Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
Florian Feigs, Annette Lohmann
FriEnt Workshop Report, 17 October 2006
On 17 October 2006, the Working Group for Development and Peace (FriEnt) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) jointly organised an international workshop on the “Responsibility to Protect: Perspectives of the South and the North”. The workshop aimed to discuss the comprehensive nature of the concept and find answers to questions regarding its implementation. The intentions of the workshop were to promote the comprehensive idea of R2P from a peacebuilding perspective and to focus on the often neglected aspect of prevention. Furthermore, the aim was to foster a dialogue among the different actors from the north and south due to legitimate questions and concerns expressed by actors from southern regions about possible political abuse of R2P. Finally, options and challenges regarding the implementation of R2P were to be discussed. Because of its multidimensional nature, R2P seems to be difficult to operationalise and address in all its aspects. Therefore, clarifying the roles and rights, as well as the responsibilities, of different actors is important. While the ultimate “Responsibility to Protect” lies with state institutions, it is the international community’s responsibility that is generally the focus of attention. Yet often, the United Nations is no longer the most important actor on the ground, but regional organisations such as ECOWAS, taking over security and peacebuilding tasks. Furthermore, the role of civil society actors is increasingly being recognised. Therefore, the approach of the workshop was to look at the roles of different actors; it did so in separate panels.