Letter from the President, Louise Arbour
In the course of what proved to be a turbulent year, Crisis Group was instrumental in delivering timely analysis and sound recommendations to leaders the world over. The year ahead promises further uncertainty. Taking just two examples, the Syrian conflict looks set to escalate further, and the repercussions of developments in Mali are far from clear but promise to be significant. Meeting these challenges will require renewed efforts and a profound understanding of the dynamics and drivers of conflict in diverse regions of the world.
As the civil war in Syria intensified in 2012 and consecutive peace efforts failed, our analysts continued to report in an extremely complex environment on the devastating military and humanitarian situation. Crisis Group’s reports on the radicalisation of the conflict and extremist currents among the opposition afforded essential insight. In Central and West Africa, the proliferation of armed extremists and rebel groups reflects the relative ease with which radical forces can exploit the political and institutional weakness of countries in transition. Likewise, several states in North Africa face numerous hurdles in their transition to democracy, with enduring political and economic turmoil in Egypt and continued security threats confronting Libya.
Throughout these conflicts and others, Crisis Group has equipped policymakers with informed judgments and practical advice crucial to the de-escalation and prevention of violence. Our analysis of events over the past year has often proved prescient, while our targeted advocacy efforts have produced real results, including the lifting of sanctions against Myanmar and the passage of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution criticising the Sri Lankan government’s failure to support reconciliation and account adequately for the deaths of perhaps 40,000 civilians at the end of its civil war. In addition, Crisis Group continues to ensure it pays attention to emerging or forgotten crises: last year we reported for the first time on the troubled North Caucasus region of Russia, as well as rising tensions in the South China Sea and the rise of piracy and organised crime in the Gulf of Guinea.
In the coming year, Crisis Group will further its efforts to address security issues in countries currently facing armed conflict, as well as in those emerging from it and those where instability threatens to erupt into open violence. We will also promote dialogue on a range of security-related issues, including the rule of law, the effectiveness of sanctions and the rights of national minorities, to ensure that these concerns continue to be adequately addressed in security circles.
Of course, at the root of any successful organisation lies the talent and dedication of its staff. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their hard work and congratulate them on the real-life impact they have made in promoting peace and stability throughout the world.
Brussels, 1 February 2013
Louise Arbour, President and CEO