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The conflict prevention capacities of local NGOs in the Caucasus

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by Anna Matveeva
Royal Institute of International Affairs

January 2000

Edited by M. Marwaha-Diedrich for the FEWER Secretariat

This paper was sponsored by:





1. INTRODUCTION

In societies affected by violent conflict, such as in the Caucasus region, there is a proliferation of independent initiatives and activities by Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). In the 1990s, local capacities in the region to cope with conflict have improved but the degree to which these capacities can influence conflict resolution or act as mechanisms to prevent further escalation of conflict remains to be seen.

The paper maps out the conflict resolution and conflict prevention activities undertaken by local actors and institutions in the Caucasus. Through this mapping, it is possible to assess the local organisation's relative impact in achieving settlement of the crisis. An aim of the paper is to gain better understanding of the experiences of local actors, organisations and available instruments, and to identify areas of complementarity and synergy with international actors. The paper is structured as follows. The first section outlines the political and operational context under which the local actors operate and the constraints they experience. The second section analyses the types of activities Caucasian NGOs undertake. An objective is to interpret the experiences of NGOs, find where they see a need for more work, identify clear gaps and the extent to which it is feasible to fill them. The third section considers the activities and lessons that could be learnt by local NGOs in partnership with international actors. The paper does not provide a complete list of peace-building/ conflict prevention instruments which are implemented. Instead, the reader is presented with a representative sample of field-level initiatives. The conclusion draws together policy and practical recommendations for local and international actors.

A profile of actors and organisations in the Caucasus is appended to the paper but is by no means exclusive. The majority of these organisations and individuals are members of the Caucasus Forum. The Caucasus Forum is a network of local peace-makers and NGOs active in the field of resolution and prevention of conflicts. It was founded in 1998 with the facilitation of International Alert, a London-based NGO working towards conflict resolution. Other actors are covered in the survey who are not formal members of the Forum, but in the author's view are worth including.

In conflict situations, terminology can play an extremely divisive role, which is why words need to be explained and used with caution. A view on political settlement of the conflict is not held in this paper but a distinction is made on the type of states in the Caucasus. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are referred to as 'recognised states' while South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh are referred to as 'unrecognised' or 'separatist states'.

2. POLITICAL AND OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

Outside actors need to bear in mind the political and operational context in which NGOs work in the Caucasus, as a number of internal and external factors shape the emergence and development of local organisations. Such an approach helps to develop realistic expectations of what the organisations can or cannot do, and to understand the constraints on their activities and vision. The most important factors are discussed below.

The countries of the Caucasus have been greatly affected by projects to mobilise the local population in order to realise national goals. These projects often resulted in ethno-political conflicts. The development of the third sector was greatly influenced by the conflicts and by the efforts to cope with the consequences of violence. NGOs working in emergency relief provision or in conflict mitigation emerged earlier (at the beginning of 1990s) than other types of NGOs and often dominate the rest of the NGO sector.

NGOs working in conflict areas in both the recognised and unrecognised states follow parameters set by their respective states though these vary greatly. This could happen in two ways. First, all operate in the legal framework provided by the state. The government could use a legal framework to restrict the activities of NGOs by crude measures, such as the harassment of activists and by threats of closure, or by more subtle means, such as increased taxation or quiet arm-twisting. Secondly, in order to be effective, NGOs working in conflict resolution/ conflict prevention need to have access to those in power and to enjoy a certain respect among the political elite of their own countries. If they totally oppose the policies of their respective governments, they run the major risk of becoming marginalised from mainstream politics and society. However, some NGOs take a position which may go against state policy. For instance, the Center for Humanitarian Programmes (Abkhazia) at present disagrees with the recent unilateral initiative of the Abkhaz government on the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to the Gali region. The Abkhaz side announced the right to return to Gali as effective from 1 March 1999, but no proper security guarantees for the returnees are in place. The NGO took the position that proper security guarantees need to be in place before the returnees come back, else the returnees could be in a worse position than before. However, it is unlikely to expect that any NGO would oppose the core position of their political leadership on issues regarding future re-settlement.

NGOs working towards conflict resolution/ conflict prevention are also the products of their own societies and carry the same societal grievances, concerns and cultural sensitivities. They are, to a varying extent, affected by the dominant ideologies promoted by their leadership. Again, NGOs often can and do go against the prevailing trends. However, it is far easier for them to be critical of the internal policies of their own governments, since societies in the Caucasus are fairly critical of their leadership, rather than critique popular sentiments regarding settlement of the conflict. Moreover, persons in the local NGOs are often directly affected by the conflict, which explains why they got involved in the first place. They often have strong views on the justice and obligation of the other side. Hence, such persons carry a responsibility for both the resolution and reconciliation of the conflict.

The emergence of local NGOs for conflict resolution is closely related to the activities (and often financial assistance) provided by international organisations (IOs) and international NGOs (INGOs) in the region. This phenomenon has both strengths and weaknesses. One of the strengths is that local NGO's could consolidate their capacities, both in terms of finances and skills. However, local efforts tend to be directed towards certain values and fields of work that the international community regards as being positive and constituting good values. One of the weaknesses is a practice among local NGOs of drawing up projects which they think the international organisations and donors would help fund, even if they themselves may not be convinced of the project's usefulness. This runs the risk of creating an externally imposed agenda. NGOs, particularly in the unrecognised states, are vulnerable to accusations of losing touch with their own societies if they are seen to associate too closely with the international actors. Most international organisations have an established presence and enjoy good contacts with governments in recognised states. However, NGOs have no choice but to turn to international donors as scarcity of financial resources means that no local sources of funding are available and there is no tradition of private charities.

The credibility NGOs enjoy in their own societies varies greatly. On the one hand, NGOs at the grassroots level act on an agenda which affects large groups in society. An example is the national army service to which many young men are conscripted and families face a real possibility of losing their sons in ethnic battles. In this respect, organisations like Committees of Soldiers' Mothers enjoy a high standing and widespread appeal among people in their country. On the other hand, NGOs can operate in a fairly elitist world of providing policy advice and lobbying decision-makers. Most of these NGOs are not widely recognised by the population at large, but still play a very important role in promoting conflict resolution. However, it will be naïve to believe that NGOs alone can have a decisive impact on the resolution of conflicts, especially as the third sector in post-Soviet societies is newly emerging. Often, working through NGOs is the only open channel of communication in conditions of outright hostility between parties to a conflict.

3. LOCAL INSTRUMENTS AND ACTORS

A positive feature of independence in the Caucasus was the growth of NGOs. However, it is pointless to look for Western style, institutionalised NGOs with clear structures, mandates and solid financial bases. There are a number of organisations, groups and individuals involved in the activities of the third sector. In each recognised or unrecognised state there may be a couple of established NGOs with full-time staff and experience of working in the third sector. However, the majority of individuals and local organisations working in this field tend to be loosely structured and flexible in their activities.

There are a number of reasons that could help explain this trend. First, very few NGOs can provide full-time salaries for their staff and the typical staff member has more than one job. Secondly, divisions between the state/ non-state sector are blurred in the choice of staff. Individuals in NGOs could be employed in state institutions, but cherish an opportunity to work with the NGO sector because they could do or say things they may be unable to in their official capacity. Some NGOs were founded by former politicians who still retain strong albeit informal ties with those in power. This includes Natella Akaba, formerly a prominent member of the Abkhaz Parliament and presently the Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Support for Democracy. There are cases of young people who started their career in an NGO and were were co-opted in the government, but continue to work part-time in this sector. Others in the sector are independent intellectuals working towards peace activities. Such persons are often associated with universities and research centres but cannot adhere to any organisational structure. Thirdly, in the Caucasus and other parts of the USSR, a substantive number of people, especially in the large cities, were involved in intellectual professions which collapsed with the dissolution of the USSR. The NGO sector was one of the very few avenues where the intelligentsia could survive. Many dispossessed intellectuals found a safe haven in taking up issues of conflict analysis and conflict resolution.

This does not in the least mean that their activities are not worthwhile. On the contrary, many are pioneers and show determination and often courage to confront prevailing moods and trends among the political elites and society at large. External actors should, however, have an understanding of how local actors survive and relate to the outside world. The best type of activities they could implement are within their own societies where they can be most effective. Such activities are described below.

3.1. Working with the displaced (Service Provision)

The worst consequences of displacement are currently experienced in Georgia and Azerbaijan. In this area, service-providing NGOs have been more active in Georgia than in Azerbaijan in assisting international organisations and NGOs in relief provision. They also do important work in improving morale such as taking children from the displaced families out to summer camps; work with the most vulnerable groups, such as widows and orphans, and increasing awareness of the existing opportunities for help and empowerment. For example, 'Assist Yourself' in Georgia has recently compiled an information pack for IDPs. The pack contains information on the rights of IDPs, and governmental structures and aid agencies to help make them aware of employment and training opportunities. 'Hayat', an NGO in Azerbaijan is involved in similar activities with IDPs. However, since the organisation is more institutionally developed and the scope of its activities extends to cover various other vulnerable groups, conflict is only one of the issues taken up.

3.2. Reintegration of displaced populations and conflict prevention

In societies affected by the large-scale displacement, there is a danger of the displaced becoming an explosive material - a recruitment base for those who seek to achieve settlement through force by the use of arms. Moreover, many of the displaced are confused about the current situation and do not know whether their best solution is to adapt to the new environment, or to await their return home. One aspect of conflict prevention is to consolidate efforts to reintegrate IDPs in the mainstream social and political debates and to reduce the appeal of recruitment by radical groups. ICCN in Georgia has been undertaking a Programme of Training in Conflict Resolution Skills and Methods, sponsored by the Norwegian Refugee Council. It runs seminars and conflict resolution workshops in Tbilisi and has expanded its reach to the Zugdidi region of Western Georgia, where there is a high concentration of IDPs. This work is important in mitigating tensions and improving the atmosphere in the community but is yet to reach out to the radical and vocal IDP political structures, such the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia-in-Exile, headed by Tamaz Nadareishvili.

A future aspect of working with the displaced may be a shift in focus from service provision to contributing to a new political orientation of the people. Joint efforts by international and local NGOs could be useful for this work. The work could include a round of consultations to draw up a strategy of how the problem could be tackled at different levels, such as with the IDP community itself, international NGOs working in aid provision, the local mass media and intellectuals, and the state authorities.

3.3. Initiatives among young people.

In the Caucasus, contacts and trust are more easily established between young people than among the older generation, despite the fact that many young men took part in military action during the conflict. People often point to a generation gap between those whose outlook was formed predominantly in the Soviet times, and the next generation. Due to the conflict, younger people were promoted to the positions of power and responsibility, both as political leaders and as military commanders. To a certain extent, the traditional Caucasian respect for older people's opinions has diminished. In many ways, it is easier for younger persons to overcome stereotypes and enter into dialogue as individuals rather than as representatives of the political factions. Moreover, in isolated societies such as Abkhazia, young people face particular hardship due to a lack of exchange and communication and exclusion from the wider world. Georgian NGOs, such as Multinational Georgia, and individuals and international actors have been taking steps to promote contacts among young people. Such contacts include training seminars for young leaders of the state and NGO sectors and meetings of young journalists. A suggestion is to create young people's peace centres in different regions of the Caucasus, but it is often difficult for young people in the separatist states to overcome political pressure.

3.4. Demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants

In separatist states there is perhaps a greater need for demobilisation and re-integration of ex-combatants into civilian life or into the proper armed forces. The situation in Chechnya is a warning signal of what could happen if this does not occur. The problem tends to be coped with better in recognised states, since the number of ex-combatants is relatively small compared to the population. Hence, there are more job opportunities and the general political atmosphere is less focused on the conflict and its consequences. However, in both recognised and unrecognised states the authorities have used ex-combatants for political purposes, such as to put pressure on the other side. In the separatist states, ex-combatants can present a two-fold challenge. On the one hand, many are handicapped, wounded and are psychologically traumatised, and the resources to help such vulnerable groups are extremely limited. On the other hand, many never surrendered their weapons, do not hold proper jobs and are easily engaged in crime and drug-taking. In Abkhazia, the Centre for Humanitarian Programmes has been rendering medical and psychological assistance to the ex-combatants, as well as helping the veterans' organisations to get off the ground and build their potential. The Centre also has a rapid response capacity to deal with problems which arise and organises social events for the veterans. In Nagorno Karabakh, problems related to ex-combatants were made slightly easier by a stricter policy on weapons control.

3.5. Lobbying

The third sector has not developed effective lobbying groups and strategies among young people despite aspiring to do so. Even in Georgia where the general political situation is more favourable for democratic initiatives. There is a sense that Georgian NGOs have not so far exploited their room for manoeuvre for effectively lobbying with their own authorities. For instance, they could use Georgia's recent ascension to the Council of Europe in their lobbying tactics. Georgia has a State Chancellery of NGO Consultation Board through which most institutionalised NGOs could attend meetings of the Council and project their views. Twelve NGOs and three representatives of the State Chancellery are members of the Council. However, its lobbying capacity on issues of conflict is limited because of the diverse needs of participating NGOs who focus on a variety of political and civil issues. The Council helps the government to draft the text of new initiatives and monitor the social atmosphere rather than focusing on conflict resolution strategies.

In the separatist states, public lobbying and debate is very difficult due to the need to project an image of strength through an internal atmosphere of unity and consolidation. However, society in unrecognised states is more tightly knit than in the recognised states, and leading actors in NGOs/ civil society are part of the political and intellectual elite. Their direct access to those in power is often easier rather than in the recognised (and much larger) states. For instance, Karen Ohanjanyan of 'HI-92' enjoyed the respect of Robert Kocharian during the latter's time as the President of Nagorno Karabakh, and was able to use his influence to help facilitate the visit of the representatives of Azerbaijani NGOs to Karabakh. However, such NGO representatives have to be cautious in their approach since dissident views are not widely tolerated, as suggested by the emigration of members of the political elite from unrecognised regimes.

3.6. Change of legislature

As some of the conflicts in the Caucasus initially revolved around issues of status, power, devolution and autonomy, it is important to address such issues at an early stage of the conflict resolution process. It is unclear how the future status of Nagorno Karabakh can fit in with a commitment to a unitary state proclaimed under the Constitution of Azerbaijan. This partially helps explain the lack of thinking and public debate in Azerbaijan on the framework and legal relations between Azerbaijan and Karabakh. In contrast, Georgian constitutional and political arrangements contain a commitment to federalism and power devolution which are as yet unspecified. As Georgian NGO activist Malkhaz Chemia noted, it is impossible to hold talks with the Abkhaz about federal arrangements, having the constitution of a unitary state in hand. Therefore, scope exists for intellectual debate and activities by NGOs on the issue of changing the legislature. Georgian NGOs have taken up the challenge by drafting proposals and lobbying the Georgian parliament to discuss new legislative initiatives.

Georgian IDP organisations also took an active stance in lobbying for changing the law on IDPs which they claim failed to take into account the views and the needs of the community. Recent policies that forced the Georgian NGO community into action were the surprise introduction of a new passport design and abolishing registration of ethnicity in the passports. Controversy surrounded the introduction of the new initiative which was opposed by members of the majority community. Georgian NGOs and intellectuals were quick to respond and raise the issue with the authorities and in the mass media.

3.7. Research and public debate

Research and analysis occupy a prominent place in the activities of many NGOs since a number of individuals who work with NGOs have an academic background. Much of the published research is on issues of conflict, but is sometimes focused more on providing a historical justification for claims and actions of different sides.. See, for instance, Edisher Khoshtaria - Brosset, 'History and Today: the Abkhazian Problem in the Light of Conflict Studies', ICCN, Tbilisi, 1997. The other, more practical field of research, is that of opinion polls and population surveys. In Abkhazia, for instance, a sociological research group of the Civic Initiative Foundation conducts population surveys to learn about demography and migration. The Foundation has undertaken a survey among residents of the Gali region for their views on the resolution and final settlement of the conflict. However, a persistent problem is that publication of results becomes difficult when results of the polls do not suit the political needs of the ruling regimes. Despite the impressive research and intellectual capacities of the Caucasian societies, there is still a deficit of forward-looking studies to start addressing more policy-related questions.

3.8. Mass media and information exchange

Many NGO activists who took part in bilateral or multilateral meetings note that these meetings attract little, if any, press coverage. Publicity is very limited and the participants themselves act with great caution. As a result, a multiplier effect is not achieved. Participants often wonder how meetings of 20-30 persons could move the issue of conflict resolution much further. In June 1996, following the first meeting of the Georgian and Abkhaz NGOs in Moscow, statements at press conferences and interviews by the Georgian representatives, were misinterpreted on the Abkhaz side. The Abkhaz reaction was one of alarm and distrust of the Georgians. While the misunderstanding was eventually resolved, the incident sent a message to the Georgian NGOs that publicity could easily turn against them and complicate their relations with the Abkhaz. Despite three years of contact and negotiation, the situation has not changed. While such attitudes are understandable, it does appear that both Georgian and Abkhaz NGOs could rethink the situation and move forward.

Exchange of information between the Azerbaijani and Armenian news agencies was maintained even as political relations degenerated. South Ossetia has information channels and contact with journalists both in Russia (via North Ossetia) and with Georgia which have always been maintained, to a varying degree. However, for reasons which are unclear, South Ossetia recently stopped receiving transmission of Georgian television. In the Georgian/ Abkhaz conflict, it was difficult to open channels for exchange of information. Such initiatives were initially facilitated by third parties, but have now begun on their own. In 1997, the opening of telephone lines between Georgia and Abkhazia made it possible for NGOs and others to identify journalists from either side who trusted one other and were prepared to exchange information. For instance, there is a regular exchange of information between ApsnyPress (Abkhazia) and the Black Sea Press and the Kavkaz Press in Tbilisi.

3.9. Capacity building among local NGOs

The main activities for capacity building include training seminars and workshops. These are normally initiated by international organisations or NGOs which conduct the first training sessions. Follow-up includes support for sending local NGO activists to attend conflict resolution courses abroad (held by organisations such as Responding to Conflict). At present, the Centre for Humanitarian Programmes (Abkhazia) functions as a resource centre for other NGOs. The creation of umbrella organisations for information exchange and lobbying also falls into this remit. Lack of proficiency in English by the local people and of local languages by international actors is a main obstacle to better interaction between the two sides.

3.10. Enhancement of citizen security

Activities for enhancing the security of citizens are taken up by international organisations together with the respective governments and local actors. At present, such activities are: awareness of land mines; repairing of schools and other public buildings damaged by war and monitoring of human rights.

3.11. Pan-Caucasus initiatives

Local actors have initiated projects with other groups in the Caucasus but such activities normally have a political undertone, however subtle. For instance, organisations in South Ossetia and Circassia maintain contacts with Abkhaz NGOs for activities such as citizens' education and exchange of sports teams, but this is greatly facilitated by their common political agenda. The same could be said about links between Georgian, Chechen and Azerbaijani NGOs. Such initiatives could be very appropriate. For instance, in summer 1999, an Abkhaz NGO representative spoke to activists from the Cherkess community in Karachaevo-Cherkessia to alert them to the lessons of the run-up to the Georgian/ Abkhaz conflict, in order to help prevent escalation of the conflict. However, it is important to be sensitive and bear in mind how such contacts and initiatives could be viewed on the other side.

4. ACTIVITIES FACILITATED BY EXTERNAL ACTORS

This section will concentrate on the interventions by international NGOs to bring together parties to conflict in bilateral or multilateral fora. A number of high profile multilateral and bilateral initiatives, sponsored by UN and OSCE, fall outside the remit of this paper.

4.1 Dialogue intervention (bilateral)

International NGOs played a significant role in opening up the channels for dialogue between parties to conflicts. INGOs facilitated and sponsored a number of direct contacts between the opponents. Such contacts differ a great deal in the three Caucasian conflicts. In Nagorno Karabakh the contact is not extensive. However, it is important to note that existing contacts were initiated by the Karabakh side which saw the need for reconciliation and the value of holding a dialogue with Azerbaijanis. At present, the South Ossetians have established a working interaction with Georgian partners, and deal directly with them on any issues which may arise.

In Abkhazia, contacts are promoted by international organisations and NGOs, working with Georgian partners. The Abkhaz position is that such contacts are yet another way to incorporate Abkhazia back into Georgia. These efforts are sometimes dubbed as 'peace enforcement' for civil society. Moreover, participation by Georgian NGOs in joint projects is viewed with suspicion in Abkhazia and attributed to pragmatic reasons, such as improving Georgian chances of securing funding. Many in Abkhazia ask why the Abkhaz should meet and talk to the Georgians if they do not recognise the Abkhaz right to independence. More than once Abkhaz NGOs came under attack in their own society for meeting with the Georgians. Their view is that since the conflict happened with the Georgians, relationships should be restored first and foremost with them.

In three years of bilateral interaction the main achievement remains the same, i.e. the establishment of channels of communication. Remarkably, these channels withstood the impact of the spring 1998 events in Gali region. It seems that for the moment the external players have to rethink whether they should persevere with bilateral confidence-building measures, or pause to see whether the Abkhaz side would come up with new initiatives. A positive outcome of external dialogue intervention is that the relations between individual people have been restored. As one respondent put it, 'each society now has a small number of people who do not suffer from stress when meeting people from the other side'. However, even NGO representatives from the separatist states who cooperate easily with their counterparts, do not give up their political positions, such as the commitment to independence.

It remains uncertain whether bilateral contacts between NGOs play a significant role in conflict prevention. Since the relationship between Georgia and South Ossetia is beyond the point where either side is likely to revert to violence, and the Armenian Karabakh armed forces enjoy overwhelming military superiority over the Azerbaijani army, Abkhazia is the only place where the resumption of hostilities remains a possibility. In spring 1998, Georgian and Abkhaz NGOs were unable to put pressure on their authorities and guerrilla groups to prevent violence in the Gali region, despite numerous early warning signals. The way the situation is unfolding, a repetition of the Gali events cannot be excluded. It appears that most Abkhaz NGO representatives do not regard bilateral meetings as a conflict prevention tool.

4.2 Dialogue intervention (multilateral)

There is no shortage of multilateral or integrationist projects in the Caucasus. The majority of projects are externally generated and are designed to promote cooperation between Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Other projects seek to incorporate people from unrecognised states as well, but questions of neutrality, logistics, and the fact that the recognised states have greater capacity to deliver make an on-going dialogue unworkable. In this regard, the Caucasus Forum is fortunate since it reflects a more genuine desire for closer contact and does not have an overloaded political agenda. The strength of the Caucasus Forum includes its freer atmosphere for debate and human interaction and the opportunity of taking into account the broader Caucasian context, its interrelated conflicts, linkages and alliances. For instance, the Forum enabled a dialogue between Georgians on the one hand, and on the other Circassians and Chechens who supported the Abkhaz during the conflict.

However, there are issues to bear in mind in order to ensure the Forum's future successful development. The idea to set up the Caucasus Forum originated with Abkhaz organisations. The Abkhaz organisations reasoned that in their society, bilateral meetings with Georgian partners are viewed as forming efforts to restore the territorial integrity of Georgia. Contact at meetings gives the Georgians a stronger position, since they are the citizens of a recognised state enjoying the backing of international organisations. Moreover, direct meetings with the Georgian side led to controversy in Abkhazia and generated a great deal of misperception. Following this line of argument, multilateral meetings will help take away some pressure from the Georgian/ Abkhaz sovereignty dispute, where the positions of the two sides remain separate. Such a forum would also provide additional support to the Abkhaz by representatives from the North Caucasus. The immediate hazard was that the Forum could be dominated by the Abkhaz/ North Caucasian alliance, but this did not occur and equal and free debate was secured. However, there are other dangers in store. The first is to ensure inclusion of all relevant Caucasian organisations dealing with conflict prevention and resolution, while keeping the Forum operational at the same time. The second is not to lose sight of the Forum's overall purpose and direction, since many participants have their own agendas. One has to maintain a very targeted approach as to what conflict prevention can realistically achieve in a multilateral forum.

4.3 Visits to 'Enemy's Territory'

South Ossetia is an exception to the norm, as there is open and mutual bilateral access with Georgia. Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazia remain off-limits for the opposite side. Visits to the 'enemy's territory' were facilitated by international organisations, most notably by Martin Schummer (UNV), to raise awareness of the changing reality on the other side and to provide an informed assessment of the willingness to reach a settlement. Batal Kobakhia from Abkhazia and Paata Zakareishvili from Tbilisi were the first to achieve this breakthrough. However, such visits sometimes subject individuals to danger upon their return. The 'visitors' are faced with the dilemma of whether to make their experience public and, thereby, confront the possibility of being alienated from some of their previous supporters. Alternatively, if they keep the message to themselves, they could limit the impact of the journey. For instance, Batal Kobakhia, came under criticism from a more radical segment of the Abkhaz community upon his return and de-briefing.

In July 1999, the high-profile visit of five Armenian journalists to Azerbaijan organised by Vicken Cheterian and the Foreign Ministry of Switzerland was more of a success story as even Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev met with them. The Armenian visitors could walk relatively freely in Baku and meet and talk with ordinary people. It was also possible to visit an Azerbaijani NGO and establish contact with members of the Armenian community in Azerbaijan. Mark Grigoryan, one of the visiting journalists, published a series of articles on his return to Armenia sharing his experiences and insights. The articles were reprinted in the Azeri press without a problem.

4.4 Joint projects

It seems that joint projects work best when undertaken under the facilitation of external actors who can coordinate the implementation process and resolve problems and misunderstandings, if required. In negotiation, settlement of certain issues may appear to be partial to one side while the fears and concerns of the other side may not be immediately apparent to the mediating party. When a third party accompanies the process, it could help mitigate tensions to reduce the danger of generating such misperception. To a certain extent, this was a dilemma faced by Marina Pagava in editing her book, 'Restoring the Culture of Peace in the Caucasus: a Human Solidarity Document' (ICCN, 1999) with contributions from the Abkhaz, South Ossetian, Nagorno Karabakh and Azeri partners. The aim of the book was to promote a culture of peace by highlighting cases of assistance to members of the hostile community and even cases of heroism during the conflict. However, the Abkhaz side were resentful as they interpreted some cases as representing their community in a negative light.

5. SUPPORT NEEDS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

One clearly identifiable gap in the capacity of the local actors towards conflict prevention is the ineffectiveness of their lobbying. Here, synergy with international actors can be helpful. Lobbying can take two forms: raising public awareness and expansion of existing peace constituencies; and informal communication with those involved in political decision-making. Both tasks are very delicate, since they deal with painful issues which societies often do not wish to confront. In the first task, local actors need skills in how to work with the mass media to put their message across without alienating the other side. In the second task, a mediated link with the opposite community to keep them informed and to receive feedback is very useful. The local actors also need the solidarity of international actors who can act as 'sounding boards' from whom to ask informal opinions.

Lobbying governments requires access to the decision-makers which could be facilitated by international actors. Further, strategy has to be planned carefully to ensure complementarity on different levels. In the case of separatist regimes, lobbying is even more complicated. In such cases, a quiet discussion with local actors on what could realistically be done without placing too much pressure on them may be one helpful way forward.

There is a perceived need to expand the circle of those who participate in meetings with the other side. At the same time, it is not always possible to involve the right people because of their indirect opposition to the authorities, especially in the separatist states. It will be helpful if international organisations could create more synergy with local NGOs on how to expand the peace constituency and, if needed, appeal to the authorities to facilitate the participation of persons selected for the meetings.

There is also a feeling, especially in areas where the NGO sector is developed and competition for funding is acute, that international organisations and donors are not always accessible for more ordinary, 'rank-and-file' NGOs. Following this line of argument, it is sometimes alleged that former employees in the local offices of international organisations, or those who speak good English and have travelled abroad enjoy a privileged access to funding. It is seen as difficult to break through this inner circle as international organisations and donors allocate funds more readily to those with whom they have already worked, and therefore trust them more. Notwithstanding whether such perceptions reflect the reality, they are experienced fairly strongly. It will be very useful, if international actors could make more effort in terms of reach and accessibility, and explore new avenues of engagement with the local NGOs.

One potential danger is that some of the well-established local actors could become so involved in various international projects and travel overseas, that they are regarded by others as losing touch with their own societies. Individuals may well decide that this is in their best interests. However, those who plan interventions have to bear in mind the risk of marginalization of important actors from their own communities. It is unrealistic to expect that those who are seen as having no stake in their countries could be effective as 'concerned citizens'.

A need articulated by all NGOs is the uncertainty of their funding base. This is a common problem shared with local and international NGOs, but local actors often assume that it only affects them. A common perception is that international NGOs have a solid financial base, and have no problems in raising funds, which may not be the case. In this context, it is important to have realistic expectations on both sides and to put a message across that both international and local NGOs are affected by the same financial uncertainties.

6. ACTORS AND ORGANISATIONS: PROFILES

Russian Federation

Stavropol Krai

Cultural Centre of Vainakh of Stavropol Krai (Kulturnyi Tsentr Vainakhov Stavropol'ya) Head: Dr. Kharon Deniev, leader of the Chechen and Ingush community in Stavropol Krai and human rights activist in Southern Russia/ North Caucasus. M.A. from Columbia University (USA). Publications: 'Human Rights' bulletin. Email: vniiok@minas.rosmail.com or Deniev@s-service.ru Website: http://thor.prohosting.com/~vint/kharon Funding: The Centre has received funds from the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation). Activities: The main activity includes monitoring of human rights violations in the North Caucasian diasporas, especially of the Chechen and Ingush in Stavropol krai. Other activities include putting pressure on regional authorities to investigate cases of violation of their rights and, if needed, going to court on behalf of those who suffered discrimination and abuse. It also works together with the regional authorities (mainly the department of nationalities' policies) to monitor the situation in the krai and especially on the border between Stavropol krai and Chechnya. It was involved in delivering humanitarian aid to the vulnerable groups in Chechnya, both Chechens and Russians. Individuals, for example based in Universities also play a role in conflict resolution, but the Centre is working consistently in raising public awareness on interethnic peace. Given the general nationalistic mood in the krai which shares a border with Chechnya, it is not an easy task. Comparative advantage and expertise: Development of a culture of inter-ethnic peace.

Sergei Popov (individual) Sergei Popov works for the Stavropol regional administration and was involved in negotiations on prisoners of war and hostage release during the Russian - Chechen war of 1994-1996. Address: Ap. 12, 13, Karl Marx avenue, Stavropol, Russian Federation Telephone: + 7 88 652 94 66 12 or 267 577. Activities: He is part of the peacemaking mission in the North Caucasus, initiated and headed by the Krasnoyarsk governor Alexandr Lebed. He helped set up the 'Foundation on Forced Migration' Comparative advantage and expertise: work with mass media.

Kabardino-Balkaria

Zaur Borov (individual) Zaur Borov is an active member of Adyge Khase, the national organisation of the Circassian People (Adyge, Cherkess and Kabardins) set up in 1985. Address: 18, Tarchokova Street, Nal'chik Kabardino-Balkaria, Russian Federation Telephone: + 7 866 22 77 166 or 74 5 98. Email: Bora_zaur@hotmail.com Activities: The organisation's activities are targeted towards promotion of interests of the Circassians, raising awareness of their national identity, history and culture, and improving their political standing vis-à-vis other groups in the Caucasus. The Georgian/Abkhaz conflict raised the political profile of the organisation. During the war it played an active role in rendering military support to the Abkhaz side and set up a Union of Abkhaz Volunteers of Adygeia, of which Zaur is a chairman. Comparative advantage and expertise: reintegration of ex-combatants.

Svetlana Akkieva (individual) Svetlana Akkieva is an expert on political developments and interethnic relations in Kabardino-Balkaria. She is also a member of the Network of Ethnological Monitoring and Early Warning of Conflicts (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science, and Conflict Management Group, Harvard). She is Head of Department of Social and Political Research, Institute of Humanitarian Research of the Government of the Republic of Kabarbino-Balkaria and Kabardino-Balkar Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences Address: 18, Pushkin Street, Nal'chik Kabardino-Balkaria, Russian Federation. Telephone: + 7 866 22 242 53. Email: asveta@kbsu.ru Activities: She has been involved with the Balkar National Congress in the beginning of 1990s, and keeps up an interest in the Balkar public organisations. Comparative advantage and expertise: research in issues of inter-ethnic conflict.

North Ossetia

Alexander Dzadziev (individual) Alexander Dzadziev is a member of the Network of Ethnological Monitoring and Early Warning of Conflicts (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science, and Conflict Management Group, Harvard). He is Senior Research Fellow, Centre of Social and Humanitarian Research, Vladikavkaz Institute of Management. Address: 14 Borodinskaya Street, Vladikavkaz, 362025, North Ossetia, Russian Federation Telephone: + 7 8672 33 06 11 or + 7 8672 77 85 44. Email: viu@osetia.ru or sandro@osetia.ru Activities: He was also an adviser to the office of permanent representative of RF president in the zone of the North Ossetian/ Ingush conflict. Comparative advantage and expertise: research and public debate, bilateral and multilateral dialogue interventions.

Georgia

'Assist Yourself' (Pomogi Sebe Sam) Head: Marina Pagava, a medical doctor in her previous career in Abkhazia, is half Georgian and half Abkhaz. Publication: "Restoring the Culture of Peace in the Caucasus: a Human Solidarity Document" (ICCN, 1999) edited by Pagava with contributions from Abkhaz, South Ossetian, Nagorno Karabakh and Azeri partners. Focus on cases of mutual help between members of the hostile communities during conflicts. Address: 4, corpus 25, Plato Nutsubidze, Tbilisi, Georgia. Telephone + 995 32 32 06 56 Email: ay@ip.osgf.ge Activities: 'Assist Yourself' deals primarily with the Georgian/Abkhaz conflict since it is personal to its members. This is a community-based organisation of women internally displaced from Abkhazia set up in 1994 and officially registered in 1997. It operates mainly in Tbilisi and its suburbs. The NGO has a core group of key activists (between 12 and 15 people), and other women associated with the organisation who work as volunteers on concrete undertakings or sometimes as paid staff when there is funding for projects. It works in two main fields: 1. Research into the social situation of the IDP community in Tbilisi and its suburbs (where many IDPs are concentrated), identification of the priority problems and lobbying them to the government. The organisation does direct aid provision, both material and psychological. The programmes target individual people rather than community in general. 2. Work towards resolution of conflict between the Georgians and Abkhaz through initiatives generated by International Organisations and international NGOs.

International Center for Conflict and Negotiations Head: Prof. Georgii Khutsishvili, background in philosophy, visiting fellowships and participation in seminars in conflict resolution in Stanford University and other Western institutions. Based in Tbilisi. Publications: 'Conflicts and Negotiations' bulletin and occasional short books. Address: P.O Box 38, 380079 Tbilisi, Georgia (mailing) 5 Machabeli Street, Tbilisi. Telephone: + 995 32 99 99 87 Fax: + 995 32 93 91 78. Email: iccn@access.sanet.ge confpro@access.sanet.ge Web Site: http://members.tripod.com/~iccn http:/www.chat.ru/~icn Funding: The Centre attracts substantive financial resources from a wide range of international donors which include the NRC, McArthur Foundation, EU TACIS Programme. Activities: The Centre is an independent and non-partisan research and training organisation, one of the oldest and most institutionally developed NGOs in Caucasus which deals with conflict resolution. It was set up in the end of 1992 and was formally registered as an NGO in August 1994. The Centre pursues activities in four main fields: 1. Resolution of conflict in Abkhazia with cooperation of International Alert; 2. Rehabilitation and training in conflict resolution among IDPs. The rationale for this is to prevent the IDP community to turn into a violent destabilising force which can negatively affect the prospects for political settlement. 3. Resolution of conflict in South Ossetia undertaken with international actors, such as Conflict Management Group (Harvard) and Norwegian Refugee Council. 4. Early warning, promotion of public debate and dissemination of information regarding potential tensions in Georgia (such as situation in Ajara) Current projects include: 'Prospects for Integration between the states of the Caucasus' (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan); series of training seminars in conflict resolution targeted mainly towards the members of the IDP community, and an initiative on early warning. It convenes meetings of the Dialogue Club as the Centre serves as a venue of intellectual debate on political situation and policies towards resolution of conflicts. The prospective projects are an initiative on Women and Conflict in the Caucasus which will consist of meetings and training seminars and preparing for a Peace Festival (autumn 2000) in partnership with the National Peace Foundation (USA). Comparative advantage and expertise: reintegration of displaced populations and conflict prevention

Kakhaber Dzebisashvili (individual) Works in the Georgian civil service. Vice-President of 'Multinational Georgia' (Mnogonatsionalnaya Gruzia), an NGO which deals with interethnic relations and conflicts in Georgia. Member of the Eurasian Union of Young People (Evraziiskii Soyuz Molodezhi)' an NGO umbrella organisation coordinating the work of the local young people's organisations. Takes part in contacts with the Abkhaz side facilitated by the international NGOs. Address: Ap. 47, 4 Bakaridze street, 380019 Tbilisi, Georgia Telephone: + 995 32 35 10 82 (home), 99 95 89, 99 85 64 (office). Email: kakha21@hotmail.com Activities: The Eurasian Union sets up the teams of experts to undertake mini-projects, such as publications on resolution of conflict in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and a winter school for IDPs. 'Multinational Georgia' was set up to highlight the fact that a military solution to the conflict in Georgia is impossible and that action by the civil society is needed to bring people together. The organisation consists mainly of young people from Tbilisi and contacts similar youth groups in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ajara, Javakheti. It helps organise multiethnic meetings in Georgia, such as a meeting of mass media in Batumi, but it is next to impossible to involve the Abkhaz. However, contacts are much easier with the young people from South Ossetia. The organisation was also involved in a training seminar in conflict resolution and culture of interethnic relations for young leaders from the state sector and NGOs. Comparative advantage and expertise: young people's initiatives.

Malkhaz Chemia (individual) Malkhaz Chemia is primarily interested in the reassessing the legal framework of the federal structure of Georgia. He has a background in Physics and Economics, and has been involved in political activity in Georgia since Soviet times coming from the centre-right political spectrum. He took part in the fighting in Abkhazia (and participated in the ex-combatants' meeting organised by International Alert in 1999). He was an executive director of Domus Mobilis, an organisation which won the UHNCR tender for the best design for IDP houses and worked as an implementation agency, also attracting volunteers. Address: 25 Paliashvili street, 380000, Tbilisi, Georgia Telephone + 995 32 25 38 48, 92 33 65. Fax + 995 32 92 33 62. Activities: He is involved in designing a model and a package of legal initiatives (sponsored by the Danish Refugee Council and UNHCR) to reduce the existing constitutional confusion. Malkhaz is also an adviser on economic and technological matters to the State Commission on Resolution of the Georgian/ South Ossetian conflict. Malkhaz Chemia, Paata Zakareishvili and Ghia Tarkhan-Muravi are founding a new NGO called 'The Institute of Problems of Refugees and Minorities' (in Russian 'Institut po voprosam bezhentsev i menshinstv'). Comparative advantage and expertise: change of legislature.

Paata Zakareishvili (individual) Paata Zakareishvili has done pioneering work in conflict resolution in Abkhazia and has close contacts with Abkhaz counterparts. He works in the Parliament of Georgia as a Head of Staff of the Committee on Human Rights and is involved in a number of NGO activities. During the 1992-93 conflict he was responsible for prisoners' exchange and evacuation of civilians from Abkhazia. He was involved in a number of bilateral and multilateral workshops with the Abkhaz partners, as well as visited Abkhazia under international facilitation. Telephone: + 995 32 99 60 37 or 99 09 05 (of.) Email: paatazak@access.sanet.ge Activities: Promotion of peace and reconciliation with the Abkhaz in the Georgian mass media and lobbying the Georgian government for change in policies towards the conflict. Comparative advantage and expertise: bilateral dialogue interventions.

Caucasian Institute of Peace, Democracy and Development (CIPDD) The Institute was founded in 1992 and employs five people full time and up to thirty on part-time or project-related basis. It issues a number of publications, such as the Georgian Press Review and the Georgian Chronicle, as well as publishes work by its researchers. CIPDD also serves as a venue for conferences and seminars. It organised, for instance, an international conference on 'Developing a Security Concept for Georgia'. Chair: Dr. Ghia Nodia Address: 11th floor, 1 Alexidze street, Tbilisi 380002, Georgia Telephone: + 995 32 33 41 63; 33 18 79 or 33 40 81. Fax: + 995 32 95 44 97 Email: cipdd@access.sanet.ge Web site: http://www.geuniverse.com.org/cipdd Activities: The Institute is an academic body which pursues various research programmes concerning aspects of politics and security in Georgia. Their contribution to the peace process is mainly analytical. It includes monitoring of ethnic tensions and the overall political development of Georgia, participation in a number of third-party sponsored projects, such as an academic project with University of Brussels (Prof. Bruno Coppieters) and with the Abkhaz side on 'Shared Sovereignty and Institutional Design' which resulted in a joint publication. Comparative advantage and expertise: research and public debate.

State Chancellery of Georgia NGO Consultation Board Head: Petre Mamradze, the Head of the State Chancellery and the First Deputy State Minister. Coordinator: Manana Tlashadze. This body was set up in 1998 with the goal of providing a link between the government and the presidential office with the NGO community. Telephone: + 995 32 93 52 88 Fax: + 995 32 93 15 99 Email: board@access.sanet.ge The Board holds regular meetings between selected NGOs and the Board coordinator, and less frequent meetings with the Head of the State Chancellery. The advantage is that this provides an opportunity to discuss issues important both for the government and the NGOs. Moreover, since it is headquartered in the Georgian Parliament, the NGO representatives can also meet the MPs. Such an undertaking also projects the message that the state takes the NGO community seriously and is prepared to provide them with a legitimate space. The Board, however, has a very wide scope, and does not provide a relationship between those in the government who are involved in the official negotiations/conflict resolution process, and those NGOs which are engaged in confidence-building initiatives. Comparative advantage and expertise: lobbying body.

South Ossetia

Dina Alborova (individual) Dina Alborava has a degree in political science with specialisation in conflict studies (Minsk University) and has been working in a number of international organizations which were involved in humanitarian relief and post-conflict rehabilitation in South Ossetia. Dina has been the South Ossetian partner in a joint project with ICCN and co-organized two conflict resolution seminars in South Ossetia with the Georgian side. Address: 7, Tskhinvalskaya Street, Tskhinval, South Ossetia Telephone/ fax + 995 44 4 21 93 (of.), home + 995 44 4 28 97, Mobile 877 42 79 34. Email: nrctskh@access.sanet.ge Activities: Dina was first involved in projects sponsored by the Norwegian Refugee Council and the initiatives facilitated by the UNHCR and Conflict Management Groups (Harvard). These included conflict resolution meetings and confidence-building measures with the Georgian side. At the moment Dina is setting up her own organisation called 'Agency for Social-Economic and Cultural Development' (Agentstvo sotsialno-ekonomicheskogo i kulturnogo razvitiya). It plans to prepare and take part in the conflict resolution seminars and conferences, promote human rights education and initiate a project on psychological rehabilitation. Comparative advantage and expertise: working with the displaced, dialogue interventions.

South Ossetian Center on Humanitarian Initiatives and Research Head: Alan Parastaev Address: 7 Pushkin Street, Tskhinval, South Ossetia Telephone: + 995 44 4 20 03 or 4 23 81. The Center is the oldest South Ossetian NGO which was set up as an initiative in responding to conflict. The Center takes part in the conflict resolution seminars and works with the IDPs, being involved in the psychological rehabilitation of the displaced. The Center also maintains links with other actors in the Caucasus, for instance, with the Abkhaz NGOs.

Abkhazia

Centre for Humanitarian Programmes (Tsentr Gumanitarnykh Programme) The Centre is the oldest and the most institutionally developed NGO in Abkhazia employing salaried full and part time staff. They help provide emergency aid to the victims of the armed conflict in Abkhazia, psychological rehabilitation for war-affected women and production of audio-visual archives to document the Georgian/Abkhaz conflict. Address: 36 Gogol street, Sukhumi, 384 900, Abkhazia Telephone: + 995 122 2 55 98 Satellite phone: 871 761 909 180 Fax: 871 761 909 181 Moscow contact + 7 095 338 43 04 Email: michael@sochi.ru or rachel.clogg@wolfson.ox.ac.uk. Activities: 1. The Centre has established a resource centre for the Abkhaz NGOs which has a library of the relevant material and runs capacity-building sessions in-house and in all regions of Abkhazia. It recently undertook a small grants competition in mini-projects for organisations in the voluntary sector. 2. The Centre conducts training in conflict resolution seminars and workshops in partnership with international NGOs and independently, having trained facilitators among its staff. In 1995 it was engaged, in parallel to the Georgian side, in sending women from both sides for medical treatment to Yerevan (Armenia). The project involved two workshops in order to prepare women and staff to interaction with the opposite side. Similar project in reduction of tensions between the communities was implemented with children Abkhaz, South Ossetian and Georgian IDP children were sent together to a summer camp. It was responsible for the first academic conference on conflict resolution and the political future of Abkhazia, undertaken with a number of US academic partners. The members of the Centre took part in a number of bilateral and multilateral contacts with the Georgian side, and were engaged in parallel projects, such as surveying popular reaction to the issues of conflict and prospects for its settlement. Work on missing persons from both sides has been initiated. Comparative advantage and expertise: capacity-building among local NGOs, reintegration of ex-combatants, visits to the 'enemy's territory', multilateral dialogue interventions.

'Civic Initiative - Man of Future' Foundation (Grazhdanskaya Initsiativa - Chelovek Budushego) Head: Manana Gurgulia (Deputy director of ApsnyPress) and Tamaz Ketsba (member of the Abkhaz parliament and a human rights lawyer). The Foundation was founded in 1994 in order to undertake fundamental and applied research programmes, and hence one of its goals is to identify and assist young gifted researchers in Abkhazia. The Foundation does not have permanent staff and mainly consist of students and professionals working on voluntary basis, but sometimes has project-related salaries. Address: 9 Zvanba street, Sukhumi, Abkhazia. Telephone: + 995 122 2 41 37 or 2 51 02. Funding: Some of the projects are financed by international donors. It holds a EU TACIS Programme grant together with IA and ICCN. Activities: The Foundation has also developed a number of operational programmes in such areas as resolution of Georgian/Abkhaz conflict, human rights education and monitoring, enhancement of democracy and projection of influence upon the state structures towards more democratic values and processes, support for independent mass media and policies towards young people. The Foundation is engaged in protection of human rights and runs a free legal advice service on human rights. It is presently undertaking a pilot project in developing a curriculum and teaching human rights in secondary schools. The Foundation organises regular seminars and issues a Bulletin called Perspectives which is committed to giving space to independent analytical debate on the situation in Abkhazia and the resolution of Georgian/Abkhaz conflict. Other activities include training seminars in conflict resolution skills and methods. Comparative advantage and expertise: lobbying, dialogue interventions.

Centre for Human Rights and Support for Democracy Head: Natella Akaba, ex-Member of the Abkhaz parliament, member of the Abkhaz delegation to official negotiations with the Georgian side. The Centre was established in 1997 to promote strengthening of democracy and promotion of civil society. Natella has attended conflict resolution courses at Carter Center, Emory University in Atlanta and at the Peace-Building Institute (summer school), Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia. Address: 20 Aidgylara (formerly Frunze) street Sukhum, Abkhazia Telephone: + 995 122 2 42 64 or 2 18 03 Fax: + 995 122 2 41 37. Activities: The Centre provides legal assistance in human rights protection, monitoring of minority rights, women in conflict issues, dissemination of information and legal counselling. It also pursues research in the sphere of ethnic studies and conflict resolution. It is concerned with the women's rights and supports women's initiatives for peace. Natella Akaba has taken part in a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings with the Georgian side, such as the 'Shared Sovereignty and Institutional Design', organised by the University of Brussels. Comparative advantage and expertise: 'women in conflict' issues.

Apsny Press (formerly Abkhaz Press) ApsnyPress is a state information agency of Abkhazia, not an independent news agency, and its main goal is to provide information and ideas as understood by the leadership of Abkhazia. However, individual journalists from the Agency are also working towards enhancing more independent coverage and promotion of peace and reconciliation. Address: 9 Zvanba street, Sukhum, Abkhazia Telephone: + 995 122 2 41 37 or 2 51 02. Activities: Individual journalists have taken part in a number of bilateral meetings with the Georgian side, training in conflict resolution seminars in Abkhazia and multilateral undertakings, such as the Caucasus Forum. Comparative advantage and expertise: working with mass media, young people's initiatives.

Armenia

NGOs in Armenia are not directly engaged in conflict resolution activities, since there is an unspoken consensus within the society that the conflict is resolved and that the international community will recognise that Karabakh is, de-facto, Armenian.

Cooperation and Democracy Head: Dr. Mark Grigoryan. The main focus of the organisation is the promotion of independent political analysis and the role of mass media in civil society building. It is concerned with issues such as fair coverage of elections and strengthening of democratic institutions through mass media. Address: 7 Saryan Street, Yerevan 375002, Armenia Telephone: + 37 42 27 21 19, 58 11 65 or 58 75 36. Email: markos@media.internews.am Activities: 1. Monitoring of mass media since 1996 in order to assess the trends and assist in building up its independence. 'Cooperation and Democracy' took an active part in ensuring free and fair coverage of the parliamentary elections in Armenia in 1999. 2. It has compiled an English-language 'Elections' Guide for Journalists' (and elections web-site) which outlined the background, important pieces of legislature and a profile of political parties and influential news agencies. The Guide was funded by the Eurasia Foundation. 3. The projects currently initiated include the 'Media and Conflicts in the Caucasus', a publication on 'Elections in Armenia and Their Coverage', 'Minority Coverage Project' which will include regular training for journalists and content analysis of mass media publications concerning minorities. It also plans to publish a Mass Media of Armenia Yearbook to provide analysis alongside with factual information. 4. The organisation is involved in a number of regional projects dealing with conflicts in the Caucasus. This includes 'Media Caucasica' by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. Comparative advantage and expertise: working with mass media and promotion of public debate, visits to the 'enemy's territory'.

Ara Nedolyan (individual) Ara Nedolyan edits a philosophical journal called 'Gnosis' which plans to expand its activities to include philosophers from across the Caucasian region. He is a founding member of an expert group which researches and comments on foreign policy and current affairs. The group holds discussion sessions and publishes analytical articles in mass media. Telephone: + 37 42 26 51 49 or 26 32 49. Comparative advantage and expertise: research.

Anoush Begoyan (individual) Anoush Begoyan works as the Armenian coordinator for the Caucasus LINKS (London Information Network on Conflicts and State building) and also works for the Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia in an advisory capacity. She is involved in the young people's initiatives in conflict resolution and promotion of civil society, and took part in a number of multilateral meetings sponsored by international NGOs. Telephone: + 3742 54 21 16 or 52 37 90 Fax: + 3742 54 21 16 Email: links_am@acc.am Comparative advantage and expertise: young people's initiatives.

Novan Tapan Information Agency Contact person: David Petrosyan. By the same token as ApsnyPress, Noyan Tapan is primarily a news agency rather than a conflict resolution organisation. However, individual journalists from the agency do play an important role in raising awareness of the conflict issues and efforts towards their resolution. Address : 3rd floor, 28 Issahakyan street Yerevan, Armenia Telephone : + 3742 52 42 79 or 52 43 18 e-mail : dave@public.arminco.com Comparative advantage and expertise: working with mass media, promotion of public debate.

Nagorno Karabakh

Helsinki Initiative-92 (Nagorno-Karabakhsky Komitet Helsinskoi Initsiativi-92) Head: Karen Ohanjanian. HI-92 is the most developed and experienced NGO in Nagorno Karabakh. The organisation was established in August of 1992 with the original profile of human rights protection as the civil society's reaction to the events in Khojaly. The focus later shifted towards democracy and civil society building. Present work includes human rights issues, conflict resolution, prisoners of war, hostages and missing persons, problems of refugees, young people, women, as well as with the environment. HI-92 is a volunteers' organisation and positions itself within the broader Helsinki Citizens' Assembly movement. Address: 28, Azatamartikneri street, Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh Telephone: + 374 28 55 01 or 28 29 10. Email: karandje@hca.nk.am Activities: The main activities are centred around lobbying initiatives. Since the NGO has a fairly long history (by post-Soviet terms), many of its members participated in numerous international conferences and training seminars in the field of conflict resolution and human rights. Members take up research on conceptual issues of conflict resolution and helped organise two meetings with the representatives of the Azerbaijani NGOs in 1994 and in 1995, bringing ethnic Azeris to Stepanakert. Comparative advantage and expertise: bilateral dialogue interventions, enhancement of citizen security.

Zhanna Krikorova Zhanna Krikorova is a prominent Karabakh journalist and used to work one time as a press secretary in the office of the president of Nagorno Karabakh. She has taken part in a number of media in conflict seminars and other conflict resolution activities. Address: Ap. 32, 21 Yerevanskaya Ul, Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh Telephone: + 374 24 52 22 (office) + 374 28 29 10. In 1999 Zhanna has founded her own organisation called 'Institute of Citizen's Diplomacy' which intends to work towards conflict resolution through raising public awareness and debate. She also playes an active role in efforts towards peace in other conflicts in the Caucasus. For instance, she is one of the key participants of the Caucasus Forum drafting policy documents and putting proposals together. Comparative advantage and expertise: working with mass media.

Azerbaijan

Hayat Contact persons: Fariz Ismailzade or Vusal Rajably. This NGO deals primarily with delivering humanitarian and development assistance to the vulnerable groups, most notably to the refugees (for instance, Meskhetian Turks who fled Central Asia) and IDPs from Nagorno Karabakh. It was established and registered in 1994. It runs five projects employing staff on project related basis, but has a core group of management and programme development staff. Address: 8 Gugu Guluev Street, 370007 Baku, Azerbaijan Telephone: + 994 12 97 30 52 or 97 30 53 Fax: + 994 12 95 80 66 Email: fariz_1998@yahoo.com or vusal@hayat.baku.az Web site: http://www.angelfire.com/ct/fariz Activities: Most of the work is concentrated in Azerbaijan to help the victims of conflict. The regional initiatives include Migration Sector Development project (funded by International Organisation for Migration) which also involves Georgian, Armenian and North Caucasian NGOs. Hayat also conducts research into problems facing vulnerable groups and provides training and capacity building seminars for local NGOs dealing with migration issues. Its members have taken part in multilateral meetings with other Caucasian organisations. Comparative advantage and expertise: reintegration of the displaced population, multilateral dialogue interventions.

Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan Director: Eldar Zeinalov is a long-standing human rights' activist since Soviet times. The Centre is the oldest and established organisation in Azerbaijan. It has three full-time staff members, and involves other people on project related or voluntary basis. Publications: Reports on human rights and minority issues in Azerbaijan (published in hard copy and in electronic form). Lezgin News containing summaries of the Azerbaijani press on the situation of the Lezgin community and redistributing information from other electronic sources. Address: 150-9 Safaroglu Street, 370 000 Baku Telephone: + 994 12 94 75 50 or 97 32 33 Fax: + 994 12 94 75 50 Email: eldar@hrcenter.baku.az Activities: The main activities of the Centre are focused on protection of human rights of minorities in Azerbaijan, but it also takes part in wider networks and all-Caucasian peacemaking efforts. The Centre collects and distributes information and provides early warning reports, as well as directly engaging in the protection of citizens' rights by visiting prisons and trials where possible, liasing with political parties and putting pressure on the government to adhere to human rights standards. In terms of conflict prevention the main activity is concentrated around monitoring and information provision for external actors. Comparative advantage and expertise: working with electronic media, enhancement of citizen security.

Institute of Peace and Democracy Director: Dr. Leila Yunusova, former member of the Azerbaijani Popular Front and deputy defence minister in the Popular Front government. The Institute originated from the Caucasus Women's Dialogue for Peace and Democracy launched in 1994 by the US National Peace Foundation. The Institute's stated goals are to preserve peace in the region, establish a democratic and law governed state and development of civil society in Azerbaijan. Publications: 'Azerbaijani Press on Human Rights and Democratic Freedoms' which provides a summary of the mass media monitoring on human rights issues. Address: 2-38 Samsi Badalbayli, 370014 Baku, Azerbaijan Telephone/Fax: + 994 12 94 14 58 Email root@ipd.baku.az Activities: Its activities include protection of human rights, conflict resolution and women's and young people's civil movements. Comparative advantage and expertise: research and public debate.