INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP (ICG)
“The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation, with some 145 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.” (ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm, accessed on 5 May 2008)
“Crisis Group was established in 1995 by a group of prominent international citizens and foreign policy specialists who were appalled by the international community’s failure to act effectively in response to the crises in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. Their aim was to create a new organisation, wholly independent of any government, which would help governments, international organisations and the world community at large prevent or at least contain deadly conflict – and, if and when prevention failed, try to resolve it.” (ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3352&l=1, accessed on 7 May 2008)
The ICG is based in Brussels, major advocacy offices are located in Washington DC and New York, a smaller one is in London, and liaison presences in Moscow and Beijing. ICG has regional offices or local field representations in Abuja, Baku, Beirut, Belgrade, Bishkek, Bogotá, Cairo, Colombo, Dakar, Damascus, Dili, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Jerusalem, Kabul, Kampala, Kathmandu, Kinshasa, Nairobi, Port-au-Prince, Pretoria, Pristina, Seoul, Tbilisi and Yerevan (ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=208&l=1, accessed on 6 May 2008).
ICG sends its reports and briefing papers to numerous officials in foreign ministries and international organisations (like the UN, EU, World Bank) and makes them available for the public on its website.
“ICG maintains close contacts with governments, and those who influence them, particularly the media, to raise their attention to its analyses and policy recommendations.” (ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=208&l=2, accessed on 5 May 2008, translated by ACCORD)
Through Crisis Watch, a monthly bulletin, the ICG seeks to provide a regular update and overview of actual or potential conflict situations in the world.
ICG raises funds from governments, charitable foundations, companies and individual donors. The following governments currently provide funding (partly via their development aid organisations): Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Republic of China (Taiwan), Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. The website contains a list of all donors (except individuals who wish to remain anonymous) (ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=1151&l=1, accessed on 7 May 2008).
Scope of reporting:
Thematic focus: Islamism, violence and reform, energy issues, peace and justice, gender and conflict, climate change and conflict, international terrorism, democratisation, European Union and its crisis response capability, HIV/AIDS as a security issue.
ICG’s reporting is based on “expert field research” conducted by teams of analysts permanently based in or nearby countries at risk of conflict. ICG’s field analysts, who are mostly recruited among “former diplomats, journalists, academics and NGO staff”, seek to develop relationships with government and opposition sources, public servants, military and paramilitary leaders, municipal officials, academics, journalists and leaders of civil society in order to gather information. According to ICG, “[s]ecurity is often an issue, requiring, in some cases, operating on a non-disclosed basis” (ICG Annual Report 2008, p. 5, http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/miscellaneous_docs/crisis_group_2008_annual_report_web.pdf, accessed on 6 May 2008).
ICG reports are to a large extent based on interviews with government representatives, Western embassy officials, representatives of political parties, armed groups, military officials, representatives of international and local human rights organisations, and local journalists, lawyers, and scholars (ACCORD: Researching Country of Origin Information - A Training Manual, April 2004 (updated April 2006), Annex, p. 14, http://www.coi-training.net/content/doc/en-COI%20Manual%20Part%20I%20plus%20Annex%2020060426.pdf, accessed on 19 May 2008).
Interviews are normally conducted personally, only occasionally via telephone. Written sources used in the reports are local and international media reports, press releases, and legal texts (see referencing as presented in several recent publications available at ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=1145&l=1, accessed on 19 May 2008).
According to ICG, its analysts “[…] identify the underlying political, social and economic factors creating the conditions for conflict, as well as the more immediate causes of tension. They find the people that matter, and discover what or who influences them. They study the factors outside the country that may be contributing to the conflict. And they consider the actual and potential role for other countries and intergovernmental bodies like the UN, the European Union and the African Union to help defuse the crisis.” (ICG Annual Report 2008, p. 4, http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/miscellaneous_docs/crisis_group_2008_annual_report_web.pdf, accessed on 19 May 2008)
As research is tightly linked to analysis, information found during research is normally presented in a commented way (see several of the recent reports and briefings available at ICG Website, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=1145&l=1, accessed on 19 May 2008).
ICG reports and briefings are each published in separate series for each world region; each report/briefing paper covers a specific country’s/region’s situation. Coverage of a given country is in irregular intervals (depending on the occurrence of urgent developments).
Crisis Watch is published at the beginning of each month.
The website is available in English, French, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian and Arabic. Reports and briefings are written in English (or in some cases in French) and sometimes translated into a local language.
Navigation of website:
The left hand menu bar on the homepage gives access to ICG reports and briefing papers by “country”, “region” and “thematic issues”. Reports and briefing papers older than a month can be viewed only after registration, which is free of charge.
The item “research resources” on the menu bar gives access to several databases:
Entries from current and past editions of Crisis Watch can be searched via the “Crisis Watch database” by country, date, and keywords.
The “Conflict Histories database” provides brief histories of conflicts covered by ICG analysts. It is searchable by country or conflict.
The “Map database”, also searchable by conflict or country, gives access to “Crisis Group country maps”.