Complete Thesis | Non Governmental Organization | Framing (Social Sciences)


The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) is widely regarded as a major success and as a model for future non-governmental organisation (NGO) campaigns1. With the signing of the Ottawa Convention2 in December 1997 it seemed the world had united to eradicate a humanitarian scourge, as a conventional weapon in common use was outlawed for the first time. The success of the ICBL has been heralded as unprecedented for reasons such as its speed and the unusually close cooperation between NGOs and proban states, which allowed the former a unique degree of access to the treaty negotiations. Furthermore the convention was concluded entirely outside of traditional arms control negotiating structures and went ahead without the backing of three major world powers and arms manufacturers, namely the United States (US), Russia and China. Finally the fact that NGOs had succeeded in influencing global policy on a ‘national security’ issue was regarded as highly unusual. At its height the enthusiasm for the ICBL’s success was such that Jody Williams, the ICBL Coordinator, referred to the alliance between NGOs and small and medium states which promoted the Ottawa Convention as a ‘superpower’ (Bleicher, 2000: 73). Some commentators have provided less positive interpretations of the ICBL’s success however, claiming that it succeeded only because of a particular coincidence of external circumstances and issue-specific factors which enabled NGOs to generate common interest with states (Beier & Denholm Crosby, 1998). Consequentially it is not seen as setting a precedent for other NGO campaigns to follow. Another view is that the ICBL mirrors the success of previous NGO campaigns which took place at historical junctures similar to that of end of the Cold War, and hence is not unique or unprecedented (Rutherford, 1999), (Hubert, 2000: 40).

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<> (7/9/04). Its official title is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction.


The small arms3 issue was chosen as a comparative case study because initially it seemed similar enough to landmines4 to assume that some of the tactics used by the ICBL could be reproduced in this new context. Indeed this has been a common assumption, with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Japanese Foreign Minister both suggesting at the Ottawa Conference that small arms should be the next target for an NGO campaign (Bleicher, 2000: 75). On closer examination of the literature on small arms, it was discovered just how different the two issues are however. The first major difference is the scale and extent of the problem, which far exceeds that of landmines. Approximately 639 million guns are currently in circulation, causing roughly 500,000 deaths a year (Small Arms Survey, 2003: 132), compared to 26,000 for anti-personnel mines (Price, 1998: 618). Small arms are the main weapons used in conflicts today and are also one of the favoured tools of crime. Their multipurpose utility makes them relevant in more contexts, touching on arms control, human rights, crime and development among others. But perhaps the central difference in terms of regulating small arms is that they are just too useful to be banned. This has obvious repercussions for the sort of arguments small arms campaigners need to make and the sort of regulation which will be required, necessitating greater complexity and sophistication. Besides these issuebased differences, the international environment in which the small arms campaign is now operating differs from that pertaining during the landmines campaign. The aim of this dissertation is to discover whether aspects of the successful NGO campaign leading to the international ban on landmines can be replicated in the context of other issues. The methodology used will be a comparative analysis of the campaigns around landmines and small arms. The intention is to single out the factors which made the ICBL a success, and to examine whether they apply to the small arms campaign5, and

Small arms will be used throughout as synonymous with small arms and light weapons, which includes items such as portable rocket launchers, as well as conventional firearms. 4 For stylistic reasons, ‘landmines’ and ‘anti-personnel mines’ will be used interchangeably, although it is acknowledged that only anti-personnel mines are affected by the Ottawa Convention. 5 Whereas the ICBL represented almost all NGOs working on landmines and can be used as shorthand for describing NGO activity on the issue, NGOs working on small arms are less organised into a single umbrella organisation. The phrase ‘small arms campaign’ will therefore be used to refer to the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)— the main NGO coalition in the area— as well as other groups


by extension to NGO campaigns on other issues. This in turn will hopefully help to elucidate the role of NGOs within the current international system, and how they influence international politics. Has the leverage of NGOs increased in recent years, or was the ICBL’s success exceptional?

In preparing this dissertation, I relied initially on the literature on landmines as a means of isolating the main factors behind the ICBL’s success. The next step was to consult the theoretical background on which the landmines literature had been based which involved theories on globalisation (Held et al., 1999), global governance (Weiss & Gordenker eds., 1996), (O’Brien at al., 2000), transnational civil society (Smith et al., eds., 1997), (Kaldor, 2003) and international norms (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998), (Nadelmann, 1990). In researching the small arms issue, use was made of primary sources, such as NGO and United Nations (UN) websites, as well as secondary sources evaluating the activities of the small arms campaign. This research helped to identify which factors from the landmines literature were also relevant to the small arms campaign. The end result was the construction of an analytical framework, which examined the two campaigns under several headings, taken from the literature on landmines and its theoretical background, and contained in Table 1. These headings were chosen because they constituted common factors influencing both campaigns, and therefore served to facilitate a comparative analysis. They are divided into external and internal factors, as it became increasingly clear that neither campaign could be properly understood without examining factors external to the campaigns, such as the geopolitical conditions in which they took place, as well as internal factors, such as the tactics used by NGOs. This framework and its application to the two campaigns form the structure of the rest of the dissertation.

working on small arms which do not participate in IANSA.


The conclusion will attempt to extrapolate from the two case studies some general hypotheses about how NGOs operate within the international system.Structure Chapter One will set up the theoretical framework of the dissertation by delineating the external and internal factors which influenced the effectiveness of the two campaigns. and which conditions are conducive to them successfully influencing international policy. 4 . before examining how the aforementioned external and internal factors interacted to produce a successful result for the ICBL. Chapter Two will detail the characteristics of landmines as weapons which made them amenable to prohibition. Chapter Three will apply the same theoretical framework to small arms and also illustrate how issue-specific factors make them harder to regulate.

The success of an NGO campaign will also be influenced by internal factors. which in the case studies under examination here is largely a result of the nature of landmines and small arms as weapons.1. 5 . This chapter will examine these external and internal factors in order to establish the framework of analysis which will later be applied to the landmines and small arms campaigns. In order for a campaign to succeed it is argued that NGOs must adapt their tactics to take advantage of the opportunities provided by their environment. 1997: 57)— in other words whether the environment in which NGOs operate facilitates or hinders their ability to influence global policy. such as how they frame the issue and how they contest normative space. globalisation and the attitude of other actors in the international system. the environment has been shaped by the international geopolitical context. A final obvious determinant of an NGO campaign’s success is the difficulty and complexity of the particular issue it is dealing with. For landmines and small arms regulation. These will be referred to as external factors. Factors Influencing the Success of NGO Campaigns The ability of NGOs to influence international politics is largely contingent on the existence of conducive political opportunity structures (Smith. These issue-specific elements will be examined in Chapters Two and Three. A table summarising these factors is provided below.

The small arms issue was slower to emerge. 2002: 37). The end of the Cold War had several important consequences for the environment in which NGOs were operating. Although both campaigns have shared a post-Cold War background. The geopolitical context for the ICBL and the beginning of the small arms campaign is best characterised as post-Cold War. The ideological divide 6 . 2002: 37). A coordinated NGO campaign did not emerge until August 1998 when IANSA was set up (Hubert. The landmines campaign got underway in 1992 and culminated in the signing of the Ottawa Convention in December 1997. although individual NGOs had been working on small arms since the mid-1990s (Batchelor.Table 1: Factors Influencing the Success of the Landmines and Small Arms Campaigns External Factors Geopolitical Conditions Globalisation Attitude of Other Actors in the Internal Factors International System Framing Contesting Normative Space Geopolitical Conditions The geopolitical context of the landmines and small arms campaigns has been shaped by the end of the Cold War and the War on Terror. The War on Terror is obviously only relevant for the small arms campaign as the Ottawa Convention was concluded long before September 11th 2001. the consequences of the end of the Cold War have differed for the two issues. first becoming a prominent issue on the international agenda in 1995 with Boutros Ghali’s Supplement to an Agenda for Peace (Batchelor. 2000: 52).

This was an important development as the use of majority voting is more conducive to speedy progress on issues. 79). avoiding the lowestcommon denominator results associated with consensus-based negotiations. 2000: 30). 1999: 39-40). rather than states. This created more space on the global agenda for so-called ‘soft’ issues (Thakur & Maley. The climate of mutual suspicion which had existed between the two sides during the Cold War had discouraged the participation of NGOs in international politics. 1999). allowing greater consideration of the merits of individual policy proposals. whereas prior to the Second World War majority voting had been the norm. Consensus-based decision-making in international fora had only become the norm during the Cold War in order to avoid excluding large blocs (Rutherford. rather than automatic reversion to supporting one or other of the two blocs (Kaldor. The Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy summed up this changing attitude as follows: 7 . (Thakur & Maley. This sudden lack of a great divide in international politics allowed small and medium states a freedom they had previously lacked to adopt positions of their own. such as humanitarianism and development— areas in which NGOs were regarded as experts and legitimate participants. which redefined security in terms of individuals. It also facilitated the promotion of the concept of human security. With the end of the Cold War it became possible to advocate majority voting again. Coupled with this was a new flexibility in international negotiations. 1999). (Hubert. 2003: 114). 2003:13. The benign international security environment ushered in by the end of the Cold War led to a decline in emphasis on national security. This obstacle to NGO participation was largely removed with the fall of Communism. 39. This provided an opportunity for NGOs to exert a greater influence on global policy than had hitherto been possible (Kaldor. as there was a tendency to suspect them of being fronts for one side or the other.which had previously polarised international politics disappeared.

Security is found in the conditions of daily life . Instead the focus shifted to defending human security by controlling conventional weapons like landmines and small arms. are usually not of much strategic interest to the West. inter-ethnic tension. In these circumstances. 8 . A longer-term manifestation was the spread of free market ideology around the globe.htm> (7/9/04).dfaitmaeci. unlike the proxy wars of the Cold War era. Threats to human security—human rights abuses. with obvious consequences for weapons proliferation. Along with their disproportionate impact on civilians. . The relaxation of state authority also changed the nature of war. environmental degradation and terrorism have grown. to safeguard individual citizens. In the immediate post-Cold War period. Conceptualising security in this way de-emphasised the concerns of ‘high politics’. Reinforcing this individualisation of security was a broader trend of the relaxation of state authority. it is no longer enough to ensure the security of the nation. including the arms industry. but had not previously attracted much international attention because they were not regarded as posing a threat to the security of whole states. rather than primarily in the military strength of the state6. 2003: 120-123). involving non-state actors and higher civilian casualty rates (Muggah. which cause more casualties than WMD. the threat of major conflicts between states has lessened. fueling recurring cycles of violence.. . leading to the looting of government arms stockpiles. this manifested itself as a severe breakdown in law and order in former Communist countries. poverty. with the privatisation of state industries and the removal of trade barriers transforming all aspects of the global economy. These new wars generally take place in developing countries and. 2001: 72). this facilitates the 6 < Civilians are their primary victims. with some commentators positing the emergence of so-called ‘new wars’ (Kaldor. such as preserving the military balance of power between states and controlling weapons of mass destruction (WMD)— measures aimed at protecting national security. which tend to be intrastate rather than interstate.gc.…with the end of the Cold War.

helping NGOs to have a greater influence on relevant policies. 2000: 30).gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8. 9 .asp> (16/06/04) <http://www. 2004: 3) Overall world military expenditure increased by 18% between 2001 and 2003. For 2003. <http://www.asp>(16/06/04) 10 <http://www.7 billion for 20057. making up the largest bloc of world spending8. and many European Union countries are undergoing extensive rearmament and military modernisation programmes (Small Arms Survey. By its reaction to September 11th. Pursuing arms control measures in such a climate is going to be far more difficult than under the conditions of Western peace and optimism that prevailed in the mid to late 1990s. This applies not only to the US. As the focus has shifted back from human security to national security. The prospect of small and medium states playing an independent role in international politics. The Bush Administration hugely increased military expenditure after September 11th. rather than a national security. may also have been dealt a blow by the War on Terror. with Bush’s famous ‘Either you are with us.globalissues. 2002: 43) as opposed to conventional weapons. or you are with the terrorists’ speech10.globalissues. Since September 11th 2001. context (Hubert. The increased concern with national security has left less room for ‘soft’ issues on the international agenda (Small Arms Survey 2003: 151) and bears some similarities to the Cold War situation. the US has demonstrated that force is still crucial to international relations. from $310 billion in 2001 to a budget request of $420. which involved decreasing military expenditure9. The renewed polarisation of the international system is also not conducive to 7 8 <http://www.asp> (16/06/04) 9 Military expenditure decreased from $1. there has been a corresponding increase in emphasis on WMD (Laurance & Stohl.globalissues.html> (7/9/04). There seems to have been an almost conscious US effort to return to the bipolarity of the Cold War era. 2002: 184). particularly in areas deemed relevant to national security. contradicting any post-Cold War claims to the contrary ( of new wars in a humanitarian. the geopolitical context has been transformed from a postCold War situation to a context dominated by fear of terrorism and national security concerns. but to most other Western countries as it stood at $950 billion.2 trillion in 1985 to $809 billion in 1998.

increased scrutiny of international financial transactions (UN. Economic globalisation has been encouraged by the worldwide spread of communications media like the Internet. but the main impetus was the creation of a 11 <http://www. it has also provided some new framing opportunities for NGOs. Globalisation Another aspect of the environment in which NGOs currently operate is the ongoing process of globalisation. An important characteristic of contemporary globalisation is that it refers not just to increasing international connections between states. 1999: 52-9).. and civil society groups. individuals. Although globalisation is an intensely contested concept.pdf> (7/9/04) 10 . But the new geopolitical context also has some positive ramifications for arms control. Depending on the issue area. particularly with regard to national security issues. different aspects of the globalisation phenomenon will be relevant for different NGO The focus on combating terrorism has led to improved border controls (Small Arms Survey 2003: 61). which take place outside of interstate channels. there is more chance of it being picked up by the global media and mobilising public support. there is general agreement that at a minimum it refers to increasing global interconnectedness. If an issue can be presented as relevant to combating international terrorism. 2003: 18) and better enforcement of international arms embargoes in some instances11. Globalisation could therefore be described as a process of transnationalisation as well as internationalisation (Held et al.08. Outlined below are some aspects of globalisation which have a bearing on landmines and small arms. Because the War on Terror has shifted the focus away from humanitarian issues to national security. and also some aspects which enable NGOs to gain more influence in global policy formation and campaign more effectively. but also to increasing transnational connections between firms.the participation of NGOs in international politics.smallarmssurvey.

1997: 274). At the same time the regulatory capacity of the state has been reduced (Muggah. which hugely increased the volume of international trade and financial transactions (Held et al. 2001: 168). 1997: 274). 1999: 164-7). 2000: 469). After decades of Structural Adjustment Programmes and crippling debt repayments. increasing the demand for arms as a means of self-defence. 2000: 469). and persistent unemployment (Muggah & Batchelor. also has some of the highest rates of crime. to increase inequality both between and within countries (Thomas. 11 . This hypothesis is borne out by the fact that Latin America. 2001: 159-160). 2002: 8). which privileges individualism and economic growth. (Muggah. 2001: 71). An alternative view of inequality sees it as a factor in rising rates of crime and civil conflict (UNDP. 2003: 109). many developing countries simply do not have the resources to provide security for their citizens. at least in its current neoliberal form. the region of the world with the highest rate of inequality (Kirby. 1999) (Beier & Denholm Crosby.. Neoliberal policies such as privatisation and the slimming down of the state— promoted by intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank and many governments—have been largely responsible for this. Many commentators have noted the tendency of globalisation. (McMichael. All of these elements have transformed the nature of the global arms trade. Neoliberal policy prescriptions like social expenditure cutbacks also contribute to the other main risk factors for social violence and conflict: systemic poverty. One reason for this is the ideology behind neoliberalism. social marginalisation. privatisation and the transnationalisation of industry. Crucial elements of this free trading system are the ongoing deregulation of international trade and finance. making it more difficult to regulate. rather than an free trading system after 1945. Proof of the former is the widening of the income gap between north and south from 31:1 in 1960 to 74:1 in 2000 (McMichael. thereby increasing insecurity and fuelling the demand for small arms. This is a worldview where inequality is seen as a spur to economic growth (Thomas. while downplaying the importance of social capital (Thomas. 2001: 71). 2001: 167). particularly in the South. (Beier & Denholm Crosby.

as they lack the ‘hard power’ of states and business. which have created a need for re-regulation at global level. rather than confined to nation states or regions... a process which has been encouraged by the spread of global media. 1996: 25). rather than territorial.. Increasing recognition of the interconnectedness of global problems has also encouraged the delegation of more matters to the intergovernmental level. 2000: 208). The role NGOs play within this system is reliant on their ability to utilise ‘soft power’. ‘experts’. 2003: 112) and is a factor behind the tentative emergence of ‘transnational civil society’. The transnationalisation of civil society involves the formation of new transnational political communities and the strengthening of pre-existing ones. This ability of NGOs to ‘aggregate interests across national boundaries’ (Smith et al. due to a lack of coercive abilities or large financial 12 . 195). This emerging new form of global governance has been described as complex multilateralism (O’Brien et al. The importance of IGOs has increased in recent years due to aspects of globalisation such as deregulation at state level and the transnationalisation of trade and finance. 1997: 69) has increased their ability to influence global policy. 2000: 85. Coupled with this is an increasing awareness that problems are shared by the globe as a whole. enabling them serve a useful role within the emerging system of global governance. and exists alongside the still-hegemonic political identity of nationalism..From a civil society perspective. business. This sense of global interconnectedness has been dubbed ‘globality’ (Scholte. Complex multilateralism is a useful concept for explaining how NGOs can influence global policy (O’Brien et al. but also non-state actors. (Kaldor. But global governance has come to involve as actors not just states and IGOs. representing the development of an alternative form of political identity. It has been suggested that NGOs provide ‘institutional homes’ for these new political communities in the same way as states do for nationalism (Peter Spiro quoted in Weiss & Gordenker eds. communications globalisation and cheaper. known as complex multilateralism. and especially civil society organisations and NGOs. faster international transport have encouraged the quantitative and qualitative development of transnational connections between individuals and NGOs in different parts of the world. 2000) and can include as participants the media. which is issue-based.

513). who may be motivated more by other national interests than genuine concern for the issue at hand. 1996: 38-9). This highlights the fact that NGOs will be more influential if they are part of a transnational organisation or network of organisations (Smith. IGOs have attempted to remedy this ‘democratic deficit’ (Nye. 2000: 22). who are seen as providing a link with the public. 1997: 49). 1997: xiii-xvi). Although the problems IGOs are tasked with solving affect the lives of millions of people around the world. and the fit between the issue-based natures of IGOs and NGOs provides further explanation for the emergence of complex multilateralism. thereby serving a democratising purpose by increasing public oversight of global governance (O’Brien et al. either through direct lobbying or by mobilising the public to exert pressure on them (Weiss & Gordenker. Kaldor emphasises ‘the parcellization of authority not on a territorial basis but on the basis of issues’ (Kaldor. As well as increasing public oversight. 2001) by involving NGOs. thus facilitating intergovernmental policy-making’ (Smith et al.. It follows from this that NGOs will be more successful at the intergovernmental level if they are perceived as representing public opinion (Smith. and that their ability to aggregate interests into a transnational political community around a particular issue is an advantage they possess 13 . NGO participation provides an alternative to representation by a state official.. who must cater to a multitude of different interest groups. the ability of NGOs to focus exclusively on one issue area can make them more effective (Clark. NGOs have been allowed to participate in global governance because they serve several useful functions for IGOs. there is no direct democratic input into their deliberations.resources (O’Brien et al.. 1995: 510. 2003: 141) as a defining characteristic of IGOs. In contrast to the divided attentions of state representatives. NGOs’ ‘soft power’ consists of their ability to persuade the holders of ‘hard power’ to support their viewpoints. (Chatfield. unlike with national governments in representative democracies. 1997: 69). One commentator summarises how the IGOs see NGOs thus: ‘actors within IGOs value transnational organizations for their ability to aggregate interests across national boundaries and to help generate options for resolving conflicts. 2000: 120). 1997: 44).

expertise and experience. 1995: 517) and UN human rights bodies have come to rely on information provided by NGOs in order to monitor the implementation of human rights treaties. NGOs can increase their power by occupying ‘linking pin’ positions in international networks of states. A further important way in which NGOs play a role within the emerging system of complex multilateralism is by accumulating expertise on particular issues. and exerting coordinated multi-layered pressure for change. 1996: 35). In summary the consequences of globalisation for the ability of NGOs to achieve their aims have been quite ambivalent. whether formal or informal (Weiss & Gordenker. where the budget of Amnesty International exceeds that of the entire UN human rights apparatus (Clark. 1997: 264). The formation of transnational coalitions also enables NGOs to influence different layers of governance from the local to the global (Weiss & Gordenker. NGOs and IGOs. modifying their persuasive techniques to adapt to the particulars of each situation. their ability to influence global policy formation and increase their stature within the new system of complex multilateralism should only increase. The efficiency of NGO networks in disseminating information between their different branches and coordinating their actions is a crucial factor determining success or failure. enabling them to exert far greater influence than if they all operated independently (Smith. Deregulation of international trade and finance. Coordinating transnationally gives NGO coalitions an advantage in the age of globalisation.over the territorial outlook of state representatives. Through acting as linking pins. through which they can disseminate their viewpoints. with government officials often relieved to have a new issue summed up for them in the easily digestible form of an NGO report. they can help to facilitate interstate cooperation on issues (Alger. As NGOs come to command greater financial resources. Pervasive underfunding of intergovernmental bodies has meant that some NGOs have access to greater financial resources and expertise than the relevant IGO in their area. Expertise is also a crucial factor in the ability of NGOs to gain state support for their campaigns. 14 . 1997: 44). 1996: 213). This is particularly true in the field of human rights.

Although bodies like the UN are officially 15 . IGOs and other civil society groups. International political leadership has also been altered since 1997 by the decline of Third Way politics. while growing inequality has exacerbated many of the problems they seek to remedy. 2000: 9). due to the new opportunities afforded them through transnationalisation. small arms among them’ (Karp. being more predisposed to involve NGOs in international policy discussions. With the emergence of complex multilateralism.privatisation and transnationalisation of industry and the weakening of the regulatory power of the state have made many of the issue areas which NGOs seek to influence harder for states to regulate. Similarly in a civil society context. Bush as US President. In order for a campaign to succeed in influencing global policy.. while others oppose it. but elements of the public and other NGOs can also be their most formidable opponents. within which NGOs can play a greater role.. 2002: 185). and that of the present. but states still remain the most important. it needs to gain the support of states. An obvious difference between the political climate prevailing during the landmine campaign. NGOs garner most of their support from the public. it is important to note that states are not monoliths: some sectors of a national bureaucracy can support a campaign. 2000: 9). is that many governments have been replaced. a nascent system of global governance is emerging. In terms of opposition to a campaign. These include states. the latter three actors have taken on a greater role. The views of IGOs are also relevant to the success of NGO campaigns. The Third Way has also been identified as ‘the impulse behind many of the most important humanitarian initiatives of recent years. business. The Attitude of other Actors in the International System A crucial factor in the success or failure of any NGO-led campaign is the attitude of other actors in the international system. even if they didn’t genuinely take their concerns on board (O’Brien et al. Third Way politicians were a driving force behind the emergence of complex multilateralism (O’Brien et al. The most significant regime change is probably the replacement of Bill Clinton by George W. At the same time however. whose attitude to particular issues will change as governments change.

this can be achieved only through the enforcement power of states. Framing is also important for defining an issue as a problem. whereby a concerted effort is made to generate new norms governing the behaviour of individuals and states. through stigmatising the 16 . and both campaigns represent attempts to change these standards. the new norm operates by exerting a moral compunction to comply on both states and individuals. which generates a perceived need for solutions. they can strengthen the case for the introduction of their new norm. By successfully contesting normative space in this manner. as well as which actors are regarded as possessing the necessary expertise to merit an input in policy formation. but also non-state actors and individuals. A norm has been defined as ‘a standard of appropriate behaviour for actors with a given identity’ (Finnemore & Sikkink. the focus will now shift to the factors internal to a campaign which have the most bearing on its effectiveness. Framing and Contesting Normative Space Both the landmines and small arms campaigns could be described as processes of norm generation. which is of prime importance as it determines the context in which the issue is viewed. institutional attitudes of bureaucrats can have an influence on whether an issue is prioritised. The actors whose behaviour is targeted for modification are in the first instance states.neutral and are not supposed to adopt organisational positions on issues. Within a system of complex multilateralism. From a normative perspective however. which will translate states’ international legal commitments into domestic laws regulating the behaviour of individuals in their jurisdiction. the attitude of all the various actors involved is significant in determining whether an NGO campaign will succeed. 1998: 891). Having examined the external factors which influence the success of an NGO campaign. Where a new norm is proposed as a solution to the problem—as was the case with the landmines campaign—success will hinge on the ability of campaigners to overcome contradictory norms and create links with supportive norms. From an international law perspective. These include how the issue is framed.

Problematising the issue generates a perceived need for solutions. 1998). The first stage of ‘norm emergence’ involves the framing of issues by ‘norm entrepreneurs’ (concerned individuals and NGOs) and attempts to persuade states to adopt their proposed new norm (Finnemore & Sikkink. Therefore it is often necessary to wage a lengthy framing contest before an effective campaign advocating specific normative solutions can be run. The concept of ‘frame alignment’ has been used to explain how people will not support a campaign unless it ‘rings true’ to them: 17 . which gives a special potency to norms (Finnemore & Sikkink. 1996: 38-39). Because NGOs rely on forms of ‘soft power’ such as their ability to mobilise broad public support (O’Brien et al. exceeding that of other types of international standards. In other words the construction of new cognitive frames creates new ‘logics of appropriateness’ (Finnemore & Sikkink. It is this feeling of moral obligation. This ‘oughtness’ of norms can be so powerful that it may obviate the need for the strict verification procedures usually involved in arms control regimes. 1998: 897). How norm entrepreneurs contextualise an issue within a particular discourse. 2000:12) and to persuade influential individuals in positions of power within IGOs and state governments of their arguments (Weiss & Gordenker. as well as frames which seem persuasive to the holders of hard power. Context largely determines which actors are allowed to participate in policy formation and therefore which solutions can be put forward. 1998: 891). in the context of which the proposed new norm will appear a fitting solution. 1998: 897). define it as a problem and propose solutions — a process referred to here as framing — is crucial to the success of this phase (Finnemore & Sikkink. 1998: 896-901).newly inappropriate behaviour. such as technical regulations. Finnemore and Sikkink have described the process of development of a norm from initial proposal to general acceptance as the ‘norm life-cycle’ (Finnemore & Sikkink. with the way in which the problem is defined and the context in which it is situated making particular solutions seem appropriate. generated by a shared sense among ‘actors with a given identity’ that a norm is just and should be abided by. success depends on their ability to construct frames which appeal to large numbers of people in different cultural contexts.

This can involve discrediting opposing norms. Effective frames do not remain static. In other words a frame must be constructed out of pre-existing cultural materials (McCarthy. with differing emphasis in different cultural contexts. Once the norm has completed the ‘norm emergence’ phase. As the experience of an individual changes over time. a ‘tipping point’ occurs (Finnemore & Sikkink. Simply replicating the frames used by the landmines campaign will not be enough to guarantee the small arms campaign’s success.‘individuals will not participate … unless their own experientially based perspective corresponds to the interpretive orientation of the organization’ (Warkentin & Mingst. On a macrolevel. 1997: 245). as besides the fact that the issues involved differ. (Finnemore & Sikkink. the frames which align with that experience also change. Where the issue does not obviously resonate with a particular cultural background. and in situations where a potentially obstructive norm is too powerful to overcome. highlighting or creating links with supportive norms. 1998: 901). geopolitical conditions have changed significantly in the intervening years. after which the norm becomes generally accepted by 18 . 1998: 908): in other words how they contest and fight for ‘normative space’. 2000). 1997: 245). Another vital element of the norm emergence phase is how norm entrepreneurs relate the proposed new norm to pre-existing norms (Price. the field of international law in which pre-existing supportive norms are embedded will serve as the framework into which the new norm will be inserted. a conscious process of ‘frame bridging’ must be undertaken (McCarthy. From a legal perspective. the frames used by NGOs must adapt so as to remain relevant. while campaigners will need to disassociate the issue from unsuitable legal frameworks and precedents. a process which is obviously more difficult in transnational contexts as the frame must resonate in a range of different cultural settings (McCarthy. justifying the new norm in terms of that norm or pleading its irrelevance. with some being discarded as no longer relevant and replaced by new interpretations. 1998: 904). 1997: 245). These especially powerful norms will be referred to here as übernorms. 1998). and would include strongly internalised norms like market exchange and state sovereignty (Finnemore & Sikkink. as geopolitical conditions change.

but also on external factors such as geopolitical conditions and the strength of opposition to the new norm. whereas the small arms campaign is still at the earliest phase of norm generation. with states wanting to conform to the new norm in order to be seen as respectable members of the international community (Finnemore & Sikkink. The role of norm entrepreneurs becomes less significant from this point on.most states and enters the ‘norm cascade’ phase (Finnemore & Sikkink. Whether or not a tipping point comes about depends on how well NGOs do their job in framing the issue and contesting normative space. where a framing contest is being waged prior to the possible emergence of strong norms. The interplay of these internal and external factors will be examined in detail in the next two chapters. 1998: 901). 1998: 902-4). 19 . as socialisation processes come to play a greater role. The tipping point usually requires participation by a third of relevant states (Finnemore & Sikkink. Reaching the tipping point could therefore be used as a barometer for measuring the success of an NGO campaign. 1998: 901). but it is also important that ‘critical states’— the identity of whom will vary from issue to issue— adopt the norm (Finnemore & Sikkink. 1998: 902-4). The ICBL succeeded in reaching this point.

Characteristics of landmines as weapons The landmine is a single-use weapon. second-hand trade is not a major issue 12 During the Vietnam War for example. which meant that simple prohibition could be an effective solution. unlikely to be lightly undertaken and fails to alter the fact that mines are only detonated once. Crucial to generating that support was how it framed the landmines issue in a humanitarian context and how it contested the normative space into which the ban was to be introduced. 20 . the Vietcong excavated US mines and turned them against their original owners. creating new possibilities for transnational co-ordination and multilayered campaigning at the same time as an emerging system of complex multilateralism offered NGOs the chance to play a greater role in global governance. The ICBL was fortunate too that the opposition of other actors in the international system was not as strong or as widespread as it might have been. Many ‘old’ landmines are in the ground and can be destroyed through demining efforts. Globalisation also shaped the environment in which the ICBL operated. The post-Cold War geopolitical background in which the campaign took place provided a window of opportunity for civil society input into ‘national security’ issues. Although in some cases mines have been dug up and resown12. Consequently. making the ICBL’s task easier than if it had to mobilise public support for a range of complicated regulations. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines The success of the landmines campaign was largely due to a combination of convenient external conditions and the ICBL’s skill in conducting its campaign. It is sown in the ground and is ‘used’ only once when a victim steps on it.2. this is a dangerous activity. Another important element which will be examined in this chapter is the nature of landmines as weapons.

unlike gun control. where they are used in fishing and to protect private property (Rutherford & Matthew. 2002: 18). and therefore easier for governments to control. 13 One exception is Cambodia. The ICBL concentrated on questioning the military utility of landmines for this reason. 95% of all conflicts between 1989 and 1995 took place in developing countries (Muggah & Griffiths.for controlling landmines (Muggah & Batchelor. no other purpose to fulfil would remain. In this sense. This also explains the absence of civil society opposition to prohibition. The relative insignificance of anti-personnel mines to the profitability of the arms industry (Roberts & Williams. The fact that the West was unaffected by landmines meant that. Landmines are also largely a single-purpose weapon. a factor which probably contributed to the campaign’s success. which meant they were not commonly in civilian possession. this facilitated the framing of landmines in a humanitarian context. 1996). 1995: 34) meant that there was less opposition to a ban than might have been expected if they were more lucrative. meaning that if their utility in achieving that single military purpose could be called in question. mines were a single-purpose weapon. Another aspect of the single purpose nature of landmines is their lack of peacetime utility13. 21 . opening the door to a ban. 14 For example. such as terrorisation of civilians and forced depopulation of areas. Developing countries have been the location of almost all conflicts over the last fifty years so the problems caused by antipersonnel mines have been largely confined to the Third World14. 2003). These factors combined to make the trade in landmines more controllable by governments. Other uses. making them easier to ban than more easily re-saleable weapons. 2002: 8). This chapter will now examine the geopolitical conditions which facilitated the promotion of a ban. The only purpose of landmines which was recognised as legitimate under official military doctrine prior to the ban was as a ‘force multiplier’ in order to slow enemy encroachments onto a warring party’s territory during an armed conflict (ICRC. it was not a political issue there. Along with their exclusively wartime utility. were illegal under international law. than is the case with small arms. and hence could not be used by states to justify the retention of anti-personnel mines.

which helped to build momentum in the early days of the campaign. which had historically been seen through the lens of national security and thus were not deemed suitable topics for non-state actors to engage with. This may have contributed to its slow reaction to the Ottawa process. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union. may have believed it would be pointless to conclude the treaty without them (Rutherford & Matthews. without first securing the support of its military allies would have been unlikely. 2000: 30). New opportunities were also opened up by the decline in emphasis on consensus-based international decision-making. This led to a situation whereby US influence was paradoxically undermined at the very moment when it ought to have been at its height.The End of the Cold War and a New Emerging Security Architecture The sudden lack of a great divide in international politics with the end of the Cold War allowed small and medium states a freedom they had previously lacked to adopt positions of their own and form single-issue coalitions with likeminded states. an essential factor behind the landmine ban’s success. The end of the Cold War led to a change in emphasis from national to human security. which it failed to take very seriously until the convention was almost negotiated (Rutherford & Matthews. Unilateral measures such as the Belgian ban on landmines and the US export moratorium. and the use of majority voting in the Ottawa process15 was crucial (Hubert. 22 . as it avoided action being blocked by recalcitrant states. Landmines. where the views of NGOs could be taken into account. The Canadian government was one of the foremost proponents of human security (Hubert. the US found itself in an unprecedented position of global dominance. 2003: 44). and. Given the history of the Cold War. with their new role as the only superpower. 2003: 44). the Americans were unaccustomed to their allies taking independent policy steps. with its own allies and most other states conspiring successfully to negotiate a major international treaty without it. 2000: 57). Human 15 The Ottawa process refers to the Ottawa Convention’s negotiation between likeminded states outside of UN auspices between October 1996 and December 1997. 2000: 61) and used it as the basis for its support of the landmine ban. may not have been possible (Hubert. could now be considered in a new ‘softer’ light. During the Cold War. for a state to take action on an issue associated with national security like landmines.

security and humanitarian concerns were also increasingly being applied to the ‘new wars’ in the Third World (Hubert, 2000: 30), some of which had their origins in proxy Cold War conflicts but were no longer of much strategic interest to the West. Coupled with the eruption of ethnic conflicts in many countries after the collapse of Communism, this led to an increase in UN peacekeeping operations in countries like Cambodia and Bosnia. As UN troops fell victim to landmines in the course of their duties (Hubert, 2000: 30), the problem was given further publicity in the media, whose growing global reach formed part of the ongoing process of globalisation examined below.

Globalisation, Transnational Civil Society and a New System of Global Governance
Trends associated with economic globalisation such as the deregulation of international trade and finance, privatisation and transnationalisation of industry, and the weakening of the regulatory power of the state are factors which make it more difficult to control the global arms trade. However, because landmines are not re-saleable and have relatively low profit margins, economic globalisation did not see a huge jump in the volume of international trade in landmines. Nor did the weakening of state regulatory power and rising rates of crime and social violence associated with deepening inequality lead to civilians arming themselves with anti-personnel mines. Aspects of globalisation which are more relevant to the landmines issue include the development of transnational civil society and complex multilateralism. The development of transnational civil society has been encouraged by the increasing perception of the world as a single place. Public awareness of the humanitarian crises caused by ‘new wars’ has been increased by daily media coverage; a factor which has facilitated the generation of support for humanitarian causes such as a ban on landmines. The success of the ICBL would not have been possible without the recognition that landmines were a global problem, which could only be solved by global action. The ICBL was able to build global awareness of landmines by campaigning simultaneously in


numerous countries and at various levels of governance, whether national, regional or global (Williams & Goose, 1998). It held international conferences attended by government and NGO officials, as well as landmine victims, from seemingly disparate parts of the globe. This helped to create a transnational community around landmines, with individuals in different countries linked by their mutual concern about the issue. Besides the international conferences, the landmines community was sustained by technological globalisation, with activists communicating via telephone, fax and email (Warkentin & Craig, 2000). Creating a transnational landmines community was a necessary precondition for mounting an effective campaign, but its ability to influence global policy outcomes was assisted by the broader geopolitical context of the post-Cold war era as well as by internal factors, such as framing and norm entrepreneurship. In their work on complex multilateralism, O’Brien et al. conclude that NGO representation at IGOs like the IMF has merely modified the policy-making process, without resulting in substantive changes in policy (O’Brien et al., 2000:3). In the case of the landmines campaign however, NGOs succeeded in bringing about a genuine transformation in policy. The ICBL was able to drive policy on landmines by exercising its ‘soft power’. It established itself as the foremost expert on landmines, and exploited the NGO advantage of being able to focus narrowly on one issue (Clark, 1995: 510, 513). The Ottawa Convention can be seen as a successful example of complex multilateralism, involving most of the actors identified as involved in this new system of global governance, including states, IGOs, and non-state actors such as NGOs, the media and ‘experts’. Although arms companies did not favour a ban, the public pressure generated by the campaign persuaded states such as Italy to institute moratoria on production and export by manufacturers in their jurisdiction. Crucial to this was the support given to the Italian campaign by workers at Valsella Meccanotecnica—one of the world’s biggest mine producers (Williams & Goose, 1997: 29), illustrating how pressure from the level of civil society can generate change from above. The terms of access for NGOs to the CCW Review Conference, which took place under UN auspices in 1996, failed to reflect the growing power of the ICBL, excluding it from


participation—even as an observer— and restricting activists to lobbying outside the conference (Hubert, 2000: 13). Despite this the ICBL succeeded in hijacking the conference as a vehicle for promoting their interpretation of the landmines issue. This was achieved through giving regular briefings on the proceedings— which included criticisms of the gaps between government rhetoric and their actual negotiating positions — to both delegates and the media (Williams & Goose, 1997: 31). This helped the ICBL to establish its expertise and strengthen relationships with likeminded governments (Williams & Goose, 1997: 31), resulting in an increase in the number of pro-ban states from fourteen before the conference to 41 by its end (Williams & Goose, 1997: 33). Having identified this pro-ban bloc, the ICBL succeeded in generating momentum for an independent negotiating process outside of the UN. Despite the sidelining of the UN, the attitude of the organisation to the Ottawa process was largely helpful, as illustrated by the incorporation of UN machinery in the convention16. It could be said that the landmines campaign was a one-off success for NGOs within the complex multilateralism system, which took both IGOs and opposing states by surprise. This interpretation is borne out by the pre-emptive approach adopted by states and IGOs to the small arms issue, which will be examined later.

Strong Support and Weak Opposition from International Actors
A crucial factor behind the success of the ICBL was the attitude of other actors in the international system towards it. The campaign succeeded in generating strong support from small and medium states and the absence of any civil society opposition meant that all the NGO pressure favoured prohibition. Even the opposition of powerful states like the US, Russia and China was not as stiff as it might have been. The ICBL was also fortunate in the composition of international political leadership at the time. The Canadian government was crucial to the success of the campaign, and its foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy gave it a huge boost by challenging all the states present at a 1996

States must report on implementation to the UN Secretary-General who is responsible for disseminating reports among the states parties (Article 7), overseeing the interstate complaints procedure (Article 8), convening meetings of the states parties (Articles 11 & 12) and receiving instruments of ratification (Article 21).


the support of these two states was critical (Finnemore & Sikkink. 2001: 37).conference on landmines in Ottawa to return the following year to sign a treaty (Williams & Goose. In Britain. 1997: 27). 1997: 34). 1998: 901) and may not have occurred if different personnel had been in power. Nelson Mandela’s personal reputation helped to convince African leaders to sign the treaty (Finnemore & Sikkink. and the US paradoxically encouraged progress on landmines eradication by sponsoring a UN resolution calling for states to implement export moratoria (Williams & Goose. This unorthodox step contravened diplomatic protocol and would not have been taken by a less personally committed politician— illustrating the importance of individual national leaders in promoting the ban. 1998: 901). Third Way politicians favoured involving NGOs in international policy discussions which undoubtedly worked to the ICBL’s advantage. With the end of the Cold War however. although the Clinton administration opposed the Ottawa Convention. given their status as major weapons producers. As major producers. who might be thought of as ‘critical states’. its outlook was more multilateral than that of the current Bush government. In the US. Third Way politics was on the rise in the aftermath of the election of New Labour in Britain.. as once the new government announced its support. and compared to a leader like Mandela their moral influence was non-existent. 2000: 9). In 1996-7 when the Ottawa Convention was concluded. as illustrated by his enthusiastic participation in the Northern Ireland peace process. Other opposing states included Russia and China. Opposing states were also circumvented by the Ottawa process whereby states selected themselves for participation on the basis of whether they agreed with the objective of a complete ban (Hubert. neither of these two states was able to exert sufficient pressure on other countries to join them in a bloc. and the same applied for the new government in France. also elected in 1997. As the driving force behind complex multilateralism (O’Brien et al. States not in favour of a complete ban could only take part as observers. Clinton himself had a keen personal interest in foreign policy. Tony Blair’s government was the first to support a ban on landmines. The recent collapse of apartheid in South Africa was also important. The simplicity of the landmine campaign’s aim meant that determining state 26 .

large arms firms were unlikely to pose a threat to the ICBL campaign. so landmine sales were not proportionally significant. the influence of the national security sector on government policy lessened. 1995: 34). They were fortunate that the military did not possess studies of its own disproving this claim (Hubert. involving a simple yes or no answer to the question of whether a state favoured a ban. They also tended to be manufactured by small contractors (Hubert. rather than large arms companies who would wield more influence over governments. 1998: 281). 1998: 280). It was estimated in 1995 that the trade in landmines accounted for less than $100 million of the $20 billion a year global arms trade (Roberts & Williams. retailing at between only $3 and $30 (Beier & Denholm Crosby. In the light of this. 2000: 15) that the military utility of mines was questionable. Landmines were not very profitable. 2000: 37).support was easy. 2000) due to the relative insignificance of anti-personnel mines for the industry. was able to persuade an influential portion of the military (Hubert. 1998: 281). even as most of the government supports it. Gradually the landmines campaign. but also because of institutionalised opposition to limitations on the right of the state to defend itself. given that removing a mine from the ground can cost from $300 to $1000 (Beier & Denholm Crosby. In fact. Another actor within the complex multilateralism system which might have been expected to oppose the Ottawa Convention was business. The non-monolithic nature of states means that one sector of a state’s bureaucracy can oppose a new measure. In practice however the major arms companies were not vociferously opposed to a ban (Warkentin & Craig. and in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 27 . making politicians more open to NGO influence and public pressure. Once the military utility of landmines was thrown into question. In the case of landmines it was the national security sector that opposed the ban due to its belief in their military necessity. demining will arguably be a more profitable activity for the arms industry than landmine production (Beier & Denholm Crosby. 2000: 37).

They had been in widespread use for many years and there was no precedent for the banning of a common conventional weapon. but also to the strength of the emerging norm of prohibition. which moved at a glacial pace. the demands it made at the Oslo conference in September 1997. none of them outright opposed the ideal of eventually eradicating landmines. Although the US ostensibly favoured eventual prohibition. 2000: 85-86). Framing: A Humanitarian Crisis Prior to the landmine ban campaign. 1999).Overall the ban campaign was fortunate that the landmines issue did not generate stronger opposition from other international actors. This lack of tough opposition was partly due to the characteristics of landmines as weapons. This was reflected in the passing by a vote of 156-0 of a UN General Assembly Resolution in December 1996 urging states to pursue a ban (Benesche et al. The fact that states could not openly admit their opposition to a ban was testament to the success of the ICBL in generating a taboo around landmines. How this was achieved will be examined next by looking at the ways in which the campaign framed landmines as a humanitarian issue and delegitimised their use. China and Russia. which meant that no state could openly oppose banning landmines. revealed that in reality it wanted to prevent a ban emerging at all. The ICBL recognised that the terms of reference for the landmine debate must be shifted away from this national security context.. The traditional procedure for arms control within this context was for consensus-based negotiations under the auspices of the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD). 1998: 28 .. Indeed during a landmines conference held at the signing of the Ottawa Convention. 1999). such as that all the permanent members of the UN Security Council be included for the ban to enter into force and that the treaty should be abrogable during wartime (Malanczuk. all three states indicated they would eventually comply with most of its provisions (Benesche et al. anti-personnel mines were seen as a legitimate weapon forming an essential part of states’ national security arsenal. Despite the non-participation of states like the US. as this was traditionally regarded as the exclusive domain of states (Price.

thereby producing a visibly injured victim able to tell his story firsthand. This would be unremarkable if it merely reflected the demographic makeup of landmine victims. 2000). 1998: 370) and would be unlikely to succeed. they needed to frame the issue in their field of humanitarian expertise. rather than men (de Larrinaga & Turenne Sjolander. particularly when there is an obvious and simple chain of cause and effect (Price. The power of first-hand. Their first objective was therefore to change that context. 1998: 32). ‘Statistics help to create new social issues which were previously invisible’ (Price. 1998: 623). 1998: 376). 1998: 617). This enabled them to move away from the detached. In addition to accumulating statistical and academic evidence. whether providing famine relief or tending to wartime refugees. This was achieved through commissioning studies and publishing research which illustrated the extent of the problem from a humanitarian perspective. In this way. Indeed for NGOs to raise the possibility of a ban in this context could be perceived as a threat to the state (de Larrinaga & Turenne Sjolander. The national security context was not conducive to civil society participation nor to the ICBL’s solution of a complete and speedy ban. The victims featured in ICBL campaigns were usually women and children. In order for NGOs to be seen as experts on landmines. particularly the Landmine Survivors Network. were able through their field operations to accumulate emotive images of amputees and personal testimonies of landmine victims which made military arguments about the defensive need for mines seem callous. Landmines are conducive to this as they often maim rather than kill. The traditional sphere of the NGO is humanitarian. and for their views to be taken seriously by states. An example was the delivery by landmine victims of a petition calling for a ban to the president of the CCW Review Conference (Williams & Goose. rather than the security reasons why they had been put in place. but in fact the opposite is 29 . objective-sounding language used by states to discuss national security issues to the franker.613) and not as an area that NGOs should influence. members of the ICBL. graphic accounts of human tragedy is something that even the most hardened government employees would find hard to ignore. more emotionally-charged language of humanitarianism (Warkentin & Mingst. They did this by focusing on the human impact of landmines.

as would have been expected if the matter had remained contextualised as a national security issue. Despite the fact that landmines had been an ongoing problem for many years. generating gut-level empathy and also effectively depoliticising the issue. The contrast between their rhetoric of crisis and the slow plodding nature of international legal negotiations at the CCW Review Conference and the CD was obvious and created a perceived need for an alternative ‘fasttrack’ process. and were therefore a humanitarian law issue. using the perception of a humanitarian crisis in order to bring about a treaty was a more innovative use of the motivational power of crisis. However for cultural reasons images of injured women and children have a more emotive impact than images of injured men. 1998: 622). Whereas states are reluctant to intervene in matters of national security and change in that context is slow. The framing of the landmine issue in a humanitarian context also liberated states from the necessity of pursuing a treaty through institutions like the CD. Some international relations theorists argue that ‘the perception of a crisis or shock is a crucial factor in precipitating ideational or normative change’ (Price. Using images of women and children served as pictorial shorthand to illustrate the point that landmines were maiming and killing civilians rather than combatants. so this was an effective strategy for the ICBL to adopt. allowing the ICBL to avoid accusations of bias or political motivation and shifting the focus from away from national security concerns. and this seems to have been recognised by the ICBL. 30 . New norms which seek to protect innocents from bodily harm have been identified as among the easiest to popularise (Finnemore & Sikkink. the ICBL managed to engineer a sense of urgency through extensive advertising campaigns and generating statistics which illustrated the extent of the problem. 1998: 639). While NGOs are adept in creating a sense of crisis in order to facilitate the rapid raising of funds or deployment of humanitarian assistance.true. All of this contributed to the framing of landmines as an apolitical humanitarian matter. 1998: 907) (Nadelmann. in situations of humanitarian crisis an expectation of rapid multilateral action has evolved (Price. requiring urgent resolution. 1990: 525). Framing the landmine issue in a humanitarian context facilitated its portrayal as a crisis. The World Health Organisation estimates that only 40% of landmine victims are women and children (de Larrinaga & Turenne Sjolander. 1998: 376).

beyond human control. the ICBL undermined the notion of legitimate use on which it was based. Landmines were positioned as independent agents of destruction. the norms which had to be superseded were those of legitimate use and military utility. Opponents of prohibition. In the case of landmines. This conveniently distanced the issue from the governments that laid the mines and the states whose military industries produced them. by flooding the international media with emotive images of victims and statistics about civilian casualties. Another means of contesting the norm of legitimate use was to situate the landmine itself as the problem (Beier. lying in wait for their victims. Instead they focused on demonstrating the failure of previous attempts to solve the landmine problem that had been anchored in the norm of legitimate use. 1998: 630). was the real cause. Contesting Normative Space: Establishing a Global Prohibition Norm In order for a new norm to emerge. Through its presentation of the landmines issue as a humanitarian crisis which had ‘literally exploded under the very watch of the CCW’ (Price. argued that irresponsible use. but with more conditions attached. 1998: 631). cited in Price. the next step was to popularise their proposed solution of a new norm prohibiting anti-personnel mines. The ICBL would not even comment on proposals made after the first session of the CCW Review Conference to distinguish between different types of mines. and that better regulation of landmines could mitigate the humanitarian crisis. while not disagreeing with the ICBL’s characterisation of the situation as a humanitarian crisis. clearing the way for the new global prohibition norm. Situating agency in the landmine allowed the ICBL to avoid engaging in any wider interrogation of the rights and wrongs of war. Essentially they were arguing for the continuation of the pre-existing norm of legitimate use. it is often necessary to overcome alternative norms. 2002: 316).Now that the ICBL had established landmines as a humanitarian crisis. rather than the weapon itself. since ‘to lobby on those issues is to acknowledge the continued legitimate use of landmines’ (Steve Goose. the militaryindustrial complex (Beier. 2002: 316) or national security norms (Beier & Denholm 31 . Human Rights Watch.

The most influential of these was Anti-personnel Landmines: Friend or Foe? A study of the Military Use and Effectiveness of Anti-personnel Mines. but for a landmine to kill became a moral outrage. Another aspect of contesting normative space is to link the proposed new norm with preexisting supportive norms. the ICBL ended up implying that what made landmines bad was the fact that they could kill in the ostensible absence of human intention. against which humanity (and states) must stand united’ (de Larrinaga & Turenne Sjolander. an essential tenet of international humanitarian law (IHL) which is used to determine whether or not a weapon should be permitted. The simultaneous discrediting of the norm of legitimate use meant that possible military utility had now to be balanced against an emerging norm of landmines as an intrinsically inhumane weapon. published by the ICRC in 1996. In avoiding issues of human agency and state responsibility. 1997: 276). A second norm which the ICBL needed to overcome was that of military utility. In this way the validity of two old norms underpinning the use of landmines was contested.Crosby. as a new norm is more likely to successfully emerge if it is anchored in a pre-existing normative discourse (Price. 1997: 277). 1998: 630) or has a legal 32 . opening up space for a diametrically-opposed new norm. This shifted the balance between military utility and suffering involved in the concept of proportionality. They achieved this by publishing several documents which argued that landmines were not very useful for regular state armies and were not essential to national security. It also had the secondary desirable effect of helping the ICBL to enlist the support of states. 1998: 380). Siting agency in the landmine itself played on the familiar man/machine dichotomy and the science fiction fear of machines taking over and wiping out the human race. Intentional killing with other weapons was not questioned and thereby implicitly accepted (Beier & Denholm Crosby. This was an effective strategy as it ruled out the possibility of a norm of legitimate use and led to the conclusion that only a complete ban could solve the problem. The landmines problem became the fault of the landmines themselves: ‘The machine is the author of the humanitarian crisis. as it provided a means of framing the landmines issue without antagonising states through emphasising their culpability.

which often constitute major sticking points for states suspicious of any outside interference in their national security policy. A key difference between arms control treaties and IHL is that the former work by establishing rigid verification procedures. which are notorious for taking decades to conclude. this was done by highlighting the (by now) fairly self-evident relevance of international humanitarian law. 1999: 89). Framing the landmine problem as a humanitarian crisis allowed the ICBL to situate its hoped-for new norm within the legal framework of IHL This enabled it to avoid the other available legal framework of arms control treaties. But parallels had still to be drawn between landmines and 33 . The task of the ICBL was to point out that landmines contravened existing IHL and to argue for strengthening an obviously ineffective legal prohibition through a specific ban. IHL is concerned with minimising the suffering caused by war on both civilians and combatants. 1998: 629). such as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). the very existence of a taboo with regard to one category of weapons made the possibility of creating a landmines taboo seem less outrageous (Price. which were already the subject of a global prohibition regime. which lay firmly in the arms control camp. More ‘artificial’ links were also created between anti-personnel mines and chemical weapons. 1998: 908). In the context of landmines the chief concern was their impact on the civilian population.precedent. but its establishment of a taboo around a whole category of weaponry. This demonstrates how ‘the linkages between existing norms and emergent norms are often not obvious and must be actively constructed by the proponents of new norms’ (Finnemore & Sikkink. In order to promote a ban. The two main principles of IHL are the prohibition of indiscriminacy and the prohibition of means and methods of warfare which cause unnecessary suffering. What the ICBL took from the CWC was not its legal framework. thus slowing progress. Although the differences between chemical weapons and landmines are many. IHL on the other hand works by establishing a new norm and exercising a moral compunction on states to abide by it. through a process of stigmatisation of the prohibited behaviour (Thakur & Maley. the ICBL explicitly linked the landmines issue to the preexisting normative discourse of global prohibition regimes. In the case of landmines.

the powerful stigma associated with the latter was transferred onto the former. The ICBL did this by portraying landmines as causing so much indiscriminate death and suffering that they ought to be considered as WMD ‘”in slow motion”’ (Price. This was accepted by signatory states. The two main übernorms of relevance to landmines were national security and economic rationality. was that of economic rationality. Through this process of comparing landmines and chemical weapons. A final aspect of contesting normative space was for the ICBL to demonstrate that its proposed new norm would not pose a threat to the most important and internalised norms of the current international order or status quo. 1997: 276). This was achieved through disproving the military utility of landmines in order to illustrate that banning them would not adversely affect national security. The first— national security — is more properly defined as an institution or collection of norms. but was not targeted for supercession. The ICBL did not argue that the humanitarian disaster of landmines was so severe that the profit motive should be disregarded.chemical weapons. but recalcitrant states refused to sign because they did not accept the argument that a ban would not interfere with national security. Rather than attempt to vanquish the national security übernorm. 1997: 276). it was still very much a fundamental tenet of the international system. Another link between chemical weapons and landmines was the cowardly connotations of a weapon which strikes silently— without warning or obvious human agency. than a single norm. Its essence is that states are the subjects of security (rather than individuals) and have the right to use military force to protect themselves and their interests. the ICBL opted for the less ambitious tactic of justifying the landmine ban within national security terms. A second übernorm which needed to be addressed. rather it argued 34 . arguing that there were no available substitutes for the role played by landmines in military operations (Beier & Denholm Crosby. 1998: 629). making it difficult for states to argue against prohibition. Although this norm had been declining in importance in the post-Cold War era. Neither of these two state positions challenged the national security übernorm and the ICBL has been criticised for using ‘strategies that reinforced … state-centric security ideas in general’ (Beier & Denholm Crosby.

html> (29/8/04) 35 . The level of compliance with the convention provides a good indicator of its effectiveness in actually alleviating the humanitarian crisis caused by anti-personnel mines. as well as external factors such as geopolitical conditions and the strength of the terms of the profit motive itself. but it has still not gained universal acceptance. Conclusion Whether a new norm reaches a tipping point depends on how well norm entrepreneurs frame the issue and contest normative space. the relaxed security environment of the immediate post-Cold War era made national security concerns seem of less primacy to states. that landmines were and the ICBL hedged their bets by simultaneously discrediting the role of antipersonnel mines as protectors of national security. after which a cascade occurred.icbl. Augmenting these arguments was the possibility that demining could be more profitable for powerful arms industry interests than selling landmines (Beier & Denholm Crosby. increased healthcare costs in affected countries and permanently reduced productivity in their maimed victims. All of these factors combined to make it possible for a tipping point to be reached. They rendered agricultural land> (29/8/04) <http://www.icbl. with the Landmine Monitor Report 2003 finding that the number of governments using antipersonnel mines decreased from thirteen in 2001 to six in 200318. 1998: 281). counting three-quarters of the world’s states as signatories17 to the Ottawa Convention. In the case of landmines. Finnemore and Sikkink identify the tipping point as occurring when Britain and France came on board (Finnemore & Sikkink. with their status as major producers of mines meaning their support was regarded as critical. Banning them would not significantly affect the profits of major arms companies. Even the number of 17 18 <http://www. Compliance seems to be quite high. the landmine ban norm has cascaded to a large extent. 1998: 1). as their cheapness meant they did not represent a large proportion of arms industry profits. At the present moment.

icbl. which is carried out by the ICBL’s Landmine Monitor group21.000 and 20.icbl. This complements the existing state-based reporting and compliance mechanisms established by the Ottawa Convention which are deliberately non-intrusive in order to encourage state participation. The consequences of this will be examined in the next chapter on the small arms campaign. 19 20 <http://www.000 to between 15.html> (29/8/04) < As the more complex small arms issue cannot be resolved through the introduction of a single strong norm. meaning that stricter verification measures may be required. The same report also found that the annual number of landmine casualties had been reduced from a pre-Convention level of 26.00020. The successful establishment of a strong norm around landmines partly explains the high degree of compliance. but the simplicity of the landmine ban has also facilitated its ‘enforcement’ through NGO> (29/8/04) 36 .countries in which non-state actors used mines decreased from fourteen in 2002 to eleven in 200319.html> (29/8/04) 21 < introducing regulations which rely on stigmatisation and NGO monitoring as a means of enforcement may not be possible.

the more complex nature of the issue has made framing and transnational coordination more difficult. The impact of small arms on Western civilians is a unique element of small arms which could be exploited by the campaign in order to mobilise more public support. whether highly equipped American troops or rebel factions. there would still be a thriving black market in second-hand guns.pdf> (7/9/04) 37 . Small arms can be re-used and re-sold many Small arms also serve more purposes in war and peacetime than anti-personnel mines. suicide and self-defence. The multipurpose utility of small arms also means 22 <http://www. During war. Regulating them will therefore have a significant impact on civilians and has already led to civil society opposition as well as support. have had more negative consequences for small arms proliferation. Even external conditions which the campaign shares with the ICBL. guns are used for hunting.smallarmssurvey. such as the end of the Cold War and globalisation. In addition. The Small Arms Campaign In contrast to the favourable geopolitical conditions enjoyed by the ICBL. crime. Estimates of civilian ownership range from 59%22to 80% (Cukier. so one of the major difficulties in attempting to control proliferation is that even if new supplies are properly regulated. It also faces stiffer opposition from a broader variety of actors in the international system. the small arms campaign has to contend with a less encouraging international context dominated by the War on Terror. In peacetime. 2002: 263) of world firearms. meaning they are in civilian possession to a far greater extent than landmines and proliferation is just as common in the North as in the South (Small Arms Survey 2003: 57-95). which is largely due to the re-usability and multipurpose utility of small arms. limiting the effectiveness of the campaign. they are the most common and essential tool of combatants.02.3.06. Characteristics of small arms as weapons The most basic difference between landmines and small arms is the scale of the problem.

Much of the industry is legal and will remain so. 2000: 69). Small arms campaigners must try instead to delegitimise certain forms of use. It may also be more difficult to generate public support for complex regulations than a simple outright ban. The relaxation of national security concerns in favour of soft issues and the lack of an international ideological divide facilitated NGO participation in global politics and greater freedom of movement for small and medium states such as Canada. and makes choosing a frame for the campaign more difficult. the idea of prohibition would be immediately dismissed as impossibly utopian. Because of the unquestionable military and civilian utility of small arms. or in what order. such as the relaxation of state authority which led to a temporary breakdown 38 . The scale of the problem was also increased by factors stemming from the end of the Cold War. which hoped to reprise its earlier role by pushing for small arms regulation (Smith. The same applies for trade regulation. and uses different methods of ensuring compliance. The element of surprise exploited by the ICBL in circumventing state opposition to a ban had dissipated however. the small arms campaign also has to contend with a less encouraging external environment. domestic violence and terrorism. including such diverse subjects as development.they touch on more issue-areas. a more complex undertaking. Regulating Small Arms in a Post-Cold War climate Some of the positive effects of the end of the Cold War on landmines regulation also applied to the early years of the small arms campaign. The consequences for the norm generation process of seeking regulation rather than prohibition are significant. As yet there is no international consensus over which forms of use should be delegitimised. 2000: 39). meaning that campaigners will have to engage with producers and brokers in a way which was unnecessary for the ICBL. In addition to these issue-specific difficulties however. as regulation implies different legal forms to a prohibitory regime. with the US and other opposing states now more aware of the threat posed to their interests by coalitions between NGOs and like-minded states (Hubert.

or as in Albania. with many regions flooded by guns left over from Cold War conflicts. with previously government-sanctioned operators whom intelligence agencies had used to set up grey market deals during the Cold War becoming detached from national security interests and selling to the highest bidder (Wood & Peleman. Another consequence of the end of the Cold War was the emergence of ‘new wars’ (Kaldor. a factor which encouraged Eastern European countries to sell off old weapons. and fuelled by ethnic or religious tensions rather than ideology. which tend to be intrastate rather than interstate. Cash-strapped Eastern European states were also eager to get rid of surplus weaponry they no longer needed for national security purposes. as is the case in failed states like Somalia. Further global proliferation was caused by leakage from state stockpiles in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (Smith. as well as arms left behind by the Soviets (Cukier. The privatisation of state-owned arms industries further exacerbated the problem. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were later to make use of these weapons. This involved state employees selling weapons. They generally take place between nonstate actors. but was also relevant throughout the rest of the world. Much of their stock was outmoded. An example is Afghanistan. sometimes without any government involvement. guns were now recirculating in the black market. (Marsh. where the mujahideen received around $2 billion of US military aid in the 1980s (Cukier. including the arms industry. 2002: 222). 2001). Brokers also became harder to control during the 1990s. 2003: 120-123). Originally supplied by the superpowers to their allies through the ‘grey market’ for use in proxy wars. with the privatisation of state industries and the removal of trade barriers transforming all aspects of the global economy. but 39 . Estimates vary as to the exact proportion of civilian deaths. in order to help finance the modernisation of their arsenals prior to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (WCC. 2002: 12). 2002: 271). The latter had the most impact in the former Soviet bloc. outside of government control. with newly profit-hungry companies struggling to stay afloat by selling arms indiscriminately. Small arms became more readily control of arms stockpiles and longer-term liberalisation of international trade. 2000: 40). public looting of stockpiles (Muggah & Batchelor. New wars have led to an exponential increase in the civilian casualty rate (Muggah. 2002: 271). 1999). 2001: 72).

In contrast. Muggah. had the resources to employ more sophisticated weaponry against an ideologically opposed rebel force equipped only with small arms. The higher civilian casualties and forced displacement of civilians involved in new wars facilitates the framing of the small arms issue in a humanitarian context. the reliance of new war combatants on small arms is more absolute. the end of the Cold War created conditions which mitigated against controlling the trade in small 40 . as a result of other factors stemming from the end of the bipolar world order. this has enabled NGOs to play a greater role in the formation of global policies dealing with them. 2002: 13). Coupled with the declining relevance of these wars for powerful states. 2002: 309. which. where first the Americans and then the Soviets supplied Ethiopia with fighter jets and high-tech precision bombing systems for use against Eritrean fighters. Whereas for the landmines issue. 2001: 72). estimated at 12. as they usually involved at least one government. the extent of the actual problem worsened during those years. Further evidence of the increasing impact of wars on civilians is the huge increase in the number of refugees. Examples include the Vietnam War and the Eritrean conflict.range between thirty-five and ninety per cent (Muggah & Batchelor 2002: 17). thus increasing the humanitarian importance of controlling small arms proliferation. The proxy conflicts of the Cold War typically combined the use of small arms with other larger weapons systems. The higher level of civilian casualties associated with new wars has spurred a greater focus on small arms. The predominance of non-state actors as participants in new wars also means that the small arms transfers which matter most. the end of the Cold War proved largely a positive geopolitical context. with the backing of a superpower. While efforts to regulate small arms certainly benefited from some of the positive aspects of the post-Cold War international political climate. estimated at 20-25 million (Muggah & Griffiths. are often private rather than interstate transactions. due to a decline in superpower military aid. As well as leading to increased small arms proliferation.8 million. making them more difficult to regulate under international law. which are the weapons of choice in these conflicts (Hart Ezell. and internally displaced people. in terms of their being used to commit atrocities. its ramifications for small arms control were more of a mixed bag.

whether arms dealers or insurgents fighting in new wars. The current national security bias also tends to reinforce the tendency of states to regard small arms as a national security issue (Laurance & Stohl.arms. Although the conference succeeded in temporarily raising awareness of small arms. there was also more room on the international agenda for soft issues like small arms and more opportunities for NGOs and small and medium states to get involved. The renewed emphasis on national security due to the War on Terror has reduced the profile of soft issues on the global agenda and returned the focus of arms control discourse to WMD. and hence their viability as partners in small arms control. it was overshadowed by the events of September 11th and their repercussions. In an assessment of the prospects for further small arms regulation. The War on Terror and the Return to National Security September 11th took place just two months after the conclusion of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (Small Arms Conference). The American response to France’s opposition to the war in Iraq is indicative of the kind of treatment any state that disagrees with the US on a ‘national security’ issue can expect. 2002: 43-4). 41 . The ‘with us or against us’ attitude of the Bush administration has reduced the freedom of movement of NGOs and small and medium states. than had existed during the Cold War. 2002: 43). 2002). Anticipation of a negative reaction from the US might help to explain the failure of small and medium states to form a core group on small arms issues. despite the absence of substantial progress at the Small Arms Conference. Laurance and Stohl speculate that combating terrorism and WMD could eclipse the small arms issue. Yet concurrent with these negative outcomes. resulting in diminished funding and progress (Laurance & Stohl. as it came more out of government control and into the hands of non-state actors. The renewed primacy of national security concerns has also led the US to relax human rights-based criteria for arms exports (Human Rights Watch. many of whom have been corralled into various ‘coalitions of the willing’. undermining the efforts of NGOs to frame the issue in other contexts.

an effective strategy for the small arms campaign could be to stress the links between small arms and terrorism. On the whole. if the small arms campaign can capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the current dominance of terrorism on the global agenda. which have been linked to an increase in the market price of small arms (Small Arms Survey 2003: 62). where prior to September 11th. the political will to enforce the embargo did not exist. efforts aimed at fighting terrorism can have positive implications for small arms control. As the previous examples illustrate. spurred by US-led bilateral agreements (Small Arms Survey 2003: 61). indicating decreased supply.The War on Terror has also had some positive side effects for small arms regulation however. This should make it more difficult for the proceeds of illicit arms deals to be hidden in offshore bank accounts. it has also created the possibility of progress. thus hindering arms brokering and illicit trade. given the international preoccupation with terrorism. However. The speed with which multilateral action has proceeded against terrorism contrasts strongly with the slow pace of progress in ‘softer’ issue areas like human rights. with the conclusion of over fifty agreements against money laundering (UN. Given that terrorism is the number one issue on the international agenda. Otherwise. the prime example being Somalia. Better enforcement of arms embargoes should not be an assumed consequence of the War on Terror however. 2003: 18). the most likely to picked up by the media. the political will to enforce embargoes is even less likely to exist than before. 42 . An example is improved maritime container security. with the result that stockpiles have become harder to move (Small Arms Survey 2003: 62). International financial transactions have also become more open to scrutiny. as it is likely to be dependent on whether the country concerned is linked to Islamist terrorism. and the hardest for governments to ignore. There have also been individual instances of better enforcement of international arms embargoes. strengthening the case for framing small arms in a terrorism context. the War on Terror has recreated some of the negative conditions which made arms control issues difficult for the NGO community to influence during the Cold War. Many countries have stepped up border controls due to terrorism fears.

2001: 71). They are reaping the benefits of globalisation’ (Muggah. facilitated by the improved communications infrastructures of technological globalisation. This trend has been exacerbated by the transnationalisation of production and brokering. The freeing up of international trade has more relevance for small arms issue than landmines. 2001: 308). In line with trends in other sectors of the global economy. 2000: 40). fuelling a rise in transnational organised crime (Muggah. 1. 2001. as the former is a more lucrative industry. making the tracking of international arms deals difficult. As mentioned earlier the end of the Cold War resulted in the privatisation of state arms industries and the delinking of arms sales from governmental control. 2001: 74) and international terrorism. Muggah describes arms dealers and brokers as ‘the new venture capitalists. Conflicts are also being prolonged by combatants’ easy access to global markets. 71). Deregulation of the financial sector has meant that proceeds from illicit arms deals can be easily hidden in offshore tax havens. 2002: 11). Small arms production is worth approximately $7. and creating greater demand for guns. 2003).Globalisation and Small Arms One aspect of economic globalisation which has made small arms control more difficult is the deregulation of international trade and finance.4 billion a year (Small Arms Survey. with landmines representing only a fraction of that. while Smith claims that ‘Physically moving weapons around the world has never been easier’ (Smith.249 firms in over ninety countries are currently involved in small arms production (Small Arms Survey 2004). enabling them to trade conflict goods like diamonds or drugs in exchange for small arms (Muggah & Batchelor. due to improved technology transfer to the developing world (Hart Ezell. the arms industry has become increasingly privatised and transnationalised. The increasing ease of international financial transactions has meant that diaspora communities can fundraise abroad and help with the trading of conflict goods (Muggah. Western defence industries are 43 . This aspect of financial globalisation has been exploited by criminals and terrorists.

2002: 10). Reliance on private security undermines the state security apparatus. The inequality associated with globalisation was identified in the opening chapter as one of the root causes of crime and conflict today. and this is expected to increase to $400 billion by 2010 (Small Arms Survey. Another factor behind the increase in private security is the globalisation of media saturated with alarmist local crime reports which can create perceptions of insecurity. 2001: 220). 2002: 7). Neoliberal policies such as privatising state industries without providing alternative jobs 44 . or conducting their business in weak states with poor regulation and corrupt officials to circumvent what few international controls exist (Smith.. as with the decline of state subsidisation in many countries. 2000: 40). capitalising on arms surpluses in one part of the world and high demand in another. and vigilante groups by the poor (Muggah & Batchelor. The global private security industry was estimated to be worth $100 billion in the 1990s. Neoliberal policies promoting fiscal rectitude in the form of expenditure cuts and high levels of debt repayment have left many developing countries without the resources to combat small arms proliferation. 1999: 114). exporting has become the only way for many of them to survive. even when actual rates of crime are not that high (Muggah & Batchelor. Brokers can also locate different aspects of their operations in different countries to exploit advantageous local conditions. With the state spending less money on policing and the judicial system. the ability of states to regulate small arms proliferation has been undermined (Muggah. and contributes to a spiral of civilian armament. Indeed governments have come to view competition by national arms companies in export markets as a means of sustaining their national defence industry base (Held et al. 2001: 71). 2002: 11).becoming more export-oriented. Muggah and Batchelor conclude that ‘There is a growing consensus around the idea that a lack of opportunity and perceived injustice and inequality compels some people to take up arms’ (Muggah & Batchelor. At the same time as economic globalisation is fuelling the arms trade. These root causes need to be dealt with in order to reduce the demand for small arms. there is increased reliance on private security companies by the rich.

Despite this. With greater availability of guns due to global free trade. On a more positive note. Human rights and humanitarian NGOs were said to have felt excluded due to the failure of the UN Programme of Action to even mention their concerns and operated largely independently of IANSA (Laurance & Stohl. and hence less job 2002: 23) and launched the Control Arms Campaign as a joint venture with Oxfam and Amnesty International in October 200323 with a day of coordinated global action. Media globalisation has helped raise awareness of the problem and technological globalisation has facilitated communication between NGOs in different countries campaigning on the issue. Better coordination will be needed to take advantage of the multilayered campaigning opportunities offered by the transnationalisation of civil society and there are some signs that this is now happening. Joblessness is a major factor in the decision of young men to turn to crime. In 2002 IANSA appointed a new director with the aim of providing ‘strategic and dynamic leadership to a network of NGOs’ (IANSA. partly as a result of framing difficulties.htm> (7/9/04) 45 . and members of that demographic group are recognised as the main perpetrators and victims of small arms violence (Muggah & Batchelor.for workers whose jobs are cut has caused unemployment. In the early days IANSA aimed for breadth rather than depth of support (Hubert. 2000: 53) and even included a disclaimer on its documents saying that the views expressed were not necessarily shared by all its participants (Hubert. 2002: 17). 2002: 30). The Control Arms Campaign has adopted a strong advocacy role and corresponds more closely than IANSA to the definition of 23 <http://www. this is unfortunately becoming an easier option. rather than identifying a collective position (Hubert. the same globalising factors which facilitated the creation of a transnational landmines community still exist in the context of small arms. the small arms campaign has been less successful than the ICBL in coordinating its activities. which will be examined later and partly because IANSA failed to adopt a strong advocacy role from the outset (Laurance & Stohl.controlarms. 2000: 53). 2002: 22). 2000: 60). while reduced social expenditure has meant less educational opportunities for the young in developing countries. confining itself to information sharing between NGOs.

perhaps illustrating a degree of co-optation through its incorporation in the conference. the Small Arms Conference represented an opportunity for NGOs to influence global policy formation. it cannot hope to achieve significant progress. The emerging system of complex multilateralism which was exploited by the ICBL is still in existence but may not be so easy for the small arms campaign to utilise. and is making sure that it remains the only negotiating forum for the small arm issue (Hubert. Ironically. as it helped to dramatise the fact that states were excluding humanitarian concerns from consideration. The UN seems determined to avoid a repetition of its circumvention by the Ottawa process. the small arms community did not replicate the success of the ICBL in using the venue as a launching pad for a fast-track campaign. 2000: 54).NGO campaigns as ‘deliberate efforts to coordinate movement actions around a particular policy or event’ so as to spread a message to the general public (Smith et al. and if intergovernmental action on small arms remains confined to the machinery set up under the Small Arms Conference. Like the CCW Review Conference. The sidelining of the UN was a crucial factor in the success of the landmines campaign. 2002: 18). Now that improved coordination is finally taking place. the Department of Disarmament Affairs has until recently done more to inhibit than to promote coalition building’ (Hubert. Its territorial attitude leads Hubert to conclude that ‘within the UN. The reasons for this failure owe a lot to internal factors within the campaign. which was less coordinated than the ICBL. the small arms campaign may prove more effective. the UN succeeded both in maintaining control of the process and possibly in diluting the vehemence of NGO advocacy. By incorporating IANSA within the conference. binding regulations or to generate any momentum for an independent negotiating process. The fact that small arms is 46 . and to the learned wariness of opposing states towards negotiations outside of traditional channels. the ICBL may have benefited from its exclusion from the CCW Review Conference. allowing them limited speaking time (Laurance & Stohl. but also relate to the aforementioned determination of the UN to maintain control over the process (Hubert. 2000: 54). Despite this. 2000: 61). The result was that the Small Arms Conference failed either to come up with radical. The terms of access for NGOs were better for the Small Arms Conference. 1997: 65).

On the supply side.being dealt with by the First Committee of the UN General Assembly has resulted in its pigeonholing as a national security and arms control matter (Laurance & Stohl. Russia. The small arms campaign shares some common opponents with the ICBL. Opposing states have been largely the same as for landmines. leading to growing privatisation of security. with the US. The greater opposition of other actors in the international system will be examined next. For its part. 2002: 28) and while the process remains under UN auspices it is unlikely to overcome this compartmentalisation. the arms industry and civil society. State support is weaker. Strong Opposition and Weak Support from International Actors The main international actors involved in the small arms issue are states. but faces greater quantitative and qualitative opposition. especially their national security sector. The consensus-based negotiating procedures involved are also not conducive to rapid progress and the outcome of the 2003 First Biennial Meeting of States24 which merely commented on the implementation of existing policy illustrates the stagnation which has affected the process. privatisation and transnationalisation have made the arms trade harder for states to monitor and control. Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Although globalisation has presented some opportunities for the small arms community to promote non-proliferation measures. The instigation of the Small Arms Conference by states and the UN could be regarded as an attempt to control agenda-setting in order to avoid a repetition of the NGO-driven landmine ban campaign. and China all attempting to limit small 24 The UN First Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent. the UN. 47 . so far these have been outweighed by countervailing forces of globalisation which exacerbate both the supply and demand sides of the problem. while the UN’s attitude is arguably more territorial than helpful. but regulatory responses have been inadequate to dealing with the problem. Demand for small arms has also been fuelled by the increasing inequality associated with globalisation. the small arms campaign has so far failed to fully exploit the opportunities afforded it by the transnationalisation of civil society.

2000: 37). 2002: 32) and was instrumental in blocking greater NGO participation (Batchelor. This has been demonstrated by refusals to support the Kyoto Protocol. but one major difference is that opposing states are now better prepared and have pursued a strategy of pre-empting regulatory efforts from the beginning. An example was the participation of major small arms producing nations like the US. leading one observer of the Small Arms Conference to conclude that ‘the NRA [National Rifle Association] emerged as a greater force than all the 180 other NGOs there combined. 2002: 39). Even though the vast majority of states agreed that sales of military-style weapons to civilians should be banned. The Bush administration has at times appeared almost ideologically opposed to multilateralism. Britain and France in an early meeting of supposedly likeminded states and NGOs in Oslo in July 1998. Not suprisingly the meeting ended up endorsing existing measures rather than proposing anything radically new (Hubert. 2002: 185). but perhaps the most significant change in state attitudes has come from the US. as well as the invasion of Iraq. 2002: 39). while China steadfastly opposed any references to human rights (Laurence and Stohl. The participation of opposing states in the Small Arms Conference also contrasts with the Ottawa process (Hubert. as does the use of consensus-based decision making rather than majority voting. 2002: 186). 2000: 51). the Republicans strongly support the gun lobby in the US. the issue failed to make it on to the Programme of Action due to US opposition (Batchelor. As a result the Programme of Action agreed at the conference was largely defined by the lowest-common denominator positions of recalcitrant states.arms regulation. In addition to this. 48 . the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the International Criminal Court. global governance and international law is clearly not conducive to the development of new global small arms norms and regulatory frameworks. A disregard for multilateralism. dominating the American delegation to a degree few had previously imagined possible’ (Karp. with Third Way politicians losing power in many countries (Karp. The ideological orientation of many governments has swung to the right since 1997.

Belgium. 2000: 62). One of the failings of the Small Arms Conference was that almost all the government delegates came from a national security background (Laurance and Stohl. 2002: 32). Intelligence agencies are another important part of the national security sector and their opposition to small arms regulation is largely motivated by the desire to maintain secrecy over clandestine transfers to clients. given its funding by Britain. before their respective positions have been clearly established and NGOs can be certain of their full support. 2002: 34). is dubious. which often involves sales to insurgents and terrorists. Military attitudes therefore help to explain the emphasis on combating illicit trade at the Small Arms Conference and the reluctance of states to tackle the licit trade. many developing countries support marking and tracing. Hubert has highlighted the dangers of NGOs allying themselves with governments too early in a campaign. supporting some while opposing others. Sweden and Norway25. even at this early stage in the campaign. For example. He notes that the ICBL was careful not to form an alliance with states until they had fully committed to supporting a ban and that the small arms campaign should follow its example (Hubert. rather than humanitarian Whether IANSA can claim to be independent of state influence. which mitigated against recognising the multidimensionality of the problem (Laurance & Stohl. An example is the use by the Central Intelligence 25 <www.htm> (7/9/04). 2002: 26). Unfortunately for the small arms campaign.Another aspect of states’ attitudes is that even seemingly supportive states vary in their level of enthusiasm for different aspects of small arms regulation. but oppose export controls and conditionality (Laurance & Stohl. is something the military might be expected to support. focusing on illicit trade. On the other hand. It also situated the issue in an unhelpful context where the dominant norm is the right of states to defend themselves. 49 .iansa. there is no possibility of reconstructing the premise of lack of military utility which was a factor in building an alliance between states and the ICBL and the military is likely to be hostile to the notion of small arms regulation if it is perceived as a threat to their supplies. weapons destruction and monitoring measures.

who often also act as informants. which would exclude the vast majority of civilian-owned guns from regulatory efforts. was also one of the major backers of the World Forum on the Future of Sports Shooting Activities (WFSA) (Batchelor. Another salient difference between the landmines and small arms issues is the attitude of the major arms companies. which despite being a major funder of IANSA. a company in the top five of world producers of rifles. An example is Belgium.Agency of dodgy brokers to provide cover for ‘grey market’ deals to clients (Marsh. even when they ostensibly support better regulation. As the line between licit and illicit trade is notoriously blurred (Muggah & Griffiths. small arms would therefore constitute approximately 25% of this total. as compared to 0. 2002: 16). Despite MAG’s engagement with the issue. 1995: 34). This attitude has been identified as an impediment to efforts to regulate brokering (Austin. The arms industry has suggested limiting the discussion of small arms to fully automatic military-style weapons (Glock. 2002: 38) which participated as an NGO at the Small Arms Conference. is home to FN Herstal. Another part of its strategy is to differentiate between licit and illicit trade. 2002: 209).5% for landmines. allowing them to deny knowledge of morally dubious arms transfers (Austin.smallarmssurvey. and thus represents a significant proportion of world weapons transfers26. it comes as no surprise that the arms 26 Using the figure of $20 billion for the total global arms trade in 1995 (Roberts & Williams. Retaining the option of using these brokers. can be deemed important enough strategically to justify allowing them to continue their illicit operations. 2002: 221-3). through the Manufacturers’ Advisory Group (MAG).org/Yearbook%202003/yb2003_en_presskit_ch1. in order to encourage governments to target only the latter. The arms industry. 27). 2002: 3). 2002: 209) and may explicate the lack of progress in that area. machine guns and small arms ammunition27. The value of the legal trade in small arms is estimated at $4-6 billion a year. 2002. 50 . As a result. rather than to propose alternatives (Batchelor. lending credence to the view that its objective has been to dissuade governments from taking action. one study found that the industry had not implemented any of its own recommendations for selfregulation (Laurance & Stohl. 2002: 38).pdf> (7/9/04). 27 <http://www. the arms industry is more vocal about small arms regulation and the economic importance of military industries undoubtedly influences state positions. (Small Arms Survey 2001: 145).

Civil society groups represent a formidable opponent for the small arms campaign which did not exist for the ICBL. a lobby group which is very powerful in the US.industry is opposed to transparency measures. Their most prominent member is the NRA. including hunting and sports shooting groups. and overcoming a norm which is embedded in religious belief will be a difficult task for the small arms campaign to accomplish.wfsa. The global illicit trade in small arms is estimated at less than $1 billion a year. 51 . While the arms industry opposes small arms regulation in order to protect its> (29/8/04). 2002: 186). Citing business confidentiality as essential to profits is a means by which the industry has attempted to avoid the implementation of transparency measures (Haug et al. 2002: 11). 4) (Marsh. groups like the NRA represent an additional set of norms for the small arms campaign to overcome. but at 10-20% (Muggah & Griffiths. 2002: 220) this represents a high proportion for a supposedly legitimate industry. 2004: 181)— and expressed as the right to bear arms by the gun lobby. which could expose the linkages between the two trades. The most prominent opponent is WFSA which represents nearly thirty organisations in thirteen countries. and so far this has been largely accepted by governments. 28 <http://www. 2002. It is no coincidence that the Christian right in the US is among the foremost proponents of the right to bear arms. as well as small arms manufacturers28. Central among these is the right to self-defence— a tenet of world religions from Islam to Christianity (Small Arms Survey. ensuring that no references to controlling transfers to civilians or non-state actors were included in the final Programme of Action. Its influence on the American delegation to the Small Arms Conference was huge (Karp.

Framing Small Arms as a first step towards Norm Generation 52 .

Lack of agreement on frames has prevented coordinated advocacy.In contrast to the landmine ban norm. The campaign could be described as still involved in a framing contest. making solutions stemming from a number of contexts appear equally valid. the British-American Security Information Council. as it touches on a greater number of contexts than landmines and using one frame could therefore risk accusations of irrelevance to other contexts. The greater complexity of the small arms issue has made selecting a frame more difficult however. Emphasising one particular frame could help small arms campaigners to get a clearer. Registration and Tracing of Small Arms and Light Weapons. Although it is advisable for NGOs to highlight different aspects of the issue depending on their area of interest. Proposed by a coalition of NGOs including Amnesty International. prohibiting civilian possession of military weapons. There is no general agreement within the campaign about which norms should be due to their complexity. 29 30 Proposed by Canada prior to the Small Arms Conference. are difficult to distil into a single normative principle.html > (7/9/04). in the contemporary world of the media soundbite. stronger message across. with proposed norms including bans on sales of small arms to non-state actors29 or to situations where they are likely to be used in human rights abuses30. so as to make best use of their various skills and knowledge. Oxfam. <http://www. the Arias Foundation. 32 Model Convention on the Registration of Arms Brokers and the Suppression of Unlicensed Arms Brokering. 31 Draft Convention on the Marking. the campaign would arguably be more effective if it emphasised one particular context and one particular definition of the problem in its advocacy work. Saferworld and the Friends Committee. can be crucial for generating publicity and momentum. with different NGOs competing to establish their particular field of expertise as the context of the issue. The reason for this proliferation of competing norms is that the small arms campaign has not settled on a single frame for the issue.grip. as well as conventions in marking. Project Ploughshares. a shortcoming which has lessened the impact of the campaign. drawn up by Groupe de récherche et d’information sur la paix et la sécurité (GRIP). 53 . the Federation of American Scientists. tracing31 and brokering32 which. which. the small arms issue is still at the first stage in Finnemore and Sikkink’s norm life cycle— that of norm emergence.

Because small arms need people to operate them. 2002. The only aspect of the small arms issue which a majority of states agree is a problem is illicit trade. 2002: 271-2). The conference’s failure to define new normative standards for arms exports means that under the UN Programme of Action a government can sell weapons to an armed group which it knows is massacring 54 . 2002: 183). while IANSA wants coverage of ‘all those SALW [Small Arms and Light Weapons] categories. The UN Programme of Action avoided this issue by the simple device of never defining what it meant by small arms. which are recovered in the context of armed conflict and crime’ (IANSA. In what circumstances is use by civilians and non-state actors legitimate? How is government misuse to be defined? Is small arms proliferation in general the problem. 2004: 2-3). Critics would argue that separating the illicit and licit trades is not possible. The slogan ‘guns don’t kill. or only small arms in the hands of particular groups? The ICBL avoided these sorts of questions by siting agency in the landmines themselves and problematising all use of all anti-personnel mines. but to insure that they are legal’ (Karp. no proof exists as to which causes more damage in terms of contributing to war and repression around the world (Muggah & Griffiths. the norm of legitimate use cannot be contested by small arms campaigners. Due to their multipurpose utility. 223). encapsulates the inherent difficulties of weaponscentred discourse. it follows that virtually all illegally-held small arms started out in the legal market (Marsh. and defining small arms proliferation per se as the problem becomes more difficult. 2002: 19). siting agency in guns is not a possibility. not to block them. Exacerbating the problem definition difficulties is controversy over which weapons should be included under the heading of ‘small arms’ for the purposes of international regulation. The approach of the Small Arms Conference in targeting illicit trade has been described as promoting ‘government regulation of small arms exports. people do’. Gun industry advocates suggest that only fully automatic ‘weapons of war’ should be included (Glock. 2002: 16). so instead the focus must be on re-defining the meaning of legitimate use. As the number of illicitly-manufactured guns is known to be small (Cukier. and that even if it were.There is also a lack of agreement on which aspects of the small arms issue to problematise.

and singling out norms to promote even more so. while situating it in a context where NGOs are seen as experts and legitimate participants in policy formation.civilians. Contesting the self-defence norm will mean strengthening its delegation to police. The small arms campaign is faced with stronger opposing norms than the ICBL was. rather than attempting to argue against it in principle. provided there is no UN embargo and the sale is legal under domestic law. This will be easier in some countries than others. Until there is widespread agreement within the small arms campaign regarding which other aspects of the issue to problematise and which frames to use to facilitate this. Similar to this is the national security übernorm. the basic premise of which is the state’s right to defend itself. Small arms are the most basic tool of combat and cannot be readily substituted by other weapons. while in Europe. 55 . Given the political sensitivity of the small arms problem. compared to the US where handguns are more popular (Small Arms Survey 2003: 66-67). The context in which the issue is framed will suggest a particular set of normative solutions. Nowhere in the document is there any mention of IHL or human rights-based export control criteria. The chosen frame must also be capable of galvanising popular support for urgent action through ‘frame alignment’ (Warkentin & Mingst. a further consideration when choosing a frame is whether it can depoliticise the issue. The right to bear arms as a means of self-defence seems strongest in states like the US and South Africa. legitimate gun use is based more on hunting and sports than self-defence. Another aspect of contesting normative space is linking new norms to supportive norms and how this is done largely depends on the particular frame being used. which can be linked to pre-existing supportive norms or disassociated from opposing norms as part of the process of contesting normative space. 2000). As was mentioned earlier. This is reflected in the higher percentage of long-guns owned in Europe. Central among these is the right to self-defence which is used by the gun lobby as justification for opposing small arms control and finds backing in Christian and Islamic theology. so their use in defence is essential. The small arms campaign must select a frame which can encompass as many aspects of the issue as possible. a frame will attract more support if it adapts to changing geopolitical conditions. broadening the focus from illicit trade will be a difficult task.

IHL provides a legal precedent for regulation of weapons use. framing small arms as a humanitarian issue seems an obvious choice. But there are also some disadvantages to using a humanitarian frame. Depoliticisation is another useful consequence. Humanitarianism At first glance. Mass shootings in particular can have an immediate effect on attitudes to gun control. development. public health and crime control. All of these are areas in which NGOs have an input in policy formation. as happened in Britain with the banning of civilian possession of 56 . Each frame suggests different types of solutions. The discussion will now turn to examining a sample of possible frames to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages associated with each. with the possibility of linking new small arms norms to those precedents. a humanitarian approach could risk situating small arms as a purely Third World problem and overlook the opportunities for mobilising public support afforded by the effects of gun crime on Western civilians. it can be difficult to break out of that normative discourse and expand the agenda to other contexts. Humanitarian campaigns have a good track record of creating a sense of crisis and once a situation is defined as a humanitarian crisis there is an expectation of speedy intervention (Price. it is also argued here that a terrorism frame could be utilised as a means of gaining media attention and mobilising rapid state action. which does not apply in other contexts. As conflicts are now mostly confined to developing countries (Muggah & Griffiths. 2002: 8). 1998: 639). Besides these ‘soft’ frames. which is the most obvious facet of the small arms problem in the West. human rights.Frames which have been proposed by NGOs include humanitarianism. so they are more suitable from the small arms campaign’s perspective than the current national security/arms control framework within which the UN Programme of Action is situated. Once an issue has been defined within a certain context. and is more relevant to the some of the contexts in which small arms used than others. Adopting a solely humanitarian approach could risk irrelevance to aspects such as the use of small arms in crime. as well as drawing on varying constituencies and quantities of support. whereas small arms use is equally common in peacetime. IHL only applies to situations of armed conflict.

Tackling only one aspect of the problem in this manner could leave it essentially unaffected.handguns after the Dunblane massacre (Small Arms Survey 2004: 188-9). 1998: 630). 2002: 21). the focus of the small arms campaign is illegitimate use rather than delegitimising the weapon. so in terms of choosing a frame which allows NGOs to seen as legitimate participants in policy formation. it may not be a suitable frame for reducing the total quantity of guns in circulation. which the ICBL avoided by attributing blame 33 <http://www. anchoring them to a pre-existing normative discourse and thereby increasing their chance of success (Price. 57 .uk/images/ul/_/_user_My_Documents_Amnesty_Work_control_arms_Framew orkConvention. a measure which is seen by the Small Arms Survey as necessary to reduce their overall impact (Small Arms Survey 2001). it would seem to possess an advantage. In the context of controlling the trade in small arms. This could be a useful track to pursue as. a human rights approach can apply to conflict and peacetime contexts and to both the North and South. Although situating small arms as a humanitarian issue could be useful in promoting measures such as preventing transfers to zones of conflict where IHL is breached. various NGOs have produced a Framework Convention33 which would expand the norm of state responsibility to make states accountable if they assist in committing internationally wrongful acts by exporting small arms to locations of widespread human rights abuse. In contrast to humanitarianism. Focusing on illegitimate use necessitates blaming individuals or states. The UN Special Rapporteur on Small Arms has suggested developing the norm of ‘due diligence’ in order to obligate states to regulate the availability and use of small arms as a means of protecting the right to life (Frey. Human Rights Human rights has been identified by at least one commentator as the field in which NGOs have the most influence in drawing up treaties and monitoring compliance (Ritchie.pdf > (7/9/04).amnesty. Rights discourse also places a strong emphasis on attributing responsibility for violations and on defining the content of states’ obligations to protect human It comes with a ready-made legal framework of supportive norms to which new small arms norms could be linked. 1996: 185). unlike with landmines.

The current trend towards fusion between humanitarian and human rights law (Frey. It can apply to situations of peace as well as conflict. This avoids attributing blame to the individuals responsible for inflicting small arms injuries. a perspective which is arguably less conducive to intervention. with less resonance for other cultures. In terms of creating a sense of crisis. human rights stresses the dignity and autonomy of the individual. as it would make it more difficult for NGOs to persuade states to adopt new norms. A related disadvantage of a human rights frame is that it lacks the perceived ‘neutrality’ of humanitarianism. to allow economic 58 . with causes and impacts analysed in a scientific. as rather than emphasising the protection of innocents. As frame alignment is essential for individuals to support a campaign. Just as reducing exposure to viruses helps to control the spread of disease. seemingly neutral manner (Cukier. and to developed and developing countries. This returns the focus to the weapon itself. 2002: 18) could augur well for a campaign combining humanitarian and human rights frames however. Another advantage is that it can draw on health economics. 2002). Adopting a blaming approach could be counterproductive the landmine itself. involving cost-benefit analyses (Muggah & Batchelor. possibly because naming names and attributing blame are essential components of the work of human rights NGOs. reducing access to guns is seen as a means of reducing the number of small arms injuries (Cukier. 2002: 20). meaning that it encompasses demand as well as supply-side approaches to the problem. 2002: 262). the ability of human rights-based norms to generate cross-cultural support may be less than that of humanitarian norms. but also because human rights is sometimes regarded as a western-imposed ideology. with the goal being to reduce their incidence. 2002: 261). and for this reason has attracted the ire of gun advocates (Glock. breaking down the distinction between firearms used in peace and small arms used in war. rather than the person pulling the trigger. Public Health The public health approach involves likening small arms-related injuries to a disease epidemic. by viewing such injuries as statistical occurrences. a rights-based approach may lack the emotive appeal of humanitarianism. 2003: 18) The public health approach also advocates a primary or preventive healthcare approach of addressing the root causes of violence (Cukier.

It would be difficult for governments to argue against proof that small arms proliferation did not make economic sense. 2001: 76). which enjoy better compliance levels. 59 . A possible disadvantage of the public health approach is that. This has the added appeal of justifying itself in terms of perhaps the most powerful übernorm of the current capitalist world system.arguments for small arms control to be made. lost earnings and so on. The overall advantage of the public health frame is its versatility which has led to its proposal as a sort of lowest common denominator which to unite the various strands of the small arms issue (Muggah. If small arms injuries can be likened to a public health crisis and a ‘health scare’ created however. by calculating the financial costs of small arms injuries. Indeed the lack of a specific international framework could even prove advantageous. 2002: 21). A possible disadvantage of using the public health frame is that its dry scientific approach may not be as effective in galvanising public support as the emotive appeal of humanitarianism. there could be a strong basis for popular support. unlike humanitarianism or human rights. and if the public health approach succeeded in defining small arms proliferation as an economic issue. which may make the linking of public health-based new norms with pre-existing supportive norms more difficult. links with supportive norms can be created where they are not immediately obvious. Some commentators have theorised that a norm is more likely to succeed if it complies with capitalism (Finnemore & Sikkink. Much of the health economics evidence regarding the financial cost of small arms injuries comes from the US. 1998: 907). This could make it easier to draw on legal precedents from other fields such as international trade law. where they are estimated to cost the economy $100 billion a year (Muggah & Batchelor. that of economic rationality. However as the grafting of the chemical weapons taboo onto landmines illustrates. The economic effects can be even more dramatic for developing countries: it is thought that the GDP of Latin America is reduced by 15-20% a year as a result of small arms violence (Muggah & Batchelor. particularly in developing countries where data is often nonexistent. 2002: 6). then speedier and more effective action could be anticipated. such as IHL. More research needs to be done to accumulate the necessary evidence to back up such arguments. avoiding the restriction of small arms regulation to a single area of international law. it has no international legal framework.

the curriculum all its activists were expected to master’ (Small Arms Survey 2003: 73). An obvious disadvantage with adopting a terrorism frame is that NGOs are not regarded as experts in the field and it is seen as very much as a national security matter. For example they were the main tools used by Al Qaeda against the US-led coalition in the war in Afghanistan (Small Arms Survey 2003: 73) and the skills acquired by Al Qaeda members as a result of training in the use of small arms have been described as ‘the operational heart of the organization. which NGOs should not be able to influence. as yet the idea of combating terrorism through development has attracted more lipservice than funding (Small Arms Survey. 2003: 151). capitalising on the contemporary perception of ‘failed states’ as ‘breeding grounds’ for terrorists (Small Arms Survey 2003: 150). and contrasts with the slow pace of progress on soft issues. regulation of the entire arms trade is needed to prevent small arms getting into the hands of terrorists. are the weapons actually used by terrorists. Although the links between underdevelopment. further illustrating how effective a terrorism focus could be. 60 . violence and terrorism are generally recognised.Terrorism Although terrorism is not a subject in which NGOs are regarded as possessing expertise. it could result in increased public pressure for supply-side regulation of the small arms trade. Despite this the very prominence of terrorism as an international issue means that framing small arms in a terrorism context must play a role if the campaign is to succeed. rather than WMD. the small arms campaign would have to emphasise that as the licit and illicit trades cannot be meaningfully separated. In order to combat the demand side of the equation. Most of the progress on combating illicit trade reported by the BMS related to anti-terrorism measures. The speed with which states signed up to the twelve UN anti-terrorism conventions after September 11th (UN. If these facts were more widely known. 2003: 18) illustrates how quickly the international community can act when it wants to. Campaigners could publicise the fact that SALW. In order to avoid restricting the debate to illicit trade however. the link between underdevelopment and terrorism could be emphasised. its dominance on the current international agenda means that ignoring the links between small arms and terrorism would represent a missed opportunity to gain media attention and pressurise governments into faster action.

More complex regulations are required. prohibitory norm. as they involve different frameworks of supportive norms and emphasise different aspects of a very multidimensional problem. as well as making compliance more difficult for NGOs to monitor. which could exert a strong moral obligation to comply and be relatively easy for NGOs to monitor compliance with. By examining a sample of possible frames it was intended to illustrate the consequences of framing choices for the eventual success of an NGO campaign. Unfortunately persuading state to support such measures is going to be far more difficult than securing agreement to a normative treaty. A final matter to consider is whether the small arms norms which eventually emerge will attract a high level of compliance. the more complex small arms issue cannot be resolved in this manner. 61 . An example of the sort of enforcement mechanisms which might be required can be found in the intrusive verification procedures contained in international arms control treaties such as the ABM Treaty. The external conditions in which a campaign takes place will also influence which frames will be suitable for mobilising public support and media attention. the very complexity of which could be expected to lessen the normative pull towards compliance. Whereas the landmines problem was resolvable through the promulgation of a single. The CCW provides evidence of the failure of a complex regulation system in the absence of strict compliance procedures. It follows therefore that small arms regulation would require more stringent verification procedures. simple. and requiring strict verification procedures returns the small arms issue to the national security/arms control format which campaigners have been trying so hard to escape.Conclusion All the above frames possess advantages and disadvantages for the small arms campaign. which would need to be enforced by states. so both external and internal factors need to be considered in tandem.

It was concluded that the current geopolitical climate is not conducive to small arms regulation in the same way as the end of the Cold War was to the prohibition of landmines. they are less likely to support an NGO campaign on issues they regard as irrelevant to this overriding concern. it is not 62 . or the characteristics of the issue itself. whether an issue will come to prominence is largely dependent on wider forces outside of campaigners’ control.Conclusion The preceding chapters have outlined the external and internal factors which influenced the ability of the NGO campaigns around landmines and small arms to influence global policy formation. The first conclusion stemming from this is that NGOs must frame issues in ways that make them seem of interest to states and relevant to their concerns. Also examined were the internal factors of framing and norm generation which determine a campaign’s efficacy. The focus on geopolitical conditions was intended to illustrate that regardless of internal factors like how well a campaign is run. Because NGOs do not possess any ‘hard power’. and that ongoing forces of globalisation have tended to exacerbate small arms proliferation while the emerging system of global governance has so far proved inadequate to dealing with the problem. Due to changing global conditions. even if this involves the forging of quite artificial connections. particularly states. 1997: 57). which they use to popularise their frames for issues. NGO campaigns cannot succeed without the support of other actors in the international system. External factors influencing whether such favourable conditions exist include geopolitical conditions and the strength of opposition to a particular campaign. Measures which powerful states regard as seriously counter to their interests are unlikely to succeed and if states are preoccupied with other issues such as the War on Terror. It was suggested that in order for a campaign to succeed. namely persuasion and expertise. they are reliant to a much greater extent than other actors in the international system on the tools of ‘soft power’. it is necessary for favourable political opportunity structures to exist (Smith.

commanding state and media attention. 2003: 87).sufficient for campaigners to simply replicate the tactics of earlier successful campaigns. and hence to the national security concerns which dominate the contemporary international agenda. It will be difficult to strike the right balance between framing the issue in an area of NGO expertise and linking it to terrorism however. The current national security-dominated climate seems largely to have 63 . Further parallels have been drawn between NGO participation in the Ottawa process and the lobbying of Tsar Nicholas II by NGOs to convene the 1899 and 1907 Hague conferences (Rutherford. Ironically. 1999: 45). the small arms campaign’s ability to attract attention and generate support. whether humanitarian or public health-based. and the extensive involvement of NGOs in international politics during the interwar period of the 20th century (Kaldor. then it may turn out that the 1990s come to be regarded as another ‘interwar’ period in which a temporary window for civil society participation in global policy formation opened. may hinge on its ability to link the issue to terrorism. This leads to a second conclusion— that the success of the ICBL was largely a result of the ‘interwar’ climate in which it took place. 2000: 70). Similarities exist between the role played by the ICBL in successfully lobbying for a landmine ban. NGOs are not generally regarded as experts in the fields of national security and terrorism. and therefore the most right to participate in global policy formation. are not those which currently dominate international discourse. They may find that establishing the relevance of small arms to terrorism could result in the issue being categorised as a matter which NGOs should not influence.’ (Hubert. the small arms campaign must also highlight the links between small arms and terrorism. Therefore it is suggested that as well as presenting the small arms issue in the light of NGOs’ fields of expertise. If Hubert is right that ‘the 1990s can be characterized as a neo-idealist period with strong parallels to the decades preceding each of the two world wars. The difficulty for the small arms campaign is that the frames or contexts in which NGOs are perceived as having the most expertise. but opportunities to gain media attention for their campaign will be missed if they ignore these areas. whereas the landmines campaign worked hard to de-link the issue from the context of national security. before being shut with the advent of the ‘War on Terror’.

Although globalisation has increased NGO power by increasing their ability to exert simultaneous pressure for change from different levels and locations of governance. This was the case for the ICBL. A corollary to this is that problems in need of more complex solutions may not be suitable issues for NGO campaigns to tackle.returned NGOs to their previous Cold War position of relative impotence. 64 . although the new opportunities for transnational coordination and multilayered campaigning offered by globalisation may go some way to offsetting this reversal. their power is still very much circumscribed by external conditions and the limitations imposed by the ways they generate support. as well as their ability to persuade states to support their positions. but not for the small arms campaign. or alternatively it may prove an ideal substitute for the Cold War. Although the ICBL has been rightly praised for the efficient way it conducted its campaign. it will be more difficult for NGOs to generate support and monitor compliance. NGOs are largely dependent on the media to mobilise public support for their campaigns. and a corresponding increase in room for soft issues on the international agenda. the success of the ICBL should be regarded as the exception rather than the rule of NGO participation in international politics. The ‘phony war’ nature of the War on Terror may eventually lead to a return to a more peacetime political context. something which is also dependent on prevailing geopolitical conditions. the landmine ban could not have occurred without a coincidence of external conditions and issue-specific characteristics which cannot easily be replicated. which is easier to do behind a simple clear moral message than behind a more nuanced call for complicated technical regulations. because of emergence of new forms of global governance like complex multilateralism and the improved opportunities for transnational cooperation provided by communications globalisation. As the small arms problem is not amenable to solution by means of a simple prohibitory norm. A third conclusion is that NGO campaigns will be most successful when they have a simple clear message to promote. This is due to the fact that NGOs generate soft power by mobilising public support. Although NGOs are now able to play a greater role in international politics.

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