Panel Discussions - Thursday, May 24, 2012
Kamau: South-South Cooperation Should Be “No-Brainer”
“One would think that the whole idea of south-south cooperation being a very critical and important part of what should be the solutions of what we face in the world would be a no-brainer,” Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya told an IPI policy forum on May 24, 2012. He was speaking at an event on “South-South Cooperation for the Provision of Civilian Expertise in Post-conflict Settings,” cosponsored by the United Nations Civilian Capacities Project.
“Why wouldn’t you go to the second-largest economy on earth, with some of the largest capabilities both in human and material resources, to help the world pull out of post-conflict, or any other difficulty the world is facing? Why wouldn’t you go to China? Why wouldn’t you go to the sixth-largest economy, Brazil, on Earth?” he asked.
Speaking of the rapid transformations occurring in the world economy today, Ambassador Kamau said, “What we have witnessed in our parts of the world is that this transformation has truly changed the possibility for us as people who live in that part of the world. Our beacons of hope have actually shifted radically, because the countries that are able to bring their resources and expertise, and their surplus income…are those countries that are actually in the south.”
He continued, “These are countries in a position to do things that can radically change the opportunities for all our countries, and help us build lasting peace, stability, and economic progress.”
Utilizing these resources to address post-conflict situations, he said, “Building civilian capacity, seeking to utilize civilian capacity should be a no-brainer. The United Nations…it only has maybe 20,000 people at its disposal…that can be brought to bear on the challenges that countries around the world face on post-conflict. That’s simply too little, too few a capability.” Therefore, regional organizations and countries are required, and even best-placed, to help address the challenges, he said.
The other panelists were Ambassador Zahir Taninv of Afghanistan and Mitra Vasisht, Member of the Senior Advisory Group on Civilian Capacities. Ambassador Tanin said that “South-south cooperation has been integral to the development of [Afghanistan]” since 2001. In this reconstruction and development process, “north-south and south-south cooperation became part of each other,” he said.
“We found this interaction between north-south, south-south cooperation, we found that if you limit yourself to south-south, of course you shortchange yourself. But if you are only north-south, you are losing the benefit of something that can easily come from south-south cooperation.”
In Afghanistan, “we have focused on regional cooperation. We work with a number of [regional] organizations.” This regional cooperation is so helpful and important because “we work in the same environments, we have the same experience. The villages that are in Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or Central Asia, or Iran, have a similarity of problems,” he said.
Ambassador Vasisht said the Advisory Group asked itself, “If UN peacekeeping could succeed, why not peacebuilding and post-conflict capacity strengthening?”
The consensus that emerged was, she said, “National capacity had to be strengthened, and those that existed before the conflict needed to be nurtured. Assistance asked for and given had to be demand-driven. The UN could not, and should not, attempt everything and had to look for strong partnerships.”
Ambassador Vasisht, who served as an Indian diplomat previously, spoke of India and Afghanistan's development cooperation, calling it “another example of how shared development priorities in the same region could allow for a more successful cooperation.” India has been the largest aid donor from the Global south to Afghanistan since 2001.
“The priorities for this cooperation have been, and always will be, the priorities defined by Afghanistan,” she said. “In all areas of activity, India is happy to report that it discovered existence of local capacity, which has been tapped and very successfully retrained.”
Dr. Sarah Cliffe, Special Adviser and Assistant UN Secretary-General for the Civilian Capacities Project provided introductory remarks.
The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Senior Adviser for External Relations.
The Global Observatory
CWhat Makes a Terrorist Stop Being a Terrorist?
A close look at terrorist de-radicalization programs shows that it is still unclear whether they work, and if so, how.
Key Global Events to Watch in November
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.
November 25, 2014
Independent Commission on Multilateralism Launched in Vienna
The Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) was launched officially in Vienna on November 25th. The event was held at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and opened by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.
November 13, 2014
Experts Forum: Assessing Links Between Peacebuilding and Organized Crime
Organized crime and peacebuilding can be seen as separate issues, but recent research and practice suggest the two are deeply linked—conflict is increasingly fueling crime, and crime in turn makes peace harder to achieve.
November 05, 2014
Top-Down Governance Hurts Women, Youth Participation
Governments in the Sahel and Maghreb are still using top-down approaches to governance that make it hard for women and youth to have a say in public life, even though their participation can help their governments’ struggle against instability and extremism.
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt