ICG's greatest strength lies in its ability to provide policy-makers with well-timed, high-quality, balanced analyses of complex crises. Analytical reports, which contain an assessment of key trends and events as well as practical policy recommendations for international decision-takers, are prepared by field-based professionals with an intimate knowledge of the countries concerned. During 1997, ICG staff were stationed in Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Further countries-including Burundi, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Yugoslavia-will be added to this list early in 1998.
ICG staff in-country build up a sustained understanding of local conditions by consulting widely at all levels and across all sectors of society. Among those typically approached by ICG are representatives of the political leadership (both government and opposition), public servants, the military, teachers, health workers, economists, journalists, women, young people, various ethnic communities, business people, religious groups and other groups within civil society. Additional input is sought from the diplomatic representatives of external governments and intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies and human rights and humanitarian relief organisations active on the ground.
As well as mapping out the security, social and economic landscap of a given country, ICG staff also undertake first-hand investigations of potentially incendiary incidents-for example house-burnings and crowd-stoning in Bosnia or student demonstrations in Macedonia-seeking to highlight the objective facts and explain the implications of events.
From time to time, ICG may commission expert opinion pieces by legal or technical professionals on specific subjects that warrant more detailed specialist attention. Examples include papers on the rights of the sub-state entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina to succeed to the state assets of the Former Yugoslavia and the development of alternative electoral systems that encourage candidates to appeal across ethnic divides.
The end product of this process is a stream of reports, papers and public statements which seek to identify, dissect and assess potential problems and, importantly, suggest practical solutions. ICG's reports are targeted at the international community in general-but always with an eye to those key governments and international organisations which have the capacity to make a positive impact on the course of events in a given country.
During 1997, ICG produced some 20 major policy reports and over 50 other shorter papers and statements. Among the key reports released were:
- Bosnia: Brcko Arbitration - Proposal for Peace (January)
- Zaire and the Great Lakes - Exploratory Mission Report (February)
- Bosnia: Grave Situation in Mostar - Robust Response Required (February)
- State Succession to the Immovable Assets of Former Yugoslavia (February)
- Independent Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina (March)
- Sierra Leone: Situation Analysis (April)
- ICG in Bosnia and Yugoslavia - Past Achievements and Future Priorities (April)
- Going Nowhere Fast - Refugees and Displaced Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina (May)
- Sierra Leone: Situation Analysis (May)
- Bosnia: House Burnings - Obstruction of the Right to Return to Drvar (June)
- Sierra Leone: Tackling the Crisis in the Labour Market (July)
- ICG Statement on Nigeria to the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers (July)
- Ridding Bosnia of Landmines - The Urgent Need for a Sustainable Policy (July)
- The Labour Market in Sierra Leone - Strategies for Transformation (August)
- Beyond Ballot Boxes - Municipal Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (September)
- Macedonia Report (October)
- Bosnia: Dayton - Two Years On (November)
- Sierra Leone: Six Months After the Coup� (November)
- Bosnia: A Peace or Just a Ceasefire? The Military Equation In Post-Dayton Bosnia (December)
- Bosnia: Recommendations to the Peace Implementation Council Meeting in Bonn (December)
- Cambodia: Putting Cambodian Democracy Back on Track (December)