COLOGNE, GERMANY -- (Marketwire) -- 12/13/12 -- Will there still be any peace operations at all in 10 or 15 years' time? And who will fund them? Who will send troops? Will the world be even more conflict-ridden than it already is? And what role will UNO and the UN Security Council be playing then?
International peace operations have changed enormously in recent decades. The tasks that have to be mastered by peace operations are varied and new tasks are constantly being added; crisis interventions are also becoming more complex. More and more collaborations and partnerships are being formed between international organisations and more players are participating in the decision-making.
"At present over 70 peace operations are in progress worldwide and they are an essential tool of the international community for dealing with conflicts and fragile states. In this respect, it is imperative to reflect on future strategies for peace operations", points out Z_punkt Scientific Director Dr. Karlheinz Steinmueller.
An international and interdisciplinary group of practitioners and academics met up over a period of one-and-a-half years for a scenario process on the future of international peace operations. In the course of three workshops, in Berlin, Addis Ababa and New York, key factors and megatrends were identified and they were used as a basis for developing four plausible and consistent scenarios. The high-calibre experts were unable to provide assured forecasts on these issues, but during the process, chaired and supported by Z_punkt, they were able to come up with theoretical possibilities, as in the said scenarios. The scenarios and results are now published by ZIF (Centre for International Peace Operations, entitled "Peace Operations 2025".
The workshop participants especially focused on the interactions between the key factors. Hence, for example, the very different local effects of megatrends in less developed countries have to be taken into consideration, such as the effects of rapid population growth on a country's economy and ecology and the options for dealing with extreme weather conditions and water shortages. Differing projections were used as a basis for the variable drivers, i.e. the future scenarios assume, for example, a favourable development of the global economy on the one hand and also the opposite.
How do countries react when they are trying to juggle national interests and global dependencies? Are existing multilateral relationships strengthened or do new regional structures develop?
What effect will the shift in the balance of global economic and political power have? Will new powers such as China, India and Brazil assimilate themselves into the existing structures of international crisis management? If so, what might the new structures be like?
What role will the change of values in societies play in relation to the acceptance of international peace operations? And what effects will fragile state structures, potential conflicts over resources and the increase in organised crime, migration and refugee flows have? What political pressure can new media be expected to exert and what potential do new technologies have -- are they a blessing or a threat?
What role will private sector-oriented security firms adopt in the interaction of international crisis management?
Z_punkt Senior Foresight Consultant and Project Manager Bjoern Theis emphasises that "the special challenges in this project were the multi-faceted interactions between social, technological, political, economic and ecological factors as well as regional aspects that influence the future of international peace operations. It is especially with complex issues such as these that future research demonstrates what it can accomplish: with the aid of its methods, coupled with the interdisciplinary expertise of the international workshop participants, complex interrelationships can become apparent and be systemised, in order to facilitate strategic reflection on the future."
The formulation of the four meaningful scenarios "Erratic Progress", "National Interests", "Regional Diversity" and "Global Cooperation" is consciously exaggerated in some cases, as the future scenarios are not predictions, but are intended to stimulate creative reflection on the future of international peace operations.
A summary of the scenarios can be found here: http://www.z-punkt.de/peace_operations_2025_en.html
Download of the complete study: http://www.z-punkt.de/downloads-en.html
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