This toolkit on the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) was designed to introduce the concept to practitioners and policy makers in West Africa, as well as deepen their knowledge of its development and practice. It aims to achieve this through seven targeted training sessions to be delivered over three days using a combined methodology of brainstorming, mini-lectures and quizzes, open discussions, group work and case study exercises.
In the final session, participants have the opportunity to make presentations on how the activities of their affiliate organisations can promote RtoP in West Africa. These presentations should provide an assessment of the interest and understanding conveyed by the training and serve as a basis to strengthen support for RtoP and consolidate efforts to promote it in West Africa.
The main goal of the toolkit produced by WACSI on RtoP is to provide better education for policy makers and civil society organisations on the doctrine. This is very important. Policy makers are most likely to become more conscious of the roles they have to play in RtoP by being exposed to the training programmes for which this toolkit is intended. Where the government is not doing enough to protect, it can be assisted by civil society organisations. This toolkit is also meant to expose these organisations to issues relevant to RtoP. The training methods promoted by the toolkit include brainstorming, mini-lectures and quizzes, open discussions, group work and case study exercises. All of these are very appropriate for adult learners. Going through its contents, one cannot but commend the resource persons engaged in the production of the document which promises to be an invaluable resource material for capacity building on RtoP in Africa.
This training session has given an overview of the evolution of humanitarian intervention. It underscored the evolution from a strict adherence to the traditional principle of state sovereignty, where interventions were unilateral and justified in terms of self-defence and national interests. The initial optimism of a post-Cold War peace dividend was rapidly eroded by the tragedies in Rwanda and Bosnia. The failures of states, regional organizations and the international community to protect populations and the necessity to ensure legality of an intervention, as in the case of Kosovo, demonstrated the need to achieve political consensus on how to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. This led to the development of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) framework, which will be covered in the next training session