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In Violence Reduction Subsector Review & Evidence Evaluation, authors Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik and Emily Myers, through the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium, seek to identify where peacebuilding programs have “directly correlated to reduced levels of violence” in order to design more targeted programs that directly impact violence and its causes. This is especially relevant because as of the report’s publication, levels of global violent conflict are at a 25-year high, with 402 current violent conflicts and warfare “bleeding more and more from the battlefield into the domestic space.” Traditional peacebuilding methods are not adequate to address national, subnational, or ethnic conflicts, which are far more common than international conflicts.
Just days after the UN Security Council passed a comprehensive resolution on counterterrorist financing, it held an informal session to hear about strengthening the rule of law in maintaining international peace and security, focusing on international humanitarian law (IHL). The UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, and IHL experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Harvard Law School explained increased threat to aid operations by both states and non-state armed groups that ignore protections and standards afforded by IHL. In response, the UN’s meeting summary notes that “Council members stressed the need to protect aid workers and ensure that the humanitarian space remains impartial, neutral and free from politicization.”
In her report Safeguarding Medical Care and Humanitarian Action in the UN Counterterrorism Framework, Alice Debarre poses the question of how UN and UN member state counterterrorism frameworks affect and interact with International Humanitarian Law (IHL). She does this through exploring what prevents IHL and counterterrorism frameworks from working together, specifically the principle of impartiality, which is significantly complicated by the lack of consensus on a definition for terrorism, terrorist act, or terrorist, and how designated terrorists should be treated under IHL. In this section she also references a status that has negatively impacted many an NGO: material support. Because medical personnel and aid groups are bound by medical ethics as well as IHL (specifically impartiality) under both UN and their host country’s counterterrorism laws, delivering aid becomes ever more difficult and risky as more and more counterterrorism laws are applied.