The G8 Heads of State and Government announced last June in Cologne, and we, Foreign Ministers, reiterated last December in Berlin, the determination to make prevention of armed conflict a high priority issue in coming years. We have to nurture a "Culture of Prevention" throughout the global community by encouraging international and regional organizations, states, NGOs and other actors to view their activities and policies from the vantage of conflict prevention, and to commit themselves to work towards this goal.

The G8 confirms that efforts to prevent conflict must be based upon observance of international law including the UN Charter, democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable development, and other fundamental values, which constitute the foundation of international peace and security.

1. "Comprehensive Approach"

The G8 believes that, because of the diversity and complexity of causes of conflicts, the following "Comprehensive Approach" should be adopted:

Consistent efforts for conflict prevention need to be made at every stage, from pre-conflict to post-conflict (Chronological Comprehensiveness).

During each stage of a conflict, the international community should draw from a wide-ranging menu of political, economic and social policy options. Furthermore, it is crucial to address the issues of human rights and protection of civilians. (Comprehensiveness in Measures for Conflict Prevention)

It should be noted that, in taking concrete measures on individual conflicts, their characteristics, including their causes, parties, modalities, and regional contexts, as well as coherence with policies in other fields -- e.g. international trade and finance -- need to be fully taken into consideration.

2. The UN, the G8 and Other Actors

We, the G8 Foreign Ministers recalled at the Berlin Ministerial Meeting on Conflict Prevention that the UN Charter confers the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security upon the Security Council, and that the UN Secretary General also has an important role in this respect. We reaffirmed that a reformed and effective UN remains central. In this context, the G8 notes the relevance of the report of the UN Secretary General in preparation for the UN Millennium Assembly.

While the principal responsibility for preventing conflicts lies with the parties directly concerned, conflict prevention is a joint venture involving all the international community, including other international and regional organizations, states, business sector, NGOs, and individuals.

The G8 welcomes wider use of the relevant provisions of the UN Charter for preventive diplomacy and will work for integration of the diverse elements of the UN system so as to support more effectively preventive action.

The G8 regards the UN's peacekeeping capacity as a key contribution to global conflict prevention efforts. We note the establishment by the UN Secretary General of an expert panel and welcome the effort to conduct a comprehensive review in this field as a contribution to efforts to strengthen the quality and speed of the UN response to peacekeeping challenges. We underline the importance of efforts to create arrangements with member states for an effective surge capacity for planning and conduct of peacekeeping operations. We also look forward to the reinforcement of the capacity of the UN in the area of CIVPOL.

The G8 supports the UN's existing mechanism for maintaining compliance with the international human rights standards and regular communication of this information to relevant UN bodies for use in their deliberations. We intend to contribute to strengthening the conflict prevention and early warning capacity of the UN by, inter alia, promoting the reinforcement of the role of the Special Representatives of the Secretary General.

The G8 stands ready to support the efforts by the international community for conflict prevention, especially in those areas where it has a special contribution to make.


Based on three criteria, namely, (a) whether the issue has a direct relevance to conflict prevention, (b) whether the G8 has a comparative advantage over other players in dealing with the issue, and (c) whether a joint initiative by the G8 could bear fruit, this year the G8 undertakes the following initiatives:

  • Small Arms and Light Weapons
  • Conflict and Development
  • Illicit Trade in Diamonds
  • Children in Armed Conflict
  • International Civil Police

1. Small Arms and Light Weapons

The G8 believes that the uncontrolled and illegal transfer of small arms and light weapons (hereinafter referred to as "small arms") and the existence of destabilizing accumulations of these weapons in many parts of the world pose a serious threat to peace, security, and prosperity. The G8 therefore strongly supports national, regional, and international efforts to ensure that transfers of small arms are carried out in a responsible and legal fashion, and to reduce existing destabilizing accumulations to levels consistent with legitimate defense and security needs.

The destabilizing proliferation of small arms presents the international community with challenges in many areas including export control policy, prevention of illicit trafficking, law enforcement and crime prevention, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, post-conflict reconstruction, and security sector reform. The G8 emphasizes the need for international institutions and individual states to increase the effectiveness of their efforts by developing coordinated and coherent policies in all of these areas, while avoiding duplication.

The G8

  • looks forward to the holding and a successful outcome of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, in 2001. We will work for a conference with a broad agenda whose outcome will genuinely strengthen international efforts to eradicate illicit trafficking, particularly of small arms.
  • while recognizing that transfers of small arms are consistent with the right of self-defense enshrined in the UN Charter, confirms that we will exercise a high degree of responsibility in controlling and licensing such exports. Unless we have stricter regulations, in our approach to approving export licenses the G8 will take as a minimum criterion the legitimate defense and security needs of the recipient. The G8 will not authorize the export of small arms if there is a clear risk that these might be used for repression or aggression against another country. Finally, the G8 will consider the scope for further action at the national level and in international fora such as the Wassenaar Arrangement to minimize the risk that small arms may be illegally diverted or re-exported. To this end, the G8 agrees on the importance of effective national controls for arms brokering. The G8 strongly encourages other small arms exporting countries to adopt these principles in their own policies.
  • emphasizes the importance of complementary demand-side measures. In this context, the G8 welcomes the October 1998 adoption of the ECOWAS Moratorium on the Importation, Exportation and Manufacture of Light Weapons and encourages other regions affected by the problem of small arms proliferation to consider similar measures. The G8 will take steps to ensure that our export licensing decisions respect the ECOWAS moratorium and urge other exporting states to do likewise. The G8 also welcomes the recently-adopted Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lake Region and Horn of Africa. The G8 encourages those in a position to do so to provide financial and technical assistance to support the implementation of the ECOWAS moratorium as well as the Nairobi Declaration.
  • encourages the countries and regions directly affected by illicit arms trafficking to enhance transparency in this regard which could include exchange of information on discovered instances and routes of illicit small arms supply. The G8 considers that the marking of small arms could improve their traceability. The G8 will work to build international consensus on increasing the degree of transparency attached to such transfers. With the aim of combating the illicit trafficking of small arms and building confidence, the G8 stands ready to exchange information in appropriate fora concerning national legislation, practices and experience, and calls upon other states to do likewise.
  • emphasizes the fundamental importance of measures to combat illicit trafficking in small arms. The G8 is committed to maintaining effective national export control and enforcement systems in order to prevent the illicit transfer of small arms from, via or to our territories. We reaffirm our commitment to implement strictly all arms embargoes imposed by the UN Security Council. To this end, the G8 strongly supports appropriate national legislation that establishes legal enforcement of these embargoes. We strongly support efforts to increase the effectiveness of UN sanctions, such as the Security Council's decision to investigate reports on the violation of measures against UNITA.
  • stands ready to support projects and programs which will increase the capacity of states directly affected by illicit small arms trafficking to implement effective controls. The G8 emphasizes the importance of coordinated regional and international action in this area, and welcomes initiatives such as the OAS Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Parts and the EU/SADC action program for tackling illicit arms trafficking in Southern Africa. The G8 also attaches importance to increased information exchange in the Wassenaar Arrangement and in other international and regional fora as appropriate on issues such as illicit trafficking routes and diversionary destinations.
  • recognizes the need to tackle the problem of illicit small arms possession and misuse through effective law enforcement and crime prevention measures. With regard to firearms, the G8's Lyon Group will continue within its mandate to consider how to improve the effectiveness of the G8 members' policies and countermeasures to the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms. The G8 will play an active and constructive role in the work to elaborate the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the draft UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which will serve as a key element in international efforts to combat illicit firearms trafficking, with a view to ensuring these negotiations are completed by the end of 2000.
  • pledges its full support for the effort to reduce existing destabilizing accumulations of small arms. The G8 encourages affected countries and regions to adopt confidence-building measures and incentives to encourage the collection and destruction of surplus or illegally-held small arms. The G8 confirms that we are ready to support such efforts through the voluntary provision of financial and technical assistance, including through specifically targeted funds, existing or to be established, at the UN, regional and local level, and designed to deal with the problem of small arms, and call upon the international community to do likewise. In this context, the G8 emphasizes the central importance of comprehensive demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programs in post-conflict situations. The G8 will support the inclusion of such programs where appropriate in peace agreements between the parties to conflicts and mandates of peace keeping forces and other relevant missions.
  • emphasizes the importance of the role of civil society in tackling destabilizing accumulations of small arms, for example through awareness-raising at the community level. The G8 encourages the international community and governments of affected countries actively to involve civil society in efforts to prevent the uncontrolled spread and destabilizing accumulation of small arms.
  • reaffirms its support for the principle that all surplus or illegally-held small arms which have been removed from circulation in countries or regions affected by destabilizing accumulations should, if not immediately destroyed, be properly secured and managed prior to their early and effective destruction, preferably under international or third party supervision

2. Conflict and Development

Peace and democratic stability are indispensable pre-conditions for economic growth and sustainable development. Moreover, economic and development co-operation has an important role to play in fostering peace and stability. The G8 can use its position as the major provider of the development assistance to pursue actively initiatives in this area. While ensuring that fundamental development goals remain at the core of bilateral and multilateral assistance policies, the G8 should take initiatives particularly in three areas: (a) promoting the consideration of conflict prevention in development assistance strategies, (b) focusing assistance to ensure quick action to prevent conflict, and (c) ensuring a smooth transition from emergency humanitarian assistance to development assistance in the post-conflict stage. The G8 also recognizes that a recipient government's ownership of its development policies and civil society's participation can contribute to mitigating tensions.

(1) Promoting the Consideration of Conflict Prevention in Development Assistance Strategies

The G8 ,

  • continues to extend economic and development cooperation to promote prosperity, reduce poverty, and to help create resilient societies that promote inclusion and opportunity for all citizens.
  • recognizes the importance of addressing root causes of conflicts, including through assistance to regional and subregional organizations.
  • will consult with the relevant international financial institutions regarding conflict-related implications of development assistance.
  • aims, with other bilateral and multilateral actors, to use development assistance to promote democratic and legislative institutions, good governance, rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes, civic education and other structural elements.
  • aims to build capacity in administrative and security systems, including police, penal and judicial institutions.
  • enhances technical assistance to build capacity and to ensure appropriate social investments in education, health and nutrition, and other programs targeting vulnerable segments of society, seeking to protect these expenditures during economic downturns and time of crises.
  • considers ways to use economic and development assistance to address causes of conflict stemming from competition for natural resources, such as water, and to encourage regional approaches to their management .
  • will pay attention, in extending economic and development cooperation, to excessive military expenditure where it occurs in recipient countries and calls upon developing countries to ensure effective, transparent and accountable public sector management of state expenditures, including military budgets and the use of development assistance.
  • recognizes the important role that donor coordination in the area of conflict prevention plays in enhancing the effectiveness of economic and development assistance in this regard.
  • welcomes the work of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to review bilateral donors' practices in the field of conflict prevention.

(2) Focusing Assistance to Ensure Quick Action to Prevent Conflict

The G8,

  • recognizes the importance of extending flexible, quick assistance with the aim to helping to alleviate and stem the spread of human suffering to countries and regions neighboring conflict areas, including displaced persons and refugees, and will work towards more effective and better coordinated provision of emergency and other relevant assistance through regional and international organizations, in particular the United Nations.
  • encourages the international community to focus its attention on conflict and development in Africa and to carry out closer exchanges of perspectives and information, including at the field level and within the UN system.

(3) Ensuring a Smooth Transition from Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to Development in the Post-Conflict Stage

The G8,

  • recognizes the importance of continuous and coordinated efforts by various actors including UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank, other international and regional organizations as well as NGOs in achieving a smooth transition, and invites the international community to give further consideration and support toward this end.
  • will strive to focus emergency and transition aid on supporting local security, economic and political stability, local capacity building, and reconciliation.

3. Illicit Trade in Diamonds

The G8 is concerned that the proceeds from the illicit trade in certain high value commodities, especially diamonds, are providing funds for arms purchases, thus aggravating conflicts and humanitarian crises in Africa (particularly Angola, DRC and Sierra Leone).

Whilst insisting that the interests of the legitimate diamond producers and traders are not put at risk, the G8 will take the following steps to counter the illicit trade in diamonds, particularly those coming from conflict zones in Africa.

The G8, which accounts for the bulk of the global market for diamonds,

  • will co-operate closely with governments of diamond-producing states, neighboring states, major marketing centers, regional organizations and industry in order to curb illicit diamond flows.
  • calls on producers and buyers to work in close co-ordination on the elaboration of specific measures to trace and block the illicit trade in diamonds in Africa on an urgent basis, as a first step.
  • supports the efforts of African states in strengthening regional law enforcement and internal capacity building for curbing the illicit trade in diamonds and welcomes their respective initiative in this regard.
  • emphasizes that the UN Sanctions Committee on Angola is central to efforts to strengthen sanctions enforcement against UNITA and the need to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions 1173 and 1295.
  • welcomes the initiatives within the UN framework to assess the impact of the illegal exploitation of natural resources, including diamonds, on the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • calls for the urgent cooperation of interested parties including the diamond industry with the government of Sierra Leone on the proper control over trade in diamonds produced in Sierra Leone.
  • welcomes 'Technical Forum on Diamonds' held at Kimberly, South Africa, as an important contribution to finding pragmatic solutions. The G8 supports rapid follow-up, involving all the key actors, which should include the exploring of a possible certification scheme for rough diamonds from conflict areas, industry codes of conduct and an international body to promote transparency and accountability.
  • will consider appropriate action to keep diamonds from illicit transactions out of the G8 markets.

4. Children in Armed Conflict

The plight of war-affected children, a group which includes, in particular, child soldiers, child orphans, sexually exploited children and children traumatized by armed conflict, but also comprises all the children affected by the effects of war in wider sense , is one of the most disturbing human security issues facing the world today. The G8 is particularly concerned by the issues raised by children in armed conflict both as participants and victims. In this context, the G8 agreed upon the following approaches.

(1) Pressure Against Those Who Involve or Target Children in Armed Conflict in Breach of International Standards

The G8

  • will concert G8's pressure in UN and other fora against individual governments and armed groups when access to assistance is denied to children or when children are specifically targeted as victims and/or participants in a conflict.
  • will take account of, and promote international standards on the non-use of child soldiers in considering our military assistance to armed forces in third countries.

(2) Support for International Standards and Mechanisms

The G8

  • urges universal adherence to the ILO Convention 182 on Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labor.
  • welcomes the adoption of and supports the universal adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
  • provides support for the office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in its role as an advocate on behalf of war-affected children, and to UN agencies including UNICEF.
  • will cooperate in the UN and other international fora when there is a need to ensure assistance to children in armed conflicts or when children are specifically targeted as victims and/or participants in a conflict.

(3) Outreach

The G8

  • supports action by the UN, regional organizations, NGOs and media in raising awareness of problems of children in armed conflict.
  • commits to include child rights training in military assistance training programs.
  • supports the 2001 UN Special Session to review the achievement of the goals of the World Summit for Children and works to ensure that any document it adopts has a strong section addressing the issue of war-affected children.
  • encourages and supports other national and regional efforts to highlight the issue of children in armed conflict, including the Conference on War Affected Children in West Africa (April 2000) and the international conference to be hosted by Canada in September 2000 on this subject.

(4) Reintegration and Rehabilitation

The G8

  • commits to promote the protection, welfare and rights of children during peace negotiations and throughout the process of consolidating peace in the aftermath of conflict, including through reintegration of former child soldiers in peace support operations.
  • commits to prioritize assistance for war-affected children, including former child soldiers, in expenditure for post-conflict reconstruction.
  • makes close contact, through UNICEF and other fora, on individual reintegration programs e.g. to identify and share best practice, noting the particular needs of displaced and vulnerable children in rehabilitation and reintegration programs and being sensitive to gender differentiated experiences.

5. International Civilian Police

UN deployed civilian police (CIVPOL), usually as a component of peacekeeping operations, are a critical element in conflict prevention as they help indigenous civilian police forces develop the capacity to maintain law and order, and if necessary, can perform this function on an interim basis.

The G8

  • notes the recent dramatic increase in civilian police operations and the resulting increase in the demand for international civilian police officers. The G8 calls upon the UN and regional organizations to work with member states to explore ways to meet this demand in a timely and effective way. The G8 urges that states in a position to do so make efforts to enhance their own capability to provide qualified civilian police officers on a timely basis, and that those with active training programs for international civilian police officers make them available to police from other contributing states.
  • stresses the need to enhance the capacity of the UN in the frame work of peacekeeping operations to support more comprehensive planning and better coordination of indigenous civilian police operations, criminal justice, and development of indigenous criminal justice systems. The G8 calls on the UN, in close consultation with member states, to take further steps to improve its international civilian police capabilities. Such steps should include development, on the basis of national contributions, of a reserve list of pre-trained, UN-certified international civilian police officers for possible service; completion of the review and revision, as appropriate, of the criteria for selection, evaluation, and training of these officers; and formulation of comprehensive policies on international civilian police operations to reflect new responsibilities such as in recent UN peacekeeping operations.
  • calls as well for increased UN support for training local police forces also as a post conflict activity and as a regular developmental activity with priority emphasis where such training would help prevent conflict. The G8 calls for new efforts in this regard on the basis of a dialogue involving member states, all relevant UN institutions, including UNDP, and other developmental institutions. This activity should promote the principles of democracy, good governance, human rights, and equal treatment under law.

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