At Responsibility to Protect Conference: Ban Ki-moon Calls for Making 2012 the Year of Prevention

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The principle of ‘responsibility to protect’-- proactive, decisive and early action to stop violence before it begins-- was tested in 2011 as never before resulting in tens of thousands of lives saved and important lessons learned, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at R2P10, a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MacArthur Foundation and convened by the Stanley Foundation. 

“In 2011, history took a turn for the better. The Responsibility to Protect came of age; the principle was tested as never before,” Mr. Ban said. “The results were uneven but, at the end of the day, tens of thousands of lives were saved,” he stated. Click for Mr. Ban’s full remarks, or view the conference webcast. 

Mr. Ban also emphasized the importance of prevention and called for making 2012 the Year of Prevention.  

The Secretary-General pledged that during his second term, which began in January 2012,that the UN will redouble its efforts at training, education and capacity-building on human rights, humanitarian law and democratic values and practices. It will also undertake development and peace building in ways that reduce tensions among groups and strengthen institutional barriers to sectarian violence.  

Mr. Ban acknowledged those who established the groundwork for R2P and the importance of their path-breaking work. 

“The idea of this humanitarian response, this we are now talking about saving human lives. The United Nations is heavily engaged and committed to saving lives – human lives – natural disasters. Dr. Gregorian was one of the persons who has given the idea of an emergency response fund. He was not fully aware of how effectively this CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund) is now saving thousands and thousands of lives. We are very much grateful for this kind of long foresight of Dr. Gareth Evans, Mohamed Sahnoun, and Dr. Gregorian for their insight and foresight. Now we are working on how to save human lives in natural disasters. But today, we discuss how we can save lives in man-made disasters." 

Learn more about R2P

Read The Responsibility to Protect: An International Norm Comes of Age by Michael Barnett in The Carnegie Reporter Fall 2011

Read a Q&A with Michael Barnett

Learn more about Carnegie Corporation’s international peace and security grantmaking