Preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping: Tajikistan
In 1992, Tajikistan faced an acute social and economic crisis following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Its stability was further upset by clan, regional and political tensions, and by differences between secularists and pro-Islamic traditionalists. In May 1992, the Tajik opposition seized power de facto, but, defeated by government forces eight months later, fled to Afghanistan and continued a sporadic armed insurgency from across the border. By mid-1993, an estimated 50,000 people, mostly civilians, had been killed, some 600,000 had been displaced internally, and many thousands of others had fled to other countries.
In September 1992, the President of Uzbekistan invited the United Nations Secretary-General to dispatch a fact-finding mission to the area. This mission was followed in succession first by a "good offices" mission and then by a small group of political, military and humanitarian officers. In April 1993, the group warned of a possible escalation of the conflict. Acting urgently, the Secretary-General appointed, on 26 April, a Special Envoy for Tajikistan to help obtain agreement on a ceasefire and, among other things, make good offices available to help set up a process of negotiation.
These efforts began to bear fruit with the holding of a series of inter-Tajik talks and the signing, in September 1994, of a temporary ceasefire, the establishment of a monitoring mechanism and a request for United Nations military observers. The Secretary-General attached a small number of observers to the UN group pending a decision by the Security Council to establish an observer mission. That decision came in December 1994, when the Security Council set up the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT). UNMOT assisted Tajikistan until 15 May 2000.
Reflecting on these efforts and the overall positive outcome of the peace process, the Secretary-General noted the early engagement of the United Nations, sustained political support of the Security Council and regional States, cooperation with other organizations, effective crisis management, and, above all, the clear will of the Tajik people to end the war and pursue a political solution.
Preventive action: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
In mid-1991, the break-up of Yugoslavia resulted in armed conflict between, among and within its various parts. Although the fighting had not spread to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the president of that republic requested the presence of United Nations observers. Their mandate would be essentially preventive, that is, they would monitor and report any developments that could undermine the stability of the republic and threaten its territory. Accordingly, UN troops, observers and civilian police monitors were deployed along the border areas and were successful in reducing tensions, facilitating the management of border areas, and defusing border incidents.
By 1994, it was recognized that likely sources of instability included internal factors. The political situation in the country was extremely complex, in part because of the countryís ethnic mix. Tensions were high between the Government and elements among the ethnic Albanian population, who were demanding improvements in their political, economic, social, cultural and educational status. There were also tensions between the Government and nationalist elements among the ethnic Macedonian majority. In addition, the economy was in decline and unemployment was high. In this context, the Security Council encouraged the Secretary-Generalís Special Representative to use his good offices to contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability. Accordingly, the UN mission began monitoring developments in the country, including possible areas of conflict, with a view to promoting reconciliation among the various groups. The mission also offered ad hoc community services and humanitarian assistance. The Security Council eventually expanded the missionís tasks to include monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows and other prohibited activities.
At its height, the mission comprised some 1,050 troops, 35 observers, 26 police monitors and other civilians from 50 countries. In February 1999, the mandate of the UN Preventive Deployment Force came to an end when the permanent members of the Security Council were unable to come to a unanimous decision to maintain the mission.
UNPREDEP was a comprehensive model of preventive action. In addition to the duties described above, UNPREDEP was also involved in a wide range of programmes related to good governance and the rule of law, strengthening of national capacity and infrastructure, institution-building and human resources development in the governmental and civil sectors. The mission worked with many groups in the society to encourage them to contribute to the country's development and to serve as agents of conflict prevention and promoters of democracy and human rights. It helped to obtain international expertise through long-term programmes and activities aimed at enhancing social peace and stability. It also worked in close cooperation with a number of international organizations.
Preventive disarmament: Albania
In Albania, over half a million weapons, mainly semi-automatic guns, and several million hand grenades and landmines were in circulation among the civilian population. In 1999, the United Nations launched its Weapons Exchange for Development campaign. Within a few months, more than 5,770 weapons and more than 100 tons of ammunition were collected in Gramsh district alone. In return, some 100 villages in the district were connected by telephone, giving the villagers access to assistance from the police and the health-care system. Streetlights have also been provided for the town of Gramsh as a result.
On 7 June 1998, fighting broke out between forces loyal to the President and those loyal to the former Army Chief of Staff. The President had dismissed the Army Chief over allegations relating to the smuggling of arms to separatist rebels in a neighbouring country. Over the next few months, the two sides negotiated a series of agreements aimed at resolving the conflict. The UN Security Council welcomed the agreements and requested the Secretary-General to look into ways the United Nations could assist Guinea-Bissau in the process of national reconciliation.
By April 1999, the Secretary-General had appointed a Representative to head a Peace-building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau. The office became operational a short time thereafter and comprised political affairs and human rights officers, an electoral officer and a military adviser. One of its first tasks was to work towards creating conditions appropriate for holding orderly and peaceful legislative and presidential elections. From the time it was set up through the present, the Secretary-General has fine-tuned the mandate of the office as events have altered the pace and the nature of the peace process. With the approval of the Security Council, the office will stay in Guinea-Bissau well into the year 2001. Its current duties are as follows: