The postings in this space continue the IGLOO Expert Blog, “Disarming Conflict,” which has appeared at http://www.igloo.org/disarmingconflict since September 2006. The current site is temporary while a new blog site is constructed at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (roughly by March 09).

Disarming Conflict is focused on initiatives, policies, regulations, and security cooperation measures that are designed to control and reduce arsenals, to reduce the incidence and impact of armed conflict, and to encourage states to devote a greater share of their resources to building conditions for sustainable peace.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the call of the United Nations Charter to demilitarize security has had about as much impact on international peace and security as would a Canadian call for the abolition of winter on the weather in January. But the framers of the Charter were not afraid of bold visions, so in Article 26 they mandated the Security Council to establish “a system for the regulation of armaments” as part of a larger effort to “promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources.”

Article 26, like a no-winter policy, still awaits implementation:

· 80 million men and women are currently under arms (regular armed forces, reserves, and para-military), plus hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more are linked to non-state armed groups;

· the world annually spends more than a trillion dollars on armaments and armed forces;

· the nuclear weapons that remain deployed and on high alert are still capable of obliterating the world several times over, and

· almost 30 wars are currently being fought, and to prosecute them governments collectively divert vast sums of scarce resources away from development without delivering any of the security they promise.

But, of course, that is not the whole story. The good news is that an international phalanx of politicians, diplomats, researchers, and advocates is focused on pursuing the kind of peace and security arrangements that the Charter envisions. The postings in this space therefore focus on initiatives, policies, regulations, and security cooperation measures that are designed to control and reduce arsenals, to reduce the incidence and impact of armed conflict, and to encourage states to devote a greater share of their resources to building conditions for sustainable peace.

Topics addressed include:

· nuclear non-proliferation,

· controlling conventional weapons,

· current armed conflicts, and

· defence and human security.

To disarm conflict is to defuse it, and while the push to militarize the pursuit of security occupies the daily headlines, it is the effort to ameliorate the insecurities that face most people on a daily basis that has the truly disarming effect on conflict. Attention to unmet basic needs, political exclusion, denied rights, social and political disintegration, and the criminal and political violence that invariably accompany these conditions of insecurity is at the core of preventing and terminating armed conflicts. The whole point of a “human” security framework is to challenge states to directly address the economic, political, and social conditions that render people and their communities insecure. Security policy worthy of the name must therefore include the pursuit of economic justice and poverty eradication, human rights and political inclusion, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and control over the instruments of violence.

It is this latter imperative, the need to control the instruments of violence or, in other words, disarmament, that is increasingly urgent and that is the focus of “Disarming Conflict.”

 

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.