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Sanctions, incentives, and human security: economic statecraft and humanitarian crises

2021 Venezuela_2 (002)

Reference number


Since the end of the Cold War, multilateral and unilateral sanctions have become an essential instrument of global and national foreign policy, imposed to address international challenges from ending civilian wars and territorial aggression, to thwarting nuclear proliferation, mass atrocities, and terrorism.  

Yet over the past decade sanctions have become entangled in each of the eight major humanitarian disasters of 2021. In the cases Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, and DRC sanctions have failed to stifle serious violence or socio-economic deterioration. In others, enduring sanctions, particularly unilateral measures imposed by powerful states, have contributed to significant negative impacts on the socio-economic status of innocent civilians.  

This participatory conference aims to provide recommendations to more carefully design and implement restrictions on products and activities that threaten international security, while allowing access to goods and services that are essential to human welfare and commerce. It also will explore policy prescriptions for applying pressures, not on civilians, but on decision makers and stakeholders who are responsible for wrongful policies. The Fourth Freedom Forum has commissioned case studies that document the humanitarian impact of sanctions in Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Findings from the case studies will be shared to stimulate discussion on lessons learnt. 

In partnership with Fourth Freedom Forum, Sanctions and security research project.

Wilton Park reference number: WP1992

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