Daily Archives: February 9, 2017

Can the Security Council Prevent Conflict?

Can the Security Council Prevent Conflict?

This is Security Council Report’s research report, Can the Security Council Prevent Conflict? To view the full report, please download the PDF.


Few issues at the UN receive more discussion and attention than how the world body can improve its conflict prevention work. Every few years, there appears to be a surge of interest in this issue, brought on by the conviction that the UN system must do a better job of preventing conflict. Renewed interest today is with good reason. New wars have erupted in Mali, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, among other cases, while political solutions to long-standing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, for example, have proved elusive, with civilians suffering the brunt of the fighting. Humanitarian crises have become more pronounced, and there are now approximately 60 million people displaced by conflict worldwide, the highest number since the establishment of the UN in the wake of World War II. 

As the body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, the UN Security Council’s conflict prevention role is perhaps more pertinent now than at any other time in the post-Cold War era. And yet, despite strong rhetorical support for prevention, the Council struggles to translate its words into deeds, as concrete, meaningful preventive action is too often lacking. Instead, the Council sags under the weight of managing multiple crises, heavily burdened by its conflict management agenda and expending significant time pursuing thematic discussions that could be better spent focusing on specific situations. 

This report seeks to address one basic issue: can the Security Council prevent conflict? It is clear that the Council faces significant political and operational obstacles in discharging its prevention responsibilities. Nonetheless, preventing conflict is one of its most significant responsibilities under the UN Charter, and there are opportunities for this organ to sharpen and expand its preventive capacities. 

In exploring this issue, the report is divided into five sections: 

  • First, the report explores what the UN Charter has to say about conflict prevention and why this is central to the Council. 
  • Second, the report explores the current political and operational hindrances that make it so difficult for this organ to play a more effective preventive role.
  • Third, it provides an overview of the Council’s conflict prevention efforts since the end of the Cold War. Understanding how the Council has addressed this issue in the past provides the contextual background for its current preventive efforts. 
  • Fourth, the report analyses the preventive tools available to the Council. 
  • A fifth and final section offers some observations and options for how the preventive work of the Council can be strengthened. 

Dr. Joyce Banda Not Coming to Malawi

The social media is awash with communication purporting that former president Dr. Joyce Banda plans returning to Malawi this month after years in self-exile.

In a statement that is making rounds purportedly authored by Dr. Banda’s top aide, Andekuche Chanthunya, it is stated that the former head of state plans flying back on Saturday 18th of February this year and that her stay abroad was meant to accord the incumbent time to work without pressure and influence.

However, Assistant to the former president, Tusekero Mwanyongo, says the information making rounds is inaccurate.

He says when Dr. Banda returns, his office would appropriately send out messages. That time, he says, is not now.

“I have also seen it on social media; on Facebook and Whatsapp, I am personally not aware of any development to that effect. I am not aware that she is coming back home.

“I don’t know you know in these days of technology where you have social media and stuff there are a lot of things that come out so I might not be aware why it is coming up. I am personally not aware that she is coming back on 18th February,” said Mwanyongo.

Asked to confirm the statement making rounds on social media, Assistant to the former president, Tusekero Mwanyongo, could not comment much saying he is not sure of why and where the messages arecoming from.

“I don’t want to comment further on these what I would call allegations. What I would advise you to do is to contact Mr. Andekuche Chanthunya who is the purported author of the state to seek his clarification.

But I work in Dr. Joyce Banda’s office I am personally not aware, so take it from me I am not aware that she is coming back. But if that happens it will be duly communicated to the nation, that you should not doubt,” said Chanthunya.

Former President of the country Dr. Joyce Banda left Malawi in the year 2014 for her self-exile in South Africa.

This was right after she failed to maintain her presidential seat during the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.

There have been numerous reports on social media that Dr. Banda will return but most seem a hoax. They have been refuted.

A recent one is a statement dated 8 February which states that the former President will return home on Saturday, 18th February.

The statement, states that during her stay outside of Malawi over the years, the former President’s coming back home is a clear sign that she is innocent and not afraid of any cash gate trumped cases against her by the current government.

Dr. Banda wants to prove her innocence to the world and clear her name on cash gate.

Another quote states that all Malawians must take note that the coming in of Banda automatically does not stop her from assuming her office as president of the People’s Party, this is in readiness of a PP convention slated for August this year.

The statement, signed by Chanthunya further states that the plane carrying Dr. Joyce Banda is expected to arrive at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) at around 10:00 hours.

WFP Executive Director Visits Sri Lanka

COLOMBO – The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, travels to Sri Lanka on Friday at the invitation of the Government to attend the launch of the National Strategic Review on Food Security and Nutrition, which will help shape and inform the country’s ongoing efforts to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2) of zero hunger.

The launch will bring together  Government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society, academia,  the private sector and UN agencies. The research was led by Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the South Asia Policy and Research Institute.

During her visit, Cousin will meet the President, His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, as well as ministers and senior government officials with whom WFP collaborates in efforts to build food and nutrition security in the country.

Cousin will also travel to Monaragala where she will meet people involved in WFP’s programmes to build the resilience of vulnerable communities in the face of frequent climate-related shocks, such as the current drought.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org
Sadhana Mohan, WFP/Colombo   Tel:  +94 (0) 112 555520 (ext) 2450, Mob. +94 773754233
Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome  +39 346 76000806

Introducing the Spider Solution: Total Drone Package for Power Line Stringing

Chinese drone manufacturer MMC has introduced a total drone solution for power line stringing, including services by a team of professional drone operators.

SHENZHEN, China, Feb. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Chinese drone manufacturer MMC is introducing their one-stop solution for power line stringing in rugged terrain: the Spider.

The MMC Spider package is an innovation in the drone industry, providing not only a high-powered industrial drone but pre-sales training, project and flight planning, operation by a professional team of pilots, and full after-sales service.

“The need is clearly there,” says MMC’s CTO Mr. Lu. “By offering a total solution, we allow teams that have less experience with drone technology to reap the benefits that drones offer for power line stringing – it’s lower cost, better for the environment, and better for people.”

The Spider drone is made specifically for power line stringing, offering a comprehensive set of features for projects in all terrains:

  • Intelligent drop device, with obstacle avoidance;
  • Longer flight endurance and higher payload, accommodating standard 3mm leading line;
  • Autonomous flight features;
  • Grade 5 wind resistance and a rain resistant, carbon fiber option;
  • A plug-and-play system of interchangeable payloads.

The Spider solution’s low cost and low environmental impact has been used in many regions rushing to provide electricity to remote areas. With a large team of pilots based across Asia, MMC has helped power companies complete projects across the continent.

Many of the projects had been delayed for years before partnering with MMC, due to problems seemingly insurmountable. “Usually, a workman must climb a man-made bamboo scaffolding to bring the lead rope across the active electricity line,” explains PLN Stringing Expert Mr. Bambang. “It is hard for our workman to maintain balance on the scaffolding while keeping the lead rope at the correct tension — there is high risk the lead rope might drop onto the active line and cause a short-circuit.”  With the MMC Spider solution, the team was able to complete the project within weeks.

MMC is a leading manufacturer of commercial and industrial drone solutions, providing innovative and cost-effective commercial designs, including the use of ecofriendly hydrogen cell energy.

To learn more about the Spider solution for power line stringing, visit: http://www.mmcuav.com/drones/spider-solution-of-power-line-stringing/

Press Contact:

Phone: +86-755-8607-4603
Email: info@mmcuav.com

North Korea missile tests have Army leaders focused on deterrence, response

By Sean Kimmons February 8, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service) — With North Korea testing more missiles than ever before, Army leaders say the U.S. must be prepared to deter the rogue nation and ready to launch a counterattack should events escalate.

“If you look at the Korean Peninsula, we see a rapidly developing capability being pursued by Kim Jong-un as the current leader of North Korea,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, who leads all U.S. forces in South Korea.

Since late 2011 when Kim took over North Korea after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, the country has conducted two nuclear tests. It has also launched more than 120 missiles. That’s twice as many missiles as his father and grandfather, Kim Il-sung, fired altogether in 40 years, according to Brooks.

“It’s very clear in what direction Kim Jong-un is heading and that is to have a full arsenal of capability that can hold the United States at risk for deterrence purposes, but also for coercive diplomacy,” he said Tuesday via video teleconference, as part of an air and missile defense forum hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.

In response, the Army plans to deploy a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery to protect South Korea. In July 2016, the U.S. stationed one of the high-end missile defense systems in Guam. The THAAD battery is designed to shoot down a missile as it descends to its target.

The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command is also operating a second powerful AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan to bolster ballistic missile defense in the region, said Lt. Gen. Jim Dickinson, who last month took charge of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

The Army is also considering plans to increase the number of ground-based interceptors based in Alaska and California from 30 to 44 by the end of 2017, Dickinson said of the missiles that can hit intercontinental ballistic missiles at higher altitudes.

“We have made significant improvements in the operations and the mission readiness of the entire ground-based midcourse defense mission,” he said at the discussion.

Although a timeframe on the THAAD battery deployment to South Korea was not discussed, Dickinson said the Army is well into its planning, despite concerns from China that the system’s radar could be used against its military.

In January, Kim may have added a sense of urgency to that planning with his claim that North Korea was nearing testing of ICBMs, which can be placed on mobile launchers and are capable of hitting American soil.

“North Korea continues to improve their mobile ICBMs,” Dickinson said, “[and] has likely tested ICBM capabilities in recent space launches.”

While visiting South Korea last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that the THAAD system would be used only to defend that country and the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed there.

“And were it not for the provocative behavior of North Korea, we would have no need for THAAD out here,” he said. “There’s no other nation that needs to be concerned about THAAD other than North Korea.”

He also warned that, should Kim ever attack the U.S. or its allies, the U.S. would answer with an overwhelming and effective response.

“North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop a nuclear weapons program and engage in threatening rhetoric and behavior,” Mattis said. “America’s commitments to defending our allies and to upholding our extended deterrence guarantees remain iron-clad.”

Brooks also said he would like to see offensive capabilities that could strike North Korea from his area of operations.

“Defense is not enough. If we’re not also able to kill the archers, then we’ll never be able to catch enough arrows,” he said, referring to North Korea’s missile arsenal.

Due to the dense population of South Korea, any missile that passes through the current defensive measures would have a devastating impact, he noted.

“So we have to have an offensive capability also integrated into our air and missile defense system,” he said.

Kim’s willingness to pursue costly missile tests, even if they fail for all the world to see, shows a strong commitment to achieving an effective nuclear capability, according to the general.

“There’s a desire to mate a nuclear capability with a missile capability, so the full effect of deterrence and coercive diplomacy can be achieved,” Brooks said. “It’s quite evident that he does this not for the sake of … [coming] to the negotiation table.”

For this reason, the Army continues to strengthen its collaboration and trust between the U.S., South Korea and Japan to create layers of defense against North Korea, he said.

Brooks noted the U.S. has undertaken trilateral exercises with all three nations. In November, South Korea and Japan signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement to increase the sharing of information and cooperation between the allies.

“Without a foundation of trust, we can’t expect to see the kind of integration that’s necessary against the emerging threats,” he said.


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