Image: SIPRI Chairman Emeritus Ambassador Rolf Ekeus (left) and former Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Ali Akbar Velayati in Tehran.
On 10–12 October a five-member delegation from SIPRI travelled to Tehran, Iran, to participate in a round-table seminar organized by the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), a leading foreign policy think tank and the research arm of the Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Representing SIPRI were Ambassador Rolf Ekéus (SIPRI Distinguished Associate Fellow and former Chairman of the SIPRI Governing Board), SIPRI Senior Researchers Shannon Kile and Dr Jaïr van der Lijn, Ambassador Lars-Erik Lundin (SIPRI Distinguished Associate Fellow) and Dr Tariq Rauf, Director of the SIPRI Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme.
Participants in the round table discussed the status of the ongoing negotiations in Vienna regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, and developments in multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation initiatives. They also discussed regional security issues and emerging threats to stability.
While in Tehran, the SIPRI delegation held a number of private meetings with senior Iranian officials. These included Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs, Majid Takht-Ravanchi—who delivered a SIPRI lecture in Stockholm in November 2013—and the commander of the Iranian Anti-Narcotics Police, General Ali Moayyedi.
The delegation also met with the head of the Centre for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, Dr Ali Akbar Velayati. Dr Velyati, who is a former Foreign Minster, serves as a foreign policy advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The visit was part of a research project funded by the Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
On 2 October 2014 SIPRI and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) launched a new joint publication on anti-vehicle mines (AVMs) at the Maison de la Paix in Geneva.
The Humanitarian and Developmental Impact of Anti-Vehicle Mines documents a long-term study undertaken by SIPRI and GICHD to document the humanitarian and developmental impact of AVMs.
In some countries, AVMs now present a greater threat to civilian populations than anti-personnel mines (APMs), yet they are often viewed as a marginal issue in international fora. According to the report’s authors:
In 2013 SIPRI Researchers Tamara Patton and Lina Grip travelled to Cambodia, and then to , as part of the study, which involved a global survey process and detailed impact case studies in Cambodia, South Sudan and Afghanistan. Patton also presented the preliminary findings of the study at the annual Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Meeting of States Parties in 2013.
The final report was launched by GICHD Director Ambassador Stefano Toscano. A panel of experts also presented findings and recommendations from the report. Panellists included Lina Grip, GICHD Director of Operations Dr Guy Rhodes and Lance Malin of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
The report finds that the negative impact of AVMs on stability and development is significant. It recommends continuing discussions on further regulating the use of AVMs to comply with existing principles of international humanitarian law, and exploring ways of ensuring that AVMs produced in the future include measures to enable detectability and record geographic coordinates of mines and minefields.
The study also provides observations and recommendations for data collection practices and suggests an expansion of AVM-specific mine-risk education.
Researching peace operations in a multipolar world remains a challenge. Some argue that the shift of influence from established to emerging powers runs the risk of destabilizing international conflict management.
While disagreements over international responses to the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine seem to confirm this, the preliminary results from an ongoing SIPRI research project suggest that consensus between emerging and established powers over the future peace operations landscape remains possible, particularly in Africa.
In 2012 SIPRI's New Geopolitics of Peace Operations Initiative embarked on an examination of the effects of multipolarity on the future of peace operations and conflict management. At its core the initiative aims to better understand the points of view of emerging powers and troop-contributing countries, and to stimulate discussions on peace operations.
To that end, SIPRI and its project partner, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, organized a series of regional dialogue meetings with diplomats, military representatives and academics in eight locations: Addis Ababa, Amman, Astana, Brasília, Brussels, Hanoi, Kathmandu and Ulan Bator. Reports from each of the dialogue meetings are now available for download from the SIPRI website. The final report will be published in late 2014.
SIPRI's New Geopolitics of Peace Operations Initiative is supported by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and is conducted in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. For more information contact Jaïr van der Lijn.
Image: the United Nations' Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) conducts training for Mali's National Guard and Police. Credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino.
The SIPRI Update for September 2014 is out now—, or subscribe to receive the SIPRI Update in your inbox each month.
In this issue we present an essay by Jaïr van der Lijn and Xenia Avezov on the preliminary results from SIPRI's New Geopolitics of Peace Operations Initiative, which suggest that consensus remains possible in the future peace operations landscape:
The search for clarity on the limitations and opportunities for international conflict management in an increasingly multipolar world is particularly relevant in light of the recently announced review of UN peace operations. In contrast to the commonly feared and expected paralysis in the international system, and in light of the highly politicized and polarized debate at the UN in New York, some of the preliminary findings from the regional dialogues reveal a surprising convergence of views on the potential for future cooperation between emerging and established powers.
browse the full list of SIPRI Essays from 2009 to 2014.
On 8–9 September Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of the SIPRI Dual-use and Arms Trade Control Programme, attended the first round of informal consultations of the preparatory process towards the First Conference of States Parties (CSP1) of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Mexico City.
During the meeting, representatives of 70 signatory and ratifying states, officials from regional and international organizations and members of civil society that have been supportive of the Treaty discussed substantive issues and the roadmap towards 1CSP.
Prior to the meeting participants were also given copies of a new SIPRI report authored by Sibylle Bauer, Paul Beijer (who has been the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' representative for the ATT process since 2010) and SIPRI Dual-use and Arms Trade Control Programme co-Director Mark Bromley.
The paper, 'The Arms Trade Treaty: challenges for the First Conference of States Parties', outlines the various options for key aspects of ATT implementation and draws relevant lessons from existing arms control and export control instruments.
On 25 September a group of eight states—Argentina, the Bahamas, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay— deposited their instruments of ratification for the ATT, bringing the total number of ratifying states to 53. The ATT will therefore enter into force on 24 December 2014—90 days after the 50th ratification.