Dáil Éireann - Volume 548 - 07 February, 2002
Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.
Mr. O'Shea Mr. O'Shea
 23. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the organisations which Ireland and the EU have committed themselves to assist in relation to conflict prevention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3743/02]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Support for conflict prevention activities has been a long-standing and key aspect of Irish foreign policy and of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Ireland, along with the other member states, endorsed the EU programme for the prevention of violent conflicts at the Gothenburg European Council in June 2001.
The programme identifies political priorities for preventive actions and measures to ensure early warning, action and policy coherence, including via the European Security and Defence Policy. A further extensive list of measures to strengthen EU instruments for long-term and short-term prevention is set out and the EU also commits itself to a range of initiatives designed to increase co-operation and build effective partnerships with other international organisations. Chief among these organisations are the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe. NATO and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among other organisations, also feature.
Since Gothenburg, the General Affairs Council has considered potential conflict issues at the outset of each EU Presidency. Most recently, conclusions adopted by the Council on 28 January 2002 specify that EU preventive policies will take into account the importance of co-operation with other international, regional and local actors, including non-governmental organisations. A first report on implementation of the EU programme is to be submitted by the current Spanish EU Presidency to the European Council in Seville on 21-22 June 2002.
A common position on conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa was adopted by the General Affairs Council on 14 May 2001 and is of particular importance in this area. The common position was drawn up with the objective of contributing to the prevention, management and resolution of violent conflicts in Africa. This is to be achieved by strengthening African capacity in this field and, in particular, through support for the Organisation of African Unity, various African sub-regional organisations and civil society. The common position is legally binding on all member states and contains a number of undertakings by which EU and member states' policies will be guided.
Finally, I also draw attention to the numerous commitments made by Ireland and the EU to conflict prevention activities in the context of our respective bilateral and collective development assistance programmes. As I stated at the General Affairs Council debate on this topic on 28 January, development co-operation focused on  poverty eradication is one of the most effective instruments by which the long-term root causes of conflict can be addressed. In this context, Ireland and the EU have committed themselves to extensive co-ordination and co-operation arrangements with our partners in the relevant UN agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, which has conflict prevention as part of its mandate.
As well as our ongoing work with the core UN agencies, Ireland Aid has also supported the conflict prevention efforts of a number of other organisations. These have included the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, UNIDIR, for assistance to address the proliferation of small arms in west Africa, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, UNTAET, for a study on gender in post-conflict situations, support for the facilitator of the inter-Congolese dialogue and support for disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation in Sierra Leone. In the past, Ireland Aid has also provided support to the OAU, now African Union, for conflict prevention in Africa.
Dáil Éireann 548 Written Answers. Foreign Conflicts.