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Around Europe Online

No. 268 January 2005

Contents

Browse below or click on the following to view an article

Bianca Jagger Receives ‘Right Livelihood Award 2004’

The African Peace Facility – What issues does it raise?

MEPs form Intergroup for Peace Initiatives
Tsunami Aftermath
 

Bianca Jagger Receives ‘Right Livelihood Award 2004’
Representatives from European NGOs after lunch with Bianca Jagger (5th from right front) and Angelika Beer, MEP (6th from right front). Martina Weitsch, QCEA, 3rd from right front).

Bianca Jagger, a prominent campaigner for human rights, was awarded the ‘Right Livelihood Award 2004’ “...for her long-standing commitment and dedicated campaigning over a wide range of issues of human rights, social justice and environmental protection, including the abolition of the death penalty, the prevention of child abuse, the rights of indigenous peoples to the environment that supports them and the prevention and healing of armed conflicts.”

This Award is sometimes referred to as the alternative Nobel Prize. It exists to strengthen the positive social forces that its recipients represent and to provide the support and inspiration needed to make them a model for the future. It has been said that if the Nobel Prizes reflected world concerns of the 20th century, the Right Livelihood Award should reflect those of the 21st.

At the invitation of Angelika Beer, MEP, Bianca Jagger came to Brussels on 11 and 12 December and gave a lecture at the Free University of Brussels, met with EU decision makers and attended a lunch (on 12 December) with a small group of representatives of European NGOs. QCEA was one of the NGOs invited to the lunch (see photo).

We had the opportunity to present a brief overview of the work each organisation does and Bianca Jagger took careful note of what each of us said, responding with comments of her own on how and to what extent our work links with hers.

It was a very useful opportunity to meet with someone who, because of their prominence in the public awareness has the opportunity to give a much needed high profile to issues of peace, human rights and economic justice.

Bianca Jagger will set up a foundation for human rights with the prize money.

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The African Peace Facility – What issues does it raise?
What is the African Peace Facility?

In April 2004, and at the request of the African Union (AU) (1), the European Union set up a funding mechanism referred to as ‘The African Peace Facility’. This is ‘a € 250 million instrument to finance peacekeeping operations in Africa and is led, operated and staffed by Africans.’ (2)

The African Peace Facility will finance peacekeeping operations and in this context it will fund:

Soldiers’ per diem allowances

Communication equipment

Medical facilities

Wear and tear of civilian equipment

The African Peace Facility will not fund:

Ammunition

Arms and specific military equipment

Spare parts for arms and military equipment

Salaries for soldiers

Military training for soldiers.

An initiative to be celebrated?

Let’s take a look at the positive features of this initiative. It was asked for by the African Union. That means it is an African initiative and it is ‘owned’ by the AU. That in itself is a very positive aspect of this facility. Secondly, the facility will finance activities which are to be undertaken by Africans. It won’t fund Europeans to go to Africa to assist in peacekeeping. That, too, must be welcomed. And some of the money (some 14%) is allocated to capacity building. That, too, is a good sign.

Development and Peace – the connections

There can be no development without peace. That much is obvious. However much money is spent on development projects, violent conflict will undermine the capacity of people to benefit from this or it will destroy the very infrastructure and resources that have been funded. Equally, there can be no peace without development. One of the root causes of many violent conflicts is poverty and inequality in terms of access to resources and power. Development can, if directed appropriately, address this in the longer term, thus removing some of the causes of violent conflict.

But does that mean that funds identified as ‘development funds’ should be used to support peace and security? Far from it.

But what are the issues?

First, there is the underlying concept of peacekeeping. It is a primarily, if not exclusively military concept. There is little or no room in the Facility for the deployment or training of civilians to undertake either peacekeeping or peacebuilding work. This is a concept that certainly pervades European thinking and, on the basis of the evidence of this Facility, also pervades the thinking in the African Union.

Second, there is the question of where the money comes from. And that question opens a Pandora’s Box of issues which go much further than the African Peace Facility.

The money comes from the European Development Fund (EDF). By allowing development funds to be used for peace and security operations, and especially if such operations are essentially to be carried out by military forces, a number of potential consequences follow:

If the overall allocation to development funds does not increase, even less is spent on actual development;

If the overall allocation to development increases because of the funding of peace and security operations, then the donor countries may get closer to their target of 0.7% of GNI for development without actually spending more on development. In other words, it might make the measurement against that target internationally unreliable. As a result, it will be harder to hold donor countries to account.

In either case, development funding may be re-targeted at countries which are seen as a ‘security risk’ from the point of view of the donor countries’ political perspective and away from countries which may need development assistance just as much but which don’t pose a security risk.

None of these consequences should be dismissed lightly because all of them have significant implications for donor countries and recipient countries. For example, if there is an appreciable trend of development funding moving in the direction of countries which are subject to violent conflict, this may encourage violent conflict rather than reducing it.

Future implications for EU development funding

The EU is currently in the process of developing its long term financial framework for 2007 to 2013. This process includes proposals to change the way in which external actions are funded. Instead of having a large number of narrowly defined budget lines for external actions and having the European Development Fund (EDF) ring-fenced and essentially outside the budget framework, the intention is to develop 6 new ‘instruments’ to fund external action.

The 6 instruments as proposed cover the following areas:

Pre-Accession policy: funding for candidate countries and potential candidate countries for Membership of the EU

European Neighbourhood and Partnership policy: funding for those countries which are not likely to become candidates for membership but form the immediate neighbourhood of the EU

Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation policy: funding for all other third countries; by including development and economic cooperation under the same instrument, a clear connection and potential conditionality in terms of economic cooperation is implicit in this instrument

Stability policy: ‘This is a new instrument designed to provide an adequate response to instability and crises and to longer term challenges with a stability and security aspect’ (3)

Humanitarian Aid: this policy area remains unchanged

Macro Financial Assistance: this policy area remains unchanged.

The total money allocated to external action as a whole, as foreseen in the financial perspectives for 2007 to 2013, shows no significant increase in percentage terms.

Given the example of the African Peace Facility and given the inclusion of the EDF in the overall external action ‘pot’ post 2007, the division into these 6 instruments shows clear signs of the possibility of development funding being used to further the security interests of the Member States of the EU.

In itself, it is understandable that the EU would want to further the security interests of its Member States, even if there is a need for a serious public debate on what those interests really are. But if such a policy is funded at the expense of much needed and woefully lacking development funds then that is not a positive direction.

On the contrary, if the EU wants to fund peacekeeping and peacebuilding in third countries (and it should!) then it should consider finding additional monies (maybe at the expense of its own Member States’ military budgets) to do so. That, coupled with a real move towards peacebuilding (primarily on the basis of civilian interventions) would be a real step in the right direction.

Martina Weitsch

(1) The African Union was launched by African Leaders at their summit in Durban in 2002; it has a broad political mandate in the field of conflict prevention and management. The African Union has set up a Peace and Security Council which is comprised of 15 elected Member States representing all regions of Africa.

(2) Securing Peace and Stability for Africa, The EU-Funded African Peace Facility, European Commission, DG Development, 2004, available on line at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/publications/docs/flyer_peace_en.pdf

(3) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament On the Instruments for External Assistance under the Future Financial Perspective 2007 – 2013, COM(2004) 626 final, Brussels, September 2004

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MEPs form Intergroup for Peace Initiatives
On January 5th 2005 the first meeting of the newly formed Intergroup on Peace Initiatives was held at the European Parliament in Brussels, co-chaired by the MEPs Caroline Lucas and Tobias Pflüger.

Intergroups are not official bodies in the European Parliament but are cross-party groups formed by MEPs which allow them to work together on matters of common concern. Topics that Intergroups look at are varied and numerous. Some current examples are Anti-Racism and Diversity, Sky and Space, Bioethics, Gay and Lesbians Rights and Viticulture (Wine making).

The Intergroup on Peace Initiatives will act as a forum where MEPs of different political groups can discuss peace & conflict issues, and further the political debate on these issues. The Intergroup will work on issues and initiatives which will bring peace, disarmament and peaceful conflict resolution a step nearer and act as a driving force for parliamentary political initiatives on the European Union’s policies relating to peace and disarmament. This will involve various activities including organising hearings with civil society actors on peace issues, considering possible responses by the EU in regions of violent conflict, ensuring parliamentary participation in preparing the EU position in multilateral conferences on peace and disarmament and engaging with international peace movement campaigns.

QCEA will be acting as secretariat for the Intergroup on Peace Initiatives providing logistical and administrative support. We are very pleased to be able to work with this important and timely Intergroup.

Robin Bloomfield

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Tsunami Aftermath 
Grassroots Sri Lanka Relief and Peacekeeping Work

The Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international grassroots organization dedicated to nonviolent peacekeeping, has its first team of international civilian peacekeepers working in Sri Lanka. In the aftermath of the Tsunami, team members are identifying and visiting areas which have received little or no attention so as to alert humanitarian relief agencies about immediate needs. They are also meeting with other international agency personnel in their areas to assess the damage and loss of life and to plan for relief efforts.

To help the people of Sri Lanka, there are two humanitarian relief agencies the Nonviolent Peaceforce works with. These agencies are doing excellent grassroots relief work. To donate, contact:

SARVODAYA - The largest civil service organization in Sri Lanka with over 2,000 volunteers working round the clock in the affected areas. To donate via credit card, please go through the Nonviolent Peaceforce:

http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/english/help/donatetosarvodaya.asp

OXFAM - a civil service organization that is dedicated to creating solutions to global poverty, hunger, and social justice – and is currently sending food and water to the countries hit by the tsunami: https://secure.ga3.org/02/asia_earthquake04.

For updates and more information, please visit: http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org

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