Panel Discussions - Friday, March 08, 2013
European Commissioner Georgieva: Mending a More Fragile World
“The world may become richer, but also more fragile,” Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, told a roundtable in IPI ‘s Vienna office on March 8th. Pointing to the fact that at any point in time, 40 countries of the world are entering, experiencing, or leaving a state of conflict or disaster, she said it is increasingly important to invest in communities to enable them to withstand shocks and to fortify bridges between humanitarian aid and development assistance, which has the best resources to build resilience.
“We put plasters on the wound and stop the bleeding, but we don’t cure, and cannot eliminate the underlying causes,” she explained.
The Commissioner, a Bulgarian economist who has held leading positions at the World Bank, underlined the European Union’s strong tradition and current activities in disaster response and humanitarian aid. “In the 20 years of its existence, the Commission's European Community Humanitarian Office [ECHO], which merges humanitarian aid and civil protection, has spent over €14 billion,” she said. “The five S’s—Syria, Sahel, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia—made 2012 a record year for our humanitarian work.”
Commissioner Georgieva stressed that the respect for humanitarian workers depends on the neutrality, independence and impartiality of humanitarian aid and that governments must resist the temptation to use it as a foreign policy tool. Looking at the crises in Mali and Syria, she emphasized the importance of the international community being on the same page.
In the question-and-answer session, participants raised issues such as how to transfer aspirations into operations on the ground; how to foster coherence among different bi- and multilateral actors; how humanitarian assistance links with security policy in asymmetric conflicts; and how access to conflict regions in times of increased threat to humanitarian workers can be assured.
Discussing the military as a third player along with humanitarian aid and civil protection, Commissioner Georgieva reviewed several scenarios of civil-military cooperation, where the military can play an important role. She also emphasized the need for increased communication between the aid communities, addressing the doubt that many humanitarian workers have that “the military might be the elephant in the china shop.”
The International Peace Institute’s HOPEFOR initiative aims to address this fear by improving military-civilian cooperation for disaster prevention and relief.
With March 8th being International Women’s Day, Ms. Georgieva noted that women and children are still the most vulnerable people in humanitarian crisis.
The Global Observatory
The Responsibility to Protect Principle is Not the Problem: Interview with Jennifer Welsh
Why hasn’t the principle adopted by the United Nations in 2005 to prevent genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing—known as the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)—helped to stop the war crimes in Syria?
Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2013: The Multilateral Arena
Ten key issues that are likely to impact global affairs in international peace, security, and development.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
December 02, 2013
Latin America Focus of Fourth ''Being a Peacekeeper'' Event
On December 2-3, IPI brought together 24 representatives from eleven Latin American countries with senior officials from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to discuss the current state—as well as the future—of Latin American military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.
November 28, 2013
Energy and Security in the Arctic: A New “Frozen” Conflict?
Is the Arctic a “region of cooperation,” or will competition for its potentially rich energy resources lead to conflict in the high north? This was the main question addressed during an expert workshop held in The Hague on November 28th by the International Peace Institute together with the International Gas Union and the Clingendael International Energy Programme.
November 26, 2013
Addressing the Crisis in Central African Republic
How to prevent catastrophe in the Central African Republic (CAR) was the topic of an event at the International Peace Institute on November 26th. Ten months after a military coup brought the current transitional government to power, the Central African Republic is wracked by massive human rights violations, sectarian violence, attacks on civilians, and reprisals by self-defense groups.
December 10, 2013
Video: Human Rights in Peacekeeping
December 09, 2013
Video: Heraldo Muñoz on Benazir Bhutto's Assassination
December 03, 2013
IPI Editor Adam Lupel Quoted on the Politics of Genocide [IRIN News]