EU Presidency Conference on Conflict Prevention Opens in Dublin
The Irish EU Presidency is hosting a Conference on Conflict Prevention at Dublin Castle from Wednesday 31 March to Friday 2 April 2004.
Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, opened the Conference and noted that, “history and experience, not least in Northern Ireland, has taught us that conflict prevention is better than cure, and that a wide range of stakeholders must be involved in addressing together the root causes of conflict.”
“Addressing poverty, exclusion, the denial of basic human rights and the effects of pandemics, particularly HIV/AIDS,” Minister Kitt said, “are fundamental to what we see as a practical strategy aimed at the root causes of conflict. Justice, dignity and the eradication of poverty are fundamental to the search for sustainable peace and security in any situation.” The Minister stressed that, “Civil Society has an important role to play in this context.”
The Minister continued,
“Changes in the international context have pushed the EU to review drastically the way it sees the role of both foreign policy and development policy in the global arena and the contribution it can make to world affairs.”
The Minister added,
“Security issues have become a key concern in the emerging paradigm. The EU already has a well developed set of policy instruments on conflict prevention and experience of tackling security and conflict issues on its own doorstep. The new paradigm is not just about these security issues however - I think it is vital that we make the link with other dimensions of external action and here too, the EU has a strong hand to play, including through development cooperation.”
Minister of State Kitt will host a reception for Conference participants this evening at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham at which EU Secretary General/High Representative Javier Solana is also due to attend.
Facilitated by the Dutch-based European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ECCP) and by Cooperation Ireland and other Irish non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the first two days of the Conference is focussing on the role of NGOs and civil society in conflict prevention.
Also on 1 April, a separate parallel meeting of EU Member State representatives will be invited to consider the interface between the EU’s foreign and security policies and its development assistance activities.
On Friday 2 April, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, will deliver a key note address to final plenary session of the Conference. Further contributions will be delivered by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Minster Leonardo Simao of Mozambique, Chair-in-Office of the African Union.
Panel-led exchanges will take place later that morning under the chairmanship of Mr. Dermot Gallagher, Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The panel will comprise:
Mr. Danilo Turk, UN Assistant Secretary General Mr. Paul Van Tongeren, Director, ECCP (Dutch NGO) Ms. Maria McLoughlin, Director for Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management, DG Relex, European Commission Mr. Justin Kilcullen, Director, Trocaire (Irish NGO) Mr. Paul Eavis, Director, Saferworld (UK NGO)
The Conference is being funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Development Cooperation Directorate (‘Development Cooperation Ireland’).
The outcome of the event will help inform the Irish Presidency’s subsequent report on conflict prevention issues which is due for submission to the June 2004 European Council.
Notes for Editors:
1. The European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ECCP), an NGO operating out of the Netherlands, is organising a series of regional conferences which are scheduled to culminate in a further international seminar on the role of NGOs/civil society in conflict prevention to be held at UN Headquarters in New York in 2005.
2. By agreement between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the ECCP, the regional conference for Western Europe is being held in Dublin under the auspices of the Irish EU Presidency. Organised by the ECCP in cooperation with a steering committee of partner Irish NGOs, the regional conference will constitute a core around which other elements of the overall Irish Presidency conference are being built.
3. Among the stated goals for the ECCP initiative is “improve(ment) of the interaction between civil society and the UN, regional organisations and governments in order to come to a more integrative and coherent approach towards conflict prevention”. It is intended that an Action Plan, and possibly a Security Council Resolution, should result. The initiative follows on from a June 2001 Report by UN Secretary General Annan on the Prevention of Armed Conflict and is also consistent with provisions of the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts covering “Cooperation and Partnerships” (p.10).
Format/Organisational Aspects of the Conference
31 March - 1 April 4. The ECCP-led element (involving some 200 NGO/civil society representatives) will take place over the first two days in the Conference Centre at Dublin Castle. Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, will deliver an opening address on the morning of Wednesday 31 March. Minister of State Kitt will also host a reception for the NGO participants to be held that evening at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham at which EU Secretary General/High Representative for Foreign Policy Javier Solana is due to attend.
5. On Thursday 1 April, in parallel to the second day of the ECCP-led element, an informal joint meeting of the EU Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (‘Civcom’) and their EU development assistance counterparts will take place in a separate part of the Castle complex.
2 April 6. On Friday 2 April, a plenary session is planned for the Conference Centre at Dublin Castle. Attendance will comprise the above-mentioned NGO and civil society representatives, Civcom and development assistance representatives of Member States and acceding States, as well as a number of further participants invited by the Presidency.
7. The plenary session will commence with key note addresses by Minister Cowen. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Minster Leonardo Simao of Mozambique, Chair-in-Office of the African Union.
8. Thereafter, further panel-led discussions and contributions from the floor will take place under the chairmanship of Mr. Dermot Gallagher, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The following panellists have accepted an invitation to attend:
Mr. Danilo Turk, UN Department of Political Affairs Mr. Paul Van Tongeren, Director, ECCP Ms. Maria McLoughlin, Director for Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management, DG Relex, European Commission Mr. Justin Kilcullen, Director, Trocaire (Irish NGO) Mr. Paul Eavis, Director, Saferworld (NGO)Top