Category Archives: Spotlight Post

The Role of Women and Girls: RtoP and the Development-Humanitarian-Security Nexus

The Role of Women and Girls:
RtoP and the Development-Humanitarian-Security Nexus

Shayna Halliwell

Emerging and protracted crises are causing unprecedented movements of people from their homes and into insecure situations, where they typically experience a lack of access to basic services including education, health, housing and economic opportunities. Development practitioners are now witnessing large-scale funding mechanisms shift their focus to the development-humanitarian-security nexus, with an increased focus on the women and girls who disproportionately experience the effects of forced migration and protracted crises.[1] While the Responsibility to Protect has largely remained a set of principles, not yet enshrined in national or international legal frameworks, many governments are using their international assistance funding to push for development programming that addresses the root causes of conflict to prevent its occurrence. This shift towards the development-humanitarian-security nexus contributes to the normative framework around the Responsibility to Protect by using development funding mechanisms to encourage and assist States in their efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities of all kinds; to build their capacities to protect their populations from the effects of this violence; and to assist those already experiencing conflict.

While the RtoP has been affirmed in several Security Council resolutions, and many governments acknowledge the importance of the norm as indicated through its inclusion in the 2005 General Assembly World Summit Outcome Document,[2] the domestication of the RtoP continues to face challenges. While the RtoP is not evoked explicitly by states in their foreign policies, funding frameworks for international assistance have begun to move towards an understanding that development and humanitarian efforts are inextricably linked to international security concerns. International assistance policies that prioritize the intersection between development, humanitarianism, and security serve the function of putting the RtoP’s principles into action, even if they are not implemented in the ways originally anticipated or imagined.

The G7 Charlevoix Declaration (2018) is an example of this shift, as this communique prioritizes educational opportunities for women and girls, particularly in emergency situations or in fragile states, through the signatories’ development assistance systems. This focus on education is explicitly linked to increasing security in these environments, and the G7 pledged to “ensure commitment to gender equality and prioritize improved access to quality education for girls and women in the early stages of humanitarian response and peacebuilding efforts.”[3] This communique was supported by a funding announcement by Canada, the UK, Germany, the European Union, and Japan, alongside the World Bank, to put $3.8 billion entirely towards girls’ education in conflict and crisis situations.[4] Canada, for example, allocated its $400 million contribution to this fund to its Feminist International Assistance Policy.  This policy is based on the recognition by the Canadian government that “supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, more inclusive and more prosperous world.”[5] As a Project Manager for a large international non-profit that regularly works with the Canadian government, I see firsthand how the ethos behind the Feminist International Assistance Policy now dictates how the Government of Canada decides which projects or interventions to fund. One of the six action areas of the Feminist International Assistance Policy is women’s involvement in peace and security efforts, because “when women are involved in peace and security efforts, solutions are more comprehensive […] This increases community buy-in and offers a better opportunity to address the root causes of conflict.”[6] In the current global context, it is becoming clear that preventing and addressing security issues, particularly atrocities, is absolutely necessary for development projects to be sustainable in any way. The G7 Charlevoix Declaration is a strong indication of this recognition, particularly as it supports women and girls at the nexus of development, humanitarian, and peace and security agendas.

The rates of conflict and displacement of vulnerable groups of people continue to rise,[7] increasing the importance of operationalizing the RtoP. As debates on the RtoP continue, states are putting these principles into action through the ways in which they allocate their funding for development and humanitarian projects. Women and girls are the anchors of these policies that support the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, because when women and girls are supported and empowered to participate in their communities, they have shown to contribute meaningfully to both conflict prevention and resolution.[8] Large-scale donor investment in women and girls at this development-humanitarian-security nexus simply makes sense for increased and continued peace and security efforts.

 

Shayna Halliwell is currently Senior Manager for Global Partnerships at Right to Play, a Toronto-based NGO working on child protection, education, and empowerment, where she manages international development projects across sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to her work in development, peace and security, she is interested and writes on indigenous and ethnic minority rights. Ms. Halliwell received her Master’s from Columbia University in New York.

Sources
[1] Luck & Bellamy article on ICRtoP blog.
[2] Paragraphs 138-139, http://responsibilitytoprotect.org/world%20summit%20outcome%20doc%202005(1).pdf.[3] https://g7.gc.ca/en/official-documents/charlevoix-declaration-quality-education-girls-adolescent-girls-women-developing-countries/
[4] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-education-girls-g7-1.4699620
[5] https://international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/priorities-priorites/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng#3
[6] https://international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/priorities-priorites/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng#5.6
[7] https://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2018/6/5b222c494/forced-displacement-record-685-million.html
[8] http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/peace-and-security/conflict-prevention-and-resolution

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Spotlight Member Series: The Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

In the re-launch of ICRtoP’s ‘Spotlight Member Series’, we turn our attention to one of our Canadian coalition members – The Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Recently, the organization has been active in promoting The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP or R2P) through scholarly and political engagement within Canada and beyond, with campaigns like “From the Rwandan Genocide to the Responsibility to Protect: A Journey of Lessons Learned” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Read on to find out more about their great work:

 

Founding Objectives – Continuing Canada’s Leadership on the Responsibility to Protect

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The Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

 When the international community was faced with the critical question of how to reconcile the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities with state sovereignty, the Canadian government was at the forefront of efforts to address this challenge. They emerged as a key government-sponsor of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), which led to the groundbreaking 2001 ICISS report that gave birth to, ‘The Responsibility to Protect’.

However, in recent years Canada’s leadership on advancing RtoP has waned due to changes in government and its priorities. Many organizations recognized this missing gap in the Canadian leadership since the endorsement of RtoP in 2005, including our colleagues at the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (CCR2P) – an independent non-partisan research organization in the Munk School of Global Affairs established in 2010.  According to co-founders Victor MacDiarmid and Tina Park, “We felt a compelling need to continue Canada’s leadership on the R2P principle through research and advocacy,” which the Centre has strived to do by promoting scholarly engagement on RtoP at all levels.

 

Advancing RtoP through Research, Advocacy and Networking

We asked our partners at CCR2P to share some of their initiatives for advancing the RtoP principle and were impressed with the activities used to further dialogue with the academic community, political actors, civil society groups and the general public.  One forum is their annual conference that has brought together notable Canadian personalities such as Hon. Bill Graham, the former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence, Ms. Naomi Kikoler from the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, as well as other international scholars and policy-makers.

More recently, the organization has been expanding its efforts and is becoming increasingly innovative in their means of promoting RtoP. In the spring of 2014, CCR2P co-hosted a campaign with the International Relations Program and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at The University of Toronto (U of T) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide (which largely created the impetus for the RtoP principle) and the journey of lessons learned.

CCR2P 2

CCR2P student panel discussion featuring Lloyd Axworthy and Madeleine Albright.

The ‘Rwanda20’ campaign consisted of many events, including their annual conference “From the Rwandan Genocide to the Responsibility to Protect” featuring Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the Responsibility to Protect, as keynote speaker. Additionally, they hosted a student panel discussion with Dr. Madeleine Albright and Hon. Lloyd Axworthy  and conducted outreach to ten high-schools in the Greater Toronto Area for a workshop on genocide education using the ICRtoP toolkit. Lastly, utilizing different media platforms, CCR2P generated discussion and debate, creating a publication series called “Canadian Voices on R2P” with the Canadian International Council (CIC)’s OpenCanada.org . A film festival called “Eyes on Genocide” covering the Rwandan Genocide, the Armenian Genocide and the Cambodian Genocide was also held.

This multi-faceted campaign was complemented by the launch of CCR2P’s ‘R2P Scholars Network’ – a program aimed at connecting junior and senior researchers working to advance the RtoP principle to “collectively work together in promoting R2P-related scholarship and activism.” The global network consists of 24 fellows ranging from the Hague Institute for Global Justice to Yale University, and is rapidly expanding. A CCR2P Journal with contributions from their fellows is planned for release in 2015.

 

Focus on Building the Knowledge Base for RtoP

Already, CCR2P’s student researchers have been carrying out important work. The Parliamentary Division based at U of T tracks the Canadian government’s policy on RtoP, as well as different ways in which RtoP has been reflected in Canadian foreign policy since its inception. On the crisis in Syria research is being conducted to analyze the civilian impact, most notably using infographics to educate and call for timely protective action, and to trace humanitarian aid to Syria to better understand distribution. Additional research is being conducted on the African Standby Force and implications for RtoP as well as how new surveillance and military technologies can help spur effective mass atrocity prevention.

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CCR2P researchers and panelists at the 2014 annual conference.

Perhaps the most innovative CCR2P contribution is their R2Plive.org database, which tracks and catalogues various RtoP-related findings online, reporting in a real-time basis andcategorizing them by variables such as region of origin, key themes, language, genre, and more. This useful information hub aims to eventually cover all six official UN languages and add to its current 3000+ articles.

 

Providing a Platform for Discussion to Influence Canadian Policy

When asked what future policy developments CCR2P wished to see in regards to RtoP and Canada’s involvement, our partners pointed to their plan to host an all-party panel discussion to advocate for a national RtoP focal point in the fall of 2014. The RtoP Focal Point initiative is one mechanism for domesticating genocide prevention strategies, as well as expanding the global “community of commitment” to RtoP, which to date, Canada has yet to join.

Many influential Canadian voices featured in CCR2P’s publication series with the CIC have echoed such sentiments for renewed Canadian leadership. For example, Naomi Kikoler wrote in her piece, ‘Time for Canada to Recommit to R2P’ that:

Canada is largely absent from conversations about how to ‘domesticate’ R2P… we are not part of this broader effort to coordinate and systematize early warning and timely action… Canada should be advancing R2P domestically by appointing an R2P Focal Point and leading efforts to operationalize R2P internationally, including by defending R2P from detractors and taking action to save lives…

Others such as Roméo Dallaire and Canadian senator Hugh Segal added to the choir of voices calling for Canada to follow countries like the United States in internalizing genocide prevention strategies, and to lead international efforts towards more effective and timely peacekeeping responses.

These would be crucial steps in reigniting Canada’s strong support of the RtoP norm and addressing the missing gap in leadership that was the impetus for launching the CCR2P. Their efforts in this regard, along with all ongoing research and awareness-raising activities are both welcomed and applauded by the ICRtoP.

 Stay up to date on the work of CCR2P by following them on Twitter, liking their page on Facebook and visiting their website.

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Spotlight on the World Federation for the United Nations Associations

We are delighted to introduce to you a new Spotlight series on the ICRtoP blog, where you will be able to learn more about Coalition members and their ongoing activities and initiatives to advance the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P) norm. 

The World Federation for the United Nations Associations (WFUNA), an ICRtoP member since 2009, launched its Responsibility to Protect Program in 2011. ICRtoP spoke with Laura Spano, RtoP Program Officer at WFUNA, who provided some insight into the goals of and challenges associated with WFUNA’s work on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP).

WFUNA strives to deepen the understanding of the RtoP norm and highlight its potential as a guide for national policy amongst NGOs around the world. WFUNA’s RtoP program provides this increased awareness to mobilize civil society to advocate for their national leaders to operationalize the norm. As Spano told us, “The main goal of the program is to mobilize and push for the political will to prevent and act in the face of mass atrocities.

WFUNA represents and coordinates a membership base of over 100 national United Nations Associations (UNAs), which link citizens to the United Nations by emphasizing the relevance of UN developments at the local level through teaching, advocacy, and exchange programs. Among other areas of collaboration, WFUNA has teamed up with several UNAs in different regions around the world to create activities about and build support for RtoP. The program seeks to empower UNAs to target advocacy to four key groups: civil society, the academic community, politicians and the media.

To this end, WFUNA conducts capacity-building trainings for NGOs in these regions, in partnership with national UNAs and others, including, on occasion, the ICRtoP. These trainings provide a comprehensive background on RtoP and on the role of actors in implementing the norm and expand on how civil society can continue raising awareness and engage in effective advocacy. WFUNA also maintains an online platform to facilitate collaboration across regions as well as the exchange of expertise and best practices from outreach, advocacy and teaching activities. “Working with UNAs allows WFUNA’s programs to generate a more nuanced national understanding of the norm as the UNAs have a good understanding of domestic policy gaps and where progress is needed,” said Spano. In addition, partnering with national UNAs, which often already have well-established networks of civil society actors in the country, streamlines the dissemination of information on RtoP and hence increases awareness of the norm. “Ideally, once we run our initial training,” Spano stated, “the UNA has enough knowledge to take the norm forward in a national context with the assistance and support of WFUNA.”

Progress is visible after just one year. WFUNA and UNA partners, in particular UNA-ArmeniaUNA-Georgia and UNA-DRC,  have trained 48 NGOs, produced a number of  articles on the norm, 5 toolkits which were translated into five languages, and produced a documentary feature on the current situation in the Middle East and the RtoP norm, which was broadcasted on national Armenian television.

Dag Hammarskjold Symposium: Youth from UNA-Uganda, UNA-Tanzania and UNA-Kenya discuss the importance of RtoP in East Africa.  Credit: WFUNA

Dag Hammarskjold Symposium: Youth from UNA-Uganda, UNA-Tanzania and UNA-Kenya discuss the importance of RtoP in East Africa. Credit: WFUNA

Another key component of the RtoP program in 2011 and 2012 was the Dag Hammarskjöld Symposium Series, which provided a regional forum to engage key stakeholders in the RtoP debate. Participants looked specifically at the tension between state sovereignty, the role of intervention, and the implications for the RtoP norm. The Series reached four continents with conferences in Kenya in June 2011, China in December 2011, Venezuela in February 2012 and India in October 2012.

During our conversation with Ms. Spano, she discussed the impact of the crisis situations in Libya and Syria on global opinion towards the norm, saying that WFUNA saw an increase in debate on the implementation of measures to respond to RtoP crimes, and a resulting “divergence in ideas and understandings of the norm from conference participants.”  Consequently, WFUNA’s work shifted, as appropriate, from its initial, primary focus on awareness-raising to narrower discussions to clarify misconceptions and assess the challenges associated with implementation. Nonetheless, Spano noted that across all regions, she saw a tangible increase in knowledge of the norm and its principles, which has allowed for more comprehensive discussions on RtoP tools to prevent atrocity crimes. According to Spano, the enduring challenge is to ensure that all actors understand that “the foundation of RtoP is really about prevention.”

WFUNA will continue to challenge misinterpretations of RtoP and ensure that the norm is understood by civil society, academics, politicians and the media, as well as other relevant actors. To stay up to date on WFUNA’s work with UNAs all throughout the world, be sure to visit their website.

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