Disarmament Insight


Friday, 30 October 2009

Disarmament Insight: Just popped out ...

In March 2007, along with Patrick Mc Carthy from the Geneva Forum, I started the Disarmament Insight blog to help communicate the findings of UNIDIR's project on Disarmament as Humanitarian Action: Making Multilateral Negotiations work (DHA). At that time, I think none of us involved envisaged that more than two-and-a-half years later the blog would still be running, or that it would have covered the myriad of subjects it has - from the Conference on Disarmament to the cognitive constraints on negotiators, from export controls to explosive violence, nuclear disarmament to negotiation theory - in hundreds of posts from dozens of contributors. During that time we've witnessed an almost-complete turn-over of core contributors, with Patrick having shifted to UNDP and Maya Brehm on board at UNIDIR.

Along the way, the blog became one respected source of news and analysis on international efforts to address the humanitarian impacts of cluster munitions, in particular. This emphasis on cluster munitions was only fitting: the UN's Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons talks and the eventual Oslo process that emerged in parallel underlined many of the points we were trying to make in the DHA project's work. The achievement of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2008 was hugely gratifying, and obviously we believe lends weight to some DHA findings.

Another reason was that as a follow-on from the DHA project's work we undertook a new project to tell the story of these efforts on cluster munitions. This project officially commenced in March 2008. A detailed analytical history, entitled Unacceptable Harm: A History of How the Treaty to Ban Cluster Munitions Was Won, which I wrote, was intended to be the main product. This book is now completed, and earlier this week it went to the UN print shop for production. We hope that the book will be available for launch and distribution in December. (During the pretty intense editing and production period in September and October, regular readers may have noticed we weren't posting on the blog, for which I offer our apologies.)

Apart from launch events associated with Unacceptable Harm in December and January, the cluster munition project is now finished. Both Maya and I are taking a break while we wait for word on future funding for an exciting new project. It means that this will be the last Disarmament Insight post for a while.

But keep checking the blog come December, and retain it on your list of RSS feeds as we anticipate news to come of various kinds including more information about Unacceptable Harm when it's out in print.

John Borrie