In 1981, members of the Belgian peace movement founded the International Peace Information Service, known as IPIS. Within two years, IPIS gained the status of an officially accredited non-governmental organisation. The initiators believed in a very broad interpretation of the main themes of peace and security. This was expressed in a wide range of themes included in our library: democratisation, human rights, private sector actors, globalisation, development, political movements, etc.
After the Cold War, our attention shifted from Eastern and Central Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, we gradually evolved from a documentation centre into an ‘action research’ institute. The emergence of a multitude of dirty and forgotten conflicts on the African continent, and the accompanying information deficit around these conflicts, urged us to go into the field to gather firsthand data on arms flows, conflict financing, the plundering of resources and the involvement of private sector corporations. Our field research in often dangerous war zones resulted in several groundbreaking reports which met international recognition by, among others, the UN Security Council, several governments and international campaign organisations. (To view a list of our previous assignments, see: Assignments 2000-2011.)
To create a more clearly distinct profile for our organisation towards stakeholders and interested audiences, research activities are structured into three core themes: arms trade, the exploitation of natural resources and corporate social responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to the arms trade and conflict related issues, we also devote much attention to post-conflict reconstruction, sustainable development, human rights and environmental issues.
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