HK: Does the loss of Norwegian funding put your Crisis Intervention projects under threat?
MR: It does, because the Norwegians have been excellent in understanding the necessity of doing prevention work, and in fact they spoke very well at Security Council Resolution 2242 when they pledged 4 Million for civil society to continue the work on prevention. The Global Study, the global study on how well UN1325 has been implemented, the independent study by Radhika Coomaraswamy – I was part of the Advisory Board on that – it very clearly says that it is not working because the funding is not getting to the right people – it needs to get to the grass roots. But it also shows that if you do that work, it works. It works. If you do the upstream work, to actually create greater equality, if you use your aid budget to increase levels of education, particularly for girl children and increased access to health care, number and spacing of children, understanding of all the things that have to happen in terms of health care and reproductive rights, and also in terms of maternal mortality – all of those things – if you fund that – you get more equal societies. If you have more equal societies, you are less likely to end up with the creation of violent masculinities. Where you get more participation in governance which is one step, and as a result of that, which is what we said at the 100th (Anniversary Conference), less likely to end up with creation of violent masculinities and stereotyped gender roles, you get a more peaceful society. And a peaceful society tends to be more economically energetic and less likely to have violent extremism. It is a win-win for everyone and less likely to end up in violent state conflict. It has been proven. The empirical evidence is out there. The research has been done. But the UN is not convinced. Member States are not convinced. You only have to look at what happens the minute you get to a peace process and then suddenly it reverts to type.
HK: Why is the UN not more effective?
MR: I think it has got worse. As you know, I used to work for the UN, and it was not as bad then as it is now.
I think an absolute case in point was in Serbia where you have a complex humanitarian crisis with floods of refugees coming through. There should be 50, 60, 70 years of experience in dealing with refugee floods like this. Nothing! Instead of hiring people with the knowledge to do it, the person they brought over is a PR specialist. Why do you need a PR specialist to do this work unless it is spin, to say we are doing a fantastic job. That is symptomatic of the way the world is working, unfortunately, with NGOs as well. You have to have a PR person – we are playing in that nasty corporate branded approach of doing work. And it is just not right. And the UN is into that. And the competition between the different agencies is legion.
It’s all about keeping your jobs and not offending member States. So there is a crisis in UN. It has become not fit for purpose. We saw that with the launch of the Global Study here. They do not include women civil society at all. They are just not interested. We are not going to play that game any more.