning after all three substantive issue areas had been sufficiently vetted.

Despite a wide set of concerns and disagreements, Member States were able to reaffirm their common desire for an ATT to regulate the trade in conventional arms. Opinions varied on scope-which weapons are to be included in the treaty-as well as the criteria to be used to evaluate the legality of transfers. There was much debate on the issue of ammunition with the majority of delegations favoring the inclusion of ammunition in the scope, but also with some vocal dissenters. International assistance and cooperation was also debated insofar as how much and which type of assistance would be provided to fellow signatories to ensure the implementation of the treaty’s provisions. Also addressed was the question  of an ATT secretariat for which some delegates and NGOs advocated. What functions would a secretariat perform and how robustly would it be able to ‘flag’ suspicious arms trade activities?

The week concluded with a genuine sense of optimism as diplomats seemed anxious to meet again in July 2011 in NY for the third and final PrepCom. The questions that remain to be answered are difficult and complex indeed, but delegates have already shown their dedication to resolving obstacles towards an ATT. Under the very able leadership of Ambassador Moritan, an actionable treaty according to schedule is still well within the realm of possibility.

For all editions (in PDF) of the daily ATT Monitor produced by GAPW, Oxfam, IANSA, and RCW, please click here .

For a compilation of summaries and editorials written by GAPW staffers throughout the week, please click here.

For the official 2nd PrepCom website, please click here.

For the “Arms Trade Treaty Monitor” blog, please click here.

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Celebrating CSW 55

February 24, 2011 | 866 UN Plaza, New York, NY

csw-ii-001GAPW celebrated CSW 55 by hosting a networking reception with our partners Soka Gakkai International(SGI) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)/ Peace Women for the second consecutive year.

This year, the reception was well-attended with CSW participants from around the world coming to the GAPW office. The reception, titled “Voices of Activism: An Informal Networking Reception to Discuss the Women, Peace & Security Agenda with Women Leaders in the Movement,” aimed at stimulating dialogue and movement on youth leadership by bringing together leading women’s rights activists, policymakers, and women’s groups to network. Bearing in mind the theme, the discussion  focused on young women’s leadership and participation in women, peace and security and disarmament issues.

GAPW, along with Femmes Africa Solidarité and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, analyzed the priority theme of the 55th Session of the CSW “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” and submitted a written statement. Our statement, which strongly emphasizes that the inclusion and participation of women and girls in all aspects of communal life, including education and training as being vital to the creation and maintenance of peace, was distributed at the reception.

For a full report of the reception, please click here.

For a copy of the CSW statement, please click here.

GAPW Members have been closely following other CSW side events. For a report on several of these events, please click here.

Click here for WILPF’s Summary Report of CSW 55.

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Opening Session of CSW 55

February 22, 2011 | UN Headquarters, New York, NY

UN Photo/Devra BerkowitzOn Tuesday, February 22, 2011, the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) commenced in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters, New York. Delegates from member states and many women from civil society organizations (CSOs) were in attendance, filling the Assembly Hall.  Global Action to Prevent War focuses on women, peace and security, and was pleased to monitor the proceedings of the opening session. This is the first session of CSW to be held after the establishment of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and was thus described as a “moment of tremendous expectations, excitement and promise” by Garen Nazarian, Chair of CSW. The theme for the fifty-fifth session of CSW is “to promote women’s and girls’ access to education, training, science and technology.”

The opening session was addressed by Executive Director of UN Women, Michele Bachelet; Deputy Secretary General of the U.N., Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro; and Lazarous Kapambwe, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).Various agencies, including the Group of 77 and China, ASEAN, along with delegations from member states, joined in recognizing the need for perception of gender and development as linked towards progress of the Millennium Development Goals.

For a full report of the opening session, please click here.

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Canadian Leadership on Conflict Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect

February 16-17, 2011 | Ottawa, Canada

pearson-event-003Last week in Ottawa (Canada), GAPW was privileged to take part in several events, including a meeting with some of the leadership of the renowned Pearson Peacekeeping Center; a one day workshop entitled “Developing a Path for Young Peace Professionals” organized by Civilian Peace Service Canada, YOUCAN, the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution and other partners; and a luncheon event organized by the Group of 78 and the World Federalist Movement of Canada.   Dr. Zuber of GAPW was the keynote speaker at the G 78 luncheon on the topic, “The United Nations and the Responsibility to Protect: The Current State of Play and Options for Expanding the R2P “Toolkit”.

These and other discussions brought together several themes that guide GAPW’s work –  especially increasing opportunities for young people to contribute to important peace processes in civilian capacities.  We also remain committed to training and advocacy opportunities that can help develop robust regional responses to the ‘responsibility to protect’ and lead us closer to formal adoption of a UNEPS-style, rapid-response, integrated peacekeeping capacity.

As many of our readers know, Canada has exercised important leadership on rapid-response peacekeeping, the formal adoption of the ‘R2P’ norm, and on training for civilian peace professionals.  We were enlightened, inspired and encouraged by the work of the many Canadian organizations with which we interacted,  and look forward to developing more fruitful partnerships with each.

Please click here for Dr. Zuber’s powerpoint presentation.
Please click here for the agenda from “Developing a Path for Young Peace Professionals”

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Security Council Debate on Intersection between Security and Development

February 11, 2011 | UN Headquarters, New York, NY

UN Photo/Mark GartenOn February 11, at the initiative of Brazil, this month’s Council President, the Security Council held an Open Debate on the “Intersection between Security and Development.” The debate was presided over by Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota and attended by numerous distinguished delegates, ambassadors, and a large number of foreign ministers.

There were several recurring themes that emerged throughout the debate. The following issues received general consensus from the parties to the debate: security and development are interlinked and mutually reinforcing (supported by the assertion that not a single low-income state has yet to accomplish a Millennium Development Goal); coherence is vital to development and security; peacekeepers should not and cannot take over tasks that others are more qualified to do; it is essential to respect international law as well as human rights; more emphasis should be placed on women playing an active role in the development process.

Global Action welcomes the Council’s initiative on drawing a connection between security and development, especially the particular emphasis on the full participation of women in advancing social and economic development as well as the focus on the arms trade and other disarmament-related issues. Although development does not fall under the Council’s mandate, it is nonetheless important to recognize its intersection with other issues of peace and security for which the Council is responsible.

For the full debate report, please click here.

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Building Collaborative Capacity to Protect Civilians and Address Atrocity Crimes

March 24, 2011 | Washington, DC

untitledOn March 24, Global Action led a discussion at the US State Department as part of the Interagency Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention Working Group. About two dozen representatives from State, Defense, Justice, Health and Human Services and other Federal agencies were in the conference room. The one hour session was designed primarily to review recommendations from the book “Healing the Wounds: Speech, Identity, & Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond” - authored principally by Sheri Rosenberg of Cardozo Law School with content and editorial support from GAPW - along with other recommendations stemming from our own work with the UN’s Genocide Prevention Office, the International Coalition on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and other key partners.

A few of the recommendations we offered are listed below. However, the conversation at State quickly turned to Libya and the controversy over the application of a recent Security Council resolution that provided legitimacy for civilian protection activity, specifically i8n the form of a ‘no fly’ zone. Our position in that meeting was that Libya represents a legitimate R2P case, but that there are danger signs in the way in which the resolution was interpreted by implementing parties. Specifically, we are concerned about the conflating in some quarters of civilian protection and regime change, prospects for military action beyond the securing of Libyan airspace (which had already been accomplished according to the UK), the lack of clarity about a Libyan ‘opposition’ which had already been formally recognized (by France) but that participants in our State Department meeting (and many others) could not clearly identify, and the degree to which military action against the Libyan government is being used by elements of that opposition as a pretext for renewing their own military activities without any apparent pressure being put on them by the ‘coalition’ to protect civilians or accept a cease fire.

We were clear to point out that this UN resolution establishes both a course of action and a precedent. If states are convinced that the application of the resolution is more about ‘taking sides’ or ousting a leader ‘we don’t like’ rather than asserting our responsibility to protect, this will erode trust in both the process and the norm. We are concerned that the next time a civilian protection resolution is sought, state abstentions in response to this particular resolution will quickly turn to vetoes for subsequent resolutions.

Genocide-specific recommendations for the group included the following:

  • Support efforts at the UN (as well as within US government agencies) to create more robust early warning capacity and end bottlenecks that keep legitimate findings from becoming actionable for diplomatic efforts at early stages.
  • Support the possibility of a voluntary, UN-based capacity to provide drafting assistance to states contemplating adopting genocide ideology or related laws to ensure that laws are precisely and narrowly crafted with appropriate punitive sanctions and independent authorities to sanction indictable offenses.
  • Urge states to promote dialogue about ethnic identify in pre and post conflict settings, rather than attempting to suppress or criminally sanction dialogue in the name of ‘national unity.’

GAPW was pleased to have this time with US government officials who face a myriad of challenges related to international diplomatic activity while remaining the ‘default’ for military engagement once diplomacy has been abandoned. To shift this ‘default,’ we need more robust and reliable, UN-based preventive tools and capacities as well as more ‘good faith’ attention to the need for timely diplomatic engagement, to the consequences of our often needless and unbalanced military responses, and to the limits (and not just the permissions) imposed by UN resolutions.

For access to “Healing the Wounds,” please click on the ‘Publications’ tab.

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Addressing Human Security Concerns in Guatemala

January 20-21, 2011 | Guatemala City, Guatemala

guatemala-web-002Global Action was recently honored to share in important conversations in Guatemala about the future of that country’s indigenous populations and security sector. Through the skillful and generous hospitality of a local representative of Friendship Bridge, we were able to make contact with representatives in communities along Lake Atitlan.

The women and men with whom we spoke have made extraordinary progress in both preserving local culture and in seizing opportunities for economic development. While the local leaders we met were extremely kind to us, they were also appropriately reluctant to get too involved with the policy concerns of ‘northerners’ with whom they had not gained sufficient trust. Back in Guatemala City, we met with the extraordinary Luz Mendez, a contributor to our book, “Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies.” Luz is currently promoting the participation of women in electoral politics ahead of the next Guatemalan elections in September.

GAPW is planning workshops during 2011 in Bogota and Mexico City and we are open to other opportunities to link with the human security needs and aspirations of women and men throughout Latin America.

For the full report, please click here.

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Security Council Open Debate on Post-Conflict Institution Building

January 21, 2011 | UN Headquarters, NY, NY

sg_opendebate_12111Under the leadership of this month’s president, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Security Council took up the issue of post-conflict institution building in an open debate forum on Friday, January 21. Each of the fifteen Council members, as well as non-members of the Security Council, offered comprehensive statements on the importance of institutions in cultivating public trust and support in post-conflict societies.

Three main points of consensus among the vast majority of the delegations were: national ownership of the institution building process; full inclusion of women’s groups, the private sector and civil society in post-conflict institution building; and avoidance of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Furthermore, another commonality was the call for a greater and more prominent advisory role for the PBC as well as improved, up-front financing for peacekeeping missions. Global Action and its women, peace and security partners are pleased to report that the United States, Germany, India, Brazil and Portugal were among those delegations that made specific references to the indispensable role of women in post-conflict institution building. The empowerment of women, along with other traditionally marginalized groups, is imperative for more effective peacebuilding, to deliver core government functions and to provide the support necessary for national institution building.

For a full report, please click here.

For the statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, please click here.

For the Presidential Statement given by Bosnia-Herzegovina, please click here.

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Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians

November 22, 2010 | United Nations Headquarters, New York

UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

On Monday November 22, the Security Council held an open debate on the protection of civilians during armed conflict. The debate was convened by the President of the Security Council for November, the United Kingdom, on the occasion of the release of the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the protection of civilians during armed conflict. Speakers included Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Yves Daccord, Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Several themes emerged as points of concurrence among the delegations, including the need to address the use of explosive weapons, the deliberate targeting of civilians during conflict, sexual violence as a tactic of war, the denial of humanitarian access, and the role of international tribunals and commissions of inquiry. A recurring argument was the recognition that states bear the primary responsibility to protect their civilian populations, ensure accountability, and end the culture of impunity.

For the full report on the debate, please click here.

For the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the protection of civilians during armed conflict, please click here.

For the Presidential Statement on the Protection of Civilians from the United Kingdom, please click here.

For an extensive DPI brief on the Security Council Protection of Civilians Open Debate, please click here.

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Commemorating SCR 1325 + 10 in New York

October 2010 | New York, NY

On October 21, the Mission of Switzerland to the UN hosted a discussion titled, “From the Field to the UN security Council: Evidence-Based Recommendations for Improving Women, Peace and Security Implementation.”  Global Action to Prevent War along with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and PeaceWomen of WILPF came together to organize the event. Bandana Rana from SAATHI in Nepal with GAPW’s Kavitha Suthanthiraraj presented the work being done in the field that has been outlined in the publication on women’s participation in peace processes, “Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies.” Maria Butler of WILPF’s PeaceWomen project presented PeaceWomen’s handbook, “Women, Peace and Security Handbook”, and Sarah Taylor of the NGOWG on Women, Peace and Security presented the handbook, “Mapping Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council Report.”

Additionally, a Peace Fair took place during the week of October 25th through the 29th in order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.  Two important publications were presented during one of the Peace Fair’s many events, “Promoting Women’s Participation in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies “, presented by the primary author Kavitha Suthanthiraraj (GAPW) and “1325 Mujeres Tejiendo la Paz: Proposals, experiences and life stories from the ground” presented by Manuela Mesa from CEIPAZ in Spain.  Sarah Taylor was the moderator of the event.

For a full report of both events, please click here.

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High-Level Panel on Sexual Violence During Armed Conflict

September 28, 2010 | UN Headquarters, New York

A High-Level Panel entitled “Addressing Sexual Violence During Armed Conflict” convened at UN headquarters in New York on September 28, 2010. The panel was co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Cote d’Ivoire to the United Nations and Global Action to Prevent War. The event was organized in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 recognizing the special role of women in conflict and post-conflict societies.

This event represents another important part of GAPW’s work in women, peace and security. GAPW, along with our colleagues at the Cote d’Ivoire mission, works to ensure the full and rapid implementation of Security Council Resolutions 1820 and 1325 and advocates for the participation of women in all aspects of peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peace-building. High-level discussions such as this one allow for open conversation on the critical issue of sexual violence against women and how to best combat these unfortunate circumstances.

For the full event report, please click here.

For the full statement from Dr. Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF, please click here.

For the full statement from Antonio Bernardini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy, please click here.

For the full report from Professor Susan McKay’s research, please click here.

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Celebrating the International Day Against Nuclear Tests

September 9, 2010 | UN Headquarters, New York

006On Thursday, September 9, the General Assembly held an informal meeting to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The adoption by the General Assembly of Res 64/35, put forth by the Republic of Kazakhstan, recognized August 29 as the official International Day against Nuclear Tests. This date is symbolic as 18 years ago, the then-President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, closed one of the largest nuclear test facilities in the world at Semipalatinsk.

GAPW, through our partnership with the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, joins with most of the international community in embracing a world free of nuclear weapons. However, political obstacles including resistance by the P5 have made the path toward total nuclear disarmament a difficult one. The event to commemorate the success of the international community in eliminating nuclear testing is simply one more stage on the path to global zero.

For the full report of the meeting please click here.

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Building a Cadre of Peace Professionals

August 30, 2010 | New York City

Presentation: Civilian Peace Service CanadaGlobal Action recently hosted Gord Breedyk, co-director of Civilian Peace Service Canada (CPSC), an organization that is setting standards for assessing the competence and values of peace professionals heading into potential or actual conflict settings. The group that assembled included representatives of the UN’s Genocide Prevention Office, the World Federation of UN Associations, the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, and other organizations whose work we support. Gord’s main thrust is that we must continue to develop an expanding cadre of peace professionals with high levels of skill in areas such as communications, mediation, conflict analysis and operational planning, along with a commitment to both non-violent conflict transformation and core values such as empathy, integrity and social justice. CPSC’s evaluation framework leads to board accreditation based on a resume review, written self-assessment, reference checks and oral interviews.  CPSC does not do training per se, but is committed to developing ‘gold standard’ criteria for assessing the fitness of civilians to do effective work in conflict zones.

Global Action is excited about this program, in part because we believe that developing this cadre is a necessary supplement to UN-based efforts to implement the Responsibility to Protect with tools and capacities (including our proposal for a UN Emergency Peace Service) for which competent professionals with a commitment to non-violence would be particularly valuable.  We also maintain that CPSC assessments could help raise the bar on competencies and values for many State and UN-sponsored field operations with peace and security dimensions.

Courtesy of CPSCClick here for more information on CPSC.

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International Year of Youth

August 12, 2010 | New York City

International Year of Youth at UN General AssemblyInternational Youth Day was celebrated on August 12 and the UN has designated this upcoming year as International Year of Youth focused on the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.” We hope to have substantive involvement over this next year in promoting the skills and passions of young people in both UN and NGO settings. ‘Mutual Understanding’ is often an elusive concept in diplomacy but it is a part of youth’s social makeup and certainly of their self-understanding. In this Year of Youth, we all have much to learn from the next generation of diplomats and advocates. Global Action, in partnership with Soka Gakkai International, hosted a pizza party on July 29 to honor the service of the many disarmament-related interns and junior staff whose energy and commitment has sustained our organizations through a difficult three months of meetings on nuclear disarmament, small arms and light weapons, and the arms trade.

Click here for more on the gathering of youth.

Click here for the full text of the UN resolution (A/RES/64/134) on the International Year of Youth.

Click here for the official International Year of Youth (IYY) website.

Click here for the ILO report on Global Employment Trends for Youth.

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Arms Trade Treaty Preparatory Conference 2010

July 12-23, 2010 | New York City

Over the past two weeks Member States, the UN’s Office of Disarmament Affairs and select NGOs convened for meetings of the  Preparatory Committee to promote development of a formal Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The entire process aims to produce by the end of 2012 a legally binding instrument to regulate international arms transfers and ultimately eliminate the illicit trade in conventional weapons. At this first PrepCom, governments expressed their views on principles and elements for inclusion in the final Treaty, with debate centered around three major categories: feasibility, scope, and parameters. The next PrepCom will take place in New York in February 2011. Global Action’s Dr. Robert Zuber attended this ATT PrepCom and wrote daily articles (with Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will and members of the Control Arms Coalition) reporting on and analyzing the discussions. Click here

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Security Council Open Debate on Civilian Protection | July 7, 2010

On Wednesday July 7th, the Security Council held an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon opened the session; other speakers featured were John Holmes, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The debate covered a variety of themes and issues surrounding civilian protection. Most notable were concerns for humanitarian access, accountability, protection for vulnerable groups, and peacekeeping mandates. The upcoming withdrawal of MINURCAT from Chad was also an important topic. The recent prevalence of attacks on humanitarian workers was strongly denounced, and urgent calls were made for all parties to conflict, including non-state actors, to adhere to international law obligations. Particular protection for the disabled, elderly, women and children was also emphasized.

Please click here to download the full report.

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