Interview with Lamii Moivi Kromah at the International Peace Institute. This followed a seminar-style presentation with UN and diplomatic officials.
I try to sketch out what a practical change agenda could look like for UN peacekeeping, and for “stabilisation” efforts outside of Central Africa. For more details and full transcript please see the Global Observatory website.
In 1958, Guinea was the only French colony to opt for immediate independence. Its first President rebuffed Charles de Gaulle to his face, declaring that ‘we prefer poverty in freedom to riches in slavery’.
The imagination thrills at the moment, most of all when picturing de Gaulle’s reaction. Things then took an sharp downward turn, however.
April’s round table for the London Conflict / Fragility group focused on dissidence. At some point, everyone’s been stuck working on an intervention that made no sense, or implementing a policy they didn’t agree with.
When this happens, how do we create momentum for change? What’s the best way to orchestrate “useful conflict” amongst friends and colleagues, instead of shouting matches? And at what point should we simply exit?
A senior UN official caused minor waves in March with a New York Times op-ed entitled “I love the UN, but it is failing”. Among other zingers, he labelled the world organisation a “Remington typewriter in a smartphone world”, and captioned the piece with an image of a sucking black hole.
Many observers saw last June’s High-Level Panel on UN Peace Operations as an audit of the ambitious change agenda laid out some fifteen years earlier, in the Brahimi Report.
The latter had set out an aggressive vision for “multi-dimensional” peacekeeping. The 2015 panel found progress towards that vision had been mixed, at best, while adding a slate of issues of their own.
The London Conflict / Fragility group convened on 17 February for some (very) frank exchange on where we went wrong in 2015, and what we thought we’d do about it in 2016.
This turned out to be a rather introspective session. The recurring theme was the very real potential to walk down the wrong paths in the fragile states business, and to lose years of energy and inspiration in the process.