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Looking at Implementation

What have G8 nations done to meet their goals? This paper next considers their efforts to help to resolve conflicts in Africa, to assist in training and to provide support to African-led initiatives.

Resolving Conflicts. G8 proposals to increase African capacity for peace operations and conflict resolution raise the question of whether these initiatives are aimed at building greater overall capacities to deal with conflict – or are intended to reduce the burdens for peace operations or direct involvement in Africa for developed states. It is a fair question, given the overall reduction in developed states’ participation in UN- led peace operations, which are disproportionately in Africa.

From 1991-1998, four of the five permanent members of the Security Council (United Kingdom, France, Russia and the United States) were among the top 20 nations contributing to UN peace operations and provided about 17 percent of personnel. During 1999-2003, only two (UK, USA13) remained within the top 20 while contributing less than four percent of overall UN peacekeeping personnel. The top 10 contributing nations from 1999-2003 were all developing countries, including three African nations (Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya), which accounted for nearly 60 percent of the deployed UN peacekeepers during that time. By April 2004, the top 10 contributing nations had added another African country, Ethiopia, to its ranks, but no major developed nation was even within the top 20 contributors. As of April 2004, other G8 members Japan, Russia, and Germany – who traditionally provide few personnel to UN peacekeeping operations – each were contributing 300-400 peacekeepers.14 Japan had increased its troop contributions (about 400) and continued to pay 20 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget. Canada, long a supporter of peacekeeping, had 227 troops and civilian police in UN missions; Italy was providing about 171 personnel; and the United States and the United Kingdom each accounted for 550 UN peacekeepers.

Many developed states with highly-skilled armed services are stretched by their increased military commitments, however, such as in the Balkans, in Afghanistan (with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and the US-led coalition force), and with the US-led occupation in Iraq. Yet major powers also intervened recently in demanding African conflicts, primarily to help stabilize immediate crises, such as the British deployment to Sierra Leone (2000), French intervention in Côte d’Ivoire (2002) and to the DRC (2003) as the lead of a European Union force, and the limited American military back-up to ECOWAS troops in Liberia (2003). The Stand-by High Readiness Brigade, composed of 16 nations (mostly developed and European) and five observers,15 played a pivotal role in establishing the UN peace operation in Ethiopia-Eritrea (2000) and more recently supporting transitions from ECOWAS missions in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire to UN-led operations. SHIRBRIG is also planning to help establish a new UN mission in Sudan if that transitions to a peace operation later in 2004.

As for resolving conflicts in Africa, there are both increased opportunities for ending conflicts and the parallel need for securing peace with conflict resolution, peace operations and peace-building efforts. Numerous UN-led missions are underway in Africa, including peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (10,866 peacekeepers) Sierra Leone (nearly 12,000 peacekeepers), Ethiopia/Eritrea (about 4,000 peacekeepers), Liberia (about 11,500 peacekeepers), Western Sahara (231 peacekeepers), and Côte d’Ivoire (30 peacekeepers authorized now; will increase with UN takeover in April 2004). Since the G8 adopted the Africa Action plan, the first new peace operation established by the UN is a hand-off from the operation initially led by ECOWAS in Liberia.

13 The US personnel contribution to UN-led peace operations is almost completely in civilian police, however, not military personnel.

14 Peacekeeping personnel in UN peace operations include military observers, civilian police and troops. Information is available on the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations website. See, http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/


Senegal is the sole African country that is an observer.


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