Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

Synopsis

This document looks at all aspects of conflict prevention and contributors reflect on how existing mechanisms and instruments for conflict prevention can be properly evaluated and improved. Conflict Prevention evaluates the institutional record on conflict prevention, identifies current trends in conflict prevention practice, and makes recommendations on improving organizational capacity.The first part of the book looks at what is successful conflict prevention? Conflict prevention can be understood as an important but understated element of statecraft and coercive diplomacy, as the physical presence of a deterrent force, or as a rehabilitative action taken to prevent the re-emergence of violence. Collectively, these interpretations point to the malleability of conflict prevention as a theory and as a policy.In the second part of the volume how existing mechanisms and instruments for conflict prevention can be properly evaluated and improved are assessed. They focus on several institutions that are at the forefront of conflict prevention policy: the EU, the OSCE, and NATO. They further show how informational and analytical needs can be used to enhance the quality of conflict analysis and its policy relevance. From experiences in Africa and the Americas, Conflict Prevention concludes with reflections on the efforts and challenges of building regional capacity in the developing world. [from the UNU website]

Excerpt

… despite all the talk and activity in this field since the early 1990's, the basic argument and message of conflict prevention still has not ‘stuck’ in many critical policy quarters and levels of decision making. The quantity of policy doctrine, designated officials and offices, routinised decision procedures, public hearings, policy papers, political debates, appropriations, non-governmental organizations (NGO) network newsletters, programme regulations, job openings, field manuals, policy institutes, and other institutional infrastructure that is commonplace for other post-Cold War policy concerns such as humanitarianism, terrorism, development, democracy, peacekeeping, and arms control still vastly outweighs the counterpart activity in the sister field of conflict prevention.

In response to the recent record of traditional peacekeeping in conflict settlement and resolution, academics and policy makers have begun to re-examine conflict prevention as an ideal instrument for the creation of peace in a war-torn world. The main message of those involved in the study and practice of conflict prevention is as clear as it is obvious: compared to conflict management, it seems less costly in political, economic and human terms to develop institutional mechanisms that prevent tensions from escalating into violent conflict, to employ early warning mechanisms that allow the international community to monitor relations . . .

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