Wednesday, 02 December 2020

BICC Annual Report 2020 \ Peace and conflict research in times of COVID-19

It will, in all likelihood, be some time before the real extent becomes visible to which COVID-19 has led to profound upheavals in societies and economies and set in motion new conflict dynamics. Restricted by the pandemic, BICC staff still continued their empirical research in regions characterised by forced displacement, volatile, violent conflicts and arms proliferation. BICC’s Annual Report illustrates the unique expertise of BICC: Research and policy advice that put the perspective of affected people in focus.

The Essay in the Annual Report 2020, for instance, addresses the extent to which refugees who have fled war and violence and other migrants are affected by the pandemic. “COVID-19 is like a magnifying glass: It shows all too clearly existing problems in society. To put it bluntly, it is about the question of who has the right to mobility and who has not”, Conrad Schetter, Director for Research at BICC, explains.

In 2020, BICC's research also placed great emphasis on forced displacement. At the same time, it looked into the dynamics of violent conflict and its actors. However, BICC researchers not only look at the conflict situations in the Sahel, the Middle East or Nagorno-Karabakh but also at society in Germany. The Annual Report 2020 also presents projects that deal with the polarisation of society in Germany and tendencies of radicalisation, such as through violent Salafism or extreme right-wing groups. “An important task here is to share the expertise we have gained with local authorities, ministries and politicians to facilitate more effective preventive measures”, Conrad Schetter stresses.

Yet another focus of the BICC Annual Report is our work in small arms and light weapons control. In many African countries, the escalation of violence and the increase in terrorist acts are closely linked to the cross-border proliferation of such weapons. BICC Experts support the African Union and other regional organisations there in developing strategies and processes for future small arms and light weapons control.

Conrad Schetter, Director for Research at BICC summarises: “Currently, BICC is working on highly volatile topics and has set itself the task of bringing together research and political practice in a dialogue at both the national and international level.”

Press release “BICC-Jahresbericht 2020 \ Friedens- und Konfliktforschung in Zeiten der Pandemie“ (pdf, in German)