Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Challenge of Participation in Peace, Stability, and Relief Operations

Featured Speakers: Ambassador John Herbst, U.S. Department of State; MG David Fastabend, United States Army; David Harland, Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations; Sam Worthington, President of Interaction

The event featured a representation of entities that play an important role in peacekeeping operations, with departments such as the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Army, United Nations, and organizations from the NGO sector present.. Each panelist discussed the challenges faced by their respective organizations when participating in peace and relief operations. The event also included a book launch presented by the USIP titled “Guide for Participants in Peace, Stability, and Relief Operations.”

Ambassador John Herbst posed the question of how the US government plans to meet the challenges of increasing need for relief operations. Consequently, he explained the action that will be implemented in this matter which includes having a group of trained civilians to be deployed in the event of a crisis.

Currently, many actions have been taken and are still in progress, including the creation of an assistance reconstruction group. There will be a secretary for the country’s reconstruction stabilization group in order to provide a single channel to provide information to the involved parties to increase efficiency. Similarly, there will be an
“active responsible group” which consists of skilled individuals that can perform wherever the government fails to. This group of 11, which will gradually increase to 34, will be able to get to a crisis within 48 hours. Their job is to be prepared to deploy to the country when necessary. Also. a Civilian Reserve Corp of 500 trained and equipped people will be recurited. Combined, these groups will bring about approximately 12,000 trained indivduals on the field of operation.

On the other hand, among the challenges expressed by the other organizations is the resourcing, integration and budget for the US Army. In the case of the United Nations, Harland stated that it has been efficient in its operations, using effective and timely service delivery, clear communication methods with host populations and utilizing proper exit strategies for long political stability. Worthington expressed that his NGO faces barriers to their presence in host countries along with amounting psychosocial stress of staff operating in these countries.

At the end of the discussion, a brief description of the publication was given providing an explanation of United Nations agencies and their operations in the field.

Sponsor: United States Institute of Peace

Location: United States Institute of Peace, 1730 M St. NW

Date: September 12, 2007

Time: 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Approximate Number of Attendees: 55

Intern Attending: Yaheiry Galan

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