Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Synopsis

The causes of violent conflict, as well as approaches to conflict prevention, have been studied extensively, but only recently has attention been given to the subregional dynamics of internal wars. The authors of this original collection explore conflicts in Africa, Central Asia, and Central America, seeking new insights that can provide the foundation for more nuanced, more effective preventive strategies.

Excerpt

It is well known that there are myriad causes of conflict and that preventing violent conflict requires addressing root and proximate causes. In addition, it is understood that different causes and types of conflict plague different countries and different regions. Similarly, the level of conflict also varies across regions, subregions, countries, and even districts. While research in recent years has generated findings on the range of possible causes of conflict generally, and case studies have applied many of these insights to particular countries, less work has been done on the ways in which the relative significance of different causes may vary in particular subregions of the world. More elaboration on regional variances is clearly needed.

Developing a greater understanding of these regional variances is significant for the elaboration of preventive policy responses in two senses. First, regional variances in the causes and nature of conflict can suggest a relative prioritization of tools and resources at the policymaking stage. Second, at the implementation stage, they can aid a greater understanding of the comparative advantages among the multiple preventive actors that are likely to be on the ground and thereby inform better strategic coordination.

By examining the causes of conflict in the Horn of Africa, Central Asia, West Africa, and Central America—four subregions that exhibit similarities and differences in terms of both the causes and the levels of conflict—we aim to contribute to a growing body of work that may lead to better preventive strategies in the future.

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