UNITED NATIONS HQ
The UN has often failed to act quickly or decisively enough to prevent conflict or even genocide. Yet the polarizing effect of unilateral action in conflicts such as Iraq may have reinforced the world’s appreciation for a centralized body and the legitimacy it can bring. While many recent pushes to reform were shot down – by the US in particular – other branches of the UN, especially its humanitarian programs, are more successful than ever. Despite its chequered reputation, the UN has a future. ‘The Negotiators’ will travel to UN HQ in New York to meet diplomats, ambassadors and political analysts to find out what that will look like in the decades to come.
Two decades ago America seemed ready to be world’s peacekeeper. But disaster in Somalia – famously known as ‘Black Hawk Down’ - dampened the commitment to peacekeeping. A year later came Rwanda, and – as a direct effect of the genocide there – war in neighboring DR Congo followed. Would the US have intervened more forcefully in these conflicts had it not been for that fateful incident in Somalia? The US continues to play a major role in Middle East peace negotiations – many believe that peace there cannot happen without America’s intervention. And can the US negotiate peace in a country as troubled as Afghanistan? ’The Negotiators’ journeys to Washington’s corridors of power to discover more about America’s philosophy of negotiation today.
Peacekeeping is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and Ross Mountain has one of the toughest jobs in peacekeeping. Mountain has worked in major conflict zones around the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Liberia and East Timor. In 2004 Mountain undertook his biggest challenge yet when he became the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the UN in the DR Congo. He was responsible for the largest peacekeeping force ever deployed. The Negotiators follows Mountain as he jumps between army commanders, disgruntled locals, the international media and militia kidnappers whilst still managing to keep his sense of purpose.
ISRAEL / PALESTINE
This small land witnessed first ever peace keeping mission in 1948 yet tensions here continue to fan out across the globe leaving the UN largely sidelined and its resolutions ignored. We ask whether, in a conflict so seemingly irresolvable, bringing new and unlikely actors onto the stage could make all the difference.
In 2000 the UN passed resolution 1325 calling for women to be brought into the peace process and from this the International Women’s Commission was born to broker peace in Israel/ Palestine. We follow this interesting new development in the field of conflict resolution by shadowing the efforts of Palestinian and Israeli women as they collaborate on a solution to the deadlock.
Despite a troop surge in 2010 the year was the bloodiest yet for the coalition forces in Afghanistan. Nearly a decade after the fall of the Taliban the conflict still rages and the possibility of a clean exit in 2011, as the US plans, looks unlikely. A call must now be made between the ideals and rhetoric of democratic liberalism and a negotiated peace with the Taliban. The Obama administration, the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership have one thing in common- they all want to see an end to foreign occupation. Yet to be no seen to negotiate is controversial for everyone. We travel to Kabul and Kandahar to meet the negotiators trying to trying to bridge this gap and build a peace in a country where there are now generations who have known only war.