The Humanitarian Times

March 29, 2000

 

- SOLANA-PATTEN REPORT ON INADEQUATE E.U. AID TO BALKANS FRAMED DEBATE last week in Lisbon among EU leaders who then empowered EU Commiss.'s Javier Solana & Chris Patten to cut through bureaucracy to speed aid for reconstruction in Kosovo, Montenegro & rest of Balkans, including tapping EU budget reserves. They will represent a reformed EU aid plan at this weeks Brussels meeting of intl. donors conf. (44 countries & 36 intl. orgs), which began today, part of the EU's Stability Pact program for SE Europe. Between $1-$2B will be pledged (largely for 'quick-start' infrastructure repair) but kept dependent on each Balkan country's demonstrated progress in democracy, human rights, press freedom & trade reform. Serbian political leaders representing anti- Milosevic groups are requesting they be excepted from the sanctions & that some aid be provided to local independent media, Serbs in exile, & that oil sanctions be lifted.

- INTL. CODE OF CONDUCT ON ARMS TRANSFERS PROPOSED BY NOBEL LAUREATES: The UN is reviewing new guidelines submitted by 11 Nobel Laureates, led by former Costa Rican Pres. Oscar Arias, that would restrict inter -country transfers of weapons, observing that such trade worsens human rights & increases violent conflicts.

- WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY (MARCH 24) SET BY WHO; TB INFECTS 1/3 HUMANITY Ministers of Health joined WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, & the World Bank in a 3-day conf in the Netherlands to explore ways to halt the spread of tuberculosis, & particularly those strains of TB resistant to key drug therapies. Also promoted is use of the BCG auto-destruct syringe for more widespread vaccinations.

- SIERRA LEONE TO RECEIVE $158M IF REBELS HONOR LOME PEACE AGREEMENT concluded a London conference yesterday of donors, including the African Dev. Bank, Japan, Canada, Norway, Sweden & US.

- SEXUAL SLAVERY & SEX TRAFFICKING CRISES ARE FOCUS OF PLANNING CONF. for the Pacific Rim this week in Manila, Philippines, concerned about an estimated 250,000 humans bought/sold each year.

- PHILIPPINES GOVT REJECTS CALL FOR (E TIMOR-LIKE) INDEPEN. REFERENDUM as proposed this week (to include UN supervision) by the armed, insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front for parts of Mindinao.

- S. ETHIOPIA: CARE SWAPS MAIZE GRAIN TO FAMINE-AFFECTED CATTLE-HERDERS in exchange for emaciated livestock (which CARE is turning into beef jerky, also given out). In famines, particularly in the Horn of Africa, cattle herders tend to suffer the greatest loss in purchasing power, & starve for lack of access to staples, like maize. The USAID Famine Early Warning System specifically tracks declines in livestock prices as a keen index of famine severity. Save the Children reports that the delay or failure of the current season's ("belg") rain indicates the food crisis will worsen. Ethiopia's food aid needs are also elevated by the war with Eritrea which forcibly displaced 350,000 Ethiopian civilians.

- SAUDI ARABIA PRACTICES EXECUTIONS, TORTURE, RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE reports Amnesty Intl. in its country review published this week.

- CONGO FACTIONS RE-ARMING WILL LIKELY IMPAIR UN PEACEKEEPING MISSION; although the head of UN Dept of Peacekeeping also reported that faction heads said they will adhere to the ceasefire agreement.

- $50M GRANT WILL TARGET PREVENTABLE NEW-BORN DEATHS IN POOREST NATIONS. Save the Children (US non-profit) was awarded a 5-year grant last week from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle). Most of the 5.4M newborn deaths each year (from asphyxia, birth injuries, infection, premature delivery & birth defects) are known to be preventable through simple, low-cost health practices. Save the Children will expand its efforts in Africa & Asia to encourage exclusive breast- feeding, improve hygiene by birth attendants, augment surveillance & referral of high-risk pregnancies & births, increase iron folate & other micronutrient consumption (diet, fortification & capsules) by mothers, medicate for hookworm, malaria, & infections of the umbilical cord & baby's eyes, and encourage birth spacing.

- TOXIC CHEMICAL REDUCTION TREATY DELIBERATED BY 121 COUNTRIES in Germany last week, focused on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs include toxic chemicals such as DDT, dieldrin, chlordane, aldrin, endrin, & others). Despite confusion about how actions in poor countries would be funded, intl. articles were drafted.

- 180M LATIN AMERICANS ARE BELOW POVERTY LINE, $2 PER DAY, SAID IADB (Inter-American Dev. Bank) Pres. E Iglesias at the IADB's annual conf this week; this level is unchanged compared to 1990.

- U.N. STAFF FLEE KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN, INTIMIDATED BY ARMED TALIBAN who twice forced entry into UN buildings this week, in violation of UN-Afghanistan agreements.

- CLICK < http://www.PeaceForAll.Com > TO GENERATE DONATIONS TO UNHCR (the UN High Commissioner for Refugees). Each click on this website, established by USA for UNHCR (a non-profit) generates a corporate contribution, 85% of which goes to UNHCR. The size of contributions (currently $1 for every 200 clicks) is a function of the number of sponsors recruited (there is currently one: Novica, a firm selling intl. arts & crafts over the Internet).

- TRAINING "MANAGING PEOPLE & PROJECTS IN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF" IN KENYA May 7-11; Contact Red-R (trainingatredr.demon.co.uk) who maintain global registry of aid professionals. See: www.RedR.org.


- EARLY WARNING: MONTENEGRO TENSIONS MAY INCITE ANOTHER YUGOSLAV WAR, writes the International Crisis Group in "Montenegro: In the Shadow of the Volcano" in a report circulated last week. ICG documents growing pressure on the Montenegro Govt to secede formally from Yugoslavia, despite a large portion of the population preferring to remain. Steps to secede would likely compel Milosevic to take Montenegro over, pitting his better-armed army (many of whom are already stationed in Montenegro) against Montenegro's capable but out-gunned police force. Intl. arms sanctions on Yugoslavia prevent Montenegro from better arming itself. & Yugoslavia's internal economic trade sanctions against Montenegro (to punish it for adapting the German Deutschmark as its currency) is slowing its economy. ICG warns that the EU, NATO & US have failed to establish policy or send signals that might prevent conflict. ICG recommends that NATO visibly develop contingency plans to intercede to protect Montenegro; that the EU (at this weeks' Balkans summit) establish a full mission in Montenegro, & find new ways to get more aid to Montenegro.


 

- NEW BOOK: "HERDING CATS: MULTI-PARTY MEDIATION IN A COMPLEX WORLD" edited by Chester Crocker, F.O. Hampson & Pamela Aall (2000 WashDC: US Institute of Peace Press, ISBN 187379-93-3) in 735 pages provides crisp chapters & background data on major conflicts of the 1990s & views by political actors about the positive & negative lessons of mediation experience, including parallel diplomacy, in Burundi, Tajikistan, Cambodia, Bosnia, El Salvador, Angola, Mozambique & other crises. The editors draw out the importance of leadership -- structural, entrepreneurial & intellectual -- in grappling with the challenges of complexity & goal of imposing coherence on multi-party conflicts. After having worked on these issues now for years (at USIP) the editors are able to fit the case studies in a mature typology of conflict phases, points of entry, multiplicity of actors, ripeness-for-resolution, & value of sanctions or side payments.

- 2 chapters provide valuable lessons from N. Ireland, including Paul Arthur's history of the outside-of-Ireland informal (track II) gatherings of key political actors, which gradually established a level of comfort & shared view of what defined the set of relevant issues, & nomenclature. Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain's recollects the delicate, many-step, creative work conducted, along with George Mitchell, to induce different parties (many previously refusing to be in the same room with one another) to "own the process" & to see their concerns (related to security & trust) represented in what finally became the Good Friday Agreement (April 1998). Going into the discussions, Chastelain's group innovated many, seemingly-simple but profound confidence-building steps, after seeing that "the central issue dividing the 2 traditions on any approach to negotiation was the lack of trust." In the N. Ireland discussions, it proved effective to maintain the principle that "nothing will be agreed to in any strand until everything is agreed in the negotiations as a whole" & a process of "rule of sufficient consensus." Chastelain insights on dis-arming are now being tested: "We believed that stipulating the need for avoiding the impression of surrender & prohibiting forensic testing of arms handed in voluntarily could help convince paramilitary groups to begin decommissioning."

- Robert Pastor reflects on the tense last-minute negotiations that toppled a military junta & avoided a military invasion in Haiti: "deadlines are dangerous but unavoidable..the mediator needs to purposively drive toward closure." Pastor finds several elements key to peace mediation's success in Haiti, including Pres. Carter's aggressive determination to not let dialogue end, the fact that US military operations were already en route (almost as an independent force), & the decision to ensure to dictator Cedras a face-saving (symbolic) resignation "with full military honors."

-James Baker documents the various strategies & tactics he pursued as US Sec. of State to prod Israeli-Palestinian discussions, a 2-track "approach & parallel reciprocal confidence-building measures (that) gave both sides political cover to modify long-standing policy" an method he describes as "creative ambiguity". Chester Crocker writes about the Namibia-Angola settlement (1988) in which Cuba, Soviets, South Africa, the US, & UN were involved. Crocker saw that "credibility meant demonstrating a balanced commitment to the pursuit of both parts of the linkage-based settlement..communicating authoritatively to each side the existence of shared interests without losing the confidence of the other." Crocker writes that mediation should not weaken the parties: "when both parties are strong enough to take risks for peace, the mediator's leverage is maximized." (see also : here)


 

March 29, 2000 The Humanitarian Times

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