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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 10 New Challenges to Conflict Resolution: Humanitarian Nongovernmental Organizations in Complex Emergencies Janice Gross Stein In an emergent global politics the definition of conflict that is interna tionally relevant has burst through the constraints of sovereignty. It is not surprising that ethnic conflict that spills across borders and secessionist movements that wish to reconfigure existing states should be the subject of global concern. These conflicts either threaten existing state borders or flow over them and are logically included in established concepts of international conflict. What is new are the scope and intensity of global attention to the actions of a state against its own citizens, when these actions violate international norms, and to the violent actions of one group against another group even when the violence does not spill over state borders. Within this expanded definition of international conflict, new types of dilemmas are emerging that present unprecedented challenges to conflict resolution. The shape of these new challenges is only beginning to be defined as established institutions and new players work to adapt and develop strategies of conflict resolution. Conflict resolution here refers to efforts to prevent or mitigate violence resulting from intergroup or interstate conflict as well as efforts to reduce underlying disagreements (see Chapter 1, this volume). Here I look at the challenges faced by those who are seeking to mitigate violence within the context of complex humanitarian emergencies. These emergencies arise from violence inflicted by one group against another within the confines of a state, from the capture of state institutions by one group, or by the collapse of these institutions and the failure of governance. These kinds
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War of problems have created recurrent challenges for international conflict resolution in the past decade. These new challenges have developed in a context of disengagement by the major powers from all but areas of core interest. After the intervention in Somalia, the United States as well as most of the other big powers have generally been unwilling to commit forces to mitigate violence and prevent humanitarian disasters. NATO’s unprecedented intervention in Kosovo—its attack against a sovereign state for violence committed against its own citizens—may well be the exception that proves the more general rule: the intervention took place in Europe, at the core of NATO’s mandate. As the great powers disengage from all but areas of core interests, international institutions are increasingly hobbled as willing troop contributors to emergency forces become ever scarcer. And not only are the great powers less willing to provide security, they are disengaging as well from the provision of emergency assistance to those who are deliberately targeted and victimized by violence. Assistance and relief to the victims of violence are also being privatized. It is in this context of disengagement and privatization that international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) face new responsibilities in far more complex and dangerous situations than before. NGOs are playing a growing role, directly and indirectly, in international conflict resolution only in part because they can make good use of some of the less traditional, integrative strategies of conflict resolution. More importantly, states are increasingly less willing to run the risks created by strategies to mitigate violence. The humanitarian NGOs are at the forefront of those that confront most directly the consequences of great power disengagement and privatization in the complex humanitarian emergencies that are now considered legitimately as part of international conflict. This paper focuses on the challenges facing humanitarian NGOs as the paradigmatic case that best exemplifies the new set of challenges to international conflict resolution. I first analyze the dimensions of complex humanitarian emergencies and explore how these emergencies create new challenges for conflict resolution, with special attention to the global factors that make these challenges more acute. I identify the challenges that humanitarian NGOs face and their implications for processes of conflict resolution. I then assess the troubling evidence that, on occasion, humanitarian NGOs have inadvertently contributed to the escalation of violence rather than conflict resolution. I review what NGOs have done to address the challenges and then examine three possible strategies, some of them counterintuitive, which could contribute to the mitigation of violence and promote conflict resolution. In the final section I assess how relevant these challenges and
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War strategies are to other organizations and institutions seeking to mitigate violence and resolve conflicts. COMPLEX HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES AND THE NEW CHALLENGES In the past several years humanitarian NGOs have increasingly found themselves facing a set of powerful and largely unprecedented choices. This challenge is best exemplified in the humanitarian work that was done with Rwandan refugees in eastern Zaire in the aftermath of the genocide and the victory of the Rwanda Patriotic Front in 1994. Agencies charged with running refugee camps, using the most tested and progressive methods of camp management, nevertheless found themselves by the autumn employing mass murderers and war criminals as local staff. The perpetrators of the genocide had reimposed authority over hundreds of thousands of refugees under the supervision of the United Nations (UN) and humanitarian NGOs and were organizing to use the camps as a springboard to attack the government of Rwanda. Humanitarian assets were being used to fuel rather than resolve conflict. A more perverse outcome from the perspective of humanitarian NGOs is difficult to imagine. The perversion cannot be explained exclusively or even largely by NGO practices. Certainly, practices were flawed at times, but in this case better practices would not have prevented the militias from organizing the camps. The roots of the unanticipated and negative consequences of assistance are found in the attributes of complex humanitarian emergencies and in the global conditions that intensify the challenges created by these emergencies: the growing international security vacuum and the privatization of international assistance.1 Complex Humanitarian Emergencies I define a complex humanitarian emergency as a multidimensional humanitarian crisis created by interlinked political, military, and social factors most often arising from violent internal wars that in turn frequently are the result of state failures. It almost always involves some combination of mass population movements, severe food insecurity, macroeconomic collapse, and acute human rights violations up to and including genocidal projects. These kinds of emergencies have tripled in the past decade, affecting millions of people.2 The root causes of these complex emergencies grow from failures of development, the weaknesses of the state and the withering of its capacity, or the capture of the state apparatus by organized fragments of the
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War population. In the violence that develops, social control over elements of the population is a key strategic objective of internal war, with civilians as a principal target, rather than a byproduct of other military activity.3 Many of these internal wars that are fought for control over resources become cyclical and self-perpetuating, as violence generates profit for those who use it most effectively. State failure can refer to a lack of capacity on the part of state institutions to secure territory, enforce authority, or maintain a monopoly on coercive violence.4 The state cannot secure the basic rights of citizens, fails to provide fundamental protection, and becomes unable to fulfill essential international legal responsibilities. As the authority and capacity of the state weaken, it may invite attack from disaffected segments of the population who can mobilize resources. In response, a weakening state may attack its own population in an effort to reassert authority, or the state may collapse or implode.5 The Somali bombing of sections of northern Somalia is an example of the former, while the flight of Siyaad Barre from Somalia is an example of failure through collapse. Alternatively, segments of the population can capture even a relatively strong state for parochial purposes and use instruments of the state to attack segments of the population. The militant Hutu militias, motivated by their strong opposition to a negotiated power-sharing agreement, itself the result of a major international effort at conflict resolution, captured the state in Rwanda in April 1994 and launched a genocidal massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. It is in this context that humanitarian organizations attempt to provide emergency assistance and, increasingly, to mitigate the violence. Humanitarianism occurs when the political system is in crisis or has failed; humanitarians act to relieve the human suffering that is the consequence of political failure.6 The essence of humanitarianism has been its neutrality and universality, its refusal to choose one distress over another.7 Not only those NGOs that deliver relief assistance but also those working explicitly to facilitate conflict resolution seek to promote human welfare among distressed populations. The imperative is for action, to save lives.8 This categorical imperative creates the political legitimacy for action in humanitarian emergencies.9 Humanitarian action is designed for the short term, for limited groups, for limited objectives, until legitimately constituted authority can assume its obligations. Humanitarian action in a complex humanitarian emergency, however, occurs in a context very different from the natural earthquakes and disasters that are familiar terrain to NGO personnel. Increasingly, NGOs are struggling to provide relief and assistance under conditions of civil war, often brutal civil war. In the insurgencies and counterinsurgencies characteristic of modern civil wars, human populations are both the prin-
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War cipal targets and the shields. They are not the unanticipated consequences of military strategy, as they are in major conventional battles, but rather its principal targets. The aim of much contemporary military strategy in civil wars is to make the civilian population hostage and, if possible, to prevent or undo the effects of emergency relief and the protection of civilians. In the internecine struggle for dominance in Somalia and Sierra Leone, and even more so in the openly genocidal landscapes of Rwanda and Burundi, strategies of insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare seek political control over civilian populations, inflict costs on those populations, at times force their movements en masse, and in some cases systematically kill large numbers for political or military ends. Civilian casualties are not counted as “collateral damage” but as measures of strategic gain. In Somalia and Sierra Leone, militias and army units alike looted communities, destroyed available resources, engaged in scorched-earth tactics against the local infrastructure, and attacked civilian populations. All over Central Africa in the 1990s insurgency campaigns were fought behind the shields of population groups. The human costs that nongovernmental agencies address are not incidental to the conflict; rather, they are its essential currency. Civilians, and those humanitarian NGOs that would protect them, become the objects of military action. They and their resources stand not apart from but directly on the battlefield. Becoming part of the battle challenges all of the fundamental precepts of humanitarian action and creates qualitatively new challenges for conflict resolution. Disengagement by the Major Powers and the Consequent Security Vacuum The challenge to NGOs of engagement where civilians are deliberately targeted is made far more difficult by the repeated unwillingness or incapacity of the major powers to act through the UN Security Council, regional organizations, or through other appropriate instruments, to provide security first for endangered civilians and then for NGO personnel who are in the field offering protection. Somalia was the exception at one stage of its emergency, but so negative were the experiences of the UN and particularly the U.S. “military humanitarian” missions in Somalia, and so limited the strategic goals in comparison to the apparent costs, that Somalia set a “Mogadishu line” of active engagement that the U.S. and other Western forces were thereafter unwilling to cross in the African context. The great exception was the NATO engagement in Kosovo, in the heartland of Europe, when the abuse of a population by its government was transparent; even then, military involvement came only after a
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War decade of experience with the abusive government. Almost everywhere else the nongovernmental sector has found itself working in a political/ security vacuum created by a decline of interest on the part of the major powers. It is the absence of an adequate security envelope, I argue, that creates many of the observed negative externalities of assistance and relief and creates unprecedented challenges for conflict resolution. Even levels of support far less demanding than military engagement to provide security for beleaguered populations are dropping. The substantial increase in what the humanitarian community calls the “internally displaced” is telling; it reflects an increasing inability of populations in distress to seek asylum across borders and become officially recognized “refugees” with access to the political and humanitarian rights of refugees.10 The growth in the numbers of internally displaced persons reflects the growing tendency for the international community to disengage politically and economically from these conflicts, to attempt to contain their effects, and to ensure that the costs are “internalized” in the affected communities.11 This strategy of containment gives relief priority over protection of the basic rights of displaced populations.12 Containment also constrains and limits available strategies of conflict resolution. The Privatization of International Assistance As the major powers become more unwilling to engage directly or through the UN, they are channeling ever-larger shares of their assistance through NGOs. Their funding to NGOs has increased even as their spending on bilateral emergency assistance programs has diminished.13 In 1996, for example, more aid to Africa was channeled through NGOs than through official development assistance programs. Of course, Western government aid agencies are still the largest source of resources, but in complex emergencies in particular NGOs are increasingly the principal conduit of assistance and so face an ever-larger share of the challenges that complex emergencies generate for humanitarians.14 The major powers are increasingly privatizing their assistance programs.15 They expect—unrealistically—that the community of NGOs can fill the security vacuum left by inaction on the part of states.16 International institutions have also vastly increased the proportion of their funding for emergency assistance that is channeled through NGOs; the European Commission, for example, raised its funding for NGOs from zero to 40 percent, with a corresponding reduction in bilateral emergency aid from 95 to 6 percent between 1976 and 1990. The growing importance of NGOs as international actors is a function both of the privatization of assistance and the withdrawal of states and international organizations from the field. Increasingly, it is NGO person-
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War nel who are providing relief and assistance to the victims of conflict in the space vacated by states and international institutions. These NGOs, with a long-standing commitment to a humanitarian ethic, now find themselves in the eye of the storm. Particularly since the end of the Cold War, NGOs have become more prominent—and more controversial—especially in the complex humanitarian emergencies that arise from local conflicts.17 For several of the worst months of the Somali famine in 1991, for example, a handful of NGOs and the ICRC were the only international presence in the country providing relief and assistance. In Sierra Leone, NGOs provided relief in parts of the country declared off limits by the UN. In Rwanda/Zaire the flood of refugees in the autumn of 1994 was met by NGOs, working without an official UN presence. In Burundi, where military activity kept the UN out of important regions of the country, NGOs were again at the front line in the delivery of humanitarian relief assistance.18 As governments have retreated and assistance has been privatized, the responsibilities of humanitarian NGOs to channel aid directly to vulnerable populations has grown. As their responsibilities—and power— have grown, NGOs have become targets of opportunity for both the local governments that are losing power and the militias that seek to control resources, to finance their own activities and to bleed the government. NGOs consequently become “targets at best and enemies at worst,” similar to the civilian populations they seek to help.19 In 1998, for the first time in the history of the UN, casualties among humanitarian workers exceeded those of military peacekeeping missions.20 Increasingly, the large NGOs specializing in traditional development assistance and relief have adopted components of a conflict resolution agenda in their emergency programming. Action Aid, for example, has explicitly designed programs for internally displaced persons around principles of reconciliation. CARE Canada is running a theater program for young people in Sarajevo that is explicitly designed to promote reconciliation. This represents a significant departure for most of the large NGOs and one that is likely to represent a growing trend in their activities, as political backing and funding for these kinds of conflict resolution activities increase. Conflict prevention and resolution are now squarely on the NGO agenda. Here I focus on the role of the large humanitarian NGOs in the context of a complex humanitarian emergency that grows out of violent conflict, in order to examine some of the central challenges of contemporary conflict resolution. Analysis of the challenges facing humanitarian NGOs highlights attributes of violent conflicts in the current system: most importantly, the growing security vacuum that is creating painful choices for NGOs and impeding effective conflict resolution. Before examining
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War these interrelated challenges that have important implications for conflict resolution, especially for the mitigation of violence, I briefly describe the cases and the evidence I use in my analysis. EVIDENCE AND CASE SELECTION21 This study draws on three principal case studies as well as ongoing tracking of other complex humanitarian operations in Africa. Somalia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone are three of the best-known cases where political violence led to a large-scale humanitarian disaster that required a multidimensional response. They are the principal case studies.22 Liberia and Burundi share some of these characteristics and have been the location of important humanitarian programs; eastern Zaire was the site of a multifaceted response to a complex emergency and the focus of some of the most vociferous debates about strategies of conflict resolution. These three cases have been tracked as important checks on evidence drawn from the principal cases. The cases were chosen at different points along the “crisis” time line: Sierra Leone, at the time a case of incipient state failure; Rwanda/Zaire, an ongoing crisis; and Somalia, a postemergency in the aftermath of large-scale intervention. This variation in time line permits some consideration of competing theoretical propositions against different bodies of evidence. Restriction of the cases to Africa was deliberate. Once the Cold War ended, the attention Africa received from the major powers dropped precipitously. As the major powers withdrew and economic failure and violence increased, and in some cases states collapsed, development and humanitarian NGOs significantly increased their presence. THE CRITICS: HUMANITARIANISM AS AN OBSTACLE TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION Drawing on the experience of humanitarian intervention in complex emergencies in Africa in the past several years, critics have concluded that the relief effort can jeopardize conflict resolution and, at worst, prolong and even fuel war and conflict through the diversion of assistance. They identify several interrelated ways in which the unintended consequences of humanitarian assistance can impede conflict resolution. When Humanitarian Relief Fuels War and Conflict Through Asset Transfer23 The evidence is strong, though not determining, that in recent complex humanitarian emergencies the assistance that NGOs have provided
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War to endangered populations has at times become the fuel for continued and renewed warfare.24 In Somalia, for example, food was extraordinarily scarce as a result of drought and civil conflict and, consequently, its absolute value rose to unprecedented levels. Its high price, in the context of economic collapse, mass unemployment, and a dramatic drop in family income, increased the relative value of food. Therefore, food brought into Somalia through the relief effort was plundered by merchants, by organized gangs of young men profiteering from the black market, and by militia leaders who used the wealth that the food brought to buy weapons and the loyalty of followers.25 In Rwanda and Sierra Leone, as well as Somalia and Sudan, assistance has been “taxed” or stolen to fuel processes of conflict escalation rather than promote conflict resolution. Resources channeled into Somalia by UN agencies and NGOs became part of a complex economy of warfare between rival militias and clans. Theft of those resources by militias was common. Equally significant was the ability of militias, in the absence of a security envelope for the local population and NGO personnel, to use force and the threat of force to compel NGOs to hire some of the same forces to guard relief supplies and convoys that were the source of the humanitarian crisis.26 In so doing, the NGOs legitimated those who were preying on local populations.27 In Sierra Leone and Liberia conflict analysts and medical NGOs learned that they could plan by following the pattern of UN food deliveries: when food was distributed to a village or displaced-persons camp, the militias would quickly attack to steal the relief supplies, killing dozens of villagers as they did so. In Sudan, food, agricultural tools, and livestock were transferred from weaker to strong groups through restrictions on the passage of food aid by government forces and militias. In Somalia as well as Sudan, this transfer of assets was integrated into a parallel black economy controlled at the highest political levels.28 The one supported the other. UN and NGO resources in eastern Zaire were subject to political control and taxation by the forces that perpetrated the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Less by theft and diversion than by controlling the distribution of relief supplies and the flow of information, Rwanda’s genocidaires turned UN-managed and NGO-operated refugee camps into political and resource bases for continued and renewed genocidal warfare, in both Zaire and western Rwanda.29 When the post-1994 Rwandan regime sought to break the genocidaires’ control of the camps, civilian refugees became moving shields between two armies. Relief supplies and the NGO presence were used to lure starving refugees out of hiding in the forests of Zaire, and these refugees were then slaughtered by the tens of thousands. At the extreme, NGOs were transformed from sources of protection into resources for destruction. The diversion of humanitarian assets by warring parties, at the same
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War time they are targeting civilians, is the most serious challenge that NGOs face. If the assistance that humanitarian NGOs provide is significant in perpetuating and fueling the processes of violence, humanitarian assistance can be a serious obstacle to the resolution of conflict. To the extent that humanitarian NGOs are inadvertently perpetuating the cycle of violence that is making populations vulnerable, they and those they seek to help are trapped in a vicious process. Yet to abandon populations at risk to predators is an almost unthinkable choice. How can these painful choices be eased? Some suggest that better local knowledge would help NGOs avoid some of the traps that became obvious only in hindsight. It is almost universally acknowledged that NGOs need a higher degree of knowledge of the societies in which they work—their cultures, histories, and languages—if they are to be effective in mitigating violence, in conflict resolution, and in reconstruction in the wake of violence. In Somalia and Rwanda, for example, few NGOs had long-standing experience in the country, few were fluent in the local language, few appreciated the social and cultural norms, and few were experienced in working at the grass roots.30 Of the large number of expatriate NGO staff in Rwanda in 1994, only a handful were conversant in Kinyarwanda. Knowledge of local parties, their networks, and their purposes and strategies is a necessary but far from sufficient condition to minimize some of the negative consequences of relief assistance that prolong rather than resolve conflicts. NGOs must find far better ways of giving voice to the people they wish to help. Closely related, humanitarians need better skills in conflict resolution. In Somalia traditional systems of authority, which did not depend on violence and could have attempted to resolve the conflict, continued to exist even after the violence erupted. A peace-building initiative sponsored by an NGO at the local level was successful because it drew on these customary Somali conflict management practices.31 The relief effort, in contrast, helped to cripple the traditional systems because it did not channel assistance through traditional structures but strengthened the militia forces that relied on violence.32 NGO personnel certainly needed far greater knowledge of the local systems of conflict management and the importance of elders as authoritative voices in society. One experienced analyst is deeply pessimistic, however, that any strategy of conflict resolution could have succeeded in Somalia, given the structural constraints created by the collapse of the state and the complex emergency.33 The violence is perpetuated as well, critics continue, because humanitarian organizations have reluctantly acceded to the constraining conditions imposed by governments and militias to gain access to populations at risk.34 In complex humanitarian emergencies, NGOs indeed have experienced enormous difficulties in gaining access to populations vulnerable
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War to violence.35 These difficulties are deliberately created by warring parties that exploit the vulnerability of civilian populations for political or military purposes.36 NGOs find themselves constantly renegotiating access and facing new designations of previously consented space as off limits. Variants of these negotiations have occurred in Sudan, Angola, Ethiopia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. The warring parties in turn frequently use negotiated access agreements to build international credibility. At the extreme this leads to the perverse outcome that the more killing that is done the more NGOs respond with additional resources.37 NGOs have attempted to address the issue of secure access to areas controlled by hostile forces through the negotiation of ground rules. Ground rules to notify faction leaders of the movement of aid convoys have been established to ensure that groups lower down in the chain of command do not compromise the protection of humanitarian assistance. In southern Sudan, for example, Operation Lifeline Sudan negotiated ground rules in the wake of the murder of three expatriate workers and a journalist. Ground rules provide at best a limited and partial solution to the problem of access. In southern Sudan diversion of assistance remains very high. In Liberia and Rwanda the Department of Humanitarian Affairs attempted to negotiate ground rules but did not succeed. With no good choices, NGOs have consented tacitly to unilateral changes in access and so empower belligerents who impose conditions that clearly violate international humanitarian law. When Humanitarian Assistance Interferes with the Social Contract Critics level a deep structural challenge as well. They allege that political accountability, through contractual arrangements, is the critical constraint on government violence against civilians, an important component of complex humanitarian emergencies. Third-party humanitarian assistance, they maintain, interferes directly with the formation of social and political contracts in Africa that are essential to restrain violence.38 Analysis of the political and economic purposes of those who prey on their own civilian populations does not suggest, however, that the perpetrators are likely candidates for accountable governments. The authoritarian quality of many governments, the absence of institutions that can meaningfully hold leaders accountable, and the high levels of corruption make contractual constraints unlikely as a near-term solution to complex emergencies and violent conflicts. Acknowledging these obstacles, optimistic analysts estimate that it will take at least a decade for political contracts to form; others are even more pessimistic.39
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War thousand people died; the Great Lakes region became more violent after international humanitarian assistance was withdrawn.91 This intense debate among humanitarians may limit the possibilities of coordination to arrangements between those who leave and those who stay so that there can be both public statement and quiet assistance.92 Within the limits of the possible, consulting the recipients of assistance— rather than the predatory leadership—as to whether agencies should remain silent or protest abuses even if they lose their access would empower local populations, enhance accountability, and make it easier for NGOs to reach a collective decision.93 Second, a withdrawal should be accompanied by a clearly stated set of conditions for return—an end to diversion of relief, unobstructed access to vulnerable populations, and/or cooperation in the registration of refugees or displaced persons. There are cases where conditionality has succeeded. In response to looting of cars in eastern Equatoria, four NGOs and agencies collaborated to make continuing assistance conditional on safety on the roads, as an essential component of the larger principle of unfettered secure access. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Army was concerned enough about the consequences of a cessation of aid that it made certain that the raiding of vehicles stopped.94 A consortium of NGOs working in southern Sudan insisted on independent access and monitoring as conditions of continued assistance. Only if withdrawal is coordinated and strategic, if the conditions NGOs set can be met by the targets, can concerted withdrawal have any impact whatsoever on the behavior of a predatory government or militia. Developing Diagnostics If humanitarian NGOs are to consider withdrawal as a strategy to influence warring parties and reluctant major powers and participate effectively at national and global policy tables, above all they need the analytical capacity to assess the severity of the negative consequences of their aid and a set of diagnostics they can collectively use to judge that they may be doing relatively more harm than good. I have already addressed the importance of developing the analytical capabilities of NGOs so that they can enhance their contribution to policy debates. Development of diagnostics ideally flows from an enhanced analytical capability among NGOs. I suggest three such diagnostics as a first cut. There is, of course, significant variation within complex humanitarian emergencies, and the diagnostics will be sensitive to differences in underlying conditions. Two such underlying conditions have been plausibly suggested. The likelihood of negative externalities of assistance depends in part on the degree of coherence among militias and their
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War capacity to organize effectively; when it is very high, as in Rwanda, diversion is more likely than when coherence is low, as in Sierra Leone. The coherence of militias in turn depends in part on the shape of export markets. When primary commodities dominate exports, militias can generate revenues from the taxation of these commodities, either directly by imposing levies or by demanding contributions in kind and then exporting through extra-legal marketing channels. It is far easier to market generic products illegally than to disguise the origins of branded products.95 Under these conditions, militias are likely to do well in civil war and to seek to prolong the violence. The political taxation of relief is an obvious diagnostic indicator that aid is being diverted. Initially, diversion can be difficult to assess since theft and hijacking can be high but not part of a pattern of systematic political diversion. The better informed NGO personnel are about local political and military organizations, about ethnic and religious fault lines, and about local social, economic, and political structures the more easily they will be able to distinguish simple theft from systematic diversion. Systematic political diversion that is not reduced by the strategies considered earlier should trigger consideration of coordinated political strategies to mitigate the violence. A second warning light is the unwillingness of local authorities to cooperate with the UN and NGOs to register recipients of relief assistance, especially in refugee or displaced-persons camps, and to make available lists of the registrants. Failure to cooperate in registration suggests that local authorities are seeking to supplant or subvert existing distribution mechanisms in order to divert relief assistance. If local authorities are willing to use force to monopolize control over a registration process, there is a very high likelihood that aid will subsequently become a resource for violent conflict. Third, negotiation of access to populations at risk often provides predatory governments and militias with the opportunity to impose inequitable political conditions, which privilege some vulnerable populations at the expense of others. Especially when access is obstructed after consent has been obtained, relief is being used as an instrument to assert control over local populations for political purposes. The government of Mobutu Sese Seko repeatedly denied access to large groups of refugees and displaced persons. Access is central to protection, support, and witness. These three diagnostics are suggestive of the kind of indicators NGOs might agree to use collectively. No set of indicators performs entirely satisfactorily, but agreement among NGOs on several diagnostics on a trial basis, to be tested in the field and refined and then benchmarked in time, would significantly enhance the analytical capability of NGOs, their
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War capacity to monitor the political consequences of their actions, their ability to coordinate and reduce collective-action problems, and their collective capacity to act politically to reduce violence. CONCLUSION Wittingly and unwittingly, humanitarian NGOs have become important participants in conflict resolution as assistance has been privatized and security has become a very scarce public good in many parts of the world. In large part because of the failure of the wider international community to provide security as a public good, humanitarians increasingly find themselves confronting painful choices. In complex humanitarian emergencies, where security is absent, some of the assistance NGOs provide has gone to those who prey on the vulnerable and has prolonged and even fueled the cycle of violence. Rather than contributing to conflict resolution, humanitarians have inadvertently contributed to conflict escalation. The painful choices that NGOs face is most acute for but not unique to humanitarians. International financial institutions, the family of UN agencies, and regional organizations are grappling with the same kinds of painful options, although not often with front-line personnel on the ground. They and humanitarian NGOs all suffer from the disappearance of security as a public good and, to a greater or lesser degree, require a security envelope to help resolve conflicts, reconstruct war-torn societies, and build peace. Without a minimal security envelope, the assets they commit to conflict resolution and peace building can be diverted to fuel rather than break a cycle of violence. Those who do well out of war have every incentive to perpetuate the violence and to continue to prey on those who have no protection. I have argued that these painful choices have grown out of the disengagement of the major powers, the privatization of assistance, and the complexity of contemporary emergencies. Humanitarian emergencies are triggered by the failure of states or their capture by one group that uses the instruments of the state against another and the violent economic and social disruptions that follow as societies break apart and refugees spill across borders. A recent study concluded that humanitarian emergencies constitute the most serious contemporary threat to security and that they are likely to continue into the foreseeable future.96 The strategies of conflict resolution that I have identified as appropriate for humanitarian NGOs are no panacea even for the humanitarian community. On the contrary, each raises deep ethical, political, and strategic problems. Collectively, they underline the continuing importance of states, regional organizations, and global institutions, the traditional pro-
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War viders of security as a public good. When security is scarce—or absent— no strategy of conflict resolution, postwar reconstruction, or peace building is likely to succeed. NOTES 1 See Michael Brown, ed., The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT, 1996). 2 From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, the number of humanitarian crises increased from an average of 20 to 25 per year to approximately 65 per year. Emergencies occurred most frequently in Africa and then Asia but were also prevalent in the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has estimated that the number of people affected by these emergencies is increasing by about 10 million annually. Simultaneously, humanitarian assistance increased from $845 million in 1989 to $7.1 billion in 1995. See The Wave of Emergencies of the Last Decade: Causes, Extent, Predictability, and Response (Helsinki and Oxford: World Institute for Development Economics Research, International Development Centre, 1999). 3 The targeting of civilian populations in war is not new. In Stalinist Russia, in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe, and in China during the Cultural Revolution, to cite only the best-known cases, civilians were deliberately targeted to catastrophic effect. What are different are the transparency of the violence and the access of humanitarian organizations. The principal humanitarian organization operating in all three of these periods, the Red Cross, was effectively excluded, and civilian deaths occurred mostly unobserved and with a few notable exceptions, largely unhindered. Today, humanitarian organizations have unprecedented access, in part through the technical assets of major powers, in part through the people NGOs have on the ground, and in part because of the weakness of the collapsing states and their inability to limit access to their populations. 4 See Daniel C.Esty, Jack A.Goldstone, Ted Robert Gurr, Barbara Harff, Marc Levy, Geoffrey D.Dabelko, Pamela T.Surko, and Alan N.Unger, “State Failure Task Force Report: Phase II Findings,” in Environmental Change and Security Report, 5(1999):49–72. State failure is operationally defined more broadly as revolutionary wars, ethnic wars, regime transformation, and genocide and politicide. The critical discriminators between stable states and state failures were infant mortality rates, as an indicator of quality of life, trade openness, and level of democracy. Partial democracies are far more vulnerable to state failure than either full democracies or autocracies. 5 See I.William Zartman, Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1995). Collapse is a severe reduction in capacity, authority, security, identity, institutions, and, at times, territory, so that institutions effectively cease to function. It can be understood as the most severe form of state failure. Analysis of collapse requires assessment of who wins and who loses from the collapse of the state and the void that is created. 6 James Orbinski, “The 1999 Nobel Peace Prize Speech,” delivered in Oslo, Norway, 10 December 1999, on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières. 7 Bernard Kouchner, Le malheur des autres (The Misfortunes of Others) (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1993); Dylan Hendrickson, “Humanitarian Action in Protracted Crises: The New Relief Agenda and Its Limits,” Network Paper, 25 (London: Overseas Development Institute Refugee Research Network, 1998); and Philippe Delmas, The Rosy Future of War (New York: Free Press, 1997), p. 201. 8 Interviews, CARE personnel, Goma, April 1995. See also Joelle Tanguy and Fiona Terry, “Humanitarian Responsibility and Committed Action,” Ethics & International Affairs, 13(1999):29–34.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 9 As Delmas observes: “Humanitarianism is non-governmental by nature, not by default. Its legitimacy derives from the distress of each and not from the interests of the collectivity, as the States’ actions do. Humanitarian action is not a policy; it is a spiritual need” (The Rosy Future of War, p. 203). 10 In 1991 the UNHCR was responsible for 17 million refugees; by 1995 the number had risen to 27.4 million. This increase, however, masks a qualitative change: the number of refugees who cross international borders and are granted asylum in another state has declined in the past decade. In 1998 the UNHCR estimated the number of refugees at 13.2 million, while the representative of the secretary-general for internally displaced persons estimates their number at 2 million to 25 million. The increases in UNHCR numbers are internally displaced and war-affected populations in their own home countries and people outside their home countries who have not been granted asylum. See UNHCR, The State of the World’s Refugees 1995: In Search of Solutions and The State of the World’s Refugees 1997–1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1995 and 1999); Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (New York: United Nations, 1999); Mark Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones: Toward an Analysis of the New Aid Paradigm,” in Beyond UN Subcontracting: Task Sharing with Regional Security Arrangements and Service-Providing NGOs, Thomas G. Weiss, ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 139–159, 143; and Myron Weiner, “The Clash of Norms: Dilemmas in Refugee Policies,” Journal of Refugee Studies, 11 (1998): 1–21. 11 Mark Bradbury, “Complex Humanitarian Emergencies,” working paper for CARE Canada, Ottawa, 1998. 12 Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones.” 13 The United States, for example, spent $1.3 billion on development aid to Africa in 1994; in 1997 spending was reduced to $700 million. 14 This phenomenon is one part of a wider structural change in the international relief system. NGOs have proliferated in concert with decisions by donors to disburse official development aid through NGOs rather than governments. From 1980 to 1993 the number of NGOs in the north that focused on development almost doubled. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recorded a rise in northern-development NGOs between 1980 and 1993 from 1,600 to 2,970. The Commission on Global Governance recorded 28,900 international NGOs in 1995. 15 For an analysis of the privatization process in Britain, see “NGOs—Humanitarian Cure or Curse?,” Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) News, No. 14, May/June 1995. For a discussion of the “privatizing” of world politics or the provision of public goods financed with public resources but carried out by private organizations, see Steven R.Smith and Michael Lipsky, Non-profits for Hire: The Welfare State in the Age of Contracting (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993), and Leon Gordenker and Thomas G.Weiss, “Pluralizing Global Governance: Analytical Approaches and Dimensions,” in NGOs, the UN, and Global Governance (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1996), pp. 17–47. 16 See John Borton, Emery Brusset, and Alistair Hallam, “Humanitarian Aid and Its Effects,” Study #3, Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance in Rwanda (Copenhagen: Danish International Development Assistance, 1996). This theme was reinforced by Sue Lautze, Bruce D.Jones, and Marc Duffield in Strategic Humanitarian Coordination in the Great Lakes Region 1996–1997 (New York: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1998). 17 The significant transfer of resources from intergovernmental organizations to NGOs may weaken the capacity of international institutions to develop public policy. See Isebill V. Gruhn, “NGOs in Partnership with the UN: A New Fix on a New Problem for African Development,” Global Society: Journal of Interdisciplinary International Relations, 11(1997):325– 337. 18 Not only have the numbers and responsibilities of NGOs increased, but new kinds of NGOs have developed. A decade ago it was largely NGOs with religious affiliations that
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War focused explicitly on mediation and conflict resolution, using integrative problem-solving strategies. Now, secular NGOs that specialize in conflict prevention and resolution and operate independently of states and the UN are active in the field. International Alert and the International Crisis Group, two of the best-known among these new NGOs, have played an important role, for example, in Sierra Leone. Engaged in such activities as negotiating hostage releases, supporting local NGOs committed to peace building and conflict resolution, advising parties to the conflict, and helping to facilitate political negotiations, the conflict resolution NGOs are an important part of the international political landscape. At times they complement and at times they compete with the traditional diplomatic efforts of the UN, regional organizations, or individual states. Their work is the subject of some controversy. Critics allege that through their work they have legitimated parties that have engaged in terrorist actions and killing and undermined the work of UN officials charged with negotiating on behalf of the UN Secretary-General. See E.Voutira and S.A.Whishaw Brown, Conflict Resolution: A Review of Some Non-governmental Practices—A Cautionary Tale (Oxford: Refugee Studies Programme, Queen Elizabeth House, 1995). These criticisms cannot be evaluated without a systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the range of initiatives undertaken by the specialized NGOs. See Janice Gross Stein, “The Resolution of Identity Conflict: The Role of Non-governmental Organizations,” in International Nongovernmental Organizations and Conflict Resolution, Shibley Telhami, ed. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, forthcoming). 19 Barry Brown and Christopher Brown, “Complex Emergencies: The Institutional Impasse,” Third World Quarterly, 20(February 1999):207–221. 20 Judith Miller, “U.N.’s Workers Become Targets in Angry Lands,” New York Times, 19 September 1999, p. A1. In 1998, 20 UN civilian workers were killed in Sudan, Uganda, Georgia, Tajikistan, Burundi, and Afghanistan. These figures do not include humanitarian personnel who were not on contract with one of the UN agencies. 21 This research was done as part of a larger project of CARE Canada and the Program on Negotiation and Conflict Management at the University of Toronto on humanitarian NGOs in complex emergencies. The project produced working papers on Somalia by Bruce Jones, on Rwanda by Bruce Jones, on Sierra Leone by Ian Smillie, and on NGOs by Mark Bradbury. See also Bruce Jones and Janice Gross Stein, “NGOs and Early Warning: The Case of Rwanda,” Synergies in Early Warning (New York: Columbia International Affairs Online, Columbia University Press, 1999). For the final report of the project, see Michael Bryans, Bruce Jones, and Janice Gross Stein, “Mean Times: Humanitarian Action in Complex Political Emergencies—Stark Choices, Cruel Dilemmas,” Coming to Terms (Toronto: Program on Negotiation and Conflict Management, 1999). 22 In the three principal cases the activities of NGOs were tracked and personnel in the field at the time were asked to identify the principal obstacles to a more effective contribution to the delivery of assistance and conflict resolution. The focus on personnel in the field was driven very much by the nature of NGO relief and development work: labor-intensive activities employing field staffs in often remote areas; focusing on the lowest level of organization (village, family); refugee camp management (including food, medical, and social services); community-based health, agriculture, and microenterprise; and primary education. Examination of processes and attitudes at a microlevel fills an important gap in the analysis of complex emergencies. 23 Mark Duffield, “NGOs, Disaster Relief, and Asset Transfer in the Horn: Political Survival in a Permanent Emergency,” Development and Change, 24(1993):131–157. 24 A recent study by the Overseas Development Institute in the United Kingdom argues that the role of humanitarian assistance in fueling war has been slight. See The State of the International Humanitarian System (London: Overseas Development Institute, March 1998), p. 3. 25 Andrew S.Natsios, “Humanitarian Relief Intervention in Somalia: The Economics of
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War Chaos,” in Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Humanitarian Intervention, Walter Clarke and Jeffrey Herbst, eds. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997), pp. 77–95, 82–83. 26 See Clarke and Herbst, Learning from Somalia, and John Prendergast, Crisis Response: Humanitarian Band-Aids in Sudan and Somalia (London: Pluto Press, 1997). 27 Mary Anderson, Do No Harm: Supporting Local Capacities for Peace Through Aid (Cambridge, Mass.: Local Capacities for Peace Project, The Collaborative for Development Action, 1996). 28 Duffield, “NGOs, Disaster Relief, and Asset Transfer,” p. 137. 29 Mark Duffield, “The Political Economy of Internal War: Asset Transfer, Complex Emergencies, and International Aid,” pp. 209–221 in War and Hunger: Rethinking International Responses to Complex Emergencies, Joanna Macrae and Anthony Zvi, eds. (London: Zed Books, 1994). 30 Peter Shiras, “Humanitarian Emergencies and the Role of NGOs,” pp. 106–117 in After Rwanda: The Coordination of United Nations’ Humanitarian Assistance, James Whitman and David Pocock, eds. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996). 31 Kenneth Menkhaus, “International Peacebuilding and the Dynamics of Local and National Reconciliation in Somalia,” pp. 42–63 in Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Humanitarian Intervention, Walter Clarke and Jeffrey Herbst, eds. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997). 32 Natsios, “Humanitarian Relief Intervention,” pp. 85–86. 33 Menkhaus, “International Peacebuilding.” 34 Cindy Collins, “Humanitarian Action: The Crises and the Critics,” paper prepared for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, February 1998. 35 Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (New York: United Nations, 1999). 36 Ibid. 37 John Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy: Humanitarian Aid and Conflict in Africa (London: Lynne Rienner, 1996), pp. 63–64. 38 This criticism has been leveled most tellingly in the context of the analysis of famines. It is not natural disasters or economic collapse that creates starvation and mass migration; alone they are insufficient. Rather, famine is the result of systematic violence, deployed for political purposes, and designed to destroy coping mechanisms and survival strategies. Amartya Sen, in his seminal work Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), demonstrated that subsistence farmers in Africa use a set of “coping mechanisms”—migrating for wage labor, selling assets—designed primarily not to avoid hunger but rather to maintain such critical assets as seed, tools, and oxen. Famine becomes an instrument of violence by governments that deliberately target these assets so that civilians become vulnerable to famine. The argument has been made that relief assistance does not address the causes of famine and may indeed exacerbate its severity by making political leaders less accountable to their constituencies that are necessary for the next planting. See Mark Duffield, War and Famine in Africa (Oxford: OXFAM Research Paper 5, OXFAM Publications, 1991); David Keen, The Benefits of Famine: A Political Economy of Famine and Relief in Southwestern Sudan, 1983–1989 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994); William DeMars, “Mercy Without Illusion: Humanitarian Action in Conflict,” Mershon International Studies Review, 40(April 1996):81–89; and Alexander de Waal, Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). When assistance is distributed in rural areas, governments in central areas are able to avoid the political responsibility incumbent on any government to feed its own populations. John Prendergast, Crisis Response: Humanitarian Band-Aids in Sudan and Somalia and Frontline Diplomacy: Humanitarian Aid and Conflict in Africa (London: Lynne Rienner, 1996). In Sudan, for example, relief made
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War the authorities less accountable to their civilian populations. Critics find it easier to diagnose the politically motivated violence of famine than to suggest strategies that can alleviate the hunger that is its consequence. They suggest that rural areas must be empowered politically so that they can forge ties with a center that becomes accountable. Logically elegant, such a strategy ignores the context of acute insecurity created by the predatory violence that is so critical to the diagnosis. 39 De Waal, Famine Crimes, and Mark Duffield, Post-modern Conflict, Aid Policy, and Humanitarian Conditionally (London: Department for International Development, Emergency Aid Department, 1997). 40 An attempt to shift responsibility to African NGOs for humanitarian relief will, in the immediate future, encounter serious problems of capacity. It has been estimated that even without responsibility for emergency relief there is a shortage of trained African personnel—between 25 and 200 percent are needed above present capacity—to meet current needs in education, health care, and physical infrastructure. Cindy Collins, “Humanitarian Action,” p. 9. This incapacity dictates a serious investment in capacity building even as it cautions against a rapid transfer of all responsibility for humanitarian assistance. Clearly, such a transfer would overwhelm the existing system. 41 Hendrickson, “Humanitarian Action in Protracted Crises.” 42 Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones,” makes a compelling argument that Western governments are seeking to contain the consequences of globalization—poverty and social exclusion—by privatizing assistance to keep these consequences offshore. See also Mark Duffield, “Symphony of the Damned: Racial Discourse, Complex Political Emergencies and Humanitarian Aid,” Disasters, 20(1996):173–193. 43 De Waal, Famine Crimes, and Famine that Kills: Darfur, Sudan, 1984–1985 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989). 44 M.Buchanan-Smith and S.Maxwell, “Linking Relief and Development: An Introduction and Overview,” Institute of Development Studies Bulletin, 25(1994):2–16. 45 For a related analysis of those who benefit from prolonging civil war, see Paul Collier, “Doing Well Out of War,” paper prepared for the Conference on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars, London, 1999. 46 Mark Duffield, “Symphony of the Damned,” and Buchanan-Smith and Maxwell, “Linking Relief and Development.” Duffield argues that within this new paradigm earlier concepts of social convergence have been replaced by the provision of sustainable “welfare safety nets” by private agencies. See Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones,” p. 142. 47 Joanna Macrae and Mark Bradbury, Aid in the Twilight Zone: A Critical Analysis of Humanitarian-Development Aid Linkages in Situations of Chronic Instability (London: Overseas Development Institute/Humanitarianism and War Project, 1998). 48 Sue Lautze and John Hammock, Coping with Crisis, Coping with Aid: Capacity Building, Coping Mechanisms and Dependency, Linking Relief and Development (New York: UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, December 1996), p. 27. 49 Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones.” 50 In a major attempt to assess the impact of assistance, the authors conclude that “it is hardly possible to gain comprehensive knowledge of the impact of aid.” Jerker Carlsson, Gunnar Koehlin, and Anders Ekbom, The Political Economy of Evaluation: International Aid Agencies and the Effectiveness of Aid (London: Macmillan Press, 1994), p. 203. Theirs is a cautionary tale of asserting the impact of relief assistance on development. 51 Thomas G.Weiss, “Principles, Politics, and Humanitarian Action,” Ethics & International Affairs, 13(1999):1–22, 18. 52 Duffield, “NGO Relief in War Zones,” and David Keen, “Organized Chaos: Not the New World We Ordered,” The World Today, 52(January 1996):14–17, and The Benefits of Famine. 53 De Waal, Famine Crimes, and Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, pp. 92–110. 54 See Duffield, Post-modern Conflict.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 55 F.Stewart and U.Fitzgerald develop the concept of “non-entitlement” to encompass the acquisition of commodities by breaking the law. “Introduction: Assessing the Economic Costs of War,” paper prepared for the Queen Elizabeth House Project on Institutions and Development, Oxford, October 1998. 56 Keen, The Benefits of Famine, p. 12. 57 Alan F.Fowler, “Authentic NGO Partnerships in the New Policy Agenda for International Aid: Dead End or Light Ahead?,” Development and Change, 29(1998):137–159. 58 Preventing Deadly Conflict, Final Report of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1997), pp. 105–127. 59 There is a significant difference between evaluation of past experience and the development of proposals for improved performance, on the one hand, and the adoption of these practices by the UN and humanitarian NGOs. Particularly at the UN, learning has been erratic and slow. Larry Minear, “Learning to Learn,” paper prepared for the Seminar on Lessons Learned on Humanitarian Coordination, Stockholm, April 1998. 60 Natsios, “Humanitarian Relief Intervention in Somalia,” p. 87. 61 One agency delivering large amounts of food to Rwanda increased its monitoring rapidly after the emergency erupted in 1994. A representative of the agency explained: “We went from 120 tons/month diversion to five tons/month within Rwanda between July 1993 and January 1994. We did it through monitoring. It’s monotonous, boring, but critical in cutting down mismanagement.” Cited in Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, p. 84. 62 Natsios, “Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia,” pp. 86–93. The UN field staff of the WFP and the UN Development Program opposed monetization because they thought it would be abusive to sell food in the context of a complex emergency. The proposal to monetize was endorsed by CARE and the International Rescue Committee. 63 Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, p. 83. He observes that UN agencies have far greater difficulty controlling overheads and rarely standardize to reduce the costs of purchasing equipment. 64 NGOs have also worked together to define more carefully the responsibilities of emergency aid and to refine the ethics of humanitarian action. International humanitarian agencies have adopted standards of performance and codes of conduct: the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief; the elaboration of a set of technical standards in the field of water and food aid delivery by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR); the development of principles and best practices for the recruitment and management of relief workers by “People in Aid” in the United Kingdom; and the development by the SCHR and InterAction, through the SPHERE Project, of a “claimants” charter defining beneficiary rights. Joanna Macrae, “Humanitarian Ethics Versus Humanitarian Impulse,” in ECHO report on Dublin, NGO forum, op. cit. 65 Weiss, “Principles, Politics, and Humanitarian Action,” p. 19. 66 Anderson, Do No Harm. 67 For a strong argument of this kind, see Weiss, “Principles, Politics, and Humanitarian Action.” See also Development Assistance as a Means of Conflict Prevention (Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 1998). For a rejoinder insisting on the continuing importance of neutrality, see Joelle Tanguy and Fiona Terry, “Humanitarian Responsibility and Committed Action,” Ethics & International Affairs, 13(1999) :29–35. See also Orbinski, “The 1999 Nobel Peace Prize Speech,” where the president of the MSF International Council argues that “ours is not to displace the responsibility of the state…. Ours is not to allow a humanitarian alibi to mask the state responsibility to ensure justice and security.” 68 David Keen and Ken Wilson, “Engaging with Violence: A Reassessment of Relief in Wartime,” pp. 50–69 in War and Hunger: Rethinking International Responses to Complex Emergencies, Joanna Macrae and Anthony Zwi, eds. (London: Zed Books, 1994).
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 69 Nicholas Berry, War and the Red Cross: The Unspoken Mission (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997). 70 Orbinski, “The 1999 Nobel Prize Speech.” 71 Weiss, “Principles, Politics, and Humanitarian Action,” p. 21. 72 Forty-one NGOs were granted consultative status to the UN in 1948, 377 by 1968, and more than 1,200 by 1997. John Stremlau, People in Peril: Human Rights, Humanitarian Action, and Preventing Deadly Conflict (New York: Carnegie Corporation, 1998). 73 There are some circumstances in which the monopolistic forces are less powerful. Anecdotal evidence indicates that in the United States the number of effective funding “windows” available at the U.S. Agency for International Development and its relatively decentralized structure combined with the large volume of funding tend to mitigate the agency’s monopoly power. In addition, some NGOs—CARE International, for example— have developed their own multilateral structures that create opportunities for field operations to access multiple national donors. 74 Natsios, “Humanitarian Relief Intervention in Somalia,” p. 93. 75 DHA News, December 1997, no. 23, pp. 5, 7–8. 76 Council for a Livable World, Project on Peacekeeping and the United Nations, prospectus, www.clw.org/pub/clw/un/acri.html. 77 The lead African state in ECOMOG, Nigeria dominated the force that was seen by other Africans as serving regional hegemonic interests. The UN exercised virtually no control over the force once it had authorized its operations through a Security Council resolution. See Edwin M.Smith and Thomas G.Weiss, “UN Task-Sharing: Towards or Away from Global Governance,” Third World Quarterly, February 1997; Michèle Griffen, “Retrenchment, Reform and Regionalization: Trends in UN Peace Support Measures,” International Peacekeeping, Summer 1999, pp. 21–25; Stremlau, People in Peril: Human Rights, Humanitarian Action, and Preventing Deadly Conflict, pp. 57–58; Sylvester Ekundayo Rowe, “ECOMOG—A Model for African Peace-keeping,” African Law Today, October 1998; and Colin Scott, with Larry Minear and Thomas G.Weiss, Humanitarian Action and Security in Liberia, Occasional Paper #20 (Providence, R.I.: Thomas J.Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, 1995). 78 Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (New York: United Nations, Office of the Secretary-General), p. 34. 79 UNSECOORD also helps agencies identify field security officers, and a designated official, usually a senior official from a UN agency, reports to UNSECOORD in New York. Security of Relief Workers and Humanitarian Space, Background Document to the Commission Working Paper (European Commission, ECHO, April 1999). 80 The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel of 1994 entered into force on January 15, 1999. The UN secretary-general has recommended the addition of a protocol to the convention that would extend the scope of legal protection to all UN and associated personnel. Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, pp. 3, 10. 81 Security of Relief Workers and Humanitarian Space, pp. 14–15. 82 In the fall of 1994 the UN received a proposal from a British company to provide training and support to Zaire’s army in order to wrest control of the camps from the militias. The idea received support from one permanent member of the UN Security Council, but other members rejected the idea on the basis of cost and principle: using a private company to fulfill an international public responsibility was wrong. None of the states rejecting the proposal on principle subsequently offered troops and resources when requested by the secretary-general. 83 prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, p. 66.
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International Conflict Resolution After the Cold War 84 ICRC, “Working Paper on Armed Protection of Humanitarian Assistance,” Council of Delegates, Geneva, 1–2 December 1995, and ICRC, “Seminar on the Security of Humanitarian Personnel in the Field for Non-governmental Organizations,” Graduate Institute for International Studies, Geneva, 5 December 1997. 85 Security of Relief Workers in Humanitarian Space, p. 19. 86 The “privatization of security” for humanitarian purposes is part of a broader and deeper trend in contemporary global politics. Governments and international organizations are subcontracting to private organizations the training and staffing of international observer missions, police forces, and even military forces. See Janice Gross Stein, “The Privatization of Security in Global Space,” International Studies Review, Summer 2000, forthcoming. 87 For a similar argument, see Weiss, “Principles, Politics, and Humanitarian Action,” p. 21. 88 Many NGOs reject any conditionality of humanitarian assistance at all. As Tanguy and Fierry of MSF argue, “although the provision of aid in conflict is implicitly political, the possibility of constructing humanitarian space is jeopardized by tying aid to conflict resolution initiatives. The use of aid as a carrot to bring about peace destroys all notions of giving aid according to needs and without discrimination” (“Humanitarian Responsibility and Committed Action,” p. 33). 89 The head of one of the agencies that remained explained: “Total withdrawal would provoke chaos, looting, and violence.” Cutting off water, he continued, could create an epidemic within days. Cited by Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, pp. 139–140. 90 CARE Canada internal memorandum, record of Liberia-NGO Steering Committee teleconference, June 19, 1996. 91 Nicholas Stockton, “In Defence of Humanitarianism,” paper presented to the Disasters Emergency Committee Seminar, London, 1998. 92 Médecins sans Frontières withdrew from Goma, objecting publicly to political conditions in the camps, but other humanitarian NGOs stayed to provide assistance. Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, p. 138. 93 Ian Levine argues that the humanitarian community has not been very successful in identifying the best interests of those living under the control of groups whose respect for human rights is nonexistent. See “Promoting Humanitarian Principles: The Southern Sudan Experience,” Overseas Development Institute Refugee Research Network Paper 21, May 1997, p. 24, and James Darcy, “Human Rights and International Legal Standards: What Do Relief Workers Need to Know?,” Overseas Development Institute Refugee Research Network Paper 19, February 1997. 94 The four were Save the Children (U.K.), the WFP, Sudan Medical Care, and Diocese of Torit that assisted in animal health. Prendergast, Frontline Diplomacy, p. 140. 95 Collier, “Doing Well Out of War”; David Keen, The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); and Francois Jean and Jean-Christophe Rufin, Economies des Guerres Civiles (Paris: Hachette Pluriel, 1996). 96 The Wave of Emergencies of the Last Decade.
Representative terms from entire chapter: