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
Aid Workers, More on the Front Lines, Suffer Increased Attacks: Interview with Abby Stoddard
Aid worker attacks were at their highest levels last year.
Key Global Events to Watch in March
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.
February 26, 2014
Roméo Dallaire: Neutralize Child Soldiers Without Destroying Them
“We believe that by better training both police and military and a whole new dimension of working much closer, particularly information-wise, with NGOs and other agencies on the ground, we can work at neutralizing without destroying children as a system of weaponry in this era,” said Lt. General Roméo Dallaire (Ret.) at an IPI event on February 26th.
February 19, 2014
Gary Bass: Forgotten Genocide May Portend Future Stain on UN Inaction
The inability of the United Nations Security Council to halt mass atrocities in East Pakistan some 40 years ago has parallels to current inaction in North Korea, argued Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, on February 19th.
February 18, 2014
Jok: Near Collapse in South Sudan Is Shocking but Not Surprising
The events that recently brought South Sudan to a near collapse were “extremely shocking, but they were not surprising by any means,” said Jok Madut Jok, Executive Director of The Sudd Institute, at the International Peace Institute on February 18. “It was only a matter of time before the country returned to this kind of situation,” he added.
December 03, 2013
IPI Editor Adam Lupel Quoted on the Politics of Genocide [IRIN News]