CMIS Report 2011


Published on

Conference report from the Civil-military Interaction Seminar 2011 from the ACMC

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

CMIS Report 2011

  1. 1. Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar Civil‑Military Effectiveness: building tomorrow’s capabilities Summary Report> w w> w w
  2. 2. ContentsExecutive Summary 31 Introduction 62 Current trends, future needs: determining tomorrow’s civil‑military requirements 7 2.1 The economic needs of transition 7 2.2 Conditions of flux in humanitarianism 8 2.3 More natural disasters, in more complex environments 9 2.4 Emerging concerns 103 Local-level processes: ownership in practice 11 3.1 Analysis 11 3.2 Capability 14 3.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmas 154 New and non-traditional players 16 4.1 Analysis 16 4.2 Capability 19 4.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmas 205 importance of information in civil‑military effectiveness The 21 5.1 Analysis 21 5.2 Capability 24 5.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmas 256 Prevention and preparedness for conflicts and disasters 27 6.1 Analysis 27 6.2 Capability 31 6.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmas 327 Civil–military guidelines: from concept to practice 33 7.1 Analysis 338 way ahead: an agenda for civil‑military effectiveness The 35 8.1 The top three priorities 35References 36Further reading 40Relevant links 422 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  3. 3. Executive SummaryDecades of peace operations, stabilisation efforts and disaster relief have resultedin widespread agreement about the civil‑military imperative in internationalresponses to natural disasters, armed conflict and complex emergencies: to beeffective, traditionally unconnected participants must now more often work incoordinated partnerships.Progress is being made to develop comprehensive, integrated approaches at boththe national (‘whole-of-government’) and the international (‘whole-of-system’)levels. But there are still questions remaining such as: what next for civil‑militaryeffectiveness? What are the primary civil‑military capabilities? What capabilitieswill be required in future conflicts and disasters? Where should policy makers,force developers, planners, practitioners and analysts focus their attention in theyears to come?To examine these questions and advance this important discussion, the AustralianCivil‑Military Centre hosted the third annual Civil‑Military Interaction Seminarat Walsh Bay, Sydney from 7 to 10 November 2011.1 Framed by the theme‘Civil‑Military Effectiveness: building tomorrow’s capabilities’, the aim of theseminar was to highlight current trends in civil‑military practice and discussfuture needs in seeking to avert, mitigate and respond to conflicts and disasters.The seminar began with an examination of current global trends. Prominent amongthose trends were: the fragile reality faced by war-torn states transitioning towardpeace and development and their need for an integrated economic reconstructioneffort; the fluidity and uncertainty that characterise the current conflict,stabilisation and international humanitarian arena, reflected by such dynamics asthe ‘securitisation’ of aid and proliferation of non-traditional humanitarian actors;and the increase in natural disasters in more complex environments, notablyurban and conflict-affected environments.The seminar focused on five broad themes: local-level processes—ownership in practice ‘new’ and non-traditional players the importance of information in civil‑military effectiveness prevention of and preparedness for conflicts and disasters civil‑military guidelines—from concept to practice.In the rush of foreign assistance that follows a crisis, there has been a tendencyto ‘crowd out’ local ownership, and to overwhelm and weaken local communities.There is increasing attention to the question of local ownership and a growingconsensus that sustainable peacebuilding is impossible without local ownership,although difficulties remain. The locally led peace processes in Bougainville andSolomon Islands represent rare but important experiences and potential modelsfor future operations both within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Seminar summary reports from the first and second annual Civil‑Military Interaction Seminars are1 The available at ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  4. 4. participants considered the question ‘What innovations are needed to ensurethat local priorities and preferences are directing international civil‑militaryresponses?’ They looked at enhancing the host government role, developingmechanisms for liaison and consultation with local communities, includinginstitutionalised engagement, and improving local knowledge among internationalpersonnel. Various emerging difficulties were addressed with measures suggestedincluding: preparing host countries for the onslaught of foreign aid during crises,and avoiding aid dependencies and the emergence of local ‘power blocs’ sustainedby aid regimes.Natural disasters, conflicts and complex emergencies are drawing a proliferationof new and non-traditional players with new constituencies and new agendas.They include private military and security companies, organised crime networks,new and emerging non-Western donors—especially emerging economies, newand emerging NGOs such as religious or faith-based organisations, and ‘digitalhumanitarians’—also known as volunteer technical communities. Participantsconsidered the question ‘What practical innovations can help to address criminalactivity—including criminal violence—in conflict and disaster settings?’ Theyfocused on improving understanding of the incentives and disincentives forcriminal activity, paying more attention to developing alternatives to criminalactivity, and using and supporting culturally appropriate responses to criminalactivity, notably community policing. Participants remained aware that thereis currently limited understanding of organised crime in conflict-affectedenvironments, and acknowledged the dilemma that some criminal networks alsoprovide critical social services in their communities.Information is an essential civil-military capability. Yet natural disasters, conflictsand complex emergencies are often characterised by a dearth of it. There are amultitude of calls for more, and better, more nuanced, information. Increasingly,this information is being collected through non-traditional means—notablysocial media—outside of official systems and often relies on local and volunteercommunities. Participants considered the questions ‘What information do policymakers and practitioners wish for?’ and ‘What innovations might help to accessit?’ They considered the importance of timely, accurate and verified information,information to facilitate preparedness, the utility of longitudinal data, the benefitsof using local data collectors and analysts, creative thinking about informationgathering and collection, and being open to non-traditional sources of information.The concerns remaining were the unknowns about the new and evolving field ofsocial media, the digital divide, the lack of clarity about the relationship betweenmilitary actors, open-source information, ‘digital humanitarians’, and dealing withtoo much information.Conflict prevention and civil-military disaster preparedness are twofundamental civil‑military capabilities that are gradually being strengthened at thenational, regional and global levels, but challenges remain. Conflict prevention isdifficult to sell. Both it and disaster preparedness also are difficult to implement.Participants considered the question ‘What are the most promising opportunitiesfor more effective conflict prevention and disaster preparedness?’ On prevention,they focused on local mechanisms, regional arrangements, improving earlywarning systems, and advocating for the benefits of prevention. Their innovationsfor preparedness included local monitoring mechanisms, national and regional4 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  5. 5. disaster risk reduction plans, raising awareness about national and regionalmodels and best practice and existing national capacities and capabilities, andregional preparedness exercises. Various emerging difficulties and dilemmas werealso considered including: the sources of electoral violence and the capacity andcapability gaps between local civilian authorities and national and foreign militaryforces in a disaster situation.Civil-military guidelines are widely considered to be a basic method fordealing with the complexity of civil‑military interaction. The large assortment ofcivil‑military guidelines currently in circulation and use in the civil‑military arenareflects this thinking. However, guidelines alone are insufficient for building,supporting and improving civil-military interoperability; seminar participants wereadamant that opportunities for interaction and relationship building—includingsimple everyday forms such as sporting and social events—are also crucial,especially before crises occur.Three clear priorities emerged from the Seminar, which comprise the basis for afuture civil-military agenda. First, there was broad consensus that civil-militaryactors need to build better civil-military understanding so that they can ‘hit theground running’ when a crisis occurs. Second, the civil-military community needsto improve its knowledge building and information sharing methods and networks.Third, the civil-military community needs to institutionalise local ownership in allof its international activities.During the seminar one speaker asked, ‘Is this as good as it is going to get or canwe do better?’ The clear response from all seminar participants was that we cando better.5 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  6. 6. 1 IntroductionThe 2011 Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar brought together 125 experts from21 different countries, among them Afghanistan, Belize, Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan andthe United States. Those who attended represented a diverse range of organisations,such as the African Union, the African Standby Force, the Australian Government, theUnited Nations, universities, and non-government organisations such as Oxfam, WorldVision and the International Committee of the Red Cross.The three-day seminar focused on five broad themes: local-level processes—ownership in practice ‘new’ and non-traditional players the importance of information in civil‑military effectiveness prevention of and preparedness for conflicts and disasters civil‑military guidelines—from concept to practice.It began with a discussion of current trends and future needs—determiningtomorrow’s civil‑military requirements. Specific questions were used to facilitateexamination of each theme. There were panel discussions, a debate on the privatesector in conflict zones, small group discussions facilitated by iMeet, a collaborativetechnology session, and various networking events such as the seminar dinner.The objectives of the 2011 seminar were to identify major capabilities for promotingfuture civil‑military effectiveness, to highlight opportunities for overcoming capabilityconstraints, and to advance practical, innovative methods of improving civil‑militarypractice. The concept of capabilities was considered in broad terms, encompassingareas of knowledge; tools, technologies and practical initiatives; the civil‑militarycommunity itself; principles, guidelines and doctrine; resources; and time.This report2 draws on speakers’ presentations, submissions from the small groupdiscussions (collected through iMeet), the notes of the seminar rapporteur and otherAustralian Civil‑Military Centre staff, as well as academic articles and analyses.3A number of chapters begin with ‘word clouds’, which were based on the groupdiscussions on some of the seminar themes. These ‘clouds’ give greater prominenceto words that appear more frequently in the discussion, thus potentially highlightingthose words’ greater importance in the framework of civil‑military interaction. Textinserts also are used throughout the report to highlight comments made by speakersand participants during the seminar, as well as information and analyses drawn fromexternal sources. Attribution is made in the footnotes, where it is a published articleor document; attribution by name with no footnote means that the person citedmade the statement at the seminar. Non-attributed quotes come from the plenarydiscussion or submissions made through iMeet: some are paraphrased; some aredirectly cited. 2 This report was compiled by Sarah Shteir, Research Project Officer, Australian Civil-Military Centre. views expressed in the report are not necessarily representative of Australian government policy.3 The6 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  7. 7. 2 Current trends, future needs: determining tomorrow’s civil‑military requirementsDecades of peace operations, stabilisation efforts and disaster relief have resultedin widespread agreement about the civil‑military imperative in internationalresponses to natural disasters, armed conflict and complex emergencies: to beeffective, traditionally unconnected participants must now more often work incoordinated partnerships. Building on this widespread agreement, civil‑militaryengagement has evolved into an important area of focus globally, for policymakers and practitioners alike. Conferences, seminars, training sessions andexercises are held, and guidelines, standard operating procedures, reports andlessons learnt analyses are produced, all aimed at building, supporting andimproving civil‑military interoperability.Today, the question is no longer whether to promote civil‑military interaction buthow to do that. Asking how moves the spotlight from considering the need for, andchallenges of, civil‑military interaction to a discussion of the primary civil‑military The ‘Ten Commandments’ ofcapabilities that are and will be required. Where should policy makers, force the economics of peacedevelopers, planners, practitioners and analysts concentrate their attention in the 1. It is better to ‘let them do it rather than do it better for them’.coming years? Considering current global trends is perhaps the first step in finding 2. Ensure integration rather thananswers to this question. The trends outlined here highlight strategic factors that merely coordination.will shape civil‑military engagement and practice in the years to come and the 3. Design strategy according tocapabilities required to support this engagement. resources and capabilities in the host country.2.1 The economic needs of transition 4. Channel aid through the centralThe experiences of war-torn states moving towards peace and development government budget or local authorities.demonstrate the need for greater attention to be given to the economicdimensions of the civil‑military space. For countries moving away from chaos— 5. Ensure that aid moves rapidly from short-term humanitarian action tobe it Afghanistan, South Sudan or Libya—fragility is the reality. Before attaining reconstruction activity.a normal development path, they must transition from the ‘economics of war’ to 6. Establish well-planned andeconomic reconstruction, or what Dr Graciana del Castillo calls the ‘economics synchronised programs for DDRof peace’. In Dr del Castillo’s view, the ‘challenge of this phase is to reactivate the (disarmament, demobilisation and re‑integration).economy while simultaneously consolidating peace’.4 7. Establish different programs forThe concept of the economics of peace is based on the realisation that a higher level commanders.development-as-usual approach to countries emerging from conflict does not 8. Increase support for NGOs withwork. It requires an effort that is motivated by the primacy of peace (politics), not successful records.development, and that humanitarian aid be phased out as soon as possible in 9. Establish economic reconstructionorder to avoid aid dependencies and economic distortions in the local economy, zones to ‘jump start’ economic activity.both of which can retard and harm a country’s reconstruction effort. This must 10. Ensure that the political or peacetake place as part of a complex multilateral and multidimensional effort. In other objective prevails at all times.words, what is needed is an integrated economic reconstruction effort in which (see note 4)‘security, political, social and economic issues are addressed together, rather than del Castillo, ‘The economics of peace: Five rules for effective reconstruction’, United States4 G Institute of Peace Special Report 286, September 2011, p.1. The ‘Ten Commandments’ are drawn from del Castillo’s seminar presentation and del Castillo, ‘The Economics of Peace in Afghanistan’, Project Syndicate, 13 September 2011, commentary/the-economics-of-peace-in-afghanistan7 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  8. 8. separately’5, so that, as del Castillo explains, ‘inclusive and sustainable growthis created and the population at large can have a stake in the peace process.Extending humanitarian aid often creates attractive job opportunities for newgraduates from universities in donor countries, rather than jobs for the localpopulation. It is imperative that war-torn countries reactivate investment and localjobs as soon as possible so that they can stand on their own feet and avoid aiddependency’. In other words, so that new graduates from new schools have jobsinto which to go.2.2 Conditions of flux in humanitarianismThe humanitarian business has evolved into a multi–billion dollar industryrepresented by increasingly structured and institutionalised organisations. It hasnever been better equipped and better resourced, but is it better at saving “What does it meanlives? This question is encouraged by current dynamics in the humanitarian when the face of USspace—such as the ‘securitisation’ of aid and the proliferation of non-traditional humanitarian aid ishumanitarian participants. These dynamics reflect the fluidity and uncertainty that now a soldier’s?”currently characterise the international humanitarian arena. Dr Elizabeth Ferris (see note 6)As Dr Randolph Kent noted, today the boundaries between humanitarian andmilitary actors and agendas are more uncertain than ever before. This is a directconsequence of the securitisation of aid, which is an increasingly unavoidable Trends in violence againstreality in conflict-affected environments such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and aid workersSri Lanka. In these environments humanitarian assistance has become a centraltool in the military and political efforts of the US and other governments, and 2009military actors (in particular the US military) have become ‘major stakeholder[s] Two hundred and seventy-eightin the humanitarian system’.6 As a result of this securitisation, the boundaries humanitarians were victims of 139 serious security incidents.between humanitarian action and ‘a Northern security and political agenda’have become less discernible.7 Although some humanitarian actors are able to 2008maintain their independence, Antonio Donini says ‘even those who try to distance Two hundred and sixty aid workers werethemselves from politics or alignment with Western foreign policy objectives are killed, kidnapped or seriously injured.part of a web of contacts, contexts and values that are essentially of the North’.8 1999This blurring of boundaries is reflected in trends in attacks against aid workers.9 Sixty-five humanitarians were involvedResearchers with the Humanitarian Policy Group note, ‘… aid organisations in 34 incidents (see note 9).are being attacked not just because they are perceived to be cooperating with 5 del Castillo, ‘The economics of peace’, p. 2. Ferris, ‘9/11 and Humanitarian Assistance: A Disturbing Legacy’, Brookings UP6 E FRONT (Blog), 1 September 2011, posts/2011/09/01‑sept11-ferris Donini et al., ‘Humanitarian Agenda 2015: Final Report—The state of the humanitarian7 A enterprise’, Feinstein International Center, Tufts University, Somerville MA, March 2008, p. 3. Donini, ‘Local perceptions of assistance to Afghanistan’, International Peacekeeping,8 A vol. 14, no. 1, p. 159. 9 Data in text insert from A Stoddard et al., ‘Providing aid in insecure environments: 2009 update—trends in violence against aid workers and the operational response’, Humanitarian Policy Group, Policy Brief 34, Overseas Development Institute, London, April 2009, p.1; Humanitarian Outcomes Aid Worker Security Database, ‘World Humanitarian Day— security trends’, 19 August 2010, p.1.8 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  9. 9. Western political actors, but because they are perceived as wholly a part of theWestern agenda’.10The humanitarian arena is becoming increasingly diverse. Recent natural disastersand continuing armed conflicts and complex emergencies have been characterisedby a proliferation of non-traditional humanitarian actors (see Chapter 4). Many of themrepresent new constituencies, new agendas and new approaches to humanitarianism,and their participation can be expected to add layers of complexity to alreadycomplicated civil‑military dimensions in the humanitarian arena. Despite widespreadconcerns about accountability and transparency, private military and securitycontactors have become part of the landscape in conflict-affected environments and,in the view of James Brown, their numbers will greatly increase in the near future.‘Digital humanitarians’ are emerging as increasingly important actors in their efforts “Military actors willto collect and verify information through social media technologies such as Facebook, increasingly be called toTwitter, YouTube, blogs and SMS for use in a humanitarian response effort (see respond to disasters.”Chapter 5). Muslim NGOs are increasing in number and assuming greater significance. Dr Elizabeth FerrisSo, too, are non-Western donors such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa andSouth Korea (the BRICSS) and the Gulf States. Together, these new players reflecta larger process of global power shifts and represent what Donini referred to as achallenge to the ‘dominant Western enterprise’. “One billion people2.3 More natural disasters, in more complex environments (one third of the world’s urban population) liveBecause of climate change, in future we are likely to witness more sudden‑onsetnatural disasters of greater intensity and severity and in more complex environments, in slums.”including urban settings11 and conflict zones.12 The unique characteristics of Dr Elizabeth Ferris (see note 13)both urban and conflict-affected environments present particular challenges forcivil‑military disaster response.Those responding to disasters in urban areas face a different range of players and “Although towns anddifferent vulnerabilities compared with non-urban areas. In the view of Dr Ferris, urban cities constitute just 2.8settings are characterised by a more vocal and mobilised populace, as well as a uniquerange of local actors—including the different levels of government, local businesses per cent of the earth’slarge and small, political associations, local NGOs and civil society organisations and, surface, since 2008often, organised criminal networks such as gangs.13 Urban populations, notably slum more than half of thedwellers, also have different vulnerabilities, such as limited access to clean water, global population nowsanitation facilities and health care, inadequate living space, poor security, and weakstructural integrity.14 These factors can have profound consequences for the wellbeing lives in urban areas.”of inhabitants in the face of a natural disaster. UN–Habitat Urban World (see note 11)Disasters in conflict-affected environments present particular challenges for acivil‑military response. For example, the Haiti earthquake in 2010 drew attention to10 Stoddard et al., p. 6.11 UN-Habitat, ‘Cities and land rights’, urban WORLD, vol. 3, issue 1, February-April 2011, p.5.12 Ferris noted in her presentation this will probably be accompanied by an increase in Dr slow‑onset disasters, such as rising sea levels and drought.13 Ferris, ‘Haiti and future humanitarian disasters’, Brookings UPFRONT (Blog), 12 January 2011, E Millennium Project, A home in the city, Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers, UN Earthscan, London, 2005.9 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  10. 10. the reality of a disaster occurring in a country hosting a UN peacekeeping operation—in this case the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH. Peacekeeping personnelbecame both victims of and responders to the disaster. Drawing on this experience,UN peacekeeping operations are now being tasked to consider disaster managementas part of their mandate.The Pakistan floods of 2010 highlight another set of dynamics, based on the realityof a natural disaster occurring in a highly politicised and militarised environment andalongside a military offensive against an insurgency. In this context the Pakistani militarywas both a principal responder and a combatant, and the dynamics of the conflict hadboth a direct and an indirect effect on the disaster response effort. In addition, insecurityarising from the insurgency—including reported threats made by Pakistani Talibanmembers against international aid groups—slowed the deployment of international staff,thus hampering the international aid effort, and the delivery of aid became an instrumentfor the insurgency, with Pakistani Taliban members and NGOs associated with militantgroups participating in the delivery of relief to local communities.15 This relatively newarea of experience for the global community warrants further attention.2.4 Emerging concernsPresentations and the plenary discussion raised various concerns that present “How do we deal withchallenges for the civil‑military community and deserve greater attention: disaster response in The far-reaching ‘ripple’ effects of disasters such as the Icelandic volcano complex environments highlight the need for a better understanding of what it means to be ‘affected’ by natural disasters. where responders More attention should be given to the range of difficulties that can arise in themselves may also coordinating action between international actors and national governments when be victims? taking action in response to a disaster. After the Haiti More creativity is required when thinking about responding to disasters in conflict earthquake, the zones, especially in connection with civil‑military relations. MINUSTAH troops Disasters in complex environments such as urban areas present particular should have been moved challenges that are unique to such settings—the range of local actors, the extent of local mobilisation, the security challenges presented by gangs, and so on. out: ‘They were victims! MINUSTAH [troops] were The overlap of natural and technological disasters is a new phenomenon and presents significant and specific safety concerns for humanitarian personnel. not paying attention At present there is a reluctance to think about this in the humanitarian community. to the Haitians. They Dr Ferris’s view is that military thinking would be useful in this regard. were distracted. They Donini observed that in Afghanistan ‘there are very few purist humanitarian should have been sent players any more’. Many NGOs are multi-mandated and have responsibility for away and “fresh” troops multiple programs, simultaneously providing humanitarian aid and engaging in reconstruction activities without relevant training. This requires more attention, brought in’.” especially because it further blurs the already blurry divide between the Brigadier General Earl Arthurs humanitarian and political–military spaces. Masood, ‘In Pakistan, Taliban Hint at Attacks on Relief Workers’, The New York Times, 2615 S August 2010, viewed 8 December 2011, asia/27pstan.html; AB Ellick, ‘Hard-Line Islam Fills Void in Flooded Pakistan’, The New York Times, 6 August 2010, ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  11. 11. 3 Local-level processes: ownership in practice Efforts in support of local ownership the UN Secretary-General’s 2009 report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict (the ‘imperative of national ownership’) and 20103.1 Analysis progress reportNo matter how well intentioned the international response to natural disasters, report of the UN Secretary-armed conflicts and complex emergencies, there has been a tendency, in the General’s Senior Advisory Group on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermathwords of one participant, to ‘crowd out’ local ownership. ‘We’ve been totally of Conflict—recommendations onexcluded from the relief effort. Who knows what all these internationals are enabling national ownershipdoing? It’s a new occupation of Haiti’, complained a Haitian pastor Dr Ferris the 2011 workshop hosted by theinterviewed in Port-au-Prince in January 2011.16 These words represent a UN Peacebuilding Support Officecommon sentiment of exclusion and marginalisation voiced by local communities on the meaning and practices of national ownershipreceiving international aid in response to a natural disaster or following the end of Graciana del Castillo’s ‘Tenconflict. The exclusion and marginalisation are the consequence of an international Commandments’aid regime that is, says Donini, more accountable to donors and parliamentarians g7+ initiativethan to local communities.In the words of Dr Susan Harris Rimmer, foreign interventions and operations havea profound long-term ‘catalytic effect’ on host countries. The Hon. Paul Tovua “Two-thirds of Liberia’sarticulated a similar sentiment but with different language: ‘A foreign visitor is likea pebble in water’. In the immediate period following a large-scale crisis, the often GDP is spent on the UN‘overly zealous’ rush of assistance by foreigners can overwhelm local communities. peacekeeping missionFrequent tours by dignitaries—common in the aftermath of disasters—can also there, UNMIL, and mostoverwhelm communities. As recalled by Jane Parfitt, Christchurch, New Zealand, UNMIL money leaves thefaced a steady stream of tours and requests for tours for ten weeks after the 2011earthquake, the logistics for which required taking staff away from critical recovery country.”work. In the longer term, international interventions tend to weaken local actors Dr Graciana del Castillothrough creating aid dependencies and introducing price and wage distortions16 Quoted in E Ferris, ‘A research trip to Haiti: Personal reflections’, Brookings Foreign Policy Trip Reports, No. 9, 12 January 2011, haiti_ferris.aspx11 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  12. 12. in the local economy. This helps explain why the arrival of international aid issometimes referred to as the ‘second wave of disaster’.The question of local ownership is attracting growing attention, especially inrelation to post-conflict peacebuilding. There is an ‘emerging consensus … thatnational ownership is a crucial prerequisite for sustainable post-conflictpeacebuilding’ based on the ‘commonsense wisdom that any peace process notembraced by those who have to live with it is likely to fail’.17 The UN system isdevoting increasing attention to improving understanding of this and of practicesaimed at encouraging local ownership. Experts such as Dr del Castillo areexamining ways of preventing the dependencies so common in aid relationshipsand instead institutionalising local ownership (see the ‘Ten Commandments’ textinsert in Chapter 2). Additionally, fragile and conflict‑affected states arethemselves mobilising around the principle of national ownership: the g7+, a groupof 19 fragile states, was established in 2010 to ‘gives us a stronger voice to speakto the international community about our needs and circumstances’.18Despite this consensus, the concept of local ownership remains beset bycomplexity and a long list of difficult questions, many of which permeated theseminar discussions: Who does ‘local’ refer to? Does it mean central governments or local governments or communities and civil society19, or all of these? How do you ensure that local engagement is inclusive and not biased toward elite segments of the population? Who owns what? Who decides who owns what? What does this ownership look like? What happens when local ownership is exercised in a way that directly conflicts with norms of good governance? “The [idea] of local Is local ownership an absolute right or a conditional right? 20 ownership is very What happens when local capacities are weak, do not exist or have been popular but very completely overwhelmed, as in cases of large-scale disaster? difficult to put into How do you retain ownership in the face of a massive wave of well-intended practice.” incoming foreign aid? Machold and T Donais, ‘From rhetoric to practice: operationalizing national ownership in17 R post-conflict peacebuilding’, workshop report, workshop organized by UN Peacebuilding Support Office, Wilfrid Laurier University and the City University of New York’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies on the meanings and practices of national ownership in the context of post-conflict peacebuilding. 14 March 2011, New York, June 2011, p. 2.18 g7+, ‘Statement by the g7+’, 10 April 2010, news‑articles/2010/4/10/statement-by-the-g7.html19 workshop report by Machold and Donais makes the important point that the concept of The ‘civil society’, like the concept of ‘local’, is similarly difficult to define, p.3.20 Machold and Donais, p. 6.12 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  13. 13. How do you strike a balance between respecting and striving for local agency while remaining mindful that lives are in chaos and in need of humane and sensitive support?These hard questions reflect the reality that ‘it remains far from clear how theconcept [of national ownership] should be put into practice’.21Although examples of locally initiated and led international response effortsare rare, they constitute important experiences and useful models for futureoperations. The Bougainville peace process is a prominent example and onethat was explored at the seminar. The success of the regional intervention inBougainville (the Truce and Peace Monitoring Groups, 1997 to 2003) is oftenattributed to the locally owned and led nature of the peace process.22 As theHon. James Tanis explained, the peace process and subsequent regionalintervention emerged from a widespread consensus among Bougainvillean actorsthat the war had to end. There was also widespread agreement about the need forreconciliation, a negotiation process with Papua New Guinea and a foreign peace “The fact … that theforce, the requirements for which were expressed by the Bougainvillean parties Bougainvilleans at allto the conflict themselves. Local ownership was further enabled by the diversemake-up of the intervention force, which, said the Hon. James Tanis, had times were in control of‘relevance’ for different segments of the community. Women in the local the extent and contentcommunities felt comfortable speaking to female Truce and Peace Monitoring of the activities of theGroup members. Much, too, has been written about the ability of Maori, Fijian, external actors andni‑Vanuatu, and Indigenous Australian members of the regional operation todevelop a rapport with local communities, given similar cultural backgrounds and, that the peace-buildingin some cases, linguistic familiarity. This rapport,23 or ‘relevance’, strengthened process was ownedthe bond between the local community and the foreign operation. by the parties directlyIn order to gain and ensure local ownership, international actors must have local involved … remainedknowledge and access to local information. They need an understanding of local the main reason for thehistory, the often complicated layers and dynamics of the conflict, existing formal success of the externaland informal decision-making structures (for example, disaster managementcommittees), and political, social and cultural structures and processes. assistance.”Yet sudden deployment and limited training often prevent international actors V Boege, 2010 (see note 22)from acquiring this knowledge before being deployed. This operational reality—plus the need for accurate and timely local information and the imperative ofnational ownership—demands greater effort to capitalise on the expertise andknowledge of local players. “Need to use personnelLocal actors, including civil society organisations, as well as members of diaspora that have lived throughcommunities, have a ‘natural cultural awareness that cannot be taught’. In the the experience they arecontext of highly politicised post-conflict environments—Solomon Islands, intervening in.”for example—the Hon. Paul Tovua has suggested that much-needed political Machold and Donais, p. 1.21 22 Much has been written about the locally-led nature of the Bougainville peace process, including V Boege, ‘How to Maintain Peace and Security in a Post-Conflict Hybrid Political Order –The Case of Bougainville’. Journal of International Peacekeeping, vol. 14, 2010, pp. 330-352. Text insert from p. 341. Wehner and D Denoon (eds), Without a Gun: Australians’ Experiences Monitoring Peace23 M in Bougainville, 1997-2001, Pandanus Books, Canberra, 2001, pp. 112, 120.13 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  14. 14. expertise is often best found in local players who ‘are more aware of politicalnuances’. Regional players can also facilitate local ownership if they haveshared or similar cultural characteristics. In view of this, they can sometimespresent themselves as a ‘bridge’ between the international effort and localcommunities. For example, there have been numerous references to the benefitsof having personnel from Vanuatu, Fiji and elsewhere in the Pacific involved inthe interventions in Bougainville, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands because oftheir similar cultural background and linguistic familiarity, such as the ability tospeak Pidgin.243.2 CapabilityIn an effort to ‘do more than pay simple lip service to the idea of local ownership’,seminar participants considered the question ‘What innovations are needed toensure that local priorities and preferences are directing internationalcivil‑military responses?’ The resultant suggestions are grouped here intoa number of broad priority areas, as follows.Supporting an enhanced decision-making role for the host governmentA number of senior participants called for enhancing the decision-making role andpower of the host government. Dr del Castillo spoke forcefully about the need tochannel aid through government, at both the national and the local levels: creatinga stronger role for local government in managing the aid funds will help buildstrong leadership, and ‘ownership will follow strong leadership’. In the context ofdisaster response, a second suggestion was to develop an inventory of deployablecapabilities available to the local authorities and allow those authorities to decidewhat capabilities they need.Proactively liaising with and consulting local communitiesMany group discussions focused on the need to develop mechanisms for liaisonand consultation with local communities. Various suggestions focused onidentifying and/or establishing and using positions dedicated to liaison betweeninternational personnel and local communities. Such positions include local pointsof contact, and ‘CIMIC [civil‑military cooperation] teams’. Participants stressedthe need for caution in engaging with communities in inclusive ways, reconcilingdiverse opinions and priorities, and ensuring that elite groups are not privilegedover other segments of society. In relation to trying to determine a community’spriorities, one suggestion was to ‘triangulate’ the proposals put forward by “We need to movethe local leadership with those of opposition groups and wider communities. beyond ‘parachuting-in’Another suggestion was to recognise and make use of genuinely neutral brokers expats.”in situations where local authority or local interests are contested.Augmenting knowledge and understanding of the local context andexistinglocal capacitiesConsiderable emphasis was given to the need for international personnel “We need to open ourto be better informed about the local context and existing local capacities. eyes to existing localPre‑deployment briefings on local history and social and cultural factors were capacities.”suggested. To improve disaster preparedness, it was noted that international ee, eg,Wehner and Denoon (eds) id; Boege; J. Hutcheson, ‘The Lessons of 2006: Army24 S Operations in East Timor and Solomon Islands’. Australian Army Journal, vol. 4, Winter 2007.14 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  15. 15. personnel should expand their understanding of existing local disaster responseand management arrangements and priorities (which can help facilitate localdirection setting), as well as their knowledge of gaps in such local arrangementsand local hazards. Finally, if relationships with national and local authorities areestablished before a disaster occurs, one’s situational awareness during a crisiscan be greatly improved.Establishing rules, standards and expectations for international engagementwith local communitiesVarious suggestions touched on the need to institutionalise engagement withlocal communities through the clear establishment of rules, standards andexpectations. One suggestion involved the developing of international rules ofengagement for guiding and managing relations with local communities. Anotherinvolved incorporating in government reporting, policy and other documents(such as ministerial and cabinet submissions) a requirement for local consultation.A further suggestion dealt with the need to educate international politicians onthe importance of seeking and taking into account advice from local actors andbeneficiaries before taking any decisions.3.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmasIn group discussions several particular challenges requiring further attentionwere identified: More work is needed to help prepare host countries and local communities for receiving foreign aid in times of large-scale disaster. Humanitarian assistance should be transient. The difficulty lies in determining how and when responsibility can and should revert from foreign hands to local authorities, so as to avoid the development of dependencies. The delivery and presence of international aid create not only dependencies but also local ‘power blocs’—that is, segments of the local population who directly benefit from the aid and thus have a vested interest in the continuation of the aid regime.15 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  16. 16. 4 New and non-traditional players4.1 AnalysisNatural disasters, armed conflict and complex emergencies are drawing a “Just because we will hireproliferation of ‘new’ and non-traditional players—private military and security companies because therecompanies, organised crime networks, ‘digital humanitarians’ (see Chapter 5), is no other option doesnew and emerging non-Western donors, and new and emerging NGOs.These actors come with new constituencies and new agendas, and their not mean it is smart.participation can be expected to add layers of complexity to what are already You don’t know who theycomplex civil‑military dimensions. are, what they are doing,Private military and security companiesPrivate military and security companies have become part of the landscape in and you are responsibleconflict-affected environments. They provide much-needed assistance, such as for what they do.”logistical support, operation of checkpoints, de-mining, intelligence collection, TX Hammesand training of security forces.25 Governments have become dependent onthem26, there is continuing demand for them and, as James Brown noted, theirnumbers are expected to increase in the near future. These companies have beencontracted by the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and “We’re the only gamethe United States, as well as the United Nations27, to provide services in Bosnia, in town.”Liberia, Angola, Timor-Leste, Iraq, Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Michael Stock, President of BancroftNepal and Sudan. Private contractors currently outnumber troops in Iraq, are Global Development, on Somaliaserving as frontline mentors to African Union forces in the fight against the Islamist (see note 28)militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia, and are protecting Somali politicians and McCauley, ‘The realities of privatised security within the civil-military arena’, Civil-Military25 L Commentary 3/2011, Australian Civil-Military Centre, Queanbeyan, NSW, 2011. Priest and WM Arkin, ‘National Security Inc’, Top Secret America: A Washington Post26 D Investigation, 20 July 2010, The Washington Post, secret-america/articles/national-security-inc McCauley2716 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  17. 17. battling armed Somali pirates.28 The United States has made a policy decision thatis based on the reality that private contractors will continue to be a major forcein future conflicts. Similarly, in response to the growing problem of piracy, the UKGovernment is planning to create increasing opportunities for private military andsecurity companies, reversing the current law to allow all British‑flagged vessels touse armed guards ‘on the most hazardous shipping routes’.29As was clearly demonstrated in the seminar debate, the use and role of privatemilitary and security companies in conflict-affected environments remainstroubling and highly contentious for many.30 There is continuing concern about anumber of aspects of this: the repercussions of using ‘civilians’ in military roles the danger of contracting out such jobs as translation and interpretation to those lacking local cultural knowledge the lack of oversight, accountability and transparency the role of politics and nepotism in granting and retaining contracts ethical questions arising from the commercial motivations and interests of such companies—including the unavoidable reality of their responsibility to shareholders. “Adding civilians in military roles confusesBut, regardless of these concerns, these companies are here to stay. As oneparticipant noted, ‘Whether we have a place in our heart for private security objectives.”companies is no longer the issue’. The crucial concern is how to manage the reality Professor Damien Kingsburyof these companies and regulate their activities.Organised crime networksToday’s conflict-affected environments are particularly vulnerable to exploitationby organised crime networks. The role and impacts of these networks are,however, poorly understood, largely because of the dearth of reliable information(see Chapter 5). These networks can be involved in a range of illegal activities, amongthem drug and human trafficking, gang violence, money laundering, piracy and thearms trade. Through their actions they can exacerbate the vulnerability of populationsin crisis environments and make weak states weaker. Professor Andrew Goldsmithnoted that there is a growing effort to tackle organised crime through initiatives suchas the West Africa Coast Initiative, which has established Transnational Crime Unitsin Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The United Nations is also recognising theneed for greater efforts to tackle the problem: plans are being made to set up Serious Gettleman et al., ‘U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict’, The New York Times,28 J 10 August 2011, html?ref=africapagewanted=all29 Sims, ‘UK Government shifts policy on armed guards for commercial vessels’, B info4SECURITY, 31 October 2011, viewed 10 December 2011, http://www.info4security. com/story.asp?sectioncode=9storycode=4128316c=130 seminar debate demonstrated the importance of distinguishing private military The and security companies from other private sector actors. As Dr Kent emphasized, small businesses, local companies, and, in some cases, extractor companies can play critical roles in supporting and providing local livelihoods, including through remittances, and may also be among the first responders in a crisis.17 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  18. 18. Crime Support Units in peacekeeping operations to provide analysis and operationalsupport for missions and host-state police forces.New and emerging non-Western donorsNon-Western donors, especially emerging economies, are becoming importantin the international aid industry. They include Brazil, India, Russia, China, South “The landscape ofAfrica, South Korea, Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United international powerArab Emirates, and new members of the European Union.31 Some are new donors;others have long histories of giving aid and their changing economic situations relations is alsoare allowing them to assume greater prominence.32 Brazil, for example, gave changing, as low‑US$36 million in humanitarian aid in 2010, compared with US$800 000 in 2009; and middle-incomeIndia was the largest government donor in response to the Pakistan floods in countries increase2010; Russia is the ‘biggest non-Western contributor’ to OCHA, the Office for theCoordination of Humanitarian Affairs; and South Africa has plans to launch its own their share of globalaid agency.33 economic influence andThe emergence of these donors is creating a challenge to the ‘traditional their contributions tohegemony held by western donors over how and where aid is dispersed’.34 global policy thinking.Because many are themselves recipients of aid, they offer alternative approaches This shift requires ato aid delivery, including a more ‘solidarity-based’ and less top-down approachand a more sensitive attitude to the politically charged question of sovereignty.35 fundamental rethinkMany of them are irked by the Western domination of such intergovernmental of the approaches ofbodies as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund36 and the Development international actors toAssistance Committee of the OECD and—with the exception of South Korea— manage global risksgenerally avoid membership of these organisations altogether.37 Instead, theyare turning to regional bodies such as ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian collectively—and asNations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference or the League of Arab States.38 equal partners.”Their growing influence, coupled with their alternative approaches to aid and 2011 World Development Reportconcerns about the current multilateral structures, suggest possible changes to (see note 32)existing multilateral aid coordination and governance bodies in the future.39 Smith, ‘Humanitarian aid and smaller donors: diversity, collective response and31 K better data’, Global Humanitarian Assistance, Blog, 2 December 2010, http://www. donors-diversity-collective-response-and-better-data-1881.html World Bank, World Development Report 2011: conflict, security and development, World32 Bank, Washington DC, 2011, p. 38.33 IRIN, ‘Who’s who among the “new” donors’, IRIN In-Depth, 19 October 2011, IRIN, ‘The rise of the “new” donors’, IRIN In-Depth, 19 October 2011, IRIN, ‘Reaching out to “emerging” donors’, IRIN, 19 October 2011, Report/94011/AID-POLICY-Reaching-out-to-quot-emerging-donors-quot36 IRIN, ‘The rise of the “new” donors’. IRIN, ‘Who’s who among the “new” donors’.3738 IRIN, ‘Reaching out to “emerging” donors’.39 ibid.18 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  19. 19. New and emerging NGOsThe field of non-government aid work is also diversifying. Not only are newdonors arising from emerging economies: so, too, are non-government aidorganisations. In the words of Claudia Meier of the Global Public Policy Institute,‘… maybe an Indian NGO, the Chinese Red Cross, the Red Crescents of the GulfStates [will emerge] … they are not fully there yet, but there are lots of signs oftheir professionalisation’.40 There has also been a ‘dramatic increase’ in boththe number and visibility of religious or faith-based organisations active indevelopment and humanitarian aid (a burgeoning area of academic research).41 Muslim NGOs are an example: in response to both the 2005 earthquake and the2010 floods in Pakistan, Muslim NGOs and Islamic trusts assumed significantresponsibility during the relief efforts.42 Although many such organisations havebeen providing aid for years, they have become the object of increasing attentionand wariness because of the association of some aid groups with militant andterrorist groups.4.2 CapabilityTo focus the discussion on ‘new’ and non-traditional players, seminar participantsconsidered the question ‘What practical innovations can help to address criminalactivity—including criminal violence—in conflict and disaster settings?’ The resultantsuggestions are grouped here into a number of broad priority areas, as follows.Improving understanding of the basic causes of criminal activityMany group discussions observed that a first basic step is to understand not only theincentives (such as economic forces) and disincentives for criminal activity but alsothe ethical and value systems that determine what constitutes ‘criminal activity’ inthe local population. This well-established understanding could be used to developan early warning system for detecting potential trends toward criminalisation. Such asystem could incorporate Neighbourhood Watch–like structures.Paying greater attention to developing alternatives to criminal activityAlthough, as Professor Goldsmith noted, the prevailing focus to date has been “You can’t eliminatebiased in favour of containment of criminal violence, group discussions reflectedthe need to move towards a more transformative approach that is sensitive to criminal activities.local livelihoods and the local environment. Numerous suggestions focused on You need to identifydeveloping practical alternatives to criminal activity, supporting the diversification alternatives.”of skills among the local population and alternative sources of income—‘Jobs.Jobs. Jobs’ in the view of one group.Using and supporting culturally appropriate responses to criminal activity “Respect culturalMany group discussions were broadly based on the principle that local capacities,resilience and coping strategies and customary laws and systems should be used heritage and traditionaland supported in any external efforts to combat criminal activity. Community policing mechanisms.”policing was often mentioned, and it was suggested that dedicated liaison offices40 Quoted in IRIN, ‘Reaching out to “emerging” donors’. Petersen, ‘International religious NGOs at the United Nations: a study of a group of41 MJ religious organisations’, Journal of Humanitarian Assistance, November 2010, pp. 1, 2.42 Jafar, ‘Muslim NGOs take part in Pakistan flood relief’, Al Arabiya News, 20 August 2010, M ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  20. 20. be established to facilitate engagement between external players and existinglocal police structures. Effective community policing is, however, possible only iflocal police are properly resourced and trained, as one group noted.4.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmasIn group discussions several particular challenges requiring further attentionwere identified: There is limited understanding of organised crime in conflict-affected environments—including an understanding of the extent of the harm caused by criminal activity of this nature. Criminal networks, including gangs, might provide important social services that are not being provided through other channels. Should these aid pathways be legitimised or marginalised? Should alternative social safety nets be identified? These are difficult questions that warrant attention. Greater understanding is needed in relation to military policing and its role in disasters and complex emergencies.20 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  21. 21. 5 The importance of information in civil‑military effectiveness5.1 AnalysisInformation is an essential civil‑military capability, yet to date in the contextsof natural disaster, armed conflict and complex emergency there has been a “A deficiency ofwidespread dearth of it. Practitioners and policy makers alike are in desperateneed of more information. ‘We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know information underminesenough.’ This oft-quoted comment was made by the former commander to the the capacity toInternational Security Assistance Force (ISAF), General Stanley McChrystal, ‘prevent, prepare forwhen speaking about the efforts of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan. and respond moreHe went on to say, ‘Most of us, me included, had a very superficial understandingof the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of effectively to conflictsrecent history …’43 and disasters …’”Gen. McChrystal’s reflection and assessment have relevance and application tointerventions far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. The absence of informationhas proved a major weakness in efforts to tackle organised crime in countries such “In crisis, the firstas Guinea-Bissau. It has led to a lack of understanding in the aid community about essential thing you needthe post-earthquake situation in Haiti. In Bougainville there are no updated data is information, not foodon per capita income, population, age and geographic distribution, and sourcesof income, yet it is this type of information that is crucial for planning post-conflict or shelter. Informationrecovery there. Professor Satish Chand has gone so far as to observe that data on will tell you where foodwhich to base policy making are absent in most post-conflict situations. and shelter is needed.”In addition to recognition of the need for more information, as Rebecca Shrimpton Zainudin Malangexplained, there is greater acknowledgment of the need for better information— 43 Quoted in D Walsh, ‘US had ‘frighteningly simplistic’ view of Afghanistan, says McChrystal’, The Guardian, 7 October 2011, viewed 5 October 2012, world/2011/oct/07/us-frighteningly-simplistic-afghanistan-mcchrystal?newsfeed=true21 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  22. 22. more nuanced information that will allow interventions to move beyondassumptions and talking about ideas in the abstract, beyond simplistic andhomogeneous understandings of local situations and local actors as ‘good’ and‘bad’. A person who is a perpetrator of gang violence one afternoon, a communityleader the next morning and a priest the following afternoon challengesthe mainstream tendency toward simplistic understanding of local actors.As Dr Robert Muggah explored, this reality prompts the question of who exactlywe are talking about.There are also areas in which a wealth of information can present challenges.In relation to peace and stabilisation operations, for example, Shrimpton observed,‘We underestimated how much information is out there’. In the civil‑militarycommunity the challenge is to make sense of all this scattered information andbuild a shared understanding of the situation. The Australian Civil‑Military Centre’sMultiagency Peace and Stabilisation Operations Project, or MAPSOP, is focusedpartly on drawing all this information together and turning it into strengthened,comprehensive multi-agency advice to decision makers.Not only is information itself an essential civil‑military capability: so too are theskills required for obtaining that information. Increasingly, information is beingcollected through innovative and non-traditional means, often outside formalofficial systems. In many cases these methods of information collection areevolving as technologies such as social media evolve. Furthermore, such methodsare increasingly reliant on local communities: they are based on the philosophythat people on the ground are a credible and important partner and source ofinformation in a crisis. As Heather Blanchard noted, ‘People on the ground are thebest source of information in a crisis’.The following examples provide evidence of a clear trend toward looking beyondgovernment for information44: Community household surveys have proved an effective way of obtaining local information and insightful observations about a security and political situation. A series of community-level longitudinal surveys conducted before and after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti pointed to perceptions of sustained reductions in violence and insecurity. This information was unexpected because it contradicted sensationalist media reporting of soaring crime rates. Similarly revealing, in a household survey measuring economic “The public [is a] recovery in Bougainville, data on the materials being used to build houses resource rather than a have proved very revealing about local perceptions of security. According to Professor Chand, information about the types of investments being made into liability.” homes serves as ‘proxy’ data for the level of confidence communities have in Craig Fugate, US Federal Emergency the peace process. The economic data can therefore be used to feed into a Management Agency (see note 44) broader picture of the political, ethnic and security situation in Bougainville. Fugate, ‘Understanding the Power of Social Media as a Communication Tool in the44 C Aftermath of Disasters’, Statement before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs, Washington, DC, 5 May 2011, p. 2, recovery-and-intergovernmental-affairs/hearings/understanding-the-power-of-social- media-as-a-communications-tool-in-the-aftermath-of-disasters22 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  23. 23. Both these community-level surveys relied on local surveying teams— including, in the case of Bougainville, local graduate students. Given this reliance on local communities for information, the method also benefits from transparent outreach to communities, explaining the objectives and methods of the survey project. Professor Chand observed that the use of outreach by the Bougainville survey group—through newspapers, local chiefs and churches—helped them gain ‘entry’ into the community. In Mindanao a grass-roots initiative has established a network of provincial teams and local communities to monitor the ceasefire and share information and reports via SMS with relevant institutions, including formal monitoring organisations such as ceasefire committees. This initiative is a direct reaction to the dearth of information about the conflict. SMS also functions as a practical mechanism for validating information through the triangulation of local sources. The aim is to connect the local population and its knowledge of and proximity to events on the ground with the official response. As Zainudin Malang observed, ‘People are the best source of information on the ground’ yet ‘these key sources of information are not being tapped’. More and more, connected networks of volunteers, or volunteer technical communities, are using social media to gather information in support of ‘official’ disaster- and conflict-response efforts.45 They represent a ‘new whole avenue of digital response’, says Blanchard. Sometimes called ‘digital humanitarians’, connected communities—such as the Standby The challenges of monitoring Taskforce, Crisis Commons and Crisis Mappers—rely on volunteers to conflict in Mindanao scan news media and on technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, repeated cycles of displacement— blogs and SMS to collect, verify and analyse information rapidly in real or inaccessible areas, diverse near‑real time. In some cases these informal networks are also ‘creating ethno‑linguistic groups data’, collecting and disseminating information about things such as what politicisation of information— which affects aid delivery stores and businesses are open and closed and where people can charge bridging the divide between their cell phones (a significant issue following the 2011 Japan earthquake). conflict-affected communities and Once validated and fully ‘de-identified’, this information is available for use the formal response effort by UN, government and NGO actors to improve their situational awareness and guide their operational planning.Social media are being adopted and used by ‘official’ systems and structures Activated, connectedtoo. In a global precedent–setting move the Media and Public Affairs Branch of communities:the Queensland Police Service used the service’s recently established Facebook Indian Ocean tsunami, 2004page, Twitter account and YouTube channel to share real-time information about post-election crisis in Kenya,the floods that devastated parts of the state in January 2011. A number of very 2007–08clear benefits arose from this. First, it facilitated a much more ‘nimble’ response, Sichuan earthquake, 2008which was more appropriate in a dynamic environment such as a flood compared crises in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya andwith, for example, the slower process of writing minutes and having them cleared Syria (2010– on-going)before dissemination. This more nimble system also allowed the police to respond 45 This topic featured prominently during the Australian Civil-Military Centre’s Regional Senior Leaders Seminar in July 2011. This section draws upon the summary report from that seminar. See Australian Civil-Military Centre ‘Regional Senior Leaders 2011 summary report: strengthening civil-military coordination for conflict and disaster management’, Queanbeyan, NSW, 2011.23 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  24. 24. promptly to any inaccurate information. Second, social media are ‘incrediblyrobust’. As the flooding progressed there was a huge spike in the number ofvisitors to the Facebook page and the Twitter site: between December 2010 andJanuary 2011, when the floods occurred, the Facebook page went from 6400fans (or ‘likes’) to 165 000 fans, and the number of Twitter followers soared from1200 to 11 000.46 People were turning to Facebook and Twitter because thepolice were able to provide information directly to them, in a way that had notbeen possible before, including live streaming of press conferences and briefingsby the Premier. As Kym Charlton put it, ‘We’re not relying on news bulletins. We’renot relying on journalists making decisions about newsworthiness. We’ve … beenable to go directly to the people when we need to’.47 Furthermore, visitors wereable to augment the pool of available information by contributing informationbased on their own experience of the flooding. Third, the Facebook page allowedthe Queensland Police Service to amplify its message to a much wider audience.Beyond those local and international visitors who visited its page directly, therewas a much wider audience, including those without social media, who werereached through Twitter and international media (pulling information from theFacebook page). Through the use of this social technology, the public and othermedia players helped the Queensland Police disseminate crucial informationabout the floods to those directly and indirectly affected.5.2 Capability “During the heightSeminar participants considered the questions ‘What information do policy of the Queenslandmakers and practitioners wish for?’ and ‘What innovations might help to accessit?’ The resultant suggestions are grouped here into a number of broad priority floods, the Queenslandareas, as follows. Police Service had ‘39Timely, accurate and verified information million story hits onAlthough policy makers and practitioners might require different types of their Facebook pageinformation, regardless of the specific content, they both need information that in 24 hours and in oneis provided promptly, is accurate and verified, and comes from a reliable andtrusted source. week more than 73 000Information aimed at improving preparedness YouTube video views’.”To improve preparedness, basic information should be disseminated about K Riordan, ABC News (see note 46)the potential risks in given areas—such as mines, swollen rivers and downedpower lines. This information could be followed with practice drills relating toearthquakes and bushfires, for example. “What is ‘relevant’Longitudinal dataLongitudinal data collected through such rapid and cost-effective methods as information? [We]household surveys are a vital tool for tracking change and impacts. need to challengeUsing local data collectors and analysts conventionalInformation collection efforts should make use of local data collectors and understandings.”analysts. This represents good value for money, provides employment46 Riordan, ‘Police tweet on the beat during flood crisis’, ACB News, 20 January 2011, http:// K Quoted in Riordan.4724 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  25. 25. opportunities, and capitalises on the expertise of locals, who have a ‘naturalcultural awareness that cannot be taught’.Devoting resources and creativity to information collectionGathering and understanding data take time, and this can be a particularconcern in a crisis situation when time is limited. More resources should bedevoted to collection and analysis. Greater creativity is needed in informationgathering, especially among government actors. After all, ‘It is not just aboutreading articles’. Governments are especially well placed, in view of their accessto resources, position and influence, to develop and apply more creativity inenabling information gathering and collection.Being open to non-traditional sources of informationThe public constitutes an important source of information. Together with officialsources, members of the public create a ‘holistic understanding of a situation’.In Blanchard’s view, the civil‑military community would benefit from improvingits engagement with emerging sources of ‘non-official’ information and analysissuch as Crisis Commons and taking advantage of their ‘skills, networks andcapabilities’. According to one group, such volunteer technical communitieshave the skills, time and willingness to help. Because these communities usesocial media as a source of information, a question was raised about the utilityof military actors also using social media information for their operations.In connection with incidents in Afghanistan in which large numbers of civilianshave been killed because of a lack of information about the location of majorcommunity gatherings, a specific question was raised: ‘Should the militaryconsider obtaining information via social media in order to try and reduce civiliancasualties in their area of operations?’5.3 Emerging difficulties and dilemmasGroup discussions highlighted a number of particularly challenging matters that “Public policy makersrequire further attention, many of them relating to the use of social media: should seek information The field of social media is rapidly evolving but still very new. Major questions that forces them to need to be asked and answers sought. Many of the questions relate to trust, security and risks, ethics, and the trade-off between verification and think outside the box.” promptness. Should mapping be done of internally displaced persons’ camps, for example, in the way it is done for larger crisis situations (for instance, the Libya Crisis Map)? Is this a good idea? What are the risks to “An 80 per cent local data gatherers? Social media can assist in the protection of civilians, but they can also expose the same civilians to threats. solution executed on time is better than a Despite the rapidly expanding reach of social technologies, the digital divide remains a serious problem. In view of the increasing attention given to and 100 per cent solution the ‘trendiness’ of social media in the global aid community, there is concern executed late.” that those who are not connected ‘do not exist’.25 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  26. 26. There is a lack of clarity about the relationship between open-source information and military players and processes and the relationship between digital humanitarians and military institutions. In relation to the former, the military concept of information as currency stands in sharp contrast to the philosophy behind open-source information. A question was posed: ‘Does the military need to better understand its relationship with this information?’ In relation to the latter, considering that digital humanitarians will most probably not volunteer their time and data to military institutions or operate in or on military information systems, what is the ideal, beneficial relationship between digital humanitarians and military institutions? Concern was expressed about whether social media fairly, appropriately and accurately capture minority perspectives and matters to do with local ownership. Managing different information streams is difficult. Information in large quantities can become ‘noise’. A question was asked: ‘How do you deal with “noise” from an operational perspective?’ Too much noise points to a lack of filters. Applying filters is an important research topic, especially in connection with verification mechanisms and the importance of trusted sources.26 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  27. 27. 6 Prevention and preparedness for conflicts and disasters6.1 AnalysisThe ability to foresee and prevent conflict and the ability to be properly prepared “Ensuring that the fullto endure and respond to a natural disaster are two fundamental civil‑military range of options iscapabilities. Overall, these capabilities are gradually being strengthened at the available requires anational, regional and global levels, but there are considerable challenges. level of governmentalConflict preventionPreventive action is slowly building in the global community with the strengthening organization thatof institutional capacity. At a recent international conference on conflict prevention, matches the methodicala UN official observed, ‘We are living in a conflict prevention moment’.48 organizationWithin the UN system, the past decade has seen the emergence of various new characteristic ofprevention actors—for example, the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group mass killings.”on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, the Office of the Special Adviser Presidential Study Directive on Masson the Prevention of Genocide, and the Department of Political Affairs Mediation Atrocities, 2011 (see note 51)Unit. Beyond these dedicated capacities, more systematic attention is being givento the question through the Secretary-General’s reporting, open Security Councildebates on conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy, as well as new monthlySecurity Council ‘horizon scanning’ sessions conducted by the Department of Prevention ‘successes’Political Affairs ‘to discuss emerging and ongoing crises’.49 UN Preventive Deployment Force to the Former Yugoslav Republic ofAt the regional level, preventive capacity is being strengthened in regional bodies Macedonia (1993 to 1999)such as the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation efforts to prevent pre-referendumin Europe, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, violence and conflict in Sudan (2011)and the Organization of American States. Recent developments in the United48 Quoted in P Romita, ‘The UN Security Council and conflict prevention: a primer’, International Peace Institute, New York, October 2011, p. 1. Ibid.4927 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)
  28. 28. States are providing precedents for building preventive capacity within nationalgovernments: in 2010, the first-ever White House position of Director forWar Crimes Atrocities and Civilian Protection was created50; and in 2011 thePresident issued a Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities that mandatedthe establishment of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board to facilitatewhole‑of‑government coordination on this matter.51Despite the progress being made, a wide range of major challenges remain forpreventive action: Prevention is difficult to sell. It is more cost effective than the alternative, but it entails higher costs at the outset and is invisible and thus hard to measure and evaluate. The challenge of making the case for preventive action is reflected in the question ‘How do you justify resourcing prevention when you can’t prove the non-barking dog?’ Although there is broad consensus on the importance of preventive action, Dr Abiodun Williams noted that such action it is not always treated as a necessity or a ‘must-do priority’: there is a gap between rhetoric and practice. Political will is difficult to achieve given the short-term horizons of politicians, the challenge of selling conflict prevention to domestic constituents, ‘especially in tough economic times’52, and the gulf separating decision makers from at-risk communities. This weak political will is undermined by concerns, especially among non-Western developing “Everyone is looking countries, that ‘conflict prevention could be abused as a pretext for the strong to everyone else to to violate the sovereignty of the weak’: concerns that have been ‘aroused’ by take the first step in recent interventions in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.53 prevention.” Despite new communication technologies and a proliferation of early warning Professor William Maley actors, there continues to be a ‘disconnect’ between early warning and decisive preventive action. Dr Williams noted that among the factors that might help explain this gap are ambiguity in early warnings, poor analysis, and information overload. Within the UN system there are multiple, currently “Elections are divisive stove-piped, streams of incoming information—from peacekeeping missions, activities that create political missions, diplomatic missions, the field offices of UN agencies, funds and programs, and so on. Information overload is at present inevitable winners and losers.” because the United Nations does not have its own intelligence capacity Professor William Maley (a result of member state resistance) to manage this information flow.50 White House Office of the Press Secretary, ‘Fact sheet: President Obama Directs New The Steps to Prevent Mass Atrocities and Impose Consequences on Serious Human Rights Violators’, 4 August 2011, sheet-president-obama-directs-new-steps-prevent-mass-atrocities-and White House Office of the Press Secretary, ‘Presidential Study Directive on Mass51 The Atrocities’, 4 August 2011, presidential-study-directive-mass-atrocities Romita, p.17.5253 Romita, p.16.28 ACMC Civil‑Military Interaction Seminar (CMIS)