Panel Discussions - Tuesday, July 28, 2009
IPI Holds Policy Forum on Regulating Private Security Companies
Private military and security companies (PMSCs) play an increasingly visible role in conflict and postconflict situations. Properly regulated, they may offer efficient and responsive means of delivering security in insecure environments. But well-publicized abuses suggest that an adequate regulatory framework is urgently needed.
On Tuesday, July 28, 2009, IPI hosted a lunchtime policy forum to highlight current efforts inside and outside the United Nations to develop a more effective system of international regulation, oversight, and accountability.
Read the transcript of this event
To begin, Ambassador Peter Maurer of Switzerland explained the initiative led by his government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which in September 2008 produced the Montreux Document. This document, currently endorsed by thirty-one states, including the US, UK, China, Iraq and Afghanistan, affirms states’ existing legal obligations and sets out good practice for states dealing with PMSCs.
Ambassador Maurer also noted the significant support that has recently emerged amongst states, civil society, and the industry itself to prepare an international code of conduct for the industry.
Next to address the audience of almost 100 assembled diplomats, civil society experts, and industry representatives was Shaista Shameem, chairperson-rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Mercenaries.
Ms. Shameem provided an overview of a draft of the international convention on the regulation and oversight of PMSCs that the working group is currently preparing, on request from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
IPI hosted a small closed-door workshop with nonstate experts for the working group the next day to provide feedback and input on the current draft.
The third panelist was James Cockayne, discussing IPI’s new book, Beyond Market Forces: Regulating the Global Security Industry (IPI: New York, 2009). This book analyzes existing shortcomings in industry, national-level and international regulation of PMSCs, and draws lessons from the regulation of other global industries. It includes thirty case studies of standards implementation and enforcement efforts in the global extractive, financial, chemical, toy, sports, veterinary, garment and apparel, and other industries.
Mr. Cockayne stressed that any regulatory effort at the international level should complement and facilitate state-based regulation. But he closed with a call to seize a “window of opportunity” for improved regulation that now presented itself, with an emerging alignment of interests among key states, industry actors, and affected groups.
The panelists’ remarks and responses to questions were enthusiastically received by the large audience. The audience’s wide-ranging questions touched on issues such as the legitimacy of contractor involvement in interrogations and provision of security to expeditionary military forces; the role of PMSCs in supporting UN operations; the effectiveness of self-regulation; and the need to improve opportunities for affected communities to hold PMSCs accountable.
The Global Observatory
UN at "Heart of the Dysfunction" in Humanitarian Aid, New Report Finds
In a new report, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) offers a blunt critique of the humanitarian system, and the UN's role in it. IPI's Marie O'Reilly spoke with Sandrine Tiller, one of the authors.
Key Global Events to Watch in July
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
July 01, 2014
SRSG Johnson: South Sudan Crisis Changed UNMISS “Mindset”
Hilde Johnson, the outgoing Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), gave an overflow IPI audience a dramatic account of the challenging situation that has faced the United Nations in the country since the eruption of mass violence at the end of last year.
June 25, 2014
Mousavian: Iran and US Have Serious Chance for Rapprochement
From Iraq to Syria, from energy to counterterrorism, Iran and the United States share many common interests across the Middle East and ought to put aside their decades of hostility, said author and former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian.
June 23, 2014
National Ownership Is Essential For Peacebuilding to Succeed in CAR
With the Central African Republic (CAR) steeped in ethnic and inter-religious violence, a group of UN officials, government representatives, and members of civil society gathered at IPI on June 23rd and discussed the best way forward for the war-torn country.
July 17, 2014
Video: EU-UN Partnership in Peace Operations