by Peace Watch
Summary written by: Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: "Managing Communications," Peace Watch, Vol. II, No. 5 (August 1996) p. 1-2.
This newsletter presents an overview of a series of panel discussions held during the U.S. Institute for Peace's 1996 conference on "Managing Communications: Lessons from Interventions in Africa." Conference participants agreed that better communication between relief organizations, governments and the military would make humanitarian interventions less costly and more effective.
Civilian relief organizations and military peacekeeping forces share common goals, and so should be natural allies. Yet, conference attendees noted, "differences in their professional cultures, the lack of familiarity with each other's methods, and imperfect communications in the field can lead to misunderstandings or poor coordination of effort and handicap these [peacekeeping] operations."[p. 1] Better communication would lead to better cooperation, and so more efficient operations. Conference attendees discussed a variety of specific proposals, but agreed that the key to improved communication is flexibility and trust.