A Strategic Priority

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					                                                                  Bulletin of the United Nations
                                                                  Department of Political Affairs
                                                                  SUMMER 2007

INSIDE THIS ISSUE               Mediation Support
Mediation Support:                                                       Political Affairs. “It’s an area in which
a strategic priority ... 1     A Strategic                               we already have experience and
                                                                         where have a chance to make decisive
Interview with
                                                                         contributions that save lives.”
USG Pascoe ... 3
                                                                            Established in mid-2006, the

                                                                         Mediation Support Unit grew out
Nepal: a new                                 hen Sudanese mediators
                                                                         of an acknowledgement that even
political mission ... 6                      brokered a cessation of
                                                                         though the United Nations had scored
                                             hostilities last year in
Somalia: a peace                                                         important successes in brokering
                                             Northern Uganda, the
to keep? ... 8                                                           peace agreements in recent years, the
                               United Nations was helping quietly
                                                                         Organization needs a stronger system
                               behind the scenes. Senior DPA staff
Guatemala: a proposed          were on the ground in Juba, discreetly
                                                                         for selecting, training and supporting
UN commission against                                                    the work of its envoys in the field.
                               lending advice and assistance to the
Impunity ... 10                                                          World leaders gathered in New York
                               peace talks.

Iraq: a new compact               Third-party mediation has proven
                                                                         DPA is working with partners
with the international         to be one of the most important
                                                                         to establish a “Standby Team” of
community ... 12               means at the disposal of the United       mediation experts who can be
                               Nations to prevent and resolve deadly     deployed at short notice to peace
Africa’s Great Lakes           conflicts around the world. But the       talks around the world.
region: learning to            image of the dashing peace envoy is
cooperate ... 14               only the tip of the iceberg. Successful
                               mediation is so much more than            for the UN World Summit in 2005
Elections: are they            the personalities involved: it            took note, and endorsed the need to
overrated? ... 16              requires preparation and technique,       put UN peacemaking on more solid
                               knowledge, resources and a support        footing, particularly the use of the
UN Dialogue with the
                               system backing up the envoy.              Secretary-General’s “good offices” in
Global South: Partnering
                                                                         mediating disputes.
with universities in the         Boosted by the work of its
developing world ... 17        Mediation Support Unit, the                  Some such efforts have already
                               Department of Political Affairs is        been profiled in these pages, such
Staff News . . .   19          working to make the United Nations        as the launch last year of UN
                               the best that it can be in brokering      Peacemaker, a comprehensive website
Activities and Events ... 19   peace or in helping others to do so.      on peacemaking developed and
                                                                         managed by DPA as an online toolbox
                                  “Mediation support is a strategic
                                                                         for envoys in the field.
                               priority for DPA,” said B. Lynn
                               Pascoe, the Under-Secretary for                              continued on page 2

                               NEW LEADERSHIP IN DPA
                               An interview with B. Lynn Pascoe,
                               Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
        Now, in an important new
     initiative, DPA is working with                                                                                          in the
     partners to establish a “Standby                                                                                         seminar
     Team” of mediation experts who                                                                                           held in
     can be deployed at short notice to                                                                                       Costa
     peace talks around the world. Once                                                                                       Rica on
     up and running, the impact should
     be far-reaching. An envoy needing

     advice on most any aspect of                                                                                             2007.
     negotiations could have an expert
     in place within 48 hours time.                 Jan Egeland, the former UN                world. The first, held in
                                                    humanitarian chief, who was               South Africa in October of 2006
        The Standby Team will be
                                                    appointed this year by Secretary-         with the Cape Town-based Center
     modeled after a similar team
                                                    General Ban Ki-moon as a Special          for Conflict Resolution, linked
     administered for the United
                                                    Adviser with a mandate to work in         DPA with experienced African
     Nations in the area of humanitarian
                                                    close tandem with DPA on conflict         mediators. The second, held in
     response. Its diverse experts
                                                    resolution. The Team, which is            Costa Rica in March 2007 with the
     roster will be drawn from around
                                                    being supported by voluntary              Latin American Faculty of Social
     the world and across a broad
                                                    donations, is expected to be in           Sciences (FLACSO), examined
     range of disciplines relevant to
                                                    operation before the end of 2007.         lessons from the resolution of
     peacemaking today. These include,
                                                                                              conflicts in Latin America. A third
     among others, constitution-making,                The Department has also been
                                                                                              meeting was held in Switzerland in
     wealth and power-sharing and                   generating ideas and an expanded
                                                                                              May 2007 with the Geneva Centre
     transitional justice.                          network of mediation expertise
                                                                                              for Security Policy. It focused on
                                                    through a series of consultations
       Assisting DPA in setting up                                                            mediation experiences in Europe
                                                    with peace institutes around the
     and coordinating the team is                                                             and Central Asia.

    Northern Uganda: Mediation Support in Action

    Current peace efforts in Northern Uganda are a good exam-               UN assistance, involving both DPA and the Office of the
    ple of mediation support involving the United Nations.             Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has been in important
        Talks mediated by Vice-President Rick Machar of the            in shoring up the work of the Southern Sudanese mediation
    Government of Southern Sudan achieved a major break-               team. During much of 2006, DPA staff were present at the site
    through in August 2006 with the signing of a cessation of          of peace talks in Juba, providing expert advice and assistance.
    hostilities between the Government and the Lord’s Resis-           OCHA raised funds at a critical time to help sustain a compli-
    tance Army. This was the first ray of hope in many years for       cated peace process involving not only the two parties but
    an end to a notorious 20-year conflict in which large num-         also requiring the presence of civil society leaders from North-
    bers of children have been forced to fight.                        ern Uganda who have influence over the LRA.
                                                                                               In December 2006, the United Nations
                                                                       UN envoy           took its support to the African-led media-
                                                                                          tion effort one step further when the Secre-
                                                                       Chissano and
                                                                       the Vice Presi­    tary-General appointed the former Presi-
                                                                       dent of South      dent of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano,
                                                                       Sudan at peace     as his Special Envoy for the LRA-Affected
                                                                       talks with mem­    areas, with a mandate to try to strengthen
                                                                       bers of the LRA    the peace process and build support for it
                                                                       and Northern
                                                                                          in the region. The Department of Political
                                                                       Uganda com­
                                                                       munity leaders.    Affairs has since been providing close staff
                                                                                          support to President Chissano as he carries
                                                                        Photo:            out his diplomatic efforts on the ground.
                                                                        Warner ten Kate

    Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
   The diversity of the discussions      INTERVIEW
from one region to another is a
reminder that “mediation support”
means different things in different     “The UN gets dealt all
places at different times. Neither
conflicts nor their resolution are
“one-size fits all.”
                                        of the toughest issues”
   In carrying out these and other      An Interview with B. Lynn Pascoe,
activities, the Mediation Support
Unit works closely with DPA’s
                                        Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs
regional affairs desks to have a
multiplier effect on the whole            In March 2007, B. Lynn Pascoe left behind
of the work carried out by the
                                          nearly four decades of distinguished
Department in conflict prevention
                                          U.S. diplomatic service to become the
and resolution.
                                          United Nations Under-Secretary-General
   In addition to the projects

                                                                                                                         UN Photo / Mark Garten
                                          for Political Affairs and head of DPA. In
described above, DPA is enlisting a       an interview with Politically Speaking,
number of former UN peace envoys          he shared some of his early impressions
as “mediators on call”, available on
                                          about life as a UN official and top adviser
a real-time basis to provide informal
                                          to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while
and discreet advice to active envoys.
                                          also challenging UN critics to see the                 Under­Secretary­General
DPA is also developing mediation
                                          good along with the bad.                               B. Lynn Pascoe
training courses for both UN staff
and regional organizations who in
many cases are on the front lines
of mediation.
   Finally, so that past experience
                                        Q:    You were getting ready to
                                              retire after an important
                                                                                     exactly what the USG for Political
                                                                                     Affairs does. But I did have a sense
                                        posting as US Ambassador to                  that it would be a fascinating job
can inform future peacemaking
                                        Indonesia. What happened that                with great challenges. Hopefully it
assignments, DPA is also inviting
                                        you now find yourself at the UN?             would also provide opportunities
experienced mediators and their
                                                                                     to make a difference in resolving
staff to spend time after their         I had been enjoying my work in
                                                                                     some of the problems in the world.
assignments as fellows with the         Jakarta when I got a call from
Mediation Support Unit — writing
up their experiences, advising
                                        Washington asking if I would be
                                        interested in this Under-Secretary-          Q:    You said you worked with
                                                                                           Ban Ki-moon before. In
on current mediation efforts and        General position at the UN. I knew           what capacity and what were
mentoring staff.                        the Secretary-General from having            your impressions?
                                        worked with him in the early
   As DPA deepens and expands its                                                    I first met him in 1992 in
                                        nineties. He interviewed me on
efforts to bolster UN peacemaking it                                                 Washington when I was working as
                                        the first of January, his first official
will continue to depend on support                                                   the State Department’s Principal
                                        day on the job, and I was offered
from Member States. In addition                                                      Deputy Assistant Secretary of
                                        the position. I retired from the US
to its regular budget support                                                        State for East Asian Affairs,
                                        Foreign Service, left Jakarta behind
for mediation, the Department                                                        covering, among other things,
                                        and took up the job in New York
has received generous voluntary                                                      China and Korea. He was the
                                        on the first of March.
contributions to the work of its                                                     Deputy Chief of Mission of the
Mediation Support Unit from               Having spent very little time in           South Korean embassy and a
Canada, Ireland, New Zealand,           my career at the United Nations              very capable guy. We had a lot of
Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland      — only a short stint at the US               business together and we talked
and the United Kingdom.                 mission in 1996 — I didn’t know              often. I would see him in Seoul

                                                              Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs                      
    during that same time, as well. He      Biography: B. Lynn Pascoe
    was clearly one of the brightest
    diplomats in Washington, someone        Before joining the United Nations, B. Lynn Pascoe was the U.S. Ambas-
    who worked hard for his country’s       sador to the Republic of Indonesia, from October 2004 to February
    interests. From there he became         2007. He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in
    an ambassador, presidential adviser     the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Depart-
    and then foreign minister. He           ment in Washington, D.C., following postings as U.S. Ambassador
    moved up the system quickly.
                                            to Malaysia and U.S. Special Negotiator for Regional Conflicts in the
                                            former Soviet Union.
    Words won’t rebuild some of                 In 1996, Mr. Pascoe served at the United Nations as a Special Advi-
    the credibility that has been           sor to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the UN. From 1993 to 1996, he
    lost at the United Nations. It’s        was Director of the American Institute in Taiwan. He also served as the
    going to require us to show             Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the East Asian and Pacific Bureau
    that we are producing results.
                                            of the State Department, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy
                                            in Beijing, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State, and
                                            Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State. In an almost forty-

    Q:    What unique style do you
          see him bringing to the job
                                            year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Mr. Pascoe also held positions
                                            on the Soviet and China desks and has been posted to Moscow, Hong
    as Secretary-General?                   Kong and Bangkok, as well as to Beijing twice and to Kuala Lumpur. He
                                            speaks mandarin Chinese. Born in the State of Missouri in 1943, he re-
    One thing that’s clear is that this
    Secretary-General wants the world       ceived his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and his
    to judge us by the results. He’s        Master of Arts from Columbia University. Mr. Pascoe and his wife, Diane,
    not one to make flowery speeches        have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
    about what the UN intends to do
    and then forget about it. I find this
                                            on foreign policy. So I’m used to      all that different from what we are
    a very attractive aspect of being
                                            a complex environment in which         trying to do at the United Nations.
    part of his team because it’s also
                                            people have different interests and
    my way of doing things. When                                                      Of course nearly forty years
                                            different opinions. And that’s a
    push comes to shove, words won’t                                               of diplomatic experience is also
                                            good thing. It’s the way it should
    rebuild some of the credibility                                                directly applicable to the job. As is
                                            be. It’s democracy.
    that has been lost at the United                                               the fact that I was involved during
    Nations. It’s going to require us          Secondly, while tensions            my career in some of the kinds of
    to show that we are producing           obviously still exist between          conflicts and mediation efforts that
    results.                                individual national and UN             unfortunately are still issues on the
                                            policies, the differences are not as   UN agenda today — Cyprus for
    Q:    What’s the biggest
          difference you face at the
                                            stark today as they were during
                                            the Cold War. Almost everybody
                                                                                   example, or Nagorno-Karabakh
                                                                                   and Georgia.
    United Nations as opposed to
                                            is working for the same kinds of
    working in a national foreign
    service? How hard it is to have
                                            things — stability in the world,
                                            prosperity, helping to build a
                                                                                   Q:    In overseeing DPA you have
                                                                                         a truly global portfolio.
    192 masters instead of one?                                                    When you look around the world
                                            better life for people. When I was
                                                                                   right now, where do you see the
    I’m actually used to nearly three       in Indonesia as a US diplomat
                                                                                   opportunities for the United
    times that many masters. Don’t          my instructions were really quite
                                                                                   Nations to make a difference in
    forget that when you’re in the          simple — to do what we can do
                                                                                   peace and security?
    United States government you also       to help the government and the
    have 535 members of Congress            people succeed in improving life in    If you look at the Secretary-
    to take into account, each of           the country. In that sense, what I     General’s agenda these first few
    which tends to have strong views        did as a bilateral diplomat was not    months some of the priorities

   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
and opportunities are clear. He        It’s an area moving forward quite          conflicts can only be definitively
has spent a lot of time working        rapidly, with some very helpful            resolved through political solutions
on Darfur. And three trips to          support from Member States. This           that involved getting people to talk
the Middle East in the first four      is an important direction for DPA.         and to negotiate.
months of his term must be some        For envoys to be successful they
sort of a record. He’s also very
committed on the issue of climate
                                       need more than just their own
                                       personal abilities and charisma.
                                                                                  Q:     Nowhere has the United
                                                                                         Nations taken more
                                                                                  criticism in recent years than in
change. And he wants to do
                                                                                  your own country, the United
certain things that will help make     We know that we can use                    States. Now that you’ve spent
the United Nations run more            military elements to stabilize             some time on the inside, what
efficiently. Lebanon and Kosovo        a situation very effectively, but          would you say to the critics?
are other important issues.            in the end, most conflicts can
                                       only be definitively resolved              First that I’ve been extremely
   But the possibilities are
                                       through political solutions that           impressed by the people, both
not limited to the big obvious
                                       involved getting people to talk            my managers and staff in DPA
questions where we have a
                                       and to negotiate.                          and those I’ve met outside
mandate from the Security
                                                                                  the Department. The UN has
Council or the General Assembly
                                                                                  knowledgeable and capable people
because they’ve already become         They need a strong support system.
                                                                                  who are trying to do something
threats to peace. I think we can       What we are trying to build up
                                                                                  about the problems in the world.
probably do a lot more to prevent      in DPA is a more professional
crises in places that are not yet on   approach, so that whoever is                 The problem is one of perhaps
the front pages of the newspapers      working on the front-lines as a            unrealistic expectations. The
— places where a mediation effort,     mediator has the proper staff and          UN is being asked to quickly fix
for example, might help resolve        resources to back them up.                 problems that others have failed to
tensions before they spill over                                                   repair for a very long time, whether
                                          Ultimately, it’s about
into violence.                                                                    they’re local governments, regional
                                       strengthening the political
                                                                                  groups or very powerful Member
Q:    In keeping with that theme,
      how is DPA progressing in
                                       capabilities of the United Nations.
                                       We know that we can use military
                                                                                  States. The UN gets dealt all the
                                                                                  toughest issues.
building up its new Mediation          elements to stabilize a situation
Support Unit?                          very effectively, but in the end most         Secondly, I would urge people
                                                                                  to look at the United Nations
                                                                                  as a whole. It’s not just the
                                                                                  speeches and the arguments
                                                                                  that make the news. It’s a large
                                                                                  and far-reaching operation that
                                                                  USG Pascoe      touches people’s lives around
                                                                  briefing the    the world. It’s peacemaking and
                                                                  UN Security     peacekeeping. It’s cleaning up the
                                                                  Council on
                                                                                  environment, and fighting diseases.
                                                                  the situa­
                                                                  tion in the     It’s clearing landmines, feeding
                                                                  Middle          hungry people, helping refugees,
                                                                  East, April     aiding child soldiers. I could go on.
                                                                  2007.           When you see the breadth of the
                                                                  UN Photo /
                                                                                  UN’s concerns, it’s staggering. The
                                                                  Mark Garten     UN is not going to solve all of the
                                                                                  world’s ills in a week’s time, but no
                                                                                  other organization is taking on so
                                                                                  many issues across the board.

                                                           Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   
     NEPAL                                                                             The Comprehensive Peace
                                                                                     Agreement, signed in November
                                                                                     2006 after rapid negotiations
    A new political                                                                  between the government and
                                                                                     Maoist insurgents, called for

    mission in Nepal                                                                 constituent assembly elections to
                                                                                     be held by June 2007 to determine

         n rebel camps across the                  Established by a resolution       For the United Nations, helping
         foothills of Nepal, weapons            of the Security Council,             to bring peace to Nepal has
         that until recently could              UNMIN’s speedy deployment            meant trying to keep pace with
         be used to kill are instead            was an illustration of the UN’s      an accelerated peace process.
    locked up, under UN surveillance            commitment to helping end an
    — a crucial confidence building             armed conflict that killed some      Nepal’s future political system.
    measure in the country’s aspiring           13,000 people in Nepal from          Rebel forces were to be quickly
    peace process.                              1996 to 2006. The mission,           concentrated in cantonment sites
                                                                                     and UN monitors deployed almost
                                                                                     immediately. The electoral date was
                                                                                     set in part to beat the monsoon
                                                                                     season that begins around mid-
                                                                                     year in Nepal. Once the pounding
                                                                                     rains arrive, roads in the rural areas
                                                                                     become impassable.

                                                                                        While cautioning that these
                                                                                     timelines would be difficult to
                                                                                     meet, the UN has nonetheless
                                                                                     responded quickly to Nepal’s’

                                                                                        The first UN arms monitors
                                                                                     hit the ground in early January
                                                                                     and immediately began the task
                                                                                     of registering and storing Maoist
                                                                                     army weapons at seven cantonment
                                                                                     sites around the country.
                                                                                     Support from the Department of
    UN registration and storage of Maoist arms in western Nepal, February 2007.
                                                                                     Peacekeeping Operations has been
    Photo: UNMIN                                                                     critical to recruiting and deploying
                                                                                     the monitors. The confinement of
       The monitoring of arms and               headed by Ian Martin, the            the Maoists and the Nepal army
    combatants from both sides in               Special Representative of the        during the run-up to the election is
    Nepal’s recently concluded armed            Secretary-General for Nepal, is      considered an essential guarantee
    conflict is one of the critical             overseen from headquarters by the    that the voting will be free of
    tasks being carried out by the              Department of Political Affairs.     intimidation.
    United Nations Mission in Nepal
                                                   For the United Nations, helping      Crucially assisting the UN
    (UNMIN), a political mission
                                                to bring peace to Nepal has          monitors in their task has been a
    established in January of this year
                                                meant trying to keep pace with an    group of experts in the registration
    to assist the South Asian nation in
                                                accelerated peace process.           of ex-combatants, brought in
    its transition to peace.

   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
by UNDP from Afghanistan, as             the country to help monitor the             demonstrations — some bloody —
well as an Interim Task Force            exercise of political rights at             to demand greater representation
of Nepalese ex-Ghurka soldiers           the local level, in advance of the          in the Assembly elections. The
from the Indian Army. By mid-            constituent assembly vote.                  police response has been erratic
February the UN completed the                                                        and at times abusive, fueling
first phase of the operation, having     PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS                       concerns about public security
registered more than 3,300 Maoist                                                    during the vote.
                                          At the end of April, in his first
arms and listed more than 31,000
                                          report to the Security Council since
Maoist personnel. A second phase                                                     The election delay can provide
                                          the establishment of UNMIN,
of registration, to be assisted by                                                   an opportunity to strengthen
                                          Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UNICEF, aims to separate children                                                    the peace process —
                                          pointed to “remarkable progress”
from rebel ranks.                                                                    particularly through measures
                                          in a very short time in Nepal,
                                                                                     to ensure greater inclusion.
   Electoral assistance is the               which little more than a year
other pillar of UNMIN’s                           earlier was still immersed
mandate. A team                                      in the armed conflict.             Living conditions in the Maoist
of election experts                 Kathmandu          Arms registration and         cantonment sites have also been
began arriving in                                      storage had gone              inadequate. Establishing better
January and by April                                   relatively smoothly,          shelter and services is critical if
had been deployed                                      building confidence in        the camps are to withstand the
in Kathmandu and                                      the Maoists’ commitment        monsoon.
the four major regional                            to the peace process. An
centers. The electoral team                     interim constitution was             ELECTIONS DELAYED
has provided advice and support           approved in January and an interim
                                                                                     Elections have now been delayed
to the Nepal Election Commission          government — including five
                                                                                     until much later in the year. A
in diverse aspects of the electoral       Maoist ministers — was established
                                                                                     number of factors contributed,
process, including legislation, voter     in April, charged with overseeing
                                                                                     among them the need for new
education and the accreditation of        the Constituent Assembly election.
                                                                                     electoral legislation and adjustments
                                             But the period also saw serious         in the interim constitution
   With the final approval of the         problems emerge. How these                 to address the petitions of
mission’s budget at the end of            are addressed will determine the           marginalized groups. The election
March, UNMIN was poised to                future of the peace process.               delay can provide an opportunity
step up its deployment and begin                                                     to strengthen the peace process
                                             Ethnic and regional groups who
carrying out other important                                                         — particularly through measures to
                                          have been traditionally excluded
aspects of its mandate. This                                                         ensure greater inclusion.
                                          from political power in Nepal feel
includes the work of civil affairs
                                          left out of the peace process. They           The United Nations will
teams to be deployed around
                                          have staged crippling strikes and          continue to carry out its mandate
                                                                                     to support the peace process.
                                                                                     But in the end, as the Secretary-
                                                                                     General said in his report, the
                                                                                     immense challenge of reshaping
                                                                                     Nepal as a peaceful, democratic,
                                                                                     inclusive state is a process that
                                                                                     will remain “Nepali-owned.”

                                                                                    Nepal’s Prime Minister, Girija Prasad
                                                                                    Koirala, and Maoist leader Prachanda
                                                                                    signing the Comprehensive Peace Agree­
                                                                                    ment in Kathmandu, November 2006.
                                                                                    Photo: UNMIN

                                                              Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   
     SOMALIA                                                                           minister from Guinea — cautioned
                                                                                       that blue helmets can only
                                                                                       succeed this time around “if there
    Somalia:                                                                           is actually a peace to keep in
                                                                                       Somalia.” That will depend, in turn,

    a peace to keep?                                                                   he said, on the willingness of the
                                                                                       country’s perennially divided clans
                                                                                       and warlords to do what they have

                                                                                       thus far been unwilling to do: to set
             he news from the ground        in establishing its presence and
                                                                                       aside parochial agendas and govern
             was characteristically grim    authority in the country.
                                                                                       in unity for the larger interest of
             on a March day on which
                                               Dramatic political and military         the nation.
             Francois Lonseny Fall, the
                                            swings of the past year have
    Secretary-General’s special envoy                                                               “If all of them come
                                            drawn renewed attention to
    for Somalia, briefed the Security                                                           together we have a
                                            Somalia, a country whose
    Council in New York on peace                                                                  chance for peace and
                                            people have known
    prospects in the violence-wracked                                                              reconciliation in
                                            mostly lawlessness
    nation in the Horn of Africa.                                                                  Somalia,” he said.
                                            and suffering since the
       Only a few hours earlier,            collapse of its central                                    Promoting national
    inside Somalia, mortars fired           government in 1991.                                    reconciliation leading
    by suspected Islamic insurgents         Long-frustrated efforts to                           to a broad-based
    had rained down around the              establish a functioning state                    government has been Fall’s
    presidential villa in Mogadishu         have taken on new relevance in             main responsibility since he was
    just as the president of the            the region and internationally             appointed in 2005 as the Secretary-
    country’s fledgling Transitional        amid concerns that the country             General’s Special Representative
    Federal Government was taking           was becoming the kind of failed            for Somalia and head of the
    up residence in the bullet-scarred      state where terrorism could thrive.        United Nations Political Office for
    capital for the first time. President   Meanwhile, the deadliest fighting          Somalia. UNPOS, a Nairobi-based
    Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed escaped           in years has prompted pleas for            political mission supervised by the
    unharmed, but several children          a return by UN peacekeepers to             Department of Political Affairs,
    were among the bystanders               Somalia for the first time since their     has a mandate from the Security
    reported killed. The attack was         departure more than a decade ago.          Council to work with partners
    a bloody demonstration of the                                                      including regional organizations to
                                              In an interview with Politically
    challenges that face the three-                                                    promote peace and reconciliation
                                            Speaking, Fall — a former foreign
    year-old UN-backed government                                                      in the country.

                                                                                           Following numerous failed
                                                                                       attempts to create a government,
                                                                                       the TFG was formed in 2004 as a
                                                                                       result of a two-year reconciliation
                                                                      Somalia civil­   conference held in Kenya
                                                                      ians walk past   under the auspices of the Inter-
                                                                      a crumbled
                                                                                       Governmental Authority on
                                                                      building in
                                                                      Mogadishu,       Development (IGAD). Though
                                                                      January 2007.    it represented a broad cross-
                                                                                       section of Somali groups, the TFG
                                                                      Photo: UNPOS /
                                                                      Ian Steele       proceeded gingerly in establishing
                                                                                       its authority in the country. Efforts
                                                                                       were hampered by differences
                                                                                       internally and with clan-based

   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
                                                              which accused the movement of              Ethiopian forces and help stabilize
                                                              harboring terrorists. “The group           the government. Just as suddenly
                                                              included persons on the United             as its very survival had been
                                                              Nations Al Qaeda list, extremists          threatened, the TFG was given
                                                              advocating jihad for Ethiopia              “a new window of opportunity”
                                                              and individuals accused in the             to show the Somali people it can
                                                              bombings of US embassies in                govern, Fall said.
                                                              Africa,” said Fall.
                                                                                                            The early going has been
                                                                 As a tense military standoff            rough. The mortar barrage on
                                                              developed between the UIC                  the presidential compound in
                                                              and the TFG, Fall took part                March was part of an onslaught
                                                              in several rounds of talks in              of attacks mounted by suspected
                                         UNPOS / Ian Steele

                                                              Khartoum, hosted by the League             UIC elements and other armed
                                                              of Arab States, aimed at spurring          groups that had regrouped to
                                                              negotiations between the two               wage guerrilla warfare against
                                                              sides. He was also active in an            the TFG and Ethiopian troops.
Somalia militiamen on security                                International Contact Group for            Fighting intensified in the weeks
detail for the United Nations, Baidoa,                        Somalia, established amid the              that followed, leading in April to
Somalia, November 2007.                                       crisis to coordinate actions by the        devastating combat in Mogadishu
                                                              international community. But the           itself involving tanks, artillery
groups inside Somalia who did                                 diplomatic efforts failed to yield         and air strikes on neighborhoods
not feel adequately represented                               agreements, and in late December           that killed hundreds and forced
in the government. Even as the                                2006 the TFG backed by Ethiopian           many thousands to flee. AMISOM
transitional government and                                   forces launched a military                 faced difficulties generating troop
parliament moved from Kenya                                   counteroffensive that swiftly              contributions beyond the initial
into Somalia towards the end of                               routed the UIC and sent many of            deployment of 1,200 soldiers
2005 and early 2006, rival warlords                           its members either underground             from Uganda. And a National
remained in control of Mogadishu                              or abroad.                                 Reconciliation Conference,
and there was little real exercise                                                                       originally set for mid-April, had to
                                                                 In January 2007, the TFG
of governmental responsibilities.                                                                        be postponed.
                                                              began moving into Mogadishu for
“It was a government of ministers
                                                              the first time since its creation and         Getting the conference off
without ministries,” said Fall.
                                                              the UN Security Council endorsed           the ground has been the main
                                                              an African Union peacekeeping              focus of Fall, who sees it as “an
                                                              force, AMISOM, to replace                                    continued on page 13
The entire transitional process
was thrown into disarray during
the summer of 2006 when an
Islamic-based movement swept
across the country, establishing           SRSG Fall
control over Mogadishu and wide              meets the
                                          press outside
swaths of Somalia. The rise of the
                                         the presiden­
so-called Union of Islamic Courts          tial villa in
(UIC) brought a semblance of               Mogadishu,
order to the capital and other                January
areas, but posed a direct challenge               2007.
to the TFG. It set off alarms in             Photo: UNPOS /
neighboring Ethiopia and on                         Ian Steele

the part of the United States,

                                                                                  Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   
      GUATEMALA                                                                        Guatemala’s decision to turn to
                                                                                    the UN for assistance grows out of
                                                                                    the longstanding UN involvement
     Guatemala: a proposed UN                                                       in ending the country’s 36-year
                                                                                    civil war. The United Nations

     commission against Impunity                                                    moderated the peace accords that
                                                                                    concluded the conflict in 1996
                                                                                    and then deployed a verification

                                                                                    mission, MINUGUA, which
               grisly spate of killings   UN headquarters in New York.
                                                                                    remained in the country until the
               early this year in         It established, on paper, the
                                                                                    end of 2004 to accompany the
               Guatemala dramatically     International Commission against
                                                                                    peace-building process until it
               heightened concerns        Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG,
                                                                                    could be more fully assumed by the
     about organized crime in the         by its Spanish initials), with a
                                                                                    Guatemalans themselves.
     Central American country, and        two-year mandate to investigate
     prompted a renewed effort to         so-called “illegal armed groups”             Although peace has held
     establish a long-awaited UN-         alleged to have infiltrated the           firm and brought with it greater
     backed inquiry into the problem.     country’s judicial institutions.          democracy, there was little
                                                                                    advance in key reforms to a
                                                                                    police and judicial system heavily
                                                                                    corrupted during the war. The
                                                                   National         result has been a gradually
                                                                   Civilian         worsening public security
                                                                   Police, a        situation and deeply entrenched
                                                                   product of       impunity for those who carry out
                                                                   the peace        crimes. Only a tiny fraction of
                                                                   process, have
                                                                                    the more than 5,000 homicides
                                                                   to provide       registered each year are even
                                                                   public           investigated, much less taken to
                                                                   security since   trial. Guatemala’s crime problems,
                                                                   the war.         while especially acute, are
                                                                   UN Photo
                                                                                    indicative of a broader trend in
                                                                                    Central America.

                                                                                       Concerns about the situation
                                                                                    in Guatemala spiraled during
        The Department of Political          At this writing, the proposal was
                                                                                    2003 as the result of a slew of
     Affairs has since 2003 anchored      in the hands of the Guatemalan
                                                                                    threats and attacks against human
     UN efforts to establish such a       Congress. President Oscar Berger
                                                                                    rights organizations. Authorities
     probe, in response to requests       asked legislators to urgently
                                                                                    never properly investigated these
     from the Guatemalan government       approve it after the gangland-
                                                                                    incidents, however suspicion
     and human rights groups who          style killings in February of three
                                                                                    centered on ex-military officers
     have seen criminality spiral in      visiting congressmen from El
                                                                                    who retained a wartime vendetta
     the decade since the end of the      Salvador followed by the murders,
                                                                                    against the activists. It was
     country’s civil war.                 in prison, of four Guatemalan
                                                                                    believed that the same ex-army
                                          police officers who were being
        An initial attempt to set up                                                men had turned in the years
                                          held as suspects in the crime. The
     the investigation ran afoul of                                                 following the conflict to drug
                                          officers were from the organized
     legal and political opposition in                                              smuggling and other kinds of
                                          crime division of the National
     Guatemala, however a new accord                                                contraband. The groups allegedly
                                          Civilian Police.
     was signed in December 2006 at                                                 rely on shadowy networks of

10   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
influence within the justice system         Under an initial proposal, the              If established, CICIG would
to protect them from the law.            Commission was to have the                  be an independent organization
                                         authority not only to carry out             staffed by international experts in
   Under pressure from the
                                         independent investigations but              organized crime investigations and
human rights community, the
                                         to also act as an independent               prosecutions. It would be financed
previous government asked
                                              prosecutor, directly                   through voluntary contributions to
the United Nations to
                                                  bringing cases to trial in         a UN-managed trust fund. Both
carry out an inquiry that
                                                    Guatemalan courts. The           the European Parliament and the
could help them to
                                  Guatemala          government agreed,              United States Senate have passed
assess the magnitude
                                     City             but the proposal stalled       resolutions urging that CICIG
of the problem and
                                                      when the country’s             be established.
begin dismantling
                                                     highest court raised
this shadowy criminal
                                                    constitutional concerns.         An international commission
underground. DPA
officials led an assessment                       With public security
                                                                                     can assist, but it cannot be a
                                                                                     panacea — and much less a
mission and worked with both the         continuing to worsen in the country,
                                                                                     substitute — for the strong
Office of Legal Affairs and the          the UN and Guatemalan authorities
                                                                                     commitment of national
United Nations Office on Drugs           went back to the drawing board to
                                                                                     authorities to fight crime.
and Crime (UNODC) to develop a           develop a new proposal that could
concept for the commission.              be accepted in Guatemala.
                                                                                        An international commission can
   “In interviews with scores of            The resulting CICIG agreement,
                                                                                     assist, but it cannot be a panacea
Guatemalans we heard some                signed in December 2006, differs
                                                                                     — and much less a substitute
recurring messages,” recalls             mainly in that the proposed
                                                                                     — for the strong commitment
Martha Doggett, Deputy Director          body — to be headed by a
                                                                                     of national authorities to fight
in DPA’s Americas and Europe             commissioner appointed by the
                                                                                     crime. The effect of CICIG’s
Division. “We were told that we          Secretary-General — would no
                                                                                     close working partnership with
needed to design a mechanism             longer be capable of carrying out
                                                                                     Guatemalan prosecutors should be
‘with teeth’ and secondly, that the      prosecutions independently. Yet it
                                                                                     to boost their ability, to carry out
country did not need just another        still has substantial powers to carry
                                                                                     sensitive investigations and trials
report — another truth commission        out investigations and to work
                                                                                     on their own.
or study about the well-known            in an auxiliary fashion alongside
problems in the justice system.”         Guatemalan prosecutors. The                    “In partnership with the
                                         changes were enough to satisfy              UN, CICIG was crafted as an
                                         concerns of the Constitutional              innovative, tailor-made response
                                         Court, which favorably ruled on             to Guatemala’s needs,” Doggett
                                         the Commission in May 2007.                 added.

                                          International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)
                                          Proposed Powers
                                          •   Investigate the presence of illegal armed groups and clandestine
                                              security organizations
                                          •   Recommend policies for eradicating these groups
                                          •   Join official criminal proceedings as a “private prosecutor”
                                          •   File administrative complaints against officials suspected of crimes
                                          •   Provide training and technical assistance to Guatemalan police and
                                              judicial bodies

                                                              Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   11
      INTERNATIONAL COMPACT WITH IRAQ                                                both through its assistance to
                                                                                     the Secretary-General and his
                                                                                     respective Compact envoys.

     Iraq: a new Compact                                                                  The 33-page document
                                                                                      endorsed in Sharm el-Sheikh was

     with the International                                                           the culmination of a process that
                                                                                      included high-level meetings in

                                                                                      Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and New
                                                                                      York, as well as several meetings
                                                                                      of the ICI Preparatory Group in

                                                                                      Baghdad. From this core group
              s the government and             The Compact is only the latest         of 19 countries and organizations
              people of Iraq struggle to    demonstration of the commitment           who have already provided major
              find common ground, end       of the United Nations to help Iraq        reconstruction funding or debt
              the violence and build a      and its people, notwithstanding            relief to Iraq, international
     unified and prosperous future, they    the insecurity that limits its                    participation in the Compact
     should not have to go it alone.        presence on the ground.                             process expanded over
                                            Since 2004 the United                                time and now includes
        That was the main message of
                                            Nations has helped                                   other Permanent
     Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as
                                            to organize landmark                 Baghdad          Members of the Security
     he, along with the Prime Minister
                                            elections and train                                    Council, all of Iraq’s
     of Iraq, presided over the launch on
                                            election officials,                                   neighbors, Egypt and
     3 May 2007, of the International
                                            encouraged dialogue                                 representatives of both
     Compact with Iraq (ICI) — a major
                                            across the sectarian divide,                    the League of Arab States
                                            assisted in the drafting of a                 and the Organization of the
     The Compact is only the                new constitution, and worked to           Islamic Conference.
     latest demonstration of the            ensure that aid gets to Iraqis in
     commitment of the United                                                             The Compact document
                                            need, including growing numbers
     Nations to help Iraq and                                                         represents a detailed and
                                            of refugees and internally displaced
     its people, notwithstanding                                                      comprehensive vision for progress
                                            persons (IDPs).
     the insecurity that limits                                                       in Iraq in which advances on the
     its presence on the ground.                                                      political, security and economic
                                            IRAQI-LED EFFORTS.
                                                                                      fronts are seen as mutually
                                             Stability in Iraq will only ultimately   reinforcing. In the political
     UN-backed initiative to mobilize       come through successful Iraqi-led         arena, the government of Iraq
     international aid for Iraq in return   efforts at national reconciliation,       commits to hold critical local
     for progress along a five-year         combined with a more supportive           and governate elections and to
     “roadmap” for reform.                  environment from the outside.             step up reconciliation overtures,
                                            And that is the essential bargain         particularly toward the disaffected
        “It is in our collective interest
                                            contained in the Compact                  Sunni population and leadership.
     to see Iraq at peace with itself and
                                                                                      The government also pledges to
     fully integrated in the region and        The launch of the Compact caps
                                                                                      institute human rights reforms,
     the wider international community,”    a preparatory phase begun in July
                                                                                      shore up the judiciary, dismantle
     the Secretary-General told             2006 when the idea was announced
                                                                                      illegal militias and move forward in
     dignitaries gathered at the launch     as a joint initiative of the United
                                                                                      establishing professional security
     event in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt        Nations and Government of Iraq,
                                                                                      forces under civilian control.
     attended by more than 60 countries     with the support of the World
     including all of Iraq’s neighbors.     Bank. As the lead UN Department               On the financial side, the
     “The International Compact lays        for Iraq policy, DPA has been             Compact includes measures such as
     out the road ahead.”                   involved throughout the process,          transparency in budgeting, and the

1   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
                                                               General Ban
                                                               Ki­moon             Somalia: a
                                                               hosts a high­
                                                               level meet­         peace to keep?
                                                               ing at UN
                                                               headquarters        continued from page 9
                                                               to build sup­
                                                               port for the
                                                               International       opportunity we cannot miss.”
                                                               Compact for         He has been working with others
                                                               Iraq, March
                                                                                   in the international community
                                                                                   to urge the TFG to reach out
                                                               UN Photo            in an inclusive dialogue with
                                                                                   all groups who are willing to
restructuring of the banking sector.   encouraging. Pending the results            renounce violence.
A detailed legislative timetable       of negotiations with key creditors
includes, among its targets, the       including Saudi Arabia, the sum             PEACEKEEPERS RETURN?
passage of a critical hydrocarbons     of new aid, debt relief and other
                                                                                   Meanwhile, planning proceeded
law that would determine how           forms of assistance for Iraq
                                                                                   cautiously for an eventual
Iraq’s oil resources are shared.       through the Compact could be as
                                                                                   deployment of UN peacekeepers
                                       high as US$30 billion, Gambari
                                                                                   to take over from the African
MONITORING PROGRESS                    told a news conference in the
                                                                                   Union-led mission. An inter-
                                       aftermath of the launch.
Progress over the next five years                                                  departmental assessment mission
by both Iraq and the international                                                 headed by the Department
                                       TWO POSSIBILITIES
community in meeting their                                                         of Political Affairs spent two
commitments will be tracked            Gambari said he believes the                weeks in the region at the end
through periodic reviews and the       financial incentives contained in the       of March 2007 and came back
work of a Compact Secretariat to       Compact can be helpful in spurring          urging caution about deploying
be established in Iraq.                the necessary reforms inside Iraq.          peacekeepers in the current
                                       His message to creditors and others         environment. Indicative of
   UN efforts to raise international
                                       who could provide aid, debt relief or       the risks, insecurity around
interest and support for the
                                       technical assistance is the following:      Mogadishu prevented the
Compact have been led since
                                       “There are two possibilities. You           assessment team from visiting
March 2007 by the Secretary-
                                       can wait until everything is perfect        the capital.
General’s Special Advisor for the
                                       before you come in. Or, you can try
ICI, Ibrahim Gambari, whose                                                           Drawing on the findings of the
                                       to encourage the Government of
travels jointly with Iraqi officials                                               DPA-led mission, the Secretary
                                       Iraq to honor its own commitments
have taken him to Saudi Arabia,                                                    General told the Security Council
                                       which, if it does, is going to help
Kuwait, Bulgaria, Brussels, the                                                    in April that the international
                                       improve security and lower the
United Kingdom and Washington                                                      community should consider two
D.C. The March 2007 meeting                                                        broad scenarios under which
on the Compact convened by the                                                     Somalia could be pacified. In one,
Secretary-General in New York                                                      progress on political reconciliation
                                       Those interested in more
was attended by 112 delegations,                                                   and a cessation of hostilities pave
                                       information about the International
giving new momentum to the                                                         the way for the deployment of a
                                       Compact with Iraq may wish to
process at a critical time.                                                        UN peacekeeping operation. In
                                       consult the website of the ICI
                                                                                   the other, more ominously, political
   Though the results of the           (www.iraqcompact.org) or the
                                                                                   efforts fail and peace is imposed
Compact will only be known over        website of the United Nations
                                                                                   on the fractious country through
time, the initial response from the    Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)
                                                                                   an enforcement operation by a
international community has been       at http://www.uniraq.org/ici.asp.
                                                                                   “coalition of the willing.”

                                                            Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   1
                               GREAT LAKES                                                                   within the Great Lakes around the
                                                                                                             major themes of the conference,
                                                                                                             and in lining up international
                              Africa’s Great Lakes Region:                                                   political and financial support.

                                                                                                                The Pact was the culmination
                              Learning to Cooperate                                                          of negotiations spanning two
                                                                                                             high-level summits and more than
                                                                                                             40 preparatory meetings involving

                                                                                                             not only governments, but also
                                        s the countries of Africa’s   milestone in the International
                                                                                                             parliamentarians, civil society
                                        Great Lakes region try to     Conference on the Great Lakes
                                                                                                             organizations, religious leaders,
                                        move beyond conflict and      Region, a multi-year UN-AU
                                                                                                             women’s groups and youth, Fall
                                        build a future in peace       diplomatic effort to promote
                                                                                                             said. Each of its 10 protocols and
                              they are realizing they need the        a regional approach to peace.
                                                                                                             33 priority projects have been
                              help of their neighbors.                Throughout the process, the
                                                                                                             subject to detailed negotiations
                                                                      Department of Political Affairs
                                That is the spirit, at least,                                                between representatives of the
                                                                      has provided oversight and support
                              behind the landmark, 11-nation                                                 eleven countries in the region.
                                                                      to the work of UN Great Lakes
                              Pact on Security, Stability and
                                                                      Region envoy Ibrahima Fall, a
                              Development in the Great Lakes                                                 PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT
                                                                      key architect and promoter of
                              Region, signed late last year under
                                                                      the Conference.                        Enshrined in its those protocols
                              the auspices of the United Nations
                                                                                                             are basic principles of conduct
                              and the African Union. The pact            As his mandate drew to a close
                                                                                                             between states that mark a clear
                              aims to create a new ethos of           in early 2007 — part of a strategy
                                                                                                             departure from the practices of
                              cooperation in the region whose         to shift ownership to the countries
                                                                                                             the past. Signatories commit, for
                              past tragedies—from the Rwandan         in the region — Fall, a former UN
                                                                                                             example, to renounce the threat or
                                                                               Assistant Secretary-General
                                                                                                             use of force against one another,
                                                                               and foreign minister of
                                                                                                             and to abstain from sending or
                                                                               Senegal — shared his views
                                                                                                             supporting insurgents within the
                                                                               with Politically Speaking
                                                                                                             territories of their neighbors. The
                                                                               about the significance of
 UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe

                                                                                                             Pact also commits them to combat
                                                                               the agreement and the
                                                                                                             groups promoting racial hatreds of
                                                                               challenge of converting it
                                                                                                             the kind that in the past resulted in
                                                                               from paper to reality.
                                                                                                             genocide; to fight sexual violence
                                                                                 “Obviously in the           against women and children; and
                                                                              case of the Great Lakes        to better protect refugees and
                                                                              Region, the conclusion         internally displaced persons.
                              Ibrahima Fall, Special Representative   of the Pact is very important but
                              of the Secretary­General for Great                                                Another key provision calls
                                                                      not sufficient,” he said. “One hard
                              Lakes Region briefs the media.                                                 on signatories to work together
                                                                      part of the work is over, but this
                                                                                                             to combat illegal exploitation of
                                                                      just opens the door to a difficult
                                                                                                             the region’s abundant natural
                              genocide to the “African World          new phase.”
                                                                                                             resources. The plundering of the
                              War” fought in the Democratic
                                                                         Since his appointment in 2002       DRC’s rich mineral and timber
                              Republic of the Congo — have
                                                                      as the Secretary-General’s Special     resources has been a major factor
                              shown that one nation’s insecurity
                                                                      Representative for the Great Lakes     behind its far-reaching conflicts,
                              can quickly become another’s.
                                                                      Region, Fall has been in constant      Fall said.
                                The agreement, signed at              motion. His travels around the
                                                                                                               The Pact — which now must
                              a December 2006 summit in               region and internationally have
                                                                                                             be ratified by Member States
                              Nairobi, also marks a major             been aimed at forging consensus

1                            Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
— is more than a                  taking
code of conduct. It                   part
is accompanied by a                in the
portfolio of projects           historic
which address the                    2006
entire range of issues
                                   in the
covered in the Pact:             Demo­
peace and security,                cratic
democracy and good             Republic
governance, economic               of the
development and                  Congo.
regional integration, and
social and humanitarian       Photo: IRIN /
                               Tiggy Ridley
issues. One key project
involves rejuvenating a
regional organization                         DRC and further consolidation of                           in the form of Security Council
— the Economic Community                      the peace process in Burundi. The                          resolutions and a 27-nation Group
of the Countries of the Great                 healthy trends in several countries                        of Friends to the Great Lakes
Lakes (CEPGL), comprised of                   no doubt helped to generate                                Region, which lent its diplomatic,
DRC, Rwanda and Burundi.                      goodwill within the Conference.                            technical and financial support to
Another would develop a regional                                                                         the Conference process.
                                                 “There was good timing because
mechanism for certifying that
                                              people were fed up with war,” Fall                           But as promising as some of the
natural resources are being legally
                                              said. “It was a ripe moment to                             recent trends may be, Fall remains
exploited. Still others aim to
                                              come and say we should have a                              concerned about several ongoing
generate development and security
                                              regional approach to the issues.”                          sources of instability in the region.
in the border regions.
                                                Fall also credits “exemplary                                One is the continued presence of
   In a symbol of the passing of
                                              cooperation” between the United                            armed groups in the eastern DRC
the baton from the international
                                              Nations and the African Union, as                          — a problem that is “being tackled
community to the region, a new
                                              well as strong international support                       but not yet resolved,” he said.
Conference Secretariat was
                                                                                                         Another is the spread of remnants
established in April, with Burundi
                                                                                                         of the Lord’s Resistance Army from
as its host. It replaces the
                                                                                                         Northern Uganda into neighboring
UN office which had
                                                                                                         countries such as Sudan and the
served since 2002 as
                                                                                                         DRC — a continuing source of
the Secretariat of the
                                                                                                         concern despite a cessation of
Conference. Its job
                                                                                                         hostilities and ongoing peace
will be to push forward
                                                                               Sudan                     talks between the LRA and the
the implementation of
                                                                                                         Government of Uganda.
the Pact.                                                   Central
                                                       African Republic
                                                                                                            Fall is also worried about the
   Momentum toward                                                  ZAIRE
                                                                    ZAIRE             Uganda
                                                              Democratic Republic         Kenya          lack of job opportunities for ex-
the agreement did not
                                                                   of the
                                                                 Congo              Rwanda
                                                     Congo                          Burundi              combatants in a region awash in
come in a vacuum. The                                                                  United Republic
                                                                                      Tanzania           cheap weapons. “We need to very
International Conference on
                                                       Angola                                            quickly ratify and implement the
the Great Lakes has coincided                                         Zambia
                                                                                                         pact in such a way that people at
with a period of positive change
                                                                                                         the grassroots can see the fruits of
already underway in the region
                                                                                                         the process,” he said. “To believe in
— evident during the past year in
                                                                                                         peace, they must see that there is a
historic democratic elections in the
                                                                                                         peace dividend.”

                                                                               Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs    1
      ELECTIONS                                                                         have led to great improvements in
                                                                                        the situation of a country.

     Elections: are                                                                        So to summarize, elections do
                                                                                        not necessarily result in democracy,
                                                                                        they cannot fundamentally alter
     they overrated?                                                                    societies, this may be just as likely
                                                                                        to exacerbate tensions as to heal
                                                                                        them, and they do not necessarily
      In recent years, great weight has been placed on                                  lead to good governance. Not
      elections as vehicle for instituting democracy where                              exactly a ringing endorsement
      it was previously absent or for helping war-torn                                  for elections!
      countries make the transition to peace. The growing
      demand for United Nations electoral assistance is only                              But of course I am being glib.
      one indicator of the trend.                                                       Elections are a fundamental
                                                                                        prerequisite for any democracy, for
      But are we expecting too much of elections as a means
                                                                                        many reasons.
      to resolve societal problems that go much deeper or
      that might better be tackled by other means?                                         The most important reason is the
                                                                                        most obvious. Elections are — with
      This was the theme explored by Craig Jenness, Director of DPA’s Electoral
                                                                                        few exceptions — the only way to
      Assistance Division, in a presentation to the Annual Conference of the
                                                                                        ensure that rulers enjoy legitimacy
      Society for International Development held in Washington, DC on 6 Febru-
                                                                                        in the eyes of the majority of those
      ary 2007. The remarks — made in a personal capacity and thus not neces-
                                                                                        ruled. An election is not an end in
      sarily reflecting official views of the United Nations — are reprinted below
                                                                                        itself, but rather an exercise aimed
      for the interest of our readers as a thought-provoking reflection on a key
                                                                                        at putting in place legislators,
      policy issue before the international community.
                                                                                        prime ministers and presidents who

                                                                                        are chosen by the people. I heard a
               et me begin by stating a        lead to the expression, and perhaps      wise person say in Afghanistan in
               seemingly obvious point,        amplification, of prejudices, rival      2005 that the country desperately
               but one that should be          senses of identity, and historical       needs good elections. A wiser
               made nonetheless. That is,      traumas of that same society. We         person replied: “No, what this
     the holding of election does not, in      should not be surprised if in a          country needs desperately are
     itself, make a country democratic.        society rife with ethnic tensions,       good parliamentarians.”
                                               people vote along ethnic lines.
        Often, in fact, too much is                                                        Elections, conducted in the right
     expected of elections, particularly          In post-conflict settings, there is   atmosphere with the right system,
     when they take place in transitional      not necessarily even a relationship      can help knit a fractured country
     settings. Elections are sometime          between the technical quality            together by promoting power
     seen as a silver bullet for ending        of an election and the quality of        sharing and by including groups
     conflict and marking a return to          subsequent governance in the             which have been traditionally
     normalcy. But, as a colleague of          country. There are numerous              marginalized. Elections can also,
     mine once wrote, there are no             examples where a technically             to some extent, help to open up
     silver bullets and certainly no           sound election did not improve the       previously closed societies by
     silver ballots.                           quality of governance, at least not      encouraging pluralism, debate
                                               immediately. Nor do technically          and opposition.
        Nor can elections fundamentally
                                               flawed elections necessarily
     alter societies. When we ask people                                                   Democracy is said to be the only
                                               translate into poor governance.
     to vote, we ask them to voice                                                      self-correcting form of government.
                                               Many — in fact most–post conflict
     their political preferences. This                                                  Elections present the greatest
                                               elections have some degree of
     might lead to a rejection of certain                                               opportunity for corrections,
                                               technical imperfection, but many
     leaders or policies. But it can also                                                               continued on page 18

1   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
 DIALOGUE WITH THE GLOBAL SOUTH                                                       Seven fellows have been
                                                                                   placed to date, and four more
                                                                                   are scheduled to be posted in
DPA and Universities:                                                              September 2007. The list of
                                                                                   partner universities has now

looking south for solutions                                                        grown to a half dozen. The most
                                                                                   recent addition is the Lee Kuan
                                                                                   Yew School of Public Policy at the
                                                                                   National University of Singapore,

                                                                                   which signed on in March 2007
     n a search for fresh thinking      of Peacekeeping Operations
                                                                                   and will host its first fellow in
     on everything from conflict        and the Office of the Coordinator
                                                                                   September. The other partners are
     prevention to peacekeeping to      of Humanitarian Assistance
                                                                                   the American University in Cairo,
     humanitarian assistance, the       through which UN staff are
                                                                                   the Jawaharlal Nehru University in
United Nations has been teaming         posted as research and teaching
                                                                                   Delhi, the National Autonomous
up with universities around the         fellows at partner universities in
                                                                                   University of Mexico, Tsinghua
world through an innovative project     the South.
                                                                                   University in Beijing and the
spearheaded by DPA — the UN
                                           While benefiting from local             University of the Witwatersrand
Dialogue with the Global South.
                                        knowledge and insights that                in Johannesburg.
  Relationships with research           can inform UN policymaking,
                                                                                     “We looked for universities
centers are nothing new for             the fellows act as ambassadors
                                                                                   with strong political science
the United Nations, but what’s          for the Organization within
                                                                                   and international relations
unique about the “Global                their respective university
                                                                                   departments, and also countries
South” project is its emphasis on
expanding ties to universities in the
developing world.

   “The project grew out a
realization among several UN
departments that the United
Nations traditionally collaborates
with a small group of prestigious,
though mainly northern universities
and policy-oriented academics,”         communities — helping in a                 that are contributors to UN
said Robin Ludwig, the senior           small way to increase public               peacekeeping,” explained Ludwig.
DPA officer who has coordinated         understanding about the                    “But we also wanted to avoid
the project since its inception.        United Nations.                            places where there was already
                                                                                   a big UN presence and a lot of
   “As important as those                  DPA has overseen the
                                                                                   exchange between UN officials
relationships continue to be, we        project since the outset, managing
                                                                                   and academia. New Delhi
felt we could all benefit from an       relations with partner universities
                                                                                   made sense in other words, but
effort to reach out beyond the          and overseeing the selection
                                                                                   Bangkok didn’t.”
usual suspects and deeper into the      of Fellows. Funding has come
regions of the world where much of      from a $1.9 million donation from             Political Officer Luis Jimenez-
the work of the UN in peace and         the United Nations Foundation,             McInnis was the first of two DPA
security plays out,” she added.         but new sources will be needed to          staff members to take part. During
                                        sustain the project in the future.         2006 he conducted research on
  With that as its driving concept,
                                                                                   political parties at the National
UN Dialogue for the Global South          Both UN staff and the partner
                                                                                   Autonomous University of Mexico,
was launched in 2004 as a joint         universities say the investment is
                                                                                   gave lectures on UN-related
project of DPA, the Department          well worth it.

                                                            Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   1
                                                                                                              A woman
     issues, and witnessed the Mexican                                                                        casts her
     presidential campaign first-hand.                                                                        ballot in
                                                                                                              Dili during
     He was later invited back to
                                                                                                              the second
     Mexico as an official international                                                                      round of the
     visitor for the election.                                                                                presidential
        “The experience helped me
                                                                                                              in Timor­
     to expand a network of contacts                                                                          Leste,
     that pays off in all aspects of my                                                                       May 2007.
     work within the Department,” he
                                                                                                              UN Photo /
     said. “In addition, there are many                                                                       Martine Perret
     misconceptions around the world
     on what the UN can and cannot
     do. Through my exchanges with
     students and faculty at the UNAM
                                             Elections: are                          a result of political compromise.
                                                                                     In other words, in most conflict-
     and other universities in Mexico, I
     hope that I was able to contribute
                                             they overrated?                         torn societies, a political process,
                                                                                     involving compromise, should
     to that debate.”                        continued from page 16
                                                                                     determine basic power sharing,
        During her posting in                although as many of us experience       minority protection, and resource
     Johannesburg, DPA election officer      in our own countries these              allocation. Elections can then take
     Hiroko Miyamura, developed              corrections don’t always happen         place to elect rulers who will work
     a close relationship outside the        — or at least not fast enough.          within these ground rules.
     classroom with the Electoral
                                                These are among the many                Secondly, to a large degree
     Institute of South Africa (EISA).
                                             reasons why elections as a process      democracies must build
     She helped EISA to design a
                                             are arguably more important than        themselves. Otherwise they are
     voter registration project to assist
                                             elections as an event. They are also    not democracies. This means we
     election administrators throughout
                                             among the reasons why the United        must be patient, understanding and
     Africa. She also identified South
                                             Nations and other organizations         respectful of the specific context.
     African electoral experts for the
                                             should assist countries in              We must not insist that “our way”
     roster of electoral experts managed
                                             conducting elections which can be       is the only way.
     by DPA, and conducted research
                                             considered credible.
     for a policy paper on “UN Electoral                                                One example I like is from
     Assistance and Impunity.”                  I will wrap up with two more         Ghana. In Ghana, voters mark
                                             general points that are important       their ballot with their thumb
        Fellows from DPKO and
                                             to think about when considering         print. Thumb prints are also taken
     OCHA have conducted projects
                                             how elections can assist a larger       during voter registration, where
     on South African perspectives on
                                             political process.                      they are recorded electronically.
     the creation of an African Stand-by
                                                                                     It is therefore technically possible
     Force, the establishment of stand-          First, in attempting to resolve a
                                                                                     to match each ballot with the
     by arrangements for humanitarian        war or conflict situation, elections
                                                                                     voter — hence, no secret vote,
     assistance, and, as part of a larger    are sometimes more effective
                                                                                     and therefore a violation of
     project on troop contributing           if they come after, rather than
                                                                                     international standards.
     countries, Chinese views on the         before political agreements. This
     costs, risks and benefits of their      is because conflict very often is          Ghanaians are aware of this but
     participation in UN peacekeeping.       about power, resources, or ethnic       they do not mind. For them, the act
                                             or sectarian divisions. Because an      of placing their thumb on the ballot
     Those interested in learning more       election is by nature a competitive     has a strong symbolic importance.
     about the UN Dialogue with the          process, it may not be the right        They trust the state not to violate
     Global South can visit its website at   process to resolve these issues,        the secrecy of the vote, even if they
     http://www.un.org/globalsouth.          which could better be settled as        know it could.

1   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
 Activities and Events                    the International Contact Group           Nations in the country. Ms. Kane
                                          on Somalia, followed by a visit to        also accompanied the Secretary-
Under-Secretary General Pascoe            several countries in the Horn of          General to Berlin in February to
accompanied Ban Ki-moon in his            Africa, for further consultations         attend a meeting of the Middle East
first visit as Secretary-General to the   aimed at shoring up national and          Quartet, and to the Vatican in April,
Middle East, traveling in the last        regional efforts at peace in Somalia.     joining his audience with the Pope.
week of March 2007 to Egypt, Israel                                                 She delivered opening remarks at
and the Occupied Palestinian              Assistant-Secretary-General for           two consultations organized by DPA
Territories, Jordan, Saudi Arabia         Political Affairs Angela Kane             and regional partners on mediation
and Lebanon. USG Pascoe was               delivered the message of the                       support, in San José, Costa
also with the Secretary-General           Secretary-General to the                           Rica, in March, and in
in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt at the          United Nations Seminar                             Geneva in May. ASG Kane
beginning of May for the launch of        on Assistance to the                               also represented DPA at
the International Compact with            Palestinian People held                            the 2007 Global Electoral
Iraq and a separate meeting of the        in Doha, Qatar on 5-6 in                           Organization Conference,
foreign ministers of Iraq and its         February 2007. She traveled                        hosted by the International
neighbors. As this edition went to        from there to Sri Lanka,                           Federation of Electoral
print, USG Pascoe was preparing           to assess the situation and                        Systems, in Washington,
to attend a meeting in London of          review the work of the United Angela Kane          DC in late March 2007.

Staff News
In addition to welcoming the new Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, succeeding Ibrahim
Gambari, there have been other notable staff changes within the Department of Political Affairs.
                   Haile Menkerios of Eritrea, a former senior DPA official for African affairs, will be rejoining the
                   Department in July 2007 as Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, succeeding Tuliameni
                   Kalomoh. Menkerios returns to New York after serving as Deputy Special Representative of the
                   Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During 2003-2005 he was the Direc-
                   tor of the Africa I Division of DPA, which covers East and Southern Africa. In 2002, Mr. Menkerios
                   was Senior Advisor to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.
                   From 1991 to 2000, he represented the Eritrean Government in various capacities including as
                   Ambassador to Ethiopia and the Organization of African Unity, Special Envoy to Somalia as well as
Haile Menkerios    to the Great Lakes region, and as Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Margaret Vogt was named in February 2007 as acting Director of the Africa I Division in place of departing Direc-
tor Welile Nhlapo, who returned to South Africa’s foreign ministry. Ms. Vogt has been in DPA since 1999, when she
joined as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. During 2004 she was seconded
to the African Union as Director of the Office of the Chairperson. Ms. Vogt previously headed the Africa Program at
the International Peace Academy. Martha Doggett was named Deputy Director of the Americas and Europe Divi-
sion. She came to DPA in 2000 after serving as senior political adviser with the United Nations missions in Haiti and
in El Salvador, and working previously in human rights and journalism in Latin America. Jehangir Khan was named
acting Deputy Director in the Asia and Pacific Division after serving as head of DPA’s Iraq Team. Before joining the
UN Secretariat in 1992, Mr. Khan was Chief of Cabinet to the President of the General Assembly. He served as politi-
cal adviser to Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador, from 1983 to 1991. Christopher Coleman, Chief of Policy Planning
and Mediation Support left DPA to work in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General in May 2007, where he
is now Director of the Office of the Deputy Chef de Cabinet. Karina Gerlach was named acting Special Assistant to
the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs following the retirement in April of Judith Karam. Ms. Gerlach also
continues in her capacity as Chief of DPA’s Unit for Cooperation with Regional Organizations. Freda Mackay is the
new chief of DPA’s Decolonization Unit. Ms Mackay joined DPA in 1995, where she was most recently posted in the
Security Council Affairs Division. She has also served with the UN missions in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and in the
Offices of the Secretary-General and his Spokesperson.

                                                               Bulletin of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs   1
     The outgoing Assistant-Secretary-          or assess electoral assistance             the future status of Kosovo. The
     General for Political Affairs,             needs in numerous countries,               mission visited Brussels, Serbia,
     Tuliameni Kalomoh accompanied              including Togo, Liberia, Yemen,            and Kosovo.
     the Secretary-General to the               and Cambodia. A joint mission to
                                                                                           DPA’s Decolonization Unit
     African Union Summit in Addis              Mauritania along with UNDP in
                                                                                           assisted and took part in the
     Ababa in late January 2007. He             April 2007 permitted a post-election
                                                                                           convening of the Caribbean
     represented the Secretary-General          assessment of the March polls in
                                                                                           Regional Seminar on
     at the summit of France-Afrique in         that country. Another EAD mission
                                                                                           Decolonization held in Saint
     Cannes, France, in February 2007,          traveled to Bangladesh in February
                                                                                           George’s, Grenada in May 2007
     and at the meeting on Africa and           2007. Staff of EAD along with
                                                                                           — part of an annual seminar process
     the Question of Palestine held in          electoral experts from the United
                                                                                           organized by the Special Committee
     Pretoria in May 2007. In March             Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq
                                                                                           on decolonization.
     2007, he led an inter-departmental         (UNAMI) held an intensive
     technical assessment team to AU            training session,                          DPA continued to host an active
     headquarters, Somalia, Ethiopia,           from 29 May to 8                           series of brown-bag seminars.
     Kenya and Uganda, to evaluate              June, in New Delhi,                        President Martti Ahtisaari,
     the political and security situation       India, for the new                         the Special Representative
     in Somalia and to explore the              members of Iraq’s                          of the Secretary-General for
     possibility of a UN peacekeeping           Independent                                the Future Status Process for
     operation in the country.                  High Election                              Kosovo, spoke on lessons learned
                                                Commission.                                from peace processes and their
        In addition to the aforementioned
                                                                                           implications for talks on the
     meetings in Doha and Pretoria, the         In the continuing aftermath of
                                                                                           future status of Kosovo. James
     Division of Palestinian Rights             the December 2006 military coup
                                                                                           Gomez of the International
     took part in, and helped to convene        in Fiji, DPA led an inter-agency
                                                                                           Institute for Democracy and
     the United Nations International           fact-finding mission to the South
                                                                                           Electoral Assistance briefed on
     Meeting in Support of Israeli-             Pacific island nation in April
                                                                                           the changing panorama of political
     Palestinian Peace, held in Rome in         2007. The team met with a broad
                                                                                           parties in South Asia. Dr. Colin
     March 2007. The meeting brought            spectrum of actors within Fiji,
                                                                                           Irwin, Research Fellow from
     together a broad spectrum of               including officials of the interim
                                                                                           the Institute of Irish Studies,
     viewpoints and focused on restoring        Government, major political parties,
                                                                                           University of Liverpool, spoke on
     momentum to the Israeli-Palestinian        civil society organizations and the
                                                                                           The Role of Public Opinion Polls
     peace process.                             diplomatic community in Suva,
                                                                                           in peace negotiations, focusing
                                                before returning to New York
     DPA’s Electoral Assistance                                                            on the case of Northern Ireland.
                                                and submitting its observations
     Division (EAD) continued its                                                          Colin Keating, the Executive
                                                and recommendations to the
     support to electoral operations in                                                    Director of Security Council
     the field, including in Timor-Leste,                                                  Report, briefed on the work of
     Nepal, Iraq, Sierra Leone and              Staff of the Security Council              this recently-established non-
     the Democratic Republic of the             Affairs Division accompanied               governmental organization. Dr.
     Congo. EAD experts took part in            Council members on their April             Admore Kambudzi, Secretary of
     missions either to formulate projects      2007 field mission concerning              the Peace and Security Council of
                                                                                           the African Union, spoke on the
                                                                                           role of the AU in the peace and
                                                                                           reconciliation process in Somalia.
                                               Editorial contact:
                                                                                           Michael Shifter, Vice-President
                                               Jared Kotler
                                               Public Information and External Relations   for Policy at the Inter-American
                                               Dept. of Political Affairs                  Dialogue, in Washington, D.C.,
     Department of Political Affairs           Tel: 1-917-367-5264                         briefed on Venezuelan politics and
                                               Fax: 1-212-963-5065                         international relations.
     United Nations                            Email: kotler@un.org
     New York, NY 1001                        Designed by Graphic Design Unit, DPI

0   Politically Speaking / Summer 2007
                            Fall–Winter 2006   07-27227—June 2007—7,500

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