"Give Peace a Chance" - the role of international organisations

"Give Peace a Chance" is a discussion forum held during the NATO summit offering a series of alternative seminars that are open to the public. The "Role of International Organisations and International Law in the Prevention and Resolution of War Conflicts" was one of them and Dita Asiedu attended it:

There is no doubt that much hope is put into international organisations co-operating with local organisations when it comes to preventing and resolving conflict. Horrendous events such as the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as well as the wars in the Balkans at the beginning of the 1990's should not be allowed to reoccur. NATO alone cannot guarantee peace and it is other organisations such as the UN, UNHCR, the OSCE as well as the numerous regional organisations that have to work together in order to prevent conflict. That was the main idea of the seminar.

The only problem that arises is that the costs of introducing preventive measures are high whilst their effects only become visible years later. It is therefore difficult to get the necessary financial support as there is no immediate proof of preventive measures being successful. According to Ekkehard Griep of the German Society for the UN, it is here where NATO is advantageous because its enlargement process is one way of preventing conflict:

"I view this expansion from 19 to 26 member states as a gigantic measure of conflict prevention. NATO ensures an enlargement of the stability zone into Central and Eastern Europe, and with that the foundation stone is laid for the peaceful resolution of conflict. I want to stress this point as well as the fact that many of the newcomers and the countries that want to become NATO members but can't at the moment want to get into the Alliance sooner than later, and this shows that NATO radiates a certain attractiveness that even reaches Central and Eastern Europe."

But although it is clear that NATO alone cannot fight or prevent conflict, journalist Andreas Zumach notes that four factors make it difficult for other international organisations to be effective:

"I would like to focus on the problems and point to four factors. The first is unwanted institutions, and here I can give the example of the OSCE, which could have been an alternative to NATO, serving the interests of the whole of Europe, including Russia. The second is a lack of resources. One such example is the lack of finances necessary to keep the UN Aids programme going. The third factor is the undermining of international law and here there has been a negative development since September 11th. Finally, there is the selective use of human rights in foreign policy."