3-4/2004 Content

79 (2004) 3-4: Germany‘s Action Plan „Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace-building“

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Volker Rittberger

Towards Effective Crisis Prevention? The German Action Plan and Lessons Learned from the British Conflict Prevention Pools
Tobias Debiel

The 161 recommendations of the German Federal Government‘s “Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace-Building“ aim to strengthen multilateral institutions and mechanisms and develop strategies for dealing with intra-state conflict. By bringing together representatives of the relevant ministries in a new inter-ministerial steering group coordinated by the Foreign Office, the Action Plan intends to improve the coherence of German policy. Although innovative in its approach, the Plan fails to identify political priorities and neglects ‘vested interests’ among bureaucratic actors. Exactly these problems have recently been addressed in the UK. By establishing so-called Conflict Prevention Pools (CPPs), the British government has tried to encourage closer cooperation between development, foreign and security policy. The article summarizes lessons learned from first experiences and asks to what extent the new approach can be applied to the German context.

The Action Plan from an International Law Perspective
Thilo Marauhn

This article asks how the action plan “Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace-Building” fits into the spectrum of con-flict prevention under public international law and evaluates whether the law’s potential is actively made use of. The author regrets that the plan does not call for a strengthening of the prohibition of the use of force. The contribution of public international law to conflict prevention is weakened by the plan’s focus on judicial forms of dispute settlement and neglect of alternative means. The plan’s strength lies in the field of arms control and disarmament as well as areas such as human rights law and the protection of the global environment. Here, it makes use of the law’s potential to stabilise legitimate expectations concerning the use of common goods. In general, the plan is considered to be ambitious but to make too little use of public international law options.

Germany‘s Action Plan: Towards a Binding Commitment to a Civil Foreign Policy?
Martina Fischer

The Action Plan on Crisis Prevention illustrates a variety of instruments, activities and funding initiatives which have been undertaken by the German Government and Parliamentarians in order to strengthen civilian approaches to foreign policy. It contains numerous incentives for other states who are willing to foster coherence and conflict prevention mainstreaming in foreign policy. On the other hand, the Action Plan lacks concrete proposals for the European dimension of conflict prevention and for cooperation with civil society organisations. Moreover, it does not consider the financial implications realistically. Its authors assume that increasing capacities for conflict prevention can be done within today’s budget lines. But even if there is political support for more effective policies, additional funding and expanded resources are needed. Finally, the imbalance between spending for civilian instruments and for military crisis reaction needs to be corrected.

The extended notion of security: No magic formula for civil conflict resolution
Lothar Brock

Reference to an extended notion of security has become common practice in security discourses since the end of the Cold War: the idea that security is an issue not only with respect to weapons but also to health and environmental sustainability. This notion was introduced as a conscious effort on the part of peace researchers and environmentalists to re-distribute resources from the military sector to development and environmental protection. But the strategy of „securitization“ was only partially successful: it has also helped to widen the scope of military contingency planning. In this context, the German “Action Plan for Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and the Consolidation of Peace” has to be read as an undertaking in which quite different agendas of securitization compete. Instead of highlighting such tensions, the Plan of Action follows the familiar pattern of giving a little bit to everyone. It comes up with a long list of measures, but not with a coherent concept. The article attempts to delineate a security agenda based on a narrow notion of security. It claims that a narrow notion of security can do more to enhance innovation in security policies than the attempt to define each and every thing as a security issue.

Further Article

“Security Fence or Apartheid Wall?”: The ICJ’s advisory opinion of July 9th, 2004 on the legal consequences arising from the Israeli barrier wall
Daniel-Erasmus Khan

The ICJ’s advisory opinion of July 2004 constitutes the very first opportunity for an international court to take a stance in the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even though only under a very limited angle. The extraordinarily intensive attempts by a number of states (among them Germany) to deny the Court‘s right to pronounce on the substance of the General Assembly’s question, bear witness to the extreme political sensitivity of the issues at stake. After having rejected the objections to jurisdiction and admissibility – some of them worth serious consideration – the Court leaves no doubt that the Israeli measures are contrary to International Law. Although accepting the accuracy of the Court’s findings in principle, the article is critical of the (more than) casual manner in which the Court deals with Israeli security concerns, and in particular its reference to an (alleged) right to selfdefence. The author arrives at a rather pessimist assessment of the willingness of the states involved to transform the Court’s accurate legal findings into reality.


Colombia – The Continuing Presence of an Old War
Sabine Kurtenbach

Colombia is living through the longest and most complex war in Latin American history. In the 1990s, there was an escalation of violence and an increase of U.S. involvement – both due to the growing importance of drug related finance to all actors. But drugs are not the main cause of the war. Its roots are to be found in a political culture in which violence was a “normal” means of politics, the Colombian state‘s capabilities were severely compromised and many different forms of violence coexisted. The war has had different phases which determine the logic of action of the different actors. The article analyzes the various attempts to end the war and looks at current chances for overcoming the structures of violence.


Structure and Policy Recommendations of the „Action Plan on Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace-building“
Zusammengestellt von Tobias Debiel, Rene Gradwohl und Christoph Pohlmann