World events of the past decade have put the international refugee system under great stress. The challenges include a dramatic increase in the number of forced migrants, a significant shortfall in needed funding, and inadequate international burden-sharing.
Sarah Cliffe CIC Director, recently moderated the Third Session of the Doha Forum held in Qatar from May 21-23. The theme for the Third Session was the Global Economy. Globally we are facing two major economic challenges; the global slowdown and volatility of commodities, currencies and financial markets. Watch the full video of the Third Session of the Doha Forum below:
A strange thing happened in the Aegean Sea last month: No refugees drowned. This modest piece of good news was, however, overwhelmed by the calamity in the Mediterranean, where 1,083 refugees drowned in the last week of May. Those poor souls, almost all African, left from Libya, a country unable to exercise control over its borders. But passage across the Aegean is controlled by Turkey, which has clamped down on trafficking in the wake of a deal it reached with the European Union in March. In 2015, 800,000 refugees crossed from Turkey to Greece.
The first time I heard the German word “zwangsoptimist” was in a meeting to discuss ways to improve how the international system functions. Meaning “someone who feels compelled to be an optimist,” the word not only succinctly sums up my work for and alongside the U.N. over the past 27 years, but could also be a one-word job description for the organization’s next secretary-general.
International conflict management is not necessarily a rewarding occupation for people who have neat and orderly minds. Well-made plans tend to fall apart in fast-moving crises. As I noted in a chapter in a book on the Security Council published earlier this year, the recent history of United Nations peace operations is basically a story of “one damn thing after another.” U.N.
The violence perpetrated by the Basque separatist organization Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA) was for many years an anomalous feature of Spain’s transition to democracy. ETA claimed some 840 lives over fifty years. It was reviled as a terrorist criminal band inside Spain and listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States The Basque Conflict and ETA The Difficulties of an Ending 2 USIP.ORG • SPECIAL REPORT 384 and the European Union.
Japan, European countries, and the United States have a common interest in boosting United Nations peace operations. Japan has been a prominent supporter of a U.S. initiative to encourage participation in peacekeeping operations, but to date, Tokyo’s follow-up has been constructive but limited. For Tokyo and its allies, ensuring that the UN can handle today’s ugly crises is an unavoidable task.
Europe should expect ever-increasing pressure from refugees on its southern borders unless it is prepared to bear the cost and risk of military operations to control conflict in Europe’s southern neighbourhood, according to this policy paper. It says while the growing refugee problem generated by conflicts in the Middle East and Africa calls for a more interventionist response from the EU, Europeans have preferred to leave the job to others, notably the UN.
On October 14 through 16, Richard Gowan participated in the Challenges Forum, an annual peacekeeping conference in Beijing. The Challenges Forum is a strategic and dynamic platform for dialogue among policymakers, practitioners and academics on key issues and developments in peace operations. The aim is to shape the debate by promoting awareness of emerging issues and identifying key challenges facing military, police and civilian peace operations.