U.N. secretary-general endorses Kroc Institute work on sanctions

Author: Joan Fallon

Notre Dames influence at the highest levels of international policymaking was evident Monday (April 30) at United Nations headquarters inNew York.

A daylong symposium onEnhancing the Implementation of Security Council Sanctions,organized and led by Kroc Institute faculty George Lopez and David Cortright, drew more than 120 Security Council ministers and personnel.

New U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (who succeeded Kofi Annan in January) began the symposium by expressing his support forsmart sanctions- a concept that Lopez and Cortright have researched and worked with the Security Council to refine for more than a decade. Sanctions work best when they includecarrots along with sticks – not only threats, but inducements to elicit compliance,said Ban, affirming the central finding behind Lopez and Cortrights latest research on this subject.

Funded byGreece, the symposium allowed Lopez and Cortright to invite diplomats from around the world who have been involved in the successful implementation of sanctions inAngola,Libya,LiberiaandCote dIvoire. Of the four academic experts presenting research on the nature and scope of targeted sanctions, three were Kroc Institute faculty members – Lopez, Cortright and Peter Wallensteen. The fourth was Sue Eckert of the Watson Institute for International Studies atBrownUniversity.

The symposium was especially relevant as the Security Council is currently debating whether to impose additional sanctions againstIranfor uranium enrichment and againstSudanfor actions leading to genocide inDarfur. Among the U.N. ambassadors asking questions of the panelists were those fromIraq,SudanandLibya.

Smart sanctions are alternatives to military intervention in situations where international actors must be pressured to halt genocide, terrorism, gross violations of human rights, arms proliferation and the development of weapons of mass destruction. Unlike theblunt instrumentsof previous years, smart sanctions sharply targetdecision-making elites- by freezing their financial assets, restricting their travel or shutting down the sale of petroleum, timber and diamonds – while avoiding harm to innocent people.

As a coercive measure that stops just short of military force, smart sanctions offer an effective optionbetween words and war,according to Wallensteen.

David Cortright and George Lopez, eminent experts on multilateral sanctions who are here with us today, have identified several cases in which sanctions resulted in partial compliance with the councils demands or helped to bring conflicting parties to the bargaining table,Ban said.

He added thatthere is ample evidence that sanctions have enormous potential to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security when used not as an end in themselves, but in support of a holistic conflict resolution approach that includes prevention, mediation, peacekeeping and peace building.

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