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The Context of Crisis
The challenge of crisis response

The Need for Advocacy
A model for international response to unfolding crises


ICG's Organisation
A brief history of ICG and an overview of the organisation

ICG Governance and Staff
ICG's Organisational structure and staff

ICG's International Board

ICG's Annual Review
Details of ICG's work during 1996-1997


A New Perspective
An introduction to ICG's modus operandi

A New Catalyst for Peace
How ICG aims to enhance and strengthen crisis response

The ICG Approach
ICG's crisis response mechanism


How ICG works to speed and strengthen crisis response

The ICG approach is designed to combine influence with field expertise and analytical capability and employs these skills in combination to develop and advocate the most practical recommendations to seemingly intractable problems. ICG is supported by highly professional staff with extensive experience at national and international policy level in a wide range of disciplines,including on-site disaster response work. In addition, the ICG approach supports the building of strategic alliances within the international response community, actively co-operating with others to achieve shared goals, and thus benefits from the counsel of senior advisors from NGO and government policy circles around the world.

Role and function

ICG's role, then, is that of a force-multiplier, lending weight and resonance to the efforts of other organisations involved in crisis response. ICG's international profile and independent character help it to avoid many of the political, institutional, and bureaucratic constraints under which other organisations must often operate. Its recommendations may be at odds with current public opinion, government policies, or the views of NGOs. But ICG has no axe to grind beyond averting human misery wherever it occurs and whoever is responsible.

ICG's recommendations will always be presented in a constructive manner and demonstrate an informed understanding of the practical, cultural and political problems facing policy-makers and field personnel. Their aim will always be to strengthen the hand of international institutions and stimulate governmental action when needed. Wherever possible, ICG's independent analyses and action plans will be designed so as to be readily implemented by governments and organisations seeking to change policies or marshal international support for them.

One very distinct aspect of ICG's method of advocacy is close interaction with the media. We will keep under constant review our relations with senior newspaper columnists, specialist print and broadcast correspondents and the key gatekeepers - editors and publishers - who determine what is covered in the media and how. Particular attention needs to be paid to the media's agenda-setting capability and its ability to build crucial new constituencies of interest. But there will be no element of propaganda in this liaison; it will remain a symbiotic relationship in which ICG - especially through its field personnel - is regarded by the media as an important source of accurate and independent information and constructive analysis during a breaking crisis.

ICG research staff also have responsibility for liaison with counterparts in other organisations and for ensuring a free distribution of our findings. Similarly, others' findings can be disseminated more widely through our world-wide network of contacts, as well as through other international channels in such a way as to expand the collective memory of the international response community and to reinforce the efficiency with which it can act.Popular support for ICG recommendations will be fostered through its public education and information programmes.

Focus of activity

With each lost opportunity to take early, pre-emptive action, the range of options available for successful and cost-effective intervention is reduced. For this reason ICG's primary focus is on finding ways to stimulate governments and inter-governmental institutions to take rapid preventive action when faced with impending crises.

Accordingly, ICG will make use of a broad array of formal and informal contacts to monitor as many of the international community's early-warning systems as possible. By combining the information thus obtained with its own assessments provided by ICG personnel in the field, ICG aims to detect when thresholds of unrest or tension within a given population are being crossed. ICG will be able to dispatch rapidly to the field a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who know where to go, what to look for and how to interpret breaking developments. As a private organisation,ICG will in many cases be able to sidestep obstacles which often impede official delegations, or members of other public bodies, in their efforts to visit trouble-spots.

ICG field team reports will be subjected to cross-cutting,policy-oriented analysis at headquarters and this will produce a strategy and the recommendations on which ICG's advocacy efforts will be based.Issues addressed might include suggestions for protecting minorities, encouraging preventive peacekeeping initiatives, or proposals for military intervention.ICG's paramount objective will be to promote measures aimed at preventing conflict and, should preventive efforts fail, at enabling the international community to mount a speedy and effective response effort.

Practical measures

The creation of ICG represents a timely, world-wide response to a seriously deteriorating state of affairs. ICG's primary aim is to find practical solutions to apparently intractable problems. Its role is not to break down barriers or impose unwelcome recommendations, but to mobilise the expertise which can show how and where bridges can be built in order to:

  • identify in advance the social, cultural, ethnic, economic and political divisions which might lead to conflict within or between countries;
  • to determine, as objectively as possible, appropriate strategies for averting or ameliorating crises by engaging opinion leaders;and to
  • use advocacy, as publicly as possible (or as privately as necessary) as a tool to encourage the international community to take appropriate steps, in conjunction with local parties, to avert crises.

To have any hope of achieving all this, an organisation would require not only access to highly accomplished analysts and advocates,but also to be completely non-partisan. That is why, from the outset, ICG has been an international body both in name and in nature. That is why it has sought and won the support, not only of governments and inter-governmental agencies, but of multi-national corporations and members of the informed public from all over the world. That is why, from the outset, ICG is seeking to involve local community interests in areas where such contact is often either absent or at best patchy.

ICG relies upon its international independence to enable it to function effectively as an international, professional advocacy body.Unlike inter-governmental organisations, ICG cannot serve any particular constituency of interest; but when successful its efforts can be of benefit to everyone. ICG's funding and support are drawn from an international constituency, making it independent of any other organisation.

ICG's Mission

ICG's analytical capabilities and its strategically targeted,international advocacy efforts are designed to reinforce and complement the role of governments, the United Nations, regional organisations like the European Union and the Organisation for African Unity and other inter- and non-governmental organisations. Its autonomy, influential leadership and international reach enable ICG to speak, in public and in private,with an independence, candour and authority that are sorely needed.

To summarise, ICG's mission is to help find a cure for the paralysis afflicting the international community.

ICG was created in order to:

  • strengthen the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand and prevent man-made disasters;
  • act as a catalyst to help foster a heightened sense of obligation among governments to deal with the problems posed by large-scale emergencies;
  • develop and promote strategies designed to assist governments and inter-governmental organisations to translate early warning signs of impending disaster into early action to avert crises;
  • mobilise support among officials and among the general public for concerted international, national and private sector response efforts at times of impending crisis;
  • boost public confidence in the international crisis response system.
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