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Conflict Prevention and Diplomacy

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This LibGuide is intended to provide a few starting points to assist you with your research on issues related to conflict prevention and diplomacy.

What Is Conflict Prevention ?

Conflict prevention: Activities aimed at conflict prevention are normally conducted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter. They range from diplomatic initiatives to preventive deployments of forces intended to prevent disputes from escalating to armed conflicts or from spreading. Conflict prevention can also include fact-finding missions, consultations, warnings, inspections and monitoring. NATO makes full use of partnership, co-operation and dialogue and its links to other organizations to contribute to preventing crises and, should they arise, defusing them at an early stage. (Source: Crisis Management NATO Topic Page)

Former United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld articulated the concept of preventive diplomacy in 1954. Preventive diplomacy refers specifically to diplomatic action taken, at the earliest possible stage, “to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur”. (Source: “An Agenda for Peace: Preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping” United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General, (A/47/277 - S/24111), 17 June 1992.)

Regarding Europe, “promoting and strengthening the rule of law at the national and international levels is a key priority of the European Union. Adherence to the rule of law is critical to conflict prevention, stabilization of fragile and conflict-affected environments, and sustainable long-term development.” (Source: “Strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities: Report of the Secretary-General” United Nations, General Assembly, 6 August 2008)

Established in 1990 to help reduce the risk of conflict, the Conflict Prevention Centre (created by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – OSCE- in Vienna) “plays a pivotal role in OSCE efforts to promote peace and stability across the OSCE area.”