Agenda for Conflict Prevention G8 Foreign Ministers' Communique

Presidents & Prime Ministers, November 1999 | Go to article overview

Agenda for Conflict Prevention G8 Foreign Ministers' Communique


We, the Foreign Ministers of the G8,, met in Berlin to make conflict prevention a priority on our political agenda for the years to come. The meeting was scheduled when the Foreign Ministers of the Eight last convened in Cologne on June 10th Recent regional conflicts and their history, in particular, have demonstrated time and again that we do not lack `early warning' but `early decision', and long-term, concrete and sustainable strategies of prevention.

During our Berlin Meeting, we discussed the G8's future agenda in working to prevent conflict more generally, taking note of work already in hand, particularly on small arms, and the degree of common ground which exists between partners. In the context of conflict prevention, we recalled that the UN Charter confers the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security upon the Security Council, and that the UN Secretary General also has an important role in this respect. The Eight reaffirmed that a reformed and effective UN remains central to our vision to this end.

The causes of armed conflict are multiple and complex. Its prevention requires an integrated, comprehensive approach encompassing political, security, economic, financial, environmental, social and development policies, based on the principles of the UN Charter, the role of law, democracy, social justice, the respect for human rights, a free press and good governance.

Regarding the growing risks of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means we remain committed to further strengthen the international arms control and non-proliferation regimes, to ensure effective export control mechanisms, and to build international confidence. In this connection, we equally call for full adherence to, and when required, further strengthening of disarmament and arms control agreements, which are corner stones of international peace and strategic stability.

We considered how the G8, through an approach addressing the range of policy contributions and using the comparative advantages available to it, can work to strengthen the ability of the international community in conflict prevention, focusing on:

* the UN

* the regional organizations and fora

* non-governmental organizations

* the private sector, particularly in developing principles of corporate citizenship

* the efforts of states at risk, themselves, to prevent conflict, including through building responsible and democratically accountable security forces

Foreign Ministers agreed that the required approach should include work to address particularly the following issues:

* the destabilizing spread and accumulation of small arms

* the part played by organized crime, trafficking of persons and drug trafficking in fuelling conflict

* the use of children as soldiers, and the targeting of children in armed conflicts

* mercenaries and private military activity

* the illicit trade in certain high value commodities, in particular in diamonds

* the role played by environmental issues in contributing to conflict

* consideration of how G8 members might individually help ensure the implementation of financial and other measures, aimed at preventing armed conflict

We also decided to support the efforts by the UN and regional organizations, in particular the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to build civilian rapid reaction capabilities including training and deploying civilian police. …

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