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         15 January 2001


On 25-26 January 2001, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan will organize an international conference entitled Partners in Humanitarian Crises: Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution - Towards a Comprehensive Approach. The two main goals of the conference are to develop practical recommendations to improve international responses to humanitarian crises and raise public awareness.

The number of war-related deaths surpassed 5 million during the 1990s, and more than 18 million people were refugees, internally displaced or seeking asylum at the end of 1999 - figures indicative of a much wider tragedy. Moreover, civil conflict is rarely confined within territorial borders, but often adversely affects regional or international peace and stability.

Conference participants will discuss the challenges of effective conflict prevention, the dilemmas of international responses to intra-state conflicts, and the illusions and realities of conflict resolution. A wide range of issues related to the roles of humanitarian aid donors, non-governmental organizations, and the news media will also be considered, with a focus on how rhetoric can be turned into constructive action.

The conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, 25 January, in the U Thant International Conference Hall at the UNU Centre in Tokyo. Following opening remarks by Kiyohiro Araki, (State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan), UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel, and Ambassador Ove Juul Joergensen (Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan), Poul Nielson, EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, will deliver the keynote address. Other scheduled speakers include Glenys Kinnock, Member of the European Parliament; Yasushi Akashi, Chairman of the Japan Centre for Preventive Diplomacy; Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Mari Fitzduff, Director of the Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity (INCORE); David Malone, President of the International Peace Academy; Haruhito Sumikawa, Deputy Chief Editorial Writer, Asahi Shimbun; and Fergal Keane, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, BBC.

The Partners in Humanitarian Crises conference is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Asahi Shimbun. This will be the first in a series of annual international conferences organized by the UNU and the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan, focusing on joint concerns of the UN, the EU, and Japan in areas of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis management.

In conjunction with the conference, an exhibition featuring the efforts at alleviating humanitarian crises on part of UN agencies and the EU is open to the public at UNU from 24 January.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend. Simultaneous English-Japanese interpretation will be provided. A copy of the programme is attached for your reference.

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For further information please contact:
The UNU Public Affairs Section: Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346
The Delegation of the European Commission in Japan: Tel. (03) 3239-0441; Fax (03) 3261-5194




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