Norway Promises to Increase Focus on “Women, Peace and Security”

On Thursday 21 October, the UN Security Council held its annual debate on “Women, Peace and Security” (WPS). Under Kenyan presidency, all the UN member states had the opportunity to give statements on this topic, which has been a permanent feature on the Council’s agenda ever since October 2000, when the Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

According to Resolution 1325 – and its nine follow-up resolutions – women should be included in all stages of peace negotiations, conflict management and peace-building. Combating conflict-related sexual violence is also central to the WPS agenda.

Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, addresses a Security Council meeting. Photo: UN Photo / Ariana Lindquist

The theme for this year’s debate was “Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding”, but the participating member states used the occasion as an opportunity to address a broad spectrum of topics based on their own security-policy priorities. The Norwegian contribution drew attention because Norway was one of only a few countries to make concrete commitments to increase investments in the WPS agenda.Read More

Climate Resilience and Conflict: Multi-stakeholder Partnerships As A Way Forward?

As world leaders convened in Glasgow for the 26th annual Conference of Parties (COP 26) in hopes of accelerating action on the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the correlation between climate change and conflict is receiving more attention.

Green Partners by Christopher Graham (acrylic on canvas – digital)

In recent years, there has been an outpouring of evidence that climate change is intensifying and driving conflict situations around the world. The socio-ecological consequences of climate change places additional pressures on urban and rural communities that are already resource strapped and politically volatile. Many conflict hotspots are therefore increasingly being recognized as climate hotspots, and vice versa.

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Protection of Education in Conflict Zones – a Step in the Right Direction

On Friday October 30, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the protection of education in conflict zones.

This is one of the most important matters on which Norway has facilitated negotiations in the Security Council and the resolution is a major step in the right direction for protecting the right of the most vulnerable children to attend school. Education is also good peace policy. The next goal must be for the education provided to meet certain quality standards and for all children to have the right to attend school, regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion. This is crucial for creating peace and development in the longer term.

School children in Myanmar. Photo: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid / Flickr

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What Do We Know About State-Civil Society Engagement for Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council?

On October 21, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held its annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) under the presidency of Kenya, one out of ten members of the UNSC that was elected to serve by the UN General Assembly (a so-called E10 state). Kenya has joined forces with two other elected members, Ireland and Mexico, in a ‘troika’ to jointly push for WPS as these states hold three executive presidencies in the Council this autumn.

While important research has been conducted on the central role of women’s civil society organizations for establishing and promoting WPS, we know less about the role of elected states in the UNSC. What we do know is that individual E10s have played key roles in the adoption of UNSC resolutions on WPS – from Namibia in 2000 and onwards – and in efforts to realize the content of the now 10 WPS resolutions. Moreover, while there is good reason to believe that these states’ collaboration and exchange with civil society actors has been central to E10 WPS efforts, our knowledge of such “E10-civil society engagements” is even more limited.

Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This blog post seeks to promote further policy-scholar exchange and research on this topic by centering in on the conditions under which an E10 operates in the Council, and on the role of what we can call positive E10-civil society engagements – that is, where, why, and how an E10 and civil society actors either directly collaborate or deliberately build on each other’s efforts to promote WPS. This blog post is based on a report studying Sweden’s 2017–18 UNSC term which collects existing research, in-depth interview material, and data capturing WPS developments.Read More

Niger’s Kandadji Dam Project: Conflict Concerns

The Kandadji Dam project in Niger is projected to  displace about 38,000 people living near the Niger River due to the ongoing activities. The economic development goals of the project are to address food, water and energy insecurities in the region. The  initiative is part of the larger Niger River Basin scheme. Niger lies in a semi-arid zone prone to desertification  and is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

The Niger River. Photo: Oumarou Hamadou

Project planners have overlooked the question of land, its use and cultural significance. Indeed, how can land, its use and cultural significance affect the human security of those impacted by the Kandadji Dam’s construction activities? Conceptually, land has distinctive particularities compared to other resources. Most notably, is its immobility, the transnational relationships associated with it, the efforts to control it, and the depth of attachments people develop for it.Read More

Misconception of Power and the Case of Guinea’s President Alpha Condé

On September 5th, President Alpha Condé was captured by the Guinean elite special force commander Col. Mamady Doumbouyah and his team. Col. Doumbouyah, the head of CNRD (National Committee of Reconciliation and Development) immediately dissolved the government, annulled the constitution, urged the former officials to report on the following day for a meeting, and insisted that a “no show” of any official and minister was automatically considered a defiance and rebellion against the new regime. Similar to other Guinean leaders of the past, why was President Alpha Condé not able to leave power peacefully? Why does transfer of power occur through death or, in this case, a military coup?

President Alpha Condé. Photo: / Wikimedia Commons

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Migrants Are Dying in the Forests on the EU’s Eastern Borders

The humanitarian crisis on the Poland-Belarus border has claimed several lives. On 30 September, the Polish parliament extended the state of emergency in a three-kilometre-deep strip of land along the border. It is hard to assess the situation in detail, as neither the media nor humanitarian organizations have access to this area, but we know a humanitarian crisis is unfolding, with migrants facing significant risk.

Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed / Wikimedia Commons

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What Difference the Nobel Peace Price Makes – or Doesn’t

The decision of the Norwegian Nobel committee to award the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to Dmitry Muratov (together with courageous Philippine journalist Maria Ressa) announced last Friday astonished, angered or elated everybody in Russia who has even a slight interest in politics or minimal exposure to media.

Dmitry Muratov and Mikhail Gorbachev presenting a book about Anna Politkovskaya

Muratov himself was astounded (and even discarded the first call from Norway as fake) and acknowledged that the award goes to the whole team of Novaya gazeta and in particular to the six journalists murdered in the line of duty: Igor Domnikov (2000), Yuri Shchekochikhin (2003), Anna Politkovskaya (2006), Anastasiya Baburova (2009), Stanislav Markelov (2009), and Natalya Estemirova (2009). Muratov founded Novaya gazeta in 1993 and has since remained its editor staying steadfastly on the course of upholding liberal values and human rights.Read More

Military Coups d’État and Guinea’s Rocky Road to Political Stability

While the fate of Guinea’s former President Alpha Condé remains unclear following a military coup on September 5, the ongoing political turmoil is most likely a beginning of a repetitive cycle of a semi-democratic military governance observed across West Africa.

Military parade following the coup in Guinea. Photo: Aboubacarkhoraa / Wikimedia Commons

Security Defection: Domestic vs. International Community Reactions

Guinea is, yet again, facing political uncertainty after elite security forces overthrew the president in a coup. The coup was led by the head of Guinea’s special forces, Lt. Col Mamady Doumbouyah, who is said to have served in the French legion and received military training from the United States, through US AFRICOM (U.S. Africa Command). Following the coup, Col. Doumbouyah appeared on Guinean state television together with his armed soldiers. They announced that the president had been detained, the constitution dissolved, and that a nationwide curfew had been imposed.

The unfavorable political development of this impoverished, yet resource-rich nation comes as no surprise for many. This coup followed a year which saw numerous violent protests led by the main opposition party, headed by Cellou Dalein Diallo and his supporters, against a constitutional change and an election which was allegedly fraudulently won by Alpha Condé’s party. It should be noted that despite holding the world’s largest bauxite reserves, Guinea remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with most of its population living under less than 1 dollar per day.Read More

Denmark Leading the Race to the Bottom: Hostility as a form of migration control

Since the refugee crisis of 2015, Denmark, the first signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention, has been at the forefront of the debate around deterrent migration policies. Until recently, Denmark has been recognized as an egalitarian country with an exemplary welfare system. Now, this reputation might have been irrevocably tarnished as the Danish government continues to set itself apart from its Scandinavian counterparts with increasingly hostile migration control measures.

Illustration: Gordon Johnson / Pixabay

Deterrence within the EU Context

In the wider context of EU asylum policies, the principle of deterrence is by no means a novelty. The so-called “refugee crisis” has unequivocally altered the public discourse and politics around refugee protection frameworks.

Although there have been various policy responses to this crisis, which have been aptly described as an “exogenous shock” (Hagelund, 2020), recent developments have revealed a clear trajectory towards hostility as a form of migration control.

The focal point of this hostility has been the deterrence of potential refugees, and performative, cruel measures aimed at reassuring a secondary audience: the concerned members of the public within the territory of the receiving state (Collyer, 2020). Read More