Monday, 7 July 2008

The WolfGroup

Cross-posted from Patronus Analytical:

Sunday, 14 October 2007

University for Peace announces short courses related to Gender and Peacebuilding

The United Nations affiliated University for Peace in Costa Rica announced that it is offering new short courses related to Gender and Peacebuilding.

Darfur - Peacekeepers Without a Peace to Keep

The New York Times has a short piece entitled, 'Peacekeepers Without a Peace to Keep'.

The article continues the debate on how damaging the attack on AU peacekeepers in Haskanita will be in the short- and mid-term. While this take on the incident isn't new, the author does start to pose some more critical questions about whether military intervention in Darfur is already too late?- Or, is it too early?


A recent statement by the AU force commander captured the challenge facing peackeepers- 'AU outnumbered, outgunned in Darfur'. It is easy to make calls for peacekeepers to enforce the 'Responsibility to Protect', as Roméo Dallaire does: '...the troops must “go inside the camps, do night patrols and snap inspections, essentially go wherever they need to, without the Sudanese Army or police blocking them.” He said they also need to go after “every one of those splinter groups” and they’ll need the proper gear to do so.' How realistic are these calls?

A number of uncomfortable comparisons in the article are made between Darfur and Somalia. Yet perhaps a better comparison would be the early days of UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia? The lack of political will in FRY crippled even relatively well-equipped peackeepers. Can UNAMID hope for better?

Monday, 1 October 2007

Resource- Where does Human Security fit in?

Human Security Review has a great post called 'Human Security 101'.

Great introduction to the competing views of precisely what human security means. While human security is an excellent concept destined to change the way we think about security, at the field level it hasn't really been 'operationalized' by states in their foreign policies, or by IOs in their programs. There should be clear links to the questions of how civilian agencies working in hostile environments view their own security, though this is rarely the case- there is a worrying disconnect between 'their' security, and that of the beneficiaries and their environment. Some of these disconnects were touched upon by the Feinstein Institute's report, 'Mapping the Security Environment: Understanding the perceptions of local communities, peace support operations and assistance agencies'.

'Human security is a relatively new concept and there is much disagreement as to its precise meaning. Below is the definition used by Human Security Review.

Human security looks at security from the level of the individual, as opposed to the state or international system. That is, human security concerns the protection of individuals and societies.

This is not the only definition. Some definitions focus on violent threats to individuals (genocide, conflict, civil war, insurgency…). Human Security Review takes a broader perspective, arguing violence (also called personal security) is only one of many threats to the individual (environmental, health, food, etc…). This broad view of human security is presented in the graphic below.


The horizontal axis represents different types of security while the vertical axis represents levels of analysis. What all definitions of human security agree on, is the level of analysis. The level of analysis is fundamental to human security and separates it from more other perspectives of security. Traditionally security has been viewed from the state level. Many confuse national security and human security, and for good reason. There is much overlap between the concepts and often national security policies are indistinguishable from human security policies. Often, but not always.

Imagine two presidential security advisers in the United States before an imminent nuclear war. One advisor, Mr. Naton, looks at security from the state level (national security). The other advisor, Mr. Hume, looks at security from the individual level (human security). Their different level of analysis matter.

Looking from the national security perspective, Mr. Naton want to secure the entity of the United States. He recommends the core / most important members of the government be placed bunkers. His goal is to protect the government (represented by Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court) and thus the entity of the state survives. That is, he is concerned with threats to the state.

Alternatively looking from the human security perspective, Mr. Hume wants to secure the individuals (who happen to live in the United States). He recommends as many people as possible be placed in bunkers. His goal is to protect the individuals living in the United States. That is, he is concerned with threats to individuals.'

UN And African Union Agree to Strengthen Security Cooperation

The UN Security Council and the African Union (AU) issued a joint communiqué where they underlined the importance of developing the African Standby Force, and bolstering their overall collaboration in addressing conflict and building peace. The press statement was the result of a week-long mission by UN Security Council members to Africa. Following their visit to Addis, the members will visit Sudan, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Are more Afghan civilians killed more by US and NATO forces than by insurgents?

An earlier posting showed the press campaign that NATO was waging to show that it was taking collateral damage as a serious problem- and that they were making alledged improvements in reducing civilian casualties.

Not surprisingly, there is now a full-blown war of statistics being waged in the press- AP calculates that Coalition and NATO forces have killed more civilians than the Taliban insurgents in 2007 (203 vs. 178 deaths). Others say that the numbers are roughly equal.

Will be curious to see the next round of press statements, particularly following a scathing speech by President Karzai on Saturday.

UN decides to split Department of Peacekeeping Operations

The United Nations General Assembly decided by consensus to split the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), creating a new Department of Field Support to look after management and logistic under the supervision of an Under-Secretary-General. The Peacekeeping Department will now concentrate on operations and will also be headed by an Under-Secretary-General.

'...Ban sees it [the splitting of DPKO] as an important part of the reforms process and asserts that it would increase the overall efficiency at a time when the world body is being asked to take on more and more responsibility of peacekeeping.'