November 25, 2013| Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana hosted the 3rd Annual Conference (http://hopeforinitiativedr.org) on the ‘HOPEFOR’ initiative from 18th-20th November 2013. The HOPEFOR concept came about in 2010 as a Qatar-led initiative to improve the use of military resources and civil defense assets in natural disaster response. Later in the year, the governments of Turkey and the Dominican Republic joined this movement. Together, the three countries took the lead in exploring ways to improve systems of civil-military coordination to support the humanitarian emergency response system of the UN for large-scale natural disasters. This led to General Assembly Resolution 65/307 welcoming the HOPEFOR initiative. HOPEFOR, it should be noted, is designed to support existing UN processes, and not be in competition.
What brought HOPEFOR to the attention of the GAPW was its potential to contribute to existing debates on Rapid Reaction and rapid deployment of military and civilian personnel into states beset by mass violence. The world of peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and prevention of mass atrocity crime has obvious differences with the world of natural disaster response. The obvious difference is that in one case the collapse of infrastructure is largely a result of an act of nature; whereas in the other, it is largely due to acts of overt violence. However there are clear similarities. HOPEFOR looks to create processes that better coordinate civilian and military actors to deploy into third countries at a time when host-country structures are fragileor non-existent. There are similarities here with regards to the deployment of peacekeepers into post-conflict environments, when there is an influx of humanitarian agencies, military, and security personnel into areas which may otherwise be bereft of formal security structures.
From GAPW’s vantage point, and given the current tragedy still unfolding in the Philippines, the Conference was particularly timely. Sessions looked to ways of expanding UN member state involvement in HOPEFOR, as well as going into further depth with regards to sharing of best practices and outlining challenges of civil-military coordination in disaster response. Interestingly (and drawing further parallels between natural disaster prevention and conflict prevention), important developments were outlined in preventative frameworks to assist rapid reaction, but also to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on the wider population. This has political implications - the presentation by OCHA noted that the growing gap between rich and poor may also signify a growing gap between those who survive natural disasters, and those who do not.
An over-riding question for those interested in rapid reaction from the peacekeeping/peacebuilding perspective is the question of state acceptance of such forces. Little mention was made of the concept of state sovereignty at the HOPEFOR Conference. However debates on rapidly deployable military and civilian assets in conflict response are often beset by claims of sovereignty, state responsibility, etc. There are a number of possible answers to this challenge. This conference provided us the chance to look deeper at how insights from HOPEFOR might inform other UN and regional response frameworks.
GAPW will stay as engaged as possible with the HOPEFOR initiative. It demonstrates solidarity from a number of like-minded member states who are on the front lines of the adverse effects of climate change, or which are situated in areas of seismic activity or adverse weather patterns. But HOPEFOR looks to offer something on top of the solidarity which is often expressed at the time of natural disasters. By approaching the question of ‘how’ such solidarity can be transformed into coherent disaster response, HOPEFOR demonstrates a forward thinking approach to saving lives and rebuilding societies that can have positive ramifications for atrocity crimes and other situations in which the UN is expected to respond quickly and effectively.
November 12, 2013| Budapest, Hungary
Through the good graces of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry and the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, our office was one of the beneficiaries of some insightful presentations, excellent networking opportunities and generous hospitality. In addition to a number of diplomats representing regional governments in Geneva, New York and in national capitals, the UN itself was ably represented by, among others, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, and Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaty Branch for OHCHR. Having UN officials of this caliber in attendance reinforces the notion that the international community is attentive to and supportive of national efforts to build robust and effective human rights mechanisms.
As was noted often during Third Committee deliberations at the UN earlier in the month, all states have human rights deficiencies. None has achieved perfect compliance with existing frameworks and obligations. For Hungary, other Visegrád states and their Balkans neighbors, there are a number of issues that will require state vigilance in the years to come – homelessness, domestic violence, discrimination against migrants, hate speech and a revival of Anti-Semitism, among others.
Some of these issues were raised either during the Forum itself or the preceding workshop organized by the Budapest Centre. The Forum specifically took up themes of sustainable development, freedom of religion, the role of media and treatment of vulnerable groups. GAPW’s Lia Petridis Maiello presented a paper on the role of European media in addressing the rising tide of discrimination on the continent. We welcomed the ‘cross over’ nature of the concerns addressed, especially with regard to the human rights dimensions of post-2015 development goals, goals which we believe will only be enhanced through careful and robust adoption of a human rights lens.
We understand that raising issues and addressing them can be quite distinct processes. For all of us, it is easier to talk through challenges than to walk a determined path of resolution. We hope very much to stay connected to both the Forum and the Budapest Centre, and we will do what we can to help ensure that Hungary and its neighbors are equipped to make their maximum contribution to the elimination of barriers that impede the full enjoyment of rights by their citizens.
As we look ahead, we see competing trends. On the one hand, there has been a concerted effort to strengthen the work of the human rights treaty bodies and expand special procedures to cover an even wider range of potential abuses. At the same time diplomats and advocates are exploring ways that the Responsibility to Protect norm can overcome its structural limitations and make a lasting contribution to the development of effective atrocity crime prevention measures.
But there is also a fog that seemed at one point to be dissipating but now is resurgent. Domestic violence in the home. Discrimination against migrants, Jews and others. Media professionals facing danger while their editors make discriminatory judgments regarding whom to hire and what human rights-related stories are ‘newsworthy.’ Unequal access to services or to the places where policy decisions are made. Vulnerable people left to cope with their own vulnerabilities. These trends make citizens and rights advocates uneasy. Hopefully, governments will also recognize the costs and dangers of not dealing forthrightly with these and other, related problems. This is not a matter of politics. It could, however, be a matter of national and regional survival.
We wish to express our thanks again to the Hungarian government and to Gyorgy Tatar and the Budapest Centre. We in New York need to hear more often from this part of the world. We hope that when the 7th Forum convenes in Budapest next year that the panelists are able to reflect a good and hopeful blend of problems highlighted and progress made.
Please, find Lia Petridis Maiello’s paper here.
To learn more about the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, please follow this link.
Peacekeeping and Rapid Reaction: Towards the Establishment of Cosmopolitan Capacities for Rapid Deployment
October 7, 2013| Bradford, UK
The Division of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford - October 2013
By David Curran, Melina Lito, Jonathan Gilmore and Catherine Jones
The Division of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford hosted a workshop on 8th July 2013 supported by Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict (GAPW), and the World Federalist Movement Canada, titled “Peacekeeping and Rapid Reaction: Towards the establishment of cosmopolitan capacities for rapid deployment.” The workshop had two main goals. Firstly to chart the theoretical and practical development of peacekeeping operations, incorporating cosmopolitan approaches to international conflict resolution; secondly, to analyse the role of standing, rapid reaction peacekeeping capacities (at national and international levels) as suitable tools for governments, regional organisations and the United Nations.
This report outlines policy considerations which were evident during the discussions. A key theme emergent in the workshop was the requirement for dialogue over a number of areas - such dialogue would focus not just on where current capacities are short, but would also interrogate a range of possible ‘answers’ to capacity challenges. Please click the above image to download the full report.
The publication is available here.
For the past two years GAPW has been developing and establishing the UN-focused media initiative, matching:points. In the shorter term, the initiative is designed to examine the state of UN media coverage and promote more effective cooperation between UN journalists, UN Secretariat departments and UN missions. The longer-term goal is the elevation of the United Nations’ profile based on more intensive media coverage of a wider range of UN stakeholders and policy challenges, mostly communicated via social media and other web-based resources.
matching:points consists of three elements, the first being the production of a brief with recommendations for the UN media community based on a series of interviews with UN correspondents, UN staff, and diplomats from various missions. The brief is supposed to serve as a reminder to the adherence of relatively well known, common and global media standards, rather then the reinvention of an entire, already existing system.
The second component refers to organizing stakeholder meetings based on the recommendations made in the brief.
To date, we have organized events on Obstacles UN-based journalists Encounter during Their Daily Reporting, and How to Cover Disarmament Issues More Effectively. A forthcoming event will focus on The Image of the UN in Central/South American States. Finally the initiative attempts to provide coverage of a wide range of important UN policy discussions that might otherwise remain underreported.
The initiative is directed by Lia Petridis Maiello a European journalist who writes on different UN matters for diplomats and for various international media outlets. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For GAPW’s brief on UN media relations, please click here.
For more information about the project, please click here.
September 13, 2013| New York, NY
Last Thursday, September 5th, Global Action to Prevent War and the New York Chapter of Women in International Security hosted a round-table discussion on women’s mentorship. Participants native to Australia, France, the Philippines, Spain and Venezuela, among other countries, also represented an array of positions and affiliations within the peace and security community. The first in a series, Thursday evening’s discussion laid the groundwork for the publication of a guidebook on mentor-mentee relationships that recognizes the diverse ambitions, needs and responsibilities that both impact and inspire women at various stages of their lives.
While acknowledging the power and potential of mentoring, women frequently highlight a number of challenges that have kept them from cultivating mentor-mentee relationships, in particular with other women. Among those include an absence of women in more senior positions, a perceived reluctance on the part of some women to open doors for others, and a difficult work-family balance that leaves little time for mentoring. Other women have stated they purposely sought out male mentors, believing men are more likely than women to “champion” or “sponsor” their younger peers. Then there is the matter of balance within the mentoring relationship as well, specifically the expectation that matters of character and not just matters of career are valid components of robust mentoring exchanges.
In an attempt to break through some of these challenges and encourage more effective mentoring relationships, the guidebook will draw on future round-table conversations, one-on-one interviews, and scholarship on global women’s issues, mentorship and related fields.
A concept paper on the mentoring project is available here.
Input is welcome into the proposed themes and discussion topics. Please contact Christina Madden at email@example.com with comments, questions or for information on participating in future mentoring discussions.
July 17, 2013| Bradford, England, UK
On Monday 8 July, GAPW co-sponsored a seminar in Bradford, UK on Peacekeeping and Rapid Reaction: Towards the Establishment of Cosmopolitan Capacities for Rapid Deployment, with the World Federalist Movement (Canada) and the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University. The event featured presentations from Catherine Jones, East Asian Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Warwick; Jonathan Gilmore, Senior lecturer in Politics, Human Rights and International Studies, Kingston University; David Curran, Lecturer in Peacekeeping & Conflict Resolution, University of Bradford; and Melina Lito, Program Director, Women Peace & Security, GAPW.
The purpose of the event was to initiative discussions about cosmopolitan peacekeeping, challenges framing the development of rapid response peacekeeping at the United Nations, and the impact of each on the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) norm. Global Action participated in the event, raising challenges with integrating gender of peacekeeping operations and the gender dimensions to consider in a rapid reaction response.
While in the UK, Melina also participated in a briefing with the British Foreign Office on issues regarding women, peace and security, including the UK’s role in the Security Council.
For more information, please contact Melina Lito, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the workshop schedule, please click here.
For the workshop poster, please click here.
For the workshop Concept Note, please click here.
June 25, 2013| UN Headquarters, New York, NY
On 24 June 2013, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted the sixth resolution comprising the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2106 (2013) was initiated in support of the recommendations laid out by the Secretary-General (SG) in his March 2013 report to the Security Council on sexual violence in conflict. This resolution reaffirms commitments laid out in the previous WPS resolutions, emphasizes concerns about the effective implementation of such resolutions, mainly SCR 1960 (2010), and highlights the need to promote justice and accountability for crimes of sexual violence in conflict.
For Melina Lito’s report, please click here .
To watch the debate, please click here .
For the full What’s In Blue report, please click here.
For the press release of the adoption, including a summary of statements, please click here.
To catch our live Tweets during this debate and other relevant processes, follow us on @GlobalActionWPS.
Earlier this month GAPW participated in a programme of briefings and discussions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) hosted in Brussels by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO has taken significant steps to integrate the WPS agenda, mainly UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), in various relevant aspects of its work.
Last fall, Mari Skare was appointed as NATO’s Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security. Since last year, NATO has engaged in numerous engagements promoting the WPS agenda, including participating in the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in November 2012.
This one-day programme was hosted by the Public Diplomacy Division at NATO Headquarters. The programme featured briefings and discussions on NATO’s policy on implementing WPS, including its work in creating partnerships, as well as its work in Afghanistan. Among briefings by NATO officials, the programme also featured a discussion with Madame Skare.
Overall, the programme featured participation from a well-rounded group of experts, including practitioners, academics and members of the media monitoring and promoting the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. GAPW participated in the programme by focusing on the political dynamics surrounding the implementation of the WPS agenda.
GAPW thanks the NATO Public Diplomacy Division for hosting this programme and for inviting us to participate. We welcome further opportunities for collaboration.
For more information about this event, please contact Melina Lito, email@example.com
For more information about NATO’s work on Women, Peace and Security, please visit
GAPW was pleased to participate in a workshop hosted by Ms. Sabine Lösing, a German member of the European Parliament (MEP), in Brussels this past week. Co-organized by MEP Lösing, GAPW, the Global Governance Institute, and the Institute for European Studies (two of our Brussels-based partners), the two-panel seminar focused on the recent adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), including the textual successes and weaknesses of the Treaty, and its future implementation challenges, particularly for the European Union member states. This was a timely discussion in light of the official opening of the ATT for signature at UN headquarters in New York on Monday, 3 June when 67 states signed the ATT, including almost all of the EU member states (a full list of signatories can be accessed here).
The panelists addressed various aspects of the ATT in the context of focusing new attention on robust implementation of the Treaty’s obligations. The event covered a variety of challenges from political to logistical ones. GAPW’s Katherine Prizeman outlined the key challenges of the ATT text as well as the political dynamics surrounding future implementation. Ms. Sara Depauw of the Flemish Peace Institute focused on the EU’s role in the ATT negotiations. During the second session, Dr. Joachim Koops offered remarks on future implementation challenges posed specifically to the EU and Ms. Monica Adame of Parliamentarians for Global Action spoke to the potential role of Parliamentarians in supporting strong implementation, including their role in the ratification process.
For the event programme, please click here.
For the flyer of the event, please click here.
For the outline of Katherine Prizeman’s remarks, please click here.
Since virtually the beginning of our work at UN Headquarter, we have enjoyed strong program support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Berlin-based political foundation. And while we have worked with FES offices at their headquarters and in diverse global regions, it is the UN office in New York where our relationship has been strongest and most fruitful.
Despite the fact that GAPW is a small office, FES at the UN has reached out to us for policy advice, involved us as panelists in their programs, and helped shape the way in which we implement our organizational mission. The generosity of FES has been instrumental in growing our credibility in many sectors and dimensions of the UN’s security-related norms and activities.
On May 29, the group of diplomats and other invited guests gathered to say goodbye to Werner Puschra, the current director of FES/NY and to welcome his successor Michele Auga. For part of the evening, a small group was asked to reflect on ways to strengthen the interaction between the UN Secretariat and Civil Society. Dr. Zuber was honored to be one of the speakers.
Everyone who has worked with Werner has gained from his kindness and respect for colleagues, his ability to convene stakeholders on challenging and even controversial issues, and his tireless efforts on global economic governance. As he leaves for his new assignment in Tel Aviv, we all send good wishes to him and his family. And we warmly welcome Michele, who has her own security policy interests with which we look forward to connecting come September.