G8 Foreign Ministers' Meetings

G8 Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention

Miyazaki, Japan, 13 July 2000

I. EFFORTS FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION
-- A BASIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK --

The G8 Heads of State and Government announced last June in Cologne, and we, Foreign Ministers, reiterated last December in Berlin, the determination to make prevention of armed conflict a high priority issue in coming years. We have to nurture a "Culture of Prevention" throughout the global community by encouraging international and regional organizations, states, NGOs and other actors to view their activities and policies from the vantage of conflict prevention, and to commit themselves to work towards this goal.

The G8 confirms that efforts to prevent conflict must be based upon observance of international law including the UN Charter, democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable development, and other fundamental values, which constitute the foundation of international peace and security.

1. "Comprehensive Approach"

The G8 believes that, because of the diversity and complexity of causes of conflicts, the following "Comprehensive Approach" should be adopted:

Consistent efforts for conflict prevention need to be made at every stage, from pre-conflict to post-conflict (Chronological Comprehensiveness).

During each stage of a conflict, the international community should draw from a wide-ranging menu of political, economic and social policy options. Furthermore, it is crucial to address the issues of human rights and protection of civilians. (Comprehensiveness in Measures for Conflict Prevention)

It should be noted that, in taking concrete measures on individual conflicts, their characteristics, including their causes, parties, modalities, and regional contexts, as well as coherence with policies in other fields -- e.g. international trade and finance -- need to be fully taken into consideration.

2. The UN, the G8 and Other Actors

We, the G8 Foreign Ministers recalled at the Berlin Ministerial Meeting on Conflict Prevention that the UN Charter confers the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security upon the Security Council, and that the UN Secretary General also has an important role in this respect. We reaffirmed that a reformed and effective UN remains central. In this context, the G8 notes the relevance of the report of the UN Secretary General in preparation for the UN Millennium Assembly.

While the principal responsibility for preventing conflicts lies with the parties directly concerned, conflict prevention is a joint venture involving all the international community, including other international and regional organizations, states, business sector, NGOs, and individuals.

The G8 welcomes wider use of the relevant provisions of the UN Charter for preventive diplomacy and will work for integration of the diverse elements of the UN system so as to support more effectively preventive action.

The G8 regards the UN's peacekeeping capacity as a key contribution to global conflict prevention efforts. We note the establishment by the UN Secretary General of an expert panel and welcome the effort to conduct a comprehensive review in this field as a contribution to efforts to strengthen the quality and speed of the UN response to peacekeeping challenges. We underline the importance of efforts to create arrangements with member states for an effective surge capacity for planning and conduct of peacekeeping operations. We also look forward to the reinforcement of the capacity of the UN in the area of CIVPOL.

The G8 supports the UN's existing mechanism for maintaining compliance with the international human rights standards and regular communication of this information to relevant UN bodies for use in their deliberations. We intend to contribute to strengthening the conflict prevention and early warning capacity of the UN by, inter alia, promoting the reinforcement of the role of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General.

The G8 stands ready to support the efforts by the international community for conflict prevention, especially in those areas where it has a special contribution to make.

II. THE G8 INITIATIVES FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION

Based on three criteria, namely, (a) whether the issue has a direct relevance to conflict prevention, (b) whether the G8 has a comparative advantage over other players in dealing with the issue, and (c) whether a joint initiative by the G8 could bear fruit, this year the G8 undertakes the following initiatives:

1. Small Arms and Light Weapons

The G8 believes that the uncontrolled and illegal transfer of small arms and light weapons (hereinafter referred to as "small arms") and the existence of destabilizing accumulations of these weapons in many parts of the world pose a serious threat to peace, security, and prosperity. The G8 therefore strongly supports national, regional, and international efforts to ensure that transfers of small arms are carried out in a responsible and legal fashion, and to reduce existing destabilizing accumulations to levels consistent with legitimate defense and security needs.

The destabilizing proliferation of small arms presents the international community with challenges in many areas including export control policy, prevention of illicit trafficking, law enforcement and crime prevention, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, post-conflict reconstruction, and security sector reform. The G8 emphasizes the need for international institutions and individual states to increase the effectiveness of their efforts by developing coordinated and coherent policies in all of these areas, while avoiding duplication.

The G8

2. Conflict and Development

Peace and democratic stability are indispensable pre-conditions for economic growth and sustainable development. Moreover, economic and development co-operation has an important role to play in fostering peace and stability. The G8 can use its position as the major provider of the development assistance to pursue actively initiatives in this area. While ensuring that fundamental development goals remain at the core of bilateral and multilateral assistance policies, the G8 should take initiatives particularly in three areas: (a) promoting the consideration of conflict prevention in development assistance strategies, (b) focusing assistance to ensure quick action to prevent conflict, and (c) ensuring a smooth transition from emergency humanitarian assistance to development assistance in the post-conflict stage. The G8 also recognizes that a recipient government's ownership of its development policies and civil society's participation can contribute to mitigating tensions.

(1) Promoting the Consideration of Conflict Prevention in Development Assistance Strategies The G8 ,

(2) Focusing Assistance to Ensure Quick Action to Prevent Conflict The G8,

(3) Ensuring a Smooth Transition from Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to Development in the Post-Conflict Stage The G8,

3.Illicit Trade in Diamonds

The G8 is concerned that the proceeds from the illicit trade in certain high value commodities, especially diamonds, are providing funds for arms purchases, thus aggravating conflicts and humanitarian crises in Africa (particularly Angola, DRC and Sierra Leone).

Whilst insisting that the interests of the legitimate diamond producers and traders are not put at risk, the G8 will take the following steps to counter the illicit trade in diamonds, particularly those coming from conflict zones in Africa.

The G8, which accounts for the bulk of the global market for diamonds,

4. Children in Armed Conflict

The plight of war-affected children, a group which includes, in particular, child soldiers, child orphans, sexually exploited children and children traumatized by armed conflict, but also comprises all the children affected by the effects of war in wider sense , is one of the most disturbing human security issues facing the world today. The G8 is particularly concerned by the issues raised by children in armed conflict both as participants and victims. In this context, the G8 agreed upon the following approaches.

(1) Pressure Against Those Who Involve or Target Children in Armed Conflict in Breach of International Standards The G8

(2) Support for International Standards and Mechanisms The G8

(3) Outreach The G8

(4) Reintegration and Rehabilitation The G8

5. International Civilian Police

UN deployed civilian police (CIVPOL), usually as a component of peacekeeping operations, are a critical element in conflict prevention as they help indigenous civilian police forces develop the capacity to maintain law and order, and if necessary, can perform this function on an interim basis.

The G8


Source: The Government of Japan

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