The Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention: A UNECE-OSCE Colloquium with the Participation of Experts from NATO on the Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention in Europe : Proceedings, Villars, Switzerland, 19-20 November 2001

The Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention: A UNECE-OSCE Colloquium with the Participation of Experts from NATO on the Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention in Europe : Proceedings, Villars, Switzerland, 19-20 November 2001

The Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention: A UNECE-OSCE Colloquium with the Participation of Experts from NATO on the Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention in Europe : Proceedings, Villars, Switzerland, 19-20 November 2001

The Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention: A UNECE-OSCE Colloquium with the Participation of Experts from NATO on the Role of the Economic Dimension in Conflict Prevention in Europe : Proceedings, Villars, Switzerland, 19-20 November 2001

Synopsis

The proliferation of conflicts in Europe following the end of the Cold War has created new challenges and opportunities for intergovernmental and national institutions dealing with the economic and environmental aspects of security. This publication presents the proceedings of a colloquium, jointly organised by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). A range of experts from NATO, governmental, business and civil society organisations met to discuss the development of new responses to conflicts and emerging security issues. The discussions identified three primary causes of conflict in Europe: economic decline and growing poverty; increasing inequalities between and within states; and weak state institutions.

Excerpt

The proliferation of conflicts in Europe following the end of the Cold War has created new challenges and opportunities - of great complexity - for intergovernmental and national institutions dealing with the economic and environmental aspects of security.

During the 1990s, a rebalancing of the bilateral and multilateral relationships between European states, the us and the states of the former Soviet Union, have ensured an unpredictable and ever-changing political and socio-economic context. Most recently, the terrorist attacks on 11 September and the geo-political developments which have followed those events have deepened the challenges and have also broadened the geographic scope of security concerns.

The need for effective conflict prevention and conflict resolution initiatives, as well as peace building and peacemaking efforts, grew during the last decade of the 20th century and this need continues to grow. in south east Europe, notably the Balkans and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, international cooperation forged workable peace settlements although in some areas these remain fragile.

Organizations and alliances such as the European Union, osce, nato, and unece have taken the lead to define the nature and scope of the new security environment and the shifting economic and environmental dynamics contributing to it. These organisations and unions have also been instrumental in engineering the type of constructive dialogue which allows new strategies, policies, responses and instruments for conflict prevention and resolution to be developed. the various institutions agree that the time is right to further refine approaches to conflict prevention and resolution and enhance their effectiveness.

The Villars Colloquium, hosted by UNECE-OSCE with input from nato experts and the participation of a broad spectrum of governmental, business and civil society specialists, is a critical contribution to the renewed efforts to develop more effective responses both to developing and actual conflicts. Furthermore, the meeting agreed that conflict prevention, based on effective use of early warning indicators and detailed analysis of the causes of individual conflicts, is the most politically and economically preferential approach.

The participants identified three primary causes of conflict in Europe, namely: economic decline and rising poverty; growing inequality between and within states; and weak and uncertain state institutions. Key secondary causes, which can act to sustain conflicts, include: high unemployment, notably amongst youth; and the abuse of ethnicity as a form of political strategy.

The role of parallel structures (terrorist and organized crime groups) and their ability to access international financing, from both seemingly legitimate and illegal sources, are also key destabilizing factors. Consistent and well resourced efforts, based on international cooperation, will be required to effectively subdue and dismantle these parallel structures.

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