The Society for International Development put together a panel of experts to host an informal conversation regarding security issues in international development. Panelists included Jeff Abramson, the Managing Editor of Arms Control Today at Arms Control Association; Richard Hill, the Senior Director of Transition States at International Development Group-RTI International; and James D. Schmitt, Vice president of Center for Stabilization and Development at Creative Associates International. Each addressed their companies’ goals and initiatives towards increasing security in developing nations: arms treaties, legitimized security forces, and post conflict resolution.
According to Abramson, over the past few years the international community, along with reluctant cooperation from the US, has worked on drafting a collaborative Arms Trade Treaty. While it is unrealistic to expect countries to relinquish their independent rights to accept Arms Trade from other countries, the ultimate goal is to make the process much more transparent. That is to say, provide adequate documentation of which countries are receiving what arms.
Richard Hill applied Abramson’s briefing to the situation in Darfur. Hill stressed that as there is a need for a legitimate UN mandate regarding weapon’s trading, there is also a need for legitimate security in Darfur. However, since this is not currently a feasible option, RTI has focused on “Practical Security Solutions” addressing the health issues and violence directed towards the Internally Displaced Persons in Sudan. For example, in order to facilitate faster mobility and adaptability, RTI has provided chickens and stoves in the place of large farm animals and firewood so that Sudanese refugees are not required to leave the safety of the camps. In addition, RTI has provided donkeys for expedited transportation.
In addition to RTI’s initiatives, James D Schmitt discussed organization’s efforts to regulate post-conflict territories. Schmitt stressed that while the actions of non government organizations and for profit organizations such as RTI are crucial to the stabilization of a region, all efforts would be more effective if NGOs, for-profit organizations, and the military could collaborate their efforts. Schmitt refers to this theory as “clustering,” and brings up a valid argument that pooling the large variety of resources and funding could prove more beneficial in these post-conflict development efforts.
All three organizations are currently working for a better level of security in both developed and undeveloped regions around the globe. However, Abramson, Hill and Schmitt all recognize that, at the moment, these initiatives are very optimistic, and it may be an uphill battle.
Sponsor: Society for International Development
Representative: Daria Willis