Conflict Prevention: Fact file

From Cologne to Miyazaki.

At the 1999 Summit in Cologne, the Foreign Ministers of the eight most industrialised countries agreed, for the first time, on the need to improve their policies regarding conflict prevention, focusing on a more marked respect of the United Nations Charter, and on the strenghthening of democratic institutions, human rights and the rule of law. In their final communiqué, the Heads of State also called for greater attention to this issue, which led to an ad hoc G8 session on conflict prevention (Berlin, December 1999). On that occasion, the Foreign Ministers instructed their Political Directors to hold specific meetings in view of the Okinawa Summit in July 2000.

 

Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention.

Meeting for the first time under the Japanese Presidency, the Conflict Prevention Officials' Meeting (CPOM) adopted a "comprehensive approach", upon the request of the Foreign Ministers, analysing the various roles played by each factor at every stage of the development of crises, and taking into account the diversity and complexity of causes of conflicts.

In Miyazaki, on 13 July 2000, the G8 Foreign Ministers approved the document "G8 Miyazaki Initiatives For Conflict Prevention", which focuses on five areas:

1) Small Arms and Light Weapons

The G8 underlined that the uncontrolled and illegal transfer of small arms and light weapons and the excessive proliferation of these weapons in many parts of the world pose a threat to peace and security. Emphasising the need for international institutions and individual states to improve and increase the effectiveness of their efforts by developing co-ordinated and coherent policies, the G8 decided not to authorise the export of small arms to those countries where there is a clear risk that these might be used for repression or aggression against another country. The group agreed, at the same time, to ensure that its export licensing decisions respect the ECOWAS moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of light weapons approved in October 1998

The G8 likewise urged other exporting states to adopt such a policy.

With regard to the fight against the illicit trafficking of small arms, the G8 emphasised the fundamental importance of respecting all embargoes imposed by the United Nations, and encouraged the countries and regions directly affected by illicit arms trafficking to enhance transparency in this regard by adopting measures such as the exchange of information on arms supplies and the registration of small arms. To this end, the G8 offered financial and technical assistance to support those countries that intend to take concrete steps to reduce excessive accumulations of small arms on their territory.

2) Conflict and Development

Peace and democratic stability are indispensable pre-conditions for economic growth and sustainable development. In this sense, development co-operation has a key role to play in fostering peace and stability. As the major provider of development assistance, the G8 can play a crucial role, both in terms of its own development cooperation policies and in co-ordination with the main international financial institutions, to promote democratic and legislative institutions and good governance by countries located in conflict areas, with a view to sustainable development, and human, natural and financial resources.

3) Illicit Trade in Diamonds

The G8 reiterated its concern that the proceeds from the illicit trade in commodities, such as diamonds in Africa, are aggravating international conflicts and crises. Whilst insisting that the interests of the legitimate diamond producers and traders be protected, the G8 decided to co-operate with the various actors involved (governments of diamond-producing states, neighbouring states, major marketing centres, as well as regional organisations and the private sector) in order to curb illicit diamond flows. At the same time, it calls on producers and buyers to adopt specific measures to counter such trade. The G8 in particular expressed support for the activities carried out by the United Nations in Angola and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling for urgent cooperation with the government of Sierra Leone on the proper control over trade in diamonds produced in that country.

4) Children in Armed Conflict

At times direct participants, and too often helpless victims, children are the social category that most directly and most dramatically suffers the harmful effects of conflicts. The G8 agreed to concert pressure in all international fora against individual governments and armed groups when access to assistance is denied to children or when children are specifically targeted as victims and/or participants in a conflict. Emphasising the importance of universal adherence to the International Labour Organisation Convention no. 182 on the elimination of worst forms of child labour, the G8 is committed to promote, in close collaboration with the United Nations, the adoption of international standards for the protection of child rights, including by supporting action by those who contribute towards highlighting and raising awareness of the issue of children in armed conflict.

5) International Civil Police

United Nations civilian police forces are a critical element in conflict prevention as they help indigenous civilian police forces develop the capacity to maintain law and order. Recognising this important contribution, the G8 urged states with civilian police expertise to make a contribution. To this regard, the G8 underlined the importance of helping the United Nations develop its capacities in this sector in the framework of the peace-keeping functions conferred upon it by the Charter.

The road to Genoa 2001

Last March 19, the CPOM met for the first time under the Italian Presidency: besides the topics dealt with under the Japanese Presidency, the group also addressed as indicated by the G8 Foreign Ministers in the Miyazaki document of 13 July 2000 the topics "women and conflict" and "corporate responsibility".

 

From Cologne to Miyazaki.

At the 1999 Summit in Cologne, the Foreign Ministers of the eight most industrialised countries agreed, for the first time, on the need to improve their policies regarding conflict prevention, focusing on a more marked respect of the United Nations Charter, and on the strenghthening of democratic institutions, human rights and the rule of law. In their final communiqué, the Heads of State also called for greater attention to this issue, which led to an ad hoc G8 session on conflict prevention (Berlin, December 1999). On that occasion, the Foreign Ministers instructed their Political Directors to hold specific meetings in view of the Okinawa Summit in July 2000.

 

Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention.

Meeting for the first time under the Japanese Presidency, the Conflict Prevention Officials' Meeting (CPOM) adopted a "comprehensive approach", upon the request of the Foreign Ministers, analysing the various roles played by each factor at every stage of the development of crises, and taking into account the diversity and complexity of causes of conflicts.

In Miyazaki, on 13 July 2000, the G8 Foreign Ministers approved the document "G8 Miyazaki Initiatives For Conflict Prevention", which focuses on five areas:

1) Small Arms and Light Weapons

The G8 underlined that the uncontrolled and illegal transfer of small arms and light weapons and the excessive proliferation of these weapons in many parts of the world pose a threat to peace and security. Emphasising the need for international institutions and individual states to improve and increase the effectiveness of their efforts by developing co-ordinated and coherent policies, the G8 decided not to authorise the export of small arms to those countries where there is a clear risk that these might be used for repression or aggression against another country. The group agreed, at the same time, to ensure that its export licensing decisions respect the ECOWAS moratorium on the importation, exportation and manufacture of light weapons approved in October 1998

The G8 likewise urged other exporting states to adopt such a policy.

With regard to the fight against the illicit trafficking of small arms, the G8 emphasised the fundamental importance of respecting all embargoes imposed by the United Nations, and encouraged the countries and regions directly affected by illicit arms trafficking to enhance transparency in this regard by adopting measures such as the exchange of information on arms supplies and the registration of small arms. To this end, the G8 offered financial and technical assistance to support those countries that intend to take concrete steps to reduce excessive accumulations of small arms on their territory.

2) Conflict and Development

Peace and democratic stability are indispensable pre-conditions for economic growth and sustainable development. In this sense, development co-operation has a key role to play in fostering peace and stability. As the major provider of development assistance, the G8 can play a crucial role, both in terms of its own development cooperation policies and in co-ordination with the main international financial institutions, to promote democratic and legislative institutions and good governance by countries located in conflict areas, with a view to sustainable development, and human, natural and financial resources.

3) Illicit Trade in Diamonds

The G8 reiterated its concern that the proceeds from the illicit trade in commodities, such as diamonds in Africa, are aggravating international conflicts and crises. Whilst insisting that the interests of the legitimate diamond producers and traders be protected, the G8 decided to co-operate with the various actors involved (governments of diamond-producing states, neighbouring states, major marketing centres, as well as regional organisations and the private sector) in order to curb illicit diamond flows. At the same time, it calls on producers and buyers to adopt specific measures to counter such trade. The G8 in particular expressed support for the activities carried out by the United Nations in Angola and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, calling for urgent cooperation with the government of Sierra Leone on the proper control over trade in diamonds produced in that country.

4) Children in Armed Conflict

At times direct participants, and too often helpless victims, children are the social category that most directly and most dramatically suffers the harmful effects of conflicts. The G8 agreed to concert pressure in all international fora against individual governments and armed groups when access to assistance is denied to children or when children are specifically targeted as victims and/or participants in a conflict. Emphasising the importance of universal adherence to the International Labour Organisation Convention no. 182 on the elimination of worst forms of child labour, the G8 is committed to promote, in close collaboration with the United Nations, the adoption of international standards for the protection of child rights, including by supporting action by those who contribute towards highlighting and raising awareness of the issue of children in armed conflict.

5) International Civil Police

United Nations civilian police forces are a critical element in conflict prevention as they help indigenous civilian police forces develop the capacity to maintain law and order. Recognising this important contribution, the G8 urged states with civilian police expertise to make a contribution. To this regard, the G8 underlined the importance of helping the United Nations develop its capacities in this sector in the framework of the peace-keeping functions conferred upon it by the Charter.

The road to Genoa 2001

Last March 19, the CPOM met for the first time under the Italian Presidency: besides the topics dealt with under the Japanese Presidency, the group also addressed as indicated by the G8 Foreign Ministers in the Miyazaki document of 13 July 2000 the topics "women and conflict" and "corporate responsibility".

 

G8 Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention - Miyazaki, 13 July 2000

Conclusions of the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Special session for conflict prevention - Berlin, 16-17 December 1999


Source: Italia, Ministero degli Affari Esteri (all accessible at http://www.esteri.it/g8/docum.htm)

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