Whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan or Sudan-throughout the world there is a danger that attempts to put an end to conflicts by force will result in renewed bloody clashes. The Leading Article in this year's Annual Report is therefore devoted primarily to the question of how the international community can succeed in developing effective mechanisms for breaking this vicious circle. To put it briefly: how can a violent conflict be transformed sustainably so as to avoid preprogramming the next violent clashes during the period following the initial conflict? How can we establish the conditions for a sustainable "positive peace", which does not only represent the end of violence, but also provides extensive opportunities for human development and security?
The Data section of the Annual Report provides information on the correlation between military and development expenditure. An overview of global conflicts indicates the current hotspots of violent conflict.
Individual Project Reports provide an insight into BICC's application-oriented research, consultancy and training work. For example: What were the benefi ts of a special training program in the field of small arms control in Sudan last year? One research project was devoted to evaluating the demilitarization and demobilization measures in the Indonesian region of Aceh. A further project takes the examples of India, Nigeria, Russia and Spain and asks whether and how ethnic federations help to regulate conflicts in multiethnic societies. Another report presents the results of an expert workshop on the role of the African Diaspora in Germany in general and in North Rhine-Westphalia in particular. As a member of a European consortium of non-governmental organizations, BICC received a contract from the EU Commission to conduct the "Fatal Transactions (FT)" campaign. The aim of this project is to develop policy information and lobby work in the area of "Resources and conflicts". In Columbia, BICC advised the government on questions of the reintegration of excombatants. Problems of demobilization and small arms disarmament were at the center of a project that was conducted in Afghanistan. In OECD-countries, BICC analyzed instruments and options for 'Early Warning' and 'Early Action' in case of conflict.
This year too, the Financial Report will not only provide information on the facts and fi gures of BICC's financial development, but also on the Center's projects and personnel situation. A list of publications rounds off the picture of the Center's activities.
BICC's work-application-oriented research, consultancy and capacity-building-is based on a complex and comprehensive concept of conversion. We work on the following premise: Proactive conversion can contribute towards reducing violence in all phases of the conflict cycle. We want to help to promote good governance through democracy, transparency and social responsibility, strengthen communal self-responsibility, support the rebuilding of effi cient civil societies, for example through the successful integration of former combatants, and encourage small arms control and sustainable reforms in the security sector. With our wide range of research, consultancy and training activities, we want to provide concrete contributions to establishing a positive peace, improving human security and reducing structural violence and the causes of crises.
Last year we formulated our institutional vision as follows: BICC wants to establish itself as an internationally recognized, independent research institute for applied peace and conflict research. We consider it our special mission to contribute towards peace and development through conflict prevention measures and through the constructive transformation of violent conflicts.
We want to refl ect this mission in our Annual Report 2006/2007 and stimulate discussion.
Peter J. Croll, Director of BICC