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UN-authorised protection of civilians (POC) actions in Libya and Ivory Coast have been unprecedented in their show of military might and willingness to use force against the main parties to the conflict. In both, application is deeply intertwined with politics -- with upholding election results (Ivory Coast) or providing moral and legal cover for actions leading possibly to regime change (Libya) -- and raise salient questions about UN impartiality.
EVENT: The World Food Summit in Rome on the impact of surging global food prices closed on June 5.
SIGNIFICANCE: While world leaders debate how to bolster food output and ease pressures on international supply, members of the West and Central African franc zones -- including some of the earth's poorest and most environmentally fragile countries -- face the practical challenges of protecting already poor living standards and enhancing domestic agricultural capacity.
ANALYSIS: Faced with a crisis that affects developing nations everywhere, the 14 countries of the West African …
SUBJECT: Causes and consequences of the lack of progress in Ivory Coast's eight-month-old peace process.
SIGNIFICANCE: As the Ouagadougou process falls further behind schedule, the risk increases that tensions within or between parties could boil over before elections are finally held.
ANALYSIS: The Ivorian peace and reconciliation process made its most dramatic progress in February to June this year, through a 'Direct Dialogue' between the combatant parties (see IVORY COAST: Delayed Ouagadougou process moves forward.
SUBJECT: The outlook for the peace process following President Laurent Gbagbo's July 30 visit to Bouake to launch disarmament officially.
SIGNIFICANCE: Gbagbo had not visited the rebel-held north of the country since before the civil war broke out in September 2002. Yet despite its enormous symbolic importance, his visit does not bring implementation of the current peace process any closer.