NGOs and Forgotten Conflicts

Pamela Aall

Director of the Education Program at the United States Institute of Peace

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Just to finish this off, there is one very specific area in which we have said that track II can play a very important role and make a tremendous contribution to intractable conflicts and that is in the case of the forgotten conflicts, the one that no one is paying any attention to. Or that if they are paying attention to them they are so far down on the list of priorities they might send out a delegation maybe once every five years and say how is the conflict going. But they are not putting any resources to this. And there are lots of these forgotten conflicts around the world and the role that NGOs can play in that, because they are often engaged, these are often the conflicts that NGOs get engaged in because they can get entry, is to put them on the map. To make sure they are not forgotten anymore and to bring some of this outside experience into that conflict zone. A little bit of what I was saying that we do through our education program here which is to bring in people from other conflicts who have dealt with the same issues just to broaden the perspective of the people in that specific conflict. NGOs can do this and are doing this all over the place and it can make the difference between a conflict which can't find traction in a way, can't get itself together to enter a negotiation and a conflict that is more open to negotiation. So you know in that case we really were talking about what they can do for the good.