Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?

By David Carment; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

2
Conflict prevention — Taking stock
David Carment and Albrecht Schnabel

Conceptual issues
Were it as simple as relying on a definition in order to describe the process of conflict prevention, our task would be relatively straightforward. Our focus would be on the sources of conflicts and the processes associated with their prevention. However, contributors to our study were faced with a much larger problem – how to render the analyses of effective/ ineffective conflict prevention and capacity building meaningful and practicable to practitioners and policy makers alike.For the purposes of this study, we define conflict prevention as an evolving concept and innovative set of policy recommendations comprising fundamental attitudinal change among its end users. In short, conflict prevention is not a transitory ad hoc reaction to emerging and potential problems. 1 It is a medium and long-term proactive operational or structural strategy undertaken by a variety of actors, intended to identify and create the enabling conditions for a stable and more predictable international security environment. The key assumptions in our definition that merit attention are:
Conflict prevention involves attitudinal change;
Conflict prevention is malleable as a concept and as a policy;
Conflict prevention can be multisectoral;
Conflict prevention can be applied at different phases of conflict;

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Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion?
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