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People Come First. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Dadaab, Kenya, where the UN is assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring Somalia.
People Come First. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Dadaab, Kenya, where the UN is assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring Somalia.
(Photo by Mark Garten/UN DPI)
R2P10
Let’s make 2012 the “Year of Prevention”
An excerpt of remarks by the UN secretary-general at “R2P: The Next Decade,” a conference held in January by the Stanley Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of NY, and the MacArthur Foundation

In 2011 history took a turn for the better. The Responsibility to Protect came of age; the principle was tested as never before. The results were uneven but, at the end of the day, tens of thousands of lives were saved.

We gave hope to people long oppressed. In Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria, by our words and actions, we demonstrated that human protection is a defining purpose of the United Nations in the 21st century. We also learned important lessons.

For one, we have learned that this organization cannot stand on the sidelines when challenged to take preventive action. Where there is a “clear and present danger,” we may need to define the field...cautiously but proactively.

We have also learned delivering on the Responsibility to Protect requires partnership and common purpose. We get the best results when global and regional institutions push in the same direction.

Today, I ask you to join me in making 2012 the “Year of Prevention.”

This is going to be one of my five generational opportunities of the United Nations for the coming five years. The 2005 World Summit called for assisting states “under stress before crises and conflicts break out.” Prevention does not mean looking the other way in times of crisis, vainly hoping that things will get better. We have done that too often. Nor can it be just a brief pause while Chapter VII “enforcement measures” are being prepared.

Prevention means proactive, decisive, and early action to stop violence before it begins.

Resource.
Watch Ban ki-Moon's keynote address at the January 2012 R2P: The Next Decade event.

The R2P: The Next Decade post-conference policy memo.

More about the Stanley Foundation's Preventing Genocide work.

Before the Killing Begins: The Politics of Mass Violence video.


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The latest issue of Courier features "Climate Change – After Paris, What Next?" a look at the COP21 Paris agreement and what it means for the future of our planet’s environment. The second article is about the science and numbers of climate risk, and the need to reduce emissions and by how much. This issue also highlights a trip to South America taken by the teacher who most recently won the Catherine Miller Explorer Award, and finally we highlight a new tool for leaders and policymakers for implementing the third pillar of the Responsibility to Protect. The full Winter 2015 issue. PDF (2.0 MB) Subscribe for FREE.

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