From November 28 to December 16, 2022, the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) met in Geneva for the 9th Review Conference. Their task was to review the operation of the BWC and to negotiate a new programme of work for the next five years. Even though the conference took place in a tense geopolitical climate, States Parties agreed some useful measures, such as a new intersessional working group that will address a range of topics including compliance with and verification of the BWC. Despite some shortcomings, the conference outcome represents an achievement considering the current international security and arms control realities.
Ten years after the Gottfriedson case class action lawsuit was filed to claim for compensation over the destruction of language and culture caused by the Canadian Indian Residential School system (IRSS), an agreement was made public in January 2023: Canada’s federal government is prepared to pay a settlement sum of $2.8 billion into a new trust fund which shall enable 325 First Nations to invest into cultural and language revitalization. The agreement is just one step on the journey to building trustful relationships between Canadian Aboriginals and the settler-colonial state, but it is an important one, overdue and urgently needed.
On October 31, 2000, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), recognizing the different needs and roles of women and girls during conflicts. By that time, Kosovo was one of the post-war contexts where the resolution would apply immediately. This blog article highlights the advocacy efforts of Kosovo feminist activists to include women and their needs in negotiations and dialogue, framing the discussing through the lens of Resolution 1325 and the resistance faced by actors from the international community involved in the process.
Global biodiversity is in a deep crisis. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke of a “biodiversity apocalypse” and of “humanity as a weapon of mass destruction”. The COP15 gathering in Montreal from 7-19 December is tasked with finding a new global framework for effectively protecting global biodiversity. Despite of the scale and speed of biodiversity deterioration, the language of security obscures the key aspect of ecological injustice: not all of humanity is causing environmental destruction but specific modes of economic development and the inequitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens between Global North and South, as well as non-human nature.
On 13 October 2022, the German Ministry for Economics and Climate published draft key points for a future German Arms Export Control Act (referred to hereafter as ‘the draft’). Establishing such a law is one goal that the government defined in the coalition agreement. The draft contains several good points that can help make German arms export policy more restrictive and more closely aligned with peace, human rights and security policy goals. At the same time, the draft reveals some serious gaps that must be remedied to fully live up to this claim.
In November, President Luis Arce in Bolivia faced one of the most turbulent moments of his government. In response to the postponement of the Population and Housing Census (initially scheduled for 2022) to 2024, mass protests in the country’s lowland region and the economic powerhouse of Santa Cruz effectively shut down Bolivia’s largest city. The strike was promoted by Governor Luis Fernando Camacho, who in 2019 led the movement that overthrew Evo Morales. The demand was to carry out the census in 2023 and request the redistribution of economic resources and parliamentary seats before the 2025 elections.
As a landmark in the movement to increase global attention to women’s critical role in participation, protection, prevention, relief and recovery in conflict settings, the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) lend reference power to gender mainstreaming in all issues related to conflict resolution and peace governance – however, they fall short of effectively supporting women’s resistance in Myanmar.
That inter-ministerial competition doesn’t make for more successful foreign policy is a commonplace observation. However, it isn’t enough that all parts of government pull together, they must move together in the right direction.
After a democratic change of power in The Gambia in 2017, the country embarked on a transitional journey. The Gambian government identified Security Sector Reform (SSR) as one of the key priorities in its National Development Plan. Five years in, Gambian citizens express doubts about the government’s seriousness to move the process forward and the progress of SSR remains limited. In this blog post, we take a historical lens to examine current challenges and suggest a long-term perspective in both looking back and moving forward.
Kenya had awaited the presidential elections held on August 9, 2022 with bated breath. The elections were won by William Ruto, who defeated opponent Raila Odinga by just a few percentage points. Ruto succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who leaves office having served his two permitted terms. This Spotlight analyzes the reasons for Ruto’s success, and, reflecting on his political career, discusses what can be expected from his presidency. We argue that both his success and his career have been strongly influenced by Kenya’s political history and the power structures of political alliances—especially in the context of previous elections.