Disarmament Insight


Sunday, 18 January 2009

2009: Learn, adapt, succeed report now out...

Well, we're back for the New Year, and we hope all of our readers had happy holidays.

In November last year, we convened a two-day symposium as part of the Disarmament Insight initiative in Glion, Switzerland, entitled Learn, Adapt, Succeed: Potential Lessons from the Ottawa and Oslo Processes for other disarmament and arms control challenges, which brought together more than thirty individuals from invited governments, United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and representatives of civil society.

My quick post about the DI symposium in late-ish November before grabbing my bag for a couple of weeks of travel to the UK, and to Oslo for the Convention on Cluster Munitions signing ceremony, didn't go into much detail about the discussions in Glion. So I'm pleased to say that a summary report of the meeting can now be downloaded in PDF format from the 'Disarmament as Humanitarian Action' project page on UNIDIR's website by following this link. (Click on the 'DI Glion seminar report' link to Open, or right-click to see the Save option, on most computers.)

The symposium was conducted according to the Chatham House Rule, which means that we didn't identify individual speakers or affiliations there. But we hope that the report conveys a sense of what was a very thought-provoking and positive discussion on a range of human security related themes and processes - involving, for instance, ongoing efforts to curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, the Arms Trade Treaty, the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development and, of course, the CCW and new CCM.

This week a certain North American country will inaugurate a new President. His campaign catchphrase - "We can do it" - is already gently lampooned, even among his many supporters. Maybe, along with renewed sense of hope, there is a gnawing collective sense that no person can live it up to such expectations, especially in a country with so varied and even conflicting interests, and the massive challenges before it.

Well, maybe so. But the slogan isn't a bad one: the Ottawa and Oslo processes on anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions respectively, and to some extent progress in other arms control domains like implementing the UN Programme of Action on small arms, do show that positive change and progress on human security objectives is possible at the multilateral level, even in a pretty unpromising political environment over the last few years. It'll be interesting to see to what extent that improves with the new guy.

John Borrie

Picture by John Borrie.


Patricia said...

Fantastic report from Glion John - well done to all the DHA UNIDIR team. Will read again and again and send on to people who talk through extra-oral orifices about what they know not :-)

(PS it was "Yes we can" not "we can do it" - and yes, they did)