Early Warning - Analysis to action
5 July 2012
Early warning - Analysis to action
There is an urgent need to improve the international community’s early warning capabilities so that institutions such as the EU can respond rapidly to the drivers of potential conflict. Failure to act fast can lead to the escalation or re-ignition of violence such as during the disputed elections in Kenya in December 2007 when over 1,000 people lost their lives. The problem facing the international community is not so much a lack of early warning reports, but rather the gap between awareness of potential problems and the ability to act on this knowledge.
The Initiative for Peacebuilding - Early Warning is an EC-funded consortium of 10 members comprising civil society organisations, networks and universities which ran until June 2012. The project aimed to increase understanding of the drivers of conflict and fragility based on local evidence. It also aimed to identify the systemic factors which constrain institutions from taking effective action to prevent violent conflict.
Saferworld’s contribution to the project was to map out the pre-Lisbon Treaty early warning system of the EU, in collaboration with Clingendael, in order to learn lessons from the previous institutional arrangements. We also produced two case studies in Kyrgyzstan and Kenya looking at the challenges and opportunities of producing early warning, conflict analysis and responding to early signs of tensions in-country. Ultimately, we aim to identify recommendations to overcome challenges and constraints so that the EU, under the new Lisbon Treaty architecture, can better link early warning to effective and timely response to prevent conflict and build peace.
Initiative for peacebuilding - Security Cluster
The effective provision of security and justice is one of the main requirements for sustainable peace and economic development. Yet the activities of poorly trained, poorly governed and often corrupt security and justice services are a significant source of insecurity for ordinary people. International approaches to enhancing these services continue to have a number of weaknesses such as not learning from shared best practice or coordinated with development projects. Nor do they always respond to the needs of the communities concerned, undermining ownership and effectiveness.
From 2007 - 2010 Saferworld led the ‘security cluster’ of the EC funded Initiative for Peacebuilding, a project to develop knowledge and expertise on conflict prevention and recommend practical ways to implement people-centred approaches to security building activities. The project drew together the complementary geographic and thematic expertise of 10 civil society organisations and their networks across the EU and in conflict-affected countries.
The partners assessed the extent to which community needs are reflected and addressed by donor programming. The focus was on improving the design and implementation of the EU security-building programmes in order to ensure they are responsive to the needs and concerns of local communities and maximise the potential for sustainable peace and long term development. The focal countries of this cluster included Albania, Burundi, DRC, Haiti, Nepal and Ukraine. The research and publications were regularly used as a basis for discussion both in the EU and in conflict affected countries, creating space for policy-makers to hear directly from people affected by conflict. It also enabled Saferworld to engage in dialogue with EU institutions in Brussels on the best ways to translate policies into practice.