Conflict Prevention: Naked Emperor, Path to Peace, Grand

Illusion or Just Difficult?*

bull2.gif (594 bytes) Summary
bull2.gif (594 bytes) I. Introduction
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Conceptual Ambiguity
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) The Analytical Gap
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Political Will
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Capacity Building
bull2.gif (594 bytes) II. Findings from Chapters
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Conflict Prevention Theory: Taking Stock
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Success and Failure of Applied Conflict Prevention
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Evaluation of Conflict Prevention Methods
bull2.gif (594 bytes) III. Policy Recommendations and Capacity Building
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Urgent Focus of Conflict Prevention Research and Training
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Challenges and Obstacles in the Implementation of More Effective Conflict Prevention Training and Application
     bull2.gif (594 bytes) Short-term and Long-term Issues of Immediate Concern
bull2.gif (594 bytes) Notes


 Conflict Prevention: Naked Emperor, Path to Peace, Grand

Illusion or Just Difficult?*

 

David Carment

Norman Paterson School of International Affairs,  Carleton University, Ottawa

Albrecht Schnabel

Peace and Governance Programme, United Nations University, Tokyo

 

Prepared for Presentation at:

"Reflection, Integration, Cumulation: International Studies Past and Future"
The 41st Annual Convention of the International Studies Association
Los Angeles, USA
14-18 March 2000

 

* This paper comprises a summary of findings from a research project under the directorship of David Carment and Albrecht Schnabel. It is a recent United Nations University Peace and Governance project that addresses the conceptual, policy and training dimensions of conflict prevention. The first stage of the project, an edited book entitled Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion? is forthcoming with UNU Press. This paper attempts to outline the background and rationale for the study, presents the major arguments offered in the first volume of the study, and complements this with the major findings of the subsequent stage of this project. It is meant to share our work in progress, as we attempt to move from thorough conceptual understanding to applied policy and training in conflict prevention.


Summary

As we enter the 21st century, it is essential that we look forward and begin to appraise new and evolving approaches to conflict prevention. As a starting point, the authors organised two international workshops on conflict prevention training and analysis. The first of these workshops consisted of a series of two linked panels, of four papers each, held in conjunction with the 1999 Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association Meeting. These two panels addressed two main themes: a) an evaluation of effective instruments and actors in conflict prevention and b) the methods and approaches to the analysis and implementation of effective conflict prevention. A second stage resulted in aworkshop held under the auspices of the United Nations University, IDRC and NPSIA was held at INSTRAW, Santo Domingo in December of 1999. It brought together representatives of the United Nations, regional organizations, academics and NGOs to evaluate complementary and contending approaches to the implementation of effective conflict prevention training and capacity building, with an emphasis on regional experiences, expertise and needs. A full summary of the second workshop along with the titles and abstracts of the working papers can be found at:

This paper is based on the first, stage of this project. In addition to substantially revised contributions from the 1999 ISA workshop, the study was expanded with 10 further chapters, written by scholars and practitioners on conflict prevention from various parts of the world. The volume, entitled Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion and edited by the authors of this paper, is forthcoming from the United Nations University Press (Tokyo: 2000). This paper is drawn on the introduction to this volume. The volume covers five interrelated topics:

  1. The utility and limitations of risk assessment and early warning methodologies in the evaluation and formation of effective response;
  2. The role of economic, political and military instruments in conflict prevention;
  3. The role of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors in conflict prevention;
  4. Regional and country-based experiences in conflict prevention policy;
  5. Identifying gaps between theory, policy and training.

The ultimate purpose of the larger project - both the mainly academic examination of volume one and the practitioner-driven assessment of conflict prevention success, failure and needs in volume two – are part of an effort to develop and implement a conflict prevention training tool for regional and international organisations to use in their conflict prevention activities. Working together, three groups of individuals involved in conflict prevention activities - a group of scholars from developed countries, a group of scholars from developing countries and a group of scholar-practitioners from regional organisations and the UN, are in the process of examining how scholarly discussions on conflict prevention can be translated into policy at subnational, national, regional and global levels.

Moreover, with guidance from the above three groups, the project seeks to increase the capacity within regional organisations and UN institutions by engaging national and subnational actors in conflict prevention activities. It is hoped that, through their involvement in conflict prevention activities, UN agencies and regional organisations are in a position to spread a "culture of prevention" among state and non-state actors involved -- or potentially involved -- in conflicts.

 

I. Introduction

In an effort to develop a focussed and viable policy-relevant conflict prevention training tool, the contributors to the two volumes were confronted with four distinct problems. We refer to these problems as: conceptual ambiguity, the analytical gap, political will and capacity building. The first part of this paper is devoted to an examination of each of these problems. The second part of the paper summarises key findings from contributors to the first volume. The third and concluding part provides a series of policy recommendations for developing effective conflict prevention capacity.

Conceptual Ambiguity

For the purposes of this study, contributors to the volumes were faced with the unenviable task of defining conflict prevention. Numerous definitions and interpretations of the term abound. In some instances the term conflict prevention is qualified by the antecedents "violent" or"deadly" as if to suggest that some conflicts, essentially non-violent ones, are inherently constructive and are not in need of immediate attention or are at least less threatening, although the level of threat and to whom they constitute a threat remains under-specified. Others have taken conflict prevention to mean the task of addressing latent or non-violent behaviour, which, given certain conditions, has the potential to become deadly. Still others equate preventive diplomacy with conflict prevention, although that too is fraught with conceptual difficulties since preventive diplomacy carries with it connotations of crisis management, statecraft and the use of force in order to prevent the escalation of organized and wide-scale violence.

On the one hand we are sympathetic to the Carnegie Commission’s desire to be all things to all people: That organization’s definition of conflict prevention - focussing on both structural and operational variations - is so broad that it encompasses everything from preventive deployments to democratisation; from arms control to civil society. On the other hand, there is some utility in distinguishing between structural and operational prevention as the Commission does, primarily because by doing so it allows clearer thinking on what is to be done by whom, when and to whom. In other words, efforts to classify the procedures of conflict prevention are useful in so far as they provide a fairly accurate framework for understanding the tasks, techniques, actors and processes of conflict prevention.1

Were it as simple as relying on a definition or set of definitions in order to describe the process of conflict prevention in an effort to explain success or failure, our task would be relatively straightforward. Our focus would be on the sources of conflicts and the various techniques and conditions - both structural and operational– that are necessary for addressing them. 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. It is for this reason that we are sympathetic to the approach advocated by some, that conflict prevention connotes a way of thinking (even wishful thinking); a state of mind, perhaps even a culture that permeates the activities of all those engaged in the implementation of preventive policy - be they NGOs, states or regional and global organizations. In this respect there is the analogy to the clinical and environmental approaches to health care.

Using the health model analogy described by Ryan (1998), operational and structural prevention may both be preventively oriented. However, the former focuses on the treatment of sick people whereas the latter emphasises a public health model that aims to prevent illness by focussing on its associated environmental factors. Of course, these are not mutually exclusive activities but shifting attitudinal change necessarily entails, in our opinion, a concerted movement toward, and investment in, strategic and long-term pro-active approaches. Margaretha Af Ugglas, a former Chairman in Office of the OSCE and former Swedish Foreign Minister contends that success in conflict prevention is related to the following five key factors:

Ugglas’ points suggest that in order to be productive, prevention needs to be part of a policy maker’s overall policy planning process. The key question therefore is: To what extent can prevention be integrated into the policy frameworks of individual states, NGOs and regional and global organizations? In answering this question, the contributors to this volume offer two different but not necessarily contradictory views. On the one hand, there are good reasons to favour a more short term, ad hoc interplay between states and institutions. On the other hand, there is a need to square this approach with a desire for more long term structural approaches to prevention and the institutionalisation of conflict prevention through capacity building and training. There are simply not enough resources available to meet every potentially violent conflict with an operational response in every instance. From a realistic and cost-effective perspective, structural prevention and long term attitudinal change may thus be preferable.

This view is shared by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose report Preventing Violent Conflict proposes early conflict prevention strategies as the corner stone of Sweden’s developmental assistance programmes.2 Among its recommendations are: the call for a strengthening of a secretariat or "task force" within the Swedish Foreign Ministry whose activities would be to establish methods for preventive measures through development co-operation, the development of security mechanisms within troubled regions and the establishment of regional early warning networks.

A good place to begin our search for attitudinal shift among practitioners at the global level is perhaps former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s An Agenda for Peace (1992). To be sure, Boutros-Ghali chose to reflect only on preventive diplomacy within a range of conflict management techniques that include peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping. Boutros-Ghali focussed essentially on those activities that usually, but not always, fall under the purview of the United Nations, such as confidence building measures, arms control and preventive deployment. Eight years after An Agenda for Peace was written, preventive diplomacy has now come to refer to a response generated by a state, a coalition of states or a multilateral organization intended to address the rapid escalation of emergent crises, disputes and inter-state hostilities (Jentleson this volume, Lund 1996). In brief, preventive diplomacy entails primarily, but not exclusively, ad hoc forms of consultation using non-compartmentalised and non-hierarchical forms of information gathering, contingency planning and short-term response. The risks are proximate and analysis and action are combined at once in rapid succession.3

Despite its post-Cold War faddishness, popular usage of the term preventive diplomacy can be traced to the activities of UNSG Dag Hammarskjold (although its underlying logic has existed at least since the emergence of the modern state system; the Westphalian Treaty at its birth was an attempt to prevent the continuation of interstate warfare of the early 17th Century; and indeed, its rationale is deeply imbedded in such fundamentals of statecraft as deterrence, reassurance and compellence [George 1991]).4 Hammarskjold realised that early engagement of the global organization could act to forestall the destructiveness of conflict created by external military intervention and arms transfers. According to Vayrynen, "preventive action stemmed from the more general reasoning that external interventions can be avoided or tempered if a region is made more autonomous in terms of security" (this volume). The underlying rationale was expressed in Hammarskj÷ld’s introduction to the 1959-60 annual report of the United Nations: preventive action "must in the first place aim at filling the vacuum so that it will not provoke action from any of the major parties."5 When crisis threatens, traditional diplomacy continues, but more urgent preventive efforts are required -through unilateral and multilateral channels - to arbitrate, mediate, or lend "good offices" to encourage dialogue and facilitate.

Today, preventive diplomacy is considered equally important due in part to theevolving nature of conflict. The shift from interstate to intrastate conflict is well documented. However, this change in itself is not sufficient to generate a call for revised thinking on preventive action. It is the surrounding circumstances, the ability of such complex conflicts to spread vertically and horizontally – in essence the potential of such conflicts to do harm to others, ordinary citizens, neighbouring states, refugees and minorities - that generates preventive diplomacy efforts.6

Moreover, official diplomacy can be greatly strengthened by private sector activity. Long used in international negotiations by leaders to take informal soundings of adversaries’ intentions, so-called track-two diplomacy is increasingly the strategy of choice for dealing with problems beyond the reach of official efforts. Some governments have found NGOs very useful in brokering political agreements and supplementing governmental roles. In recent years, many groups in the United States and Europe, such as the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, International Alert, The Carter Center’s International Negotiation Network, the International Crisis Group, the Project on Ethnic Relations and the Conflict Management Group, have developed models for multi-track diplomacy and conflict resolution. These organizations have played active roles in building relationships between conflicting parties and interested governments, offering training in diplomacy and conflict resolution, and providing good offices to parties that are committed to the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Compared to preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention is by way of contrast arguably more far reaching and fundamental in its approach. It is not a short-term response to a looming crisis. It is primarily anevolving concept and innovative set of policy recommendations comprising, as previously noted, of fundamental attitudinal change among its end users. In short, conflict prevention is not a transitory ad hoc reaction to emerging and potential problems. It is a medium and long term pro-active strategy intended to identify and create the enabling conditions for a stable and more predictable international security environment. The basic logic of conflict prevention, especially in its structural form, is to reduce the need for more coercive (and potentially even harmful) third party measures and enhance the prospects for a lasting peace (Lund 1996). The corollary is politic; while early action is not guaranteed to be successful, prospects for intervention get worse with time (Jentleson in this volume). In general, conflict prevention involves a perception of the opportunity and need to act in order to reduce formidable risks.

According to the Carnegie Commission, conflict prevention as a strategy has the potential to establish a more stable international environmentthrough effective response to emergent, ongoing and escalating conflicts by means of economic, political and military techniques by states and organizations. This is essentially operational prevention, which entails some but not all aspects of preventive diplomacy. Operational prevention is made possible through the employment of early warning mechanisms that allow the international community to monitor relations between and withinstates and to facilitate outside involvement before tensions become intractable. A plan for the restoration of host country authority (particularly applicable to intrastate conflict) includes:

  1. A lead player - an international organization, country, or even prominent individual around which or whom preventive efforts can mobilise;
  2. A coherent political–military approach to the engagement designed to arrest the violence, address the humanitarian needs of the situation, and integrate all political and military aspects of the problem;
  3. Adequate resources to support the preventive engagement.

Under this schema, operational prevention consists of "policies and institutions that are taken deliberately to keep particular states or organized groups within them from threatening or using organized violence, armed force, or related forms of coercion, such as repression, as the means to settle interstate or national political disputes, especially in situations where the existing means cannot peacefully manage the destabilising effects of economic, social, political and international change."7

 

The Analytical Gap

The analytical gap we refer to is the one that exists between academics and practitioners. The key questions are how to render academic analyses more accessible to the practitioner and how to ensure that the practitioner is equipped with the best available analytical skills to ensure valid and reliable evaluations of potential problems. To be sure, the increasing role of academics, private organizations and non-governmental organizations in providing risk assessments, analyses and early warning information points to a fundamental change in the way in which potential threats to security are assessed and acted upon. Nevertheless, understanding the root causes of conflict, identifying the point at which a conflict is likely to become violent and deciding what to do about them is more akin to "solving mysteries" (e.g. group problem-solving) than it is to "breaking secrets" (e.g. spying) (Jentleson in this volume).

The impetus for current approaches to risk assessment and early warning came from UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar’s first Annual Report to the General Assembly in 1982. In the report, he called for "more systematic," less last minute use of the Security Council, and urged that "if the Council were to keep an active watch on dangerous situations and, if necessary, initiate discussions with the parties before they reach the point of crisis, it might otherwise be possible to defuse them at an early stage before they degenerate into violence." Since the call for preventive diplomacy by former UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali in 1992, the UN inter-agency arrangement for humanitarian early warning (HEWS) was created to assist humanitarian operations. Itis, however, not equipped to detect or analyse political and military warning signals. The UN lost its capacity to analyse political early warning information when it disbanded the Office for Research and Collection of Information (ORCI). Since the loss of ORCI the UN does not and will not likely develop the capacity for political early warning.

Still, a fundamental deficiency is that the early warning currently required to respond to human-generated disasters is often late warning; a response to crises that are already at an advanced stage of escalation and violence, that are well known and where causes are proximate. The inherent risk for decision-makers in this approach is that, at the height of a crisis, policy options are rapidly and significantly constrained and significantly narrowed to operational responses (usually military and humanitarian) such as those detailed in our volume. This is a problem that the Carnegie Commission recognises as being a fundamental stumbling block to the development of more effective long-term structurally oriented conflict prevention policies.8 Late response, with the attendant likelihood that a strategy will be less than successful, is the strongest ammunition against developing more coherent forward-looking approaches. Critics are quick to claim that early warning rarely succeeds, but the evidence they cite to support this argument are situations where action is taken to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying causes.9

It is a truism to say that conflict prevention entails a substantial understanding of conflict dynamics, their structural consequences, the processes by which they become violent, and what well-meaning leaders, NGOs and governments can do about them. Unfortunately, the bulk of academic research is useful for understanding why, when and how some conflicts originate but is less useful in explaining or predicting when or how violent interactions will occur in a way that is directly consumable by policy makers. One response to this problem has been to ensure that policy makers are better equipped to do their own in-field analyses. Another is to bring academic perspectives into the policy-making realm (Schmeidl and Adelman 1997).

In addition, caution must be exercised in assessing the causes, processes and impact of conflict. There is often great uncertainty in identifying the risks associated with the political activities of groups and their impact on the international environment. Linkages may include refugee flows, drug trafficking and state failure. Analytical uncertainty is sometimes due to an inadequate informational base from which to derive conclusive results. Lack of knowledge of the ways in which socio-economic, political and international factors impact on the dynamics of conflicts may also be lacking or misunderstood

To this extent, academic contributions have made a contribution by focussing attention on both the proximate and underlying causes of conflict. However, early warning systems are not confined to just analysing a conflict, but also relate to and, indeed, see their raison d’ŕtre in the capacities and response strategies for dealing with a conflict. It is obvious that analytical capacity alone will never be sufficient for generating effective response.10

There is a need for field monitoring of indicators of specific types of behaviour, monitoring of indicators of related factors and proximate causes or systematic analysis of events through predictive models.11 Collectively, their objective is to combine monitoring of indicators with diagnosis, using theoretical findings and index construction to develop knowledge of certain causes that produce specific effects (Carment and Joseph in this volume, Rowlands and Joseph in this volume).12 The effect can be either a danger, such as crisis, war or genocide or an opportunity such as investment or the victory of a democratic government. Risk assessments precede and complement early warning and therefore accurate diagnosis has implications for strategic planning. Assessments identify background and intervening conditions that establish the risk for potential crisis and conflict. They focus monitoring and analytical attention on high-risk situations before they are fully developed and they provide a framework for interpreting the results of real-time monitoring.13

Once information is weighed for its relative importance, there still remains a significant gap between analysing the information and developing a strategy to deal with the problem. Analysis by itself does not generate an immediate solution. Atbest, monitoring of indicators helps in regulating the flow of information to policy makers.14

Several problems arise in translating analysis in to action. First, there is a need to know what to look for, and what, specifically, should be warned about. Ethnic warfare, regime failure, massive human rights violations and refugee flows are the result of different combinations of factors, hence require somewhat different models, explanations, strategies and responses. Second, there is need for specificity inthe combinations of risk factors and sequences of events that are likely to lead to crises. Lists of variables or indicators are only a starting point. Explanations should identify which measurable conditions, in what combination or sequence, establish a potential for certain types and kinds of crises.

The question of how to actually bring early warning into the process of policy planning also needs to be considered. There are two complementary but distinct prevention strategies encompassed in early warning. The first would be to rely primarily on early warning networks for the analysis of impending humanitarian crises and complex emergencies and only secondarily to utilise risk assessment for purposes of medium term planning and resource allocation. This option would see states and NGOs rely to some extent on global networks for their information analysis.

A second option is to pursue the integration of risk assessments into the strategic planning processes of states, NGOs and regional organizations - beginning with developmental aid - in order to develop coherent, sustainable and long term policies on conflict prevention. This is a five-step process. First, because risk assessment data and information must satisfy the needs of different agencies there is aneed to integrate them more closely into routinised foreign policy activities of the various departments engaged in foreign and security policy. Second, integration means that assessments are used to identify not only future risks but also to identify links between conflict processes and identifiable focal points of activity in which the end user is engaged. Assessments should be able to identify a sequence of events that are logically consistent with operational responses. Third, the end user should be able to use the information in a way that helps them plan for contingencies. In essence, the goal is to establish a risk assessment chain that is multi-departmental, multi-purpose and multi-directional. Fourth, measurements of effectiveness need to be harmonised across states. As structured databases will continue to be an important tool despite their imperfections, the current situation of decentralised data holding will only be able to function if the information handling systems - including indicators - inthe different countries are harmonised. Fifth and finally, an essential step would be to establish conflict prevention secretariats or councils (national, regional or international). Their central tasks would be liaison between the relevant policy areas,the promotion and study of knowledge, and the forging of intergovernmental and non-governmental links (Schnabel in this volume).

However, the availability of accurate and valuable information is not the main problem. Much inaction boils down to the question of who is willing to act, as the availability of properly presented and analysed information will have little impact if there is not follow-up on the part of policy makers.

 

Political Will

Various contributors to this volume believe that regional organizations, UN field offices and NGOs, if working together, would be best situated to develop effective conflict prevention capacity, due largely to their proximity to the conflict. Furthermore, evidence from recent cases does not support the general conclusion that the UN in isolation is well situated to carry out specific kinds of prevention - namely those most closely associated with peacekeeping and preventive deployments (notwithstanding the relative success of UNPREDEP, see Vayrynen in this volume). Two basic reasons for the lacklustre performance of the UN in the recent past in these activities is that it lacks effective leverage relative to most adversaries and is poorly equipped to act as an interface between states and non-state actors. The latter point highlights the main weakness of past thinking among practitioners that prevention was regarded primarily as a "technical" issue that encompasses early warning, arms control, preventive deployment of peacekeepers, fact-finding and related matters.

Structural factors create several problems that contribute to conflict, such reconciling multicultural reality with the principle of national self-determination; the pursuit of a stable, democratic society in a tumultuous regional system; uneven economic development; and coping with fundamental changes brought about by the outbreak of violent conflict. Greater understanding of these deeper problems will be needed if effective structural prevention becomes a possibility. Only then can a comprehensive and balanced approach to alleviate the pressures that trigger violent conflict through elemental aid, developmental assistance and the work of NGOs be developed. Over the long run, structural prevention strategies include putting in place international legal systems, dispute resolution mechanisms, and co-operative arrangements at the regional level as well as meeting people’s basic economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian needs.15

States have not always fared better in mustering the necessary response to an emerging problem. Alexander George (1991) has argued that the essence of statecraft is to develop and manage relationships with other states in ways that will protect and enhance one's own security and welfare. Lund has argued that a state will act in a way that favours its own particular interests and often a state may be unable to act until it has secured the support of its public and or political elite (Lund 1996). In a perfect world there would be a clear undivided link between information and action. In an ideal world there would be a healthy synergy between particularist and universalist interests that would in fact consider global humanitarian interests, for instance, as an inherent part of one’s own national interest. And in an ideal worldthe average citizen in country A would be aware of his/her responsibility to participate in meeting the human needs of his/her counter part in country Z. But constructing and "selling" effective policy is always more complicated.

According to Jentleson (this volume) one of the main reasons why leaders have been so reluctant to take on comprehensive preventive statecraft is that they have held to the conventional wisdom that the costs to be borne and risks to be run are too high and the interests at stake are too low. In challenging this conventional wisdom and showing the realism of preventive statecraft as a strategic calculation, Jentleson shows that political will is not an insurmountable problem: political constraints do have a degree of malleability. This may be especially true when large-scale operational preventive efforts are required such as in DPR Congo, Bosnia or Kosovo.

Furthermore, there are other options that relate primarily to building local level capacity, and the involvement of NGOs in both the processes of information collection and response. In principle, NGOs in the field already constitute a loose, decentralised and very appropriate global network and they are already conveniently divided into a de facto division of labour for monitoring human rights, refugee and migration issues, relief and development and victims of war. Workers in the field can and do collect and analyse information without compromising their political neutrality by operating through discrete channels.16 As William DeMars argues, there is a natural convergence of attention between states and NGOs toward analysing the causal linkages between war and humanitarian crisis to facilitate policy learning and effectiveness.17 Jones and Stein have found that some NGOs, especially smaller ones, are well suited to the task of information collection and monitoring.18 In their assessment of early warning failure in Rwanda, Stein and Jones argue that within large organizations, information tends to move too slowly up the chain of command. Leaders of large organizations tend to discount important information that requires a response. In contrast, smaller NGOs have a direct line to headquarters and are not systematically discouraged by political organizational complexities to get things done. Moreover, small NGOs are less likely to be caught up in the diplomatic headstands that are required by regional organizations and the UN who need to remain politically sensitive to a divergent member state base with their divergent preferences and sensitivities. At least in theory (and that depends on each NGOs funding base and source) NGOs are not forced to water down analysis and recommendations to meet the lowest acceptable common denominator –a practise so prevalent in intergovernmental organisations.

 

Capacity Building

With Stein and Jones’ ideas in mind we focus the last part of this third of the paper on local capacity building. We argue that capacity building is central to the strengthening of conflict prevention in four ways. First there is an important long-term investment in conflict prevention through the publication of policy reports/handbooks on methods in risk assessment, conflict analysis and conflict prevention policy.

Second, training of field workers engaged in the analysis of conflict focuses on developing specific analytical skills and risk assessment techniques. Most successful monitoring and preventive efforts have been training programmes that introduce people who live in conflict areas to the theory and practice of conflict management, and that provide training in negotiation, facilitation, mediation, and consensus building. An important objective of such efforts is to improve future preventive efforts by analysing the consequences of different policies that improve conflict prevention effectiveness (peace and conflict impact assessment).

Third, conflict prevention practitioners are ultimately responsible for their own evaluation and impact assessment of their prevention methods. Such evaluation includes the systematic documentation of conflictinterventions and post-conflict assessments; improved information exchange among conflict prevention practitioners and with parties outside the conflict management field; assessment and evaluation of conflict prevention interventions; and improved co-ordination of conflict prevention activities. Fourth there is the need to create a network of local conflict prevention specialists who will be able to run conflict prevention training seminars at their organisations and institutions.

 

II. Findings from Chapters

Conflict Prevention Theory: Taking Stock

Following an overall introduction, the study begins with two chapters of the volume that contribute to the discussion on the state of the art in conflict prevention theory. In chapter two, "Human Security and Conflict Prevention" Albrecht Schnabel argues that good governance at the national and international levels, exclusively in the service of the security and welfare of individual human beings, is the best recipe for the prevention of intra andinterstate conflict. If tensions do break out, as Schnabel argues, responsible governments will act to prevent further escalation and they will work, in partnership with intergovernmental organizations at regional and international levels, to settle and resolve conflicts. However, as Schnabel concedes, at this point such cooperation is at best utopian. Coordinating centres (possibly councils or ministries devoted to human security provision) need to be established at UN, regional and national levels. Theywill serve as focal points for intra-institutional/governmental and inter-organizational cooperation. Their goal is the stabilisation of peace and sustainable human development, the prevention of conflict and, if that fails, management of conflict. Schnabel argues that, without such drastic measures, conflict prevention and systematic provision of human security will happen by chance (if interest and commitment of relevant actors can be ensured from case to case) and not by principle.

In contrast to the organizational and long term structural approach conjoined by Schnabel, chapter three of this volume, "The Realism of Preventive Statecraft" by Bruce Jentleson, evaluates statecraft and preventive diplomacy as practised primarily by powerful and influentialstates. Jentleson argues that, despite belief to the contrary, examples of successful preventive diplomacy are well documented. Preventive diplomacy works best when the threat is real, opportunities for action exist, accurate early warning information iswidely available and the potential for regional instability is palpable. The appropriate analytical frame of reference for understanding many of today’s conflicts focuses on the rational purposive behaviour of elites. Therefore, mixed strategies, combiningboth inducements and coercive measures that penalise and reward leaders are likely to work best under crisis conditions. Finally, Jentleson argues that military force and other coercive measures are essential elements within the repertoire of state-basedpreventive diplomacy. Indeed more often than not, the diplomatic components of a preventive strategy need to be backed by a credible threat to act coercively through military force, economic sanctions or other coercive strategies.

 

Success and Failure of Applied Conflict Prevention

In section two of this volume, we focus on analyses of conflict prevention success and failure, highlighting in particular the activities of regional organizations in this process. In chapter four "Regional Organizations and Conflict Prevention: CFSP and ESDI in Europe," Simon Duke argues that in the European context, conflict prevention consists of a number of reasonable but often half-hearted conflict prevention efforts. In particular, conflict prevention has often been associated with the lure of membership of the EU and NATO as well as their associated outreach programmes to Central and Eastern Europe. Duke argues that after Kosovo and Bosnia, there still remains the need to back up diplomacy and economic efforts with the ability to threaten or actually apply military force so that a seamless web of conflict prevention options is open to the EU and NATO member states. The possibility of the EU using NATO assets in "Europe-only" conflict prevention efforts is seen as, at best, a stop gap measure. ESDI remains attractive on paper but it relies too heavily on American willingness to act.

Duke recommends that the EU should concentrate on developing an effective and indigenous conflict prevention capability. Until the EU possesses a seamless web of conflict prevention capabilities, it will remain an ineffective actor in the face of those who best understand diplomacy when backed by credible force.

In chapter five, "A Good Idea, But Still a Stony Road Ahead: The EU and the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe," Hans-Georg Ehrhart argues that, if conflict prevention has received a new lease on life, this applies especially to the EU whose record in the Balkans has been spotty at best. While it could not do much to stop escalating and ongoing conflicts, the EU should be in a better position to engage in normal and structural prevention or developmentalist diplomacy, to use Jentleson’s terms, to prevent disputes from escalating into armed conflict (Jentleson this volume). Moreover, ina new security environment, where not only military enemies, but also environmental, economic, political and cultural threats pose significant danger to the survival of individuals, groups and states, "new security providers" are needed. Erhart recommends that the EU continue with ongoing institutional reforms and procedural innovations. The impact of today’s conflicts on the EU, its values, its economy and its interests is such that there is no alternative but to cope with change on the periphery.

The third contribution to European conflict prevention and the sixth chapter in the volume is "EU and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean: Conflict Preventers or Conflict Managers?" by Symeon Giannakos. This chapter provides a refreshing contrast to the two preceding chapters. Giannakos has chosen to examine how conflict prevention can be applied to conventional interstate conflict in conflicts that involve member states of an organization. The focus of Giannakos’ chapter is on the tense and crisis-prone situation in the Eastern Mediterranean region involving Greece and Turkey. He argues that a number of incremental steps were taken by NATO and the EU in order to reduce tensions in the region. As a result, the intensity of the conflict between the two states is at an all time low, but there remains an elaborate network of intertwined security dilemmas that still threaten to elevate the region into a general conflagration. Giannakos is not optimistic about the chances of normalisation of relations in the near future.He is however optimistic about the ability of the EU in particular to provide the stepping stone to a more extensive co-operative security framework in the Mediterranean.

A suitable contrast to the pessimism evinced in the preceding chapter is provided by Natalie Mychajlyszyn in her chapter "The OSCE and Conflict Prevention in the Post-Soviet Region. Mychajlyszyn argues that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) often has been presented as unique among European security institutions for its comprehensive participation of its 54 member state. Prominent among these features is the intra-state human dimension issue as a factor of security, and exclusively non-military approaches to dealing with security threats. Most importantly, the OSCE’s uniqueness has been noted to stem from being the primary instrument in the region for early warning, conflict prevention, conflict settlement and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Mychajlyszyn argues that the record of the OSCE’s efforts to prevent conflict appears strong: goal incompatibility manifested as ethno-national tensions have not escalated into violence after the OSCE’s interventions. At the same time, its efforts have not been without challenges or complications, and caution should be raised before the OSCE record is enthusiastically presented as one demonstrating success and effectiveness.

In chapter eight, "Challenges to Preventive Action: The Cases of Kosovo and Macedonia," Raimo Vayrynen argues that preventive deployment (a subset of preventive diplomacy) in Macedonia (UNPREDEP) was successful. Nevertheless, he also cautions us against becoming overly optimistic. Optimism is to be tempered for two reasons. First, it remains unclear whether alternative efforts in Macedonia would have proven equally successful, and second, the success of preventive deployment in Macedonia was reversed as a result of the vertical escalation of war in Kosovo in 1998-99. Vayrynen argues that measures taken since 1992 to prevent the escalation of violence and humanitarian crisis in Kosovo were never very decisive and co-ordinated. The failure to push through a political settlement on autonomy and power sharing after the Dayton accord in 1995 was a missed opportunity for long-term preventive action. Of course, such a settlement would have been difficult to accomplish and it might have cost Milosevic’s support in Bosnia, but it would have, on the other hand, stemmed the vertical escalation of violence in Kosovo.

Chapter nine, by Andrea Talentino, is titled "Evaluating Success and Failure: Conflict Prevention in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia and El Salvador." Using a broad definition of conflict prevention that analyses action before the outbreak of full-scale violence, Talentino argues that such a broad approach is justified by theory and evidence as all conflicts both develop from the past and help shape the future. As a result, any attempt to measure success must also take account of this temporal continuum. Situating her comparison of four intrastate conflicts at different stages of intensity, Talentino provides convincing evidence that conflict prevention contains a rehabilitative dimension oriented to the past, a resolutive dimension focussing on the present, and a preventive dimension oriented to the present and future. She concludes by suggesting that failing to stop violence from breaking out today does not mean intermediaries should not stop trying to prevent the same for tomorrow.

In chapter ten of this volume, Njunga Mulikita writes on the African experience in a contribution titled "Regional Organizations and Conflict Prevention: The Case of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)." This chapter provides an analytical overview of the conflict prevention profile of the OAU. This exercise conclusively shows that the formation of the OAU’s conflict prevention mechanism represents a positive step for the prevention of intra state conflicts. However, Mulikita warns of undue optimism, as basic limitations which include outmoded aspects of the OAU Charter as well as financial and other resource constraints, compounded by the rivalries of foreign powers, will continue to degrade the effective functioning of the OAU’ conflict prevention mechanism.

In chapter eleven, entitled "Conflict Prevention in the Americas: The Organization of American States (OAS)," Osvaldo Kreimer shows that conflict prevention in the Americas has been a relatively successful effort in the last decade, basically because of the work of the inter-American system, in conjunction with subregional systems (such as Caricom and Mercosur) and non-governmental organizations. In an incremental way they have developed and improved their mechanisms and capacities to prevent or at least reduce the intensity of confrontations. Principal amongst the diverse mechanisms are those working within the general framework of the OAS, mainly a) the system for regional security; b) the mechanism defined by Resolution 1080 of the General Assembly to defend democracy and constitutional regimes; c) the good offices of the Secretary General; d) the work of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy in the areas conflict prevention and electoral observation; and e) the system for the defense and promotion of human rights, where the principal organs are the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In his discussions Kreimer shows that the operations of the different tools of this system (similar to other regional human rights systems) de facto operate as a conflict prevention mechanism and are able to anticipate and channel tensions arising from human rights violations before they escalate into more violent conflicts.

In chapter twelve on "Status Quo Policy and Conflict Prevention in Central Asia," Rafis Abasov and Shahram Akbarzadeh analyse interethnic issues and nationality policies in the post-Soviet Central Asian Republics (CARs) and examine the reasons for relative stability in these countries for nearly a decade. They argue that post-Soviet status quo policies prevented ethnic and other clashes – by refusing at all cost to avoid inter-ethnic competitions of a non-participatory as well as participatory nature.

While ethnic policies in Tsarist Russia and Soviet Union have contributed to the upsurge of interethnic tensions in Central Asia in the late 1980s, political mismanagement, rise of nationalism and Islamic resurgence were among the most prevalent forces for instability. Abasov and Akbarzadeh argue that governments in the region attempted to prevent the repetitions of the Soviet era conflicts throughimplementing a steady, yet controversial policy of "stability at any cost." The essential part of the nationality policy was the rejection of ethno-nationalism in favour of an all-inclusive policy of civil nationalism. This was supported by economic policies that were to guaranty (at least in theory) equal economic opportunities to all ethnic groups in these republics. With this approach, interethnic conflicts have been prevented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the post-Soviet era due to the ability of their leaders to maintain the status quo in interethnic relations, to take a selective approach to democratisation and be flexible on nationality policies.

 

Evaluation of Conflict Prevention Methods

The third section of the volume compares and contrasts various techniques and tools that assist in the development of effective conflict prevention. In chapter twelve, "The Role of Risk Assessments in Conflict Prevention: A Country Indicators Approach," David Carment and Joseph Troy describe the methodological and practical approaches that can be undertaken in designing a general purpose databank of consolidated open source information intended to make the analytical dimensions of conflict prevention more detailed, timely and, ultimately, more effective. The authors emphasise the merits of a holistic approach that synthesises existing knowledge bases and combines information collection efforts and techniques in order to translate data into meaningfulsignals conveying the key demographic, economic, political, environmental, social and cultural features and trends for countries around the world. Not only would such an approach make country analyses easier and more comprehensive, it would also enable more effective warnings of where and when the preconditions of problematic situations are developing.

In chapter thirteen, entitled "The IMF and Conflict Prevention," Dane Rowlands and Troy Joseph examine the role of the International Monetary Fund in countries with civil conflict. In addition to laying out a framework for analysing the IMF in the context of conflict, they present some statistical results and offer policy and research suggestions. They argue that there appears to be sufficient grounds for recommending that the IMF routinely incorporate an evaluation of the conflict potential of member states in their country review process. In terms of implementation, the IMF needs to align itself with the more traditional conflict-management institutions inorder to gain expertise in conflict risk assessment, and in order to contribute to the effort by providing data and analytical capacity. The fact that civil disturbances and tension may well compromise the effectiveness of their programs means that such efforts are entirely consistent with their current mandate. Exposure to these other institutions will provide the Fund with additional information on what policy adjustments might be useful from the perspective of conflict management, and vice versa.

David Last contributes a timely piece on peacekeeping and conflict prevention in a chapter on "Early Warning and Prevention of Violent Conflict: The Role of Multi-functional Observer Missions." Last argues that United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) Missions and civilian fact-finding missions have been effectively deployed by the United Nations and by regional organisations at various stages in the escalation and de-escalation of conflicts. Last argues that UNMO’s can do more than they have in the past if they go beyond diplomatic visits and simple military observation. If they incorporate effective analysis of all the dimensions of a conflict and communication in the broadest sense, then balanced multifunctional observer missions can help to prevent conflict. The limitations and strengths of traditional fact-finding and observation missions suggest that the concept of observer missions needs to be expanded to include political, social, economic, and psychological dimensions of the conflict. By collecting the right type of information and interpreting it accurately, it will be possible to link resulting knowledge of potential violence directly to the international community’s ability and will to respond to it.

Chapter fourteen is titled "Early Warning Analysis and Policy Planning in UN Preventive Action." Its author, John Cockell, places early warning and preventive action in the wider context of institutional transformation for the United Nations. He argues that there has been a significant gap between the global agenda on conflict prevention and the institutional capacity of the UN to mobilise rapid responses to conflict. The current reform process established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan has both reflected this wider normative agenda as well as created new opportunities for capacity-building efforts within the UN to respond to this agenda.

Building from this discussion of UN capacity and needs, the chapter outlines an alternative approach to close the gap between warning and response, based on policy planning methods. This planning approach links early warning analysis and the strategic deployment of preventive measures into a single, integrated process. Each element of the process is discussed in brief, with emphasis being placed on early warning analysis and preventive action. He calls for a practical and action-oriented method for early warning analysis and places particular focus on the nature of such early warning as a form of decision support within the UN. Cockell notes that this approach to early warning is an innovative yet practical answer to the warning-response gap in preventive action. Of course, its success will be measured by the extent to which it may act as the basis for shared analysis and planning between those departments and agencies within the UN system that are responsible for responding to the global agenda of intra-state conflict.

In a complementary chapter titled, "Building Capacity within the United Nations: Co-operation on Conflict Prevention" George d’Angelo and Derek Boothby examine the rise and demise of ORCI (discussed above). The authors argue that although ORCI contributed to the advancement of the concept of prevention, the experiment of a central office foundered for a number of reasons, both external and internal. In its place, conflict analysis and conflict prevention training programmes funded by voluntary donations from the governments of Canada, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and drawing on funds for prevention made available by Norway have proven more successful.With the assistance of trainers chosen from throughout the UN system and from selected non-governmental organizations, the training programme at the UN Staff College in Turin, Italy conducts week-long training sessions. By the end of 2000 approximately 500 UN headquarters and field staff, participating non-governmental organization partners and country representatives will have taken part. In so doing, interdisciplinary contacts will have been made and a reasonably common understanding of the intricacies of conflict dynamics and conflict prevention will have been established.

Connie Peck’s final chapter on "Training as a Means to Build Capacity in Conflict Prevention" rounds out the volume. Consistent with the two preceding chapters, Peck provides an overview of the content and methodology of training in conflict prevention within the UN system. The chapter emphasises that training should focus not just on communicating existing knowledge from outside the UN system but also on capturing the lessons that can be learned from the experience of those inside the system. She offers examples of how training can be structured to ensure that knowledge informs practice. She examines the challenges to training, including the difficulties of introducing new ideas and approaches, finding an appropriate curriculum, evaluating the outcome, ensuring that learning transfers to the work environment, and finding the necessary resources. She highlights the cost-effectiveness of developing the international community’s human resources in this critical area. Peck shows that, overall, the most successful trainers are resource persons who have worked in both settings, i.e., practitioners who have from an academic or scholarly background (and have been trained to think in theoretical terms) and scholars who have decided to make their work policy relevant and have, therefore, already interacted extensively with international organizations or governments.

 

III. Policy Recommendations and Capacity Building

The second stage of our project focuses primarily on the roles of international organizations, regional organizations and civil society actors in designing and applying effective conflict prevention strategies. It draws on the experience of a number of organizations (at headquarters and in the field), including the United Nations (UN), the Organizations of American States (OAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Organizations for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU) and the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations ASEAN) and various research organizations and NGOs, among others. First results have been shared in a contributor’s meeting in December 1999. Contributors are now refining their work, with an emphasis on developing recommendations to improve the capacity for sound conflict prevention strategies within their institutions, and between their institutions and potential partner institutions. So far, a number of main lessons have evolved from the ongoing work of this second stage of the study:These lessons focus on three issue areas: a) key issues on which conflict prevention research and training need to focus on; b) challenges and obstacles in the implementation of more effective conflict prevention training and application; and c) short-term and long-term issues that need to be addressed immediately.

 

Urgent Focus of Conflict Prevention Research and Training

Meaningful conflict prevention research and resulting prescriptions for effective training and application need to be grounded in thorough and situational analysis. Emphasis should be put on multilateral and multi-track applications of applied conflict prevention strategies. These strategies must be sustainable in order to be effective. They also need to converge and be harmonised in order to facilitate coordination between different actors. Such convergence requires information exchange and joint activities. Harmonisation and mainstreaming could take place through policy coordination that is both formal and informal. This should include expert groups or standing contact groups. Harmonisation requires identification of key stakeholders and an inventory of needs and security providers.

Lessons learned from previous collaboration between the UN, regional organizations and civil society actors need to be studied, analysed and shared. Very little has been done in that regard, particularly when it comes to the sharing of experience.

None of these activities, from basic research to capacity building and training, can be achieved without adequate funding. Thus, donors need to be included in this process at all stages – not only as funders, but also as stakeholders who are keenly interested in participating in research and training activities. Donors can act as catalysts for the process of coordination and cooperation between actors. They have the funds and, thus, the power to dictate "good practice."

Conflict prevention needs to be "sold" effectively. This should be based on thorough impact assessments - of potential projects and of concluded projects. Different approaches work in different cultural, political and social contexts – and at different stages of "intervention." Thus, lessons have to be thoroughly based on local experience and impact. Although it is true that it is hard to measure counterfactuals (and, thus, the potential success of conflict prevention measures), the evidence that does exist needs to be publicised effectively among various internal and external stakeholders.

The simple categorisation of "ethnic conflict" has now longbeen reassessed and revised, and numerous so-called ethnic conflicts have been traced to basic inequalities and the absence of adequate human needs provision. Similarly, conflict prevention needs to focus on political and economic stabilisation, to prevent the escalation of basically economic and political disputes into violent conflict along ethnic categories. Consequently, the political economy of conflict and conflict prevention needs to be better understood.

Finally, conflict prevention strategies need to be congruent with local experiences, circumstances and expertise. Local ownership has to be a priority, as only local projects, managed locally (with external assistance and input, if invited) are bound to be successful in the long term. Sustainability, one of the key requirements for successful conflict prevention, could be best achieved through self-ownership and the development of indigenous capacities. An engaged civil society may be the best route to achieve grassroots multi-track conflict prevention at the local level.

 

Challenges and Obstacles in the Implementation of More Effective Conflict Prevention Training and Application

A number of very specific challenges need to be addressed if conflict prevention is to be successful and effective:

 

Short-term and Long-term Issues of Immediate Concern

At the risk of repetition, it is worthwhile to summarise some main issues, which need to be taken up urgently:

Working relationships have to be forged between regional organizations and the UN; between regional organizations and otherregional organizations; and between organs, departments and institutions of the UN. Where such relationships exist at rudimentary levels, they need to be improved dramatically.

Conflict prevention has to move closer to the local level; or, at the very least, national and international efforts have to be well tuned into local needs and invest in local capacity building.

Conflict prevention, at all levels, has to be sustainable (and has to be sustained) to assure meaningful results.

Regional organizations and the UN should have at their disposal stand-by expert groups (with theoretical, practical and regional expertise on conflict prevention) for urgent advice on early warning and preventive measures.

Academics and policymakers alike need to develop successful approaches to sell conflict prevention to decision-makers and opinion-makers.

"Lessons-learned" exercises undertaken by various regional organizations and UN institutions need to be thoroughly evaluated by all actors involved in conflict prevention activities.

Although difficult to measure, efforts need to be undertaken to determine, evaluate and explain successful preventive action.

Beyond the rhetoric of cooperation between the UN, regional organizations and civil society actors, the relationship(s) between them needs to be understood and pragmatically assessed.

Too much rhetoric and too many good ideas that have not been followed up have made conflict prevention a meaningless concept and exercise for many stakeholders. Smaller steps, based on pragmatic assessments of what can and cannot be done, along with honest efforts to engage in long-term human development, conflict avoidance and peace management, can go a long way in re-instilling confidence in the ability of intergovernmental, state and non-state actors to prevent or minimise violent conflict and human suffering. This project hopes to contribute positively to this process.


Notes

1.  For similar approaches linking prevention to response using an overarching framework see: David Lake and Donald Rothchild, eds., The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear Diffusion and Escalation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998; David Carment and Patrick James, eds., Peace in the Midst of Wars: Preventing and Managing International Ethnic Conflicts, Columbus, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1998; A.J. Tellis, Thomas S. Szayan and James A. Winnefeld, Anticipating Ethnic Conflict, Rand Corporation, 1998; Gerald Schneider and Patricia A. Weitsman, eds., Enforcing Cooperation: Risky States and Intergovernmental Management of Conflict, London: Macmillan, 1997.

2.  Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Preventing Violent Conflict: A Study, Stockholm: Norstedts Tryckeri AB, 1997. Key recommendations include: strengthening civil society, strengthening of regional security arrangements, efforts to address religious and cultural conflicts and strengthening of early warning mechanisms such as FEWER.

3.  The form of such interventions is best seen as a continuum. Different third party techniques are set in motion at different points within a conflict (Lund 1996). At one end of the intervention spectrum is pure mediation - the facilitation of a negotiated settlement through persuasion, control of information and identification ofalternatives by a party who is perceived to be impartial. Further along the spectrum of preventive strategies is "mediation with muscle," or the deliberate and strategic use of rewards and punishments to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table. Finally, where consent is absent, third parties are likely to be required to take on a multiplicity of functions, including peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and possibly peace enforcement (Carment and James 1998). At this end of the spectrum, preventive efforts involve the exercise of force to either deter or, possibly, subdue intransigent combatants. Thus the forms of crisis prevention range from traditional preventive diplomacy to its more forceful descendants. The specific tactics and strategies associated with these third party efforts are examined elsewhere, for example in Zartman (1989), Durch (1993), Ruggie (1994), Carment and James (1998) and Lund (1996). Recent international developments have led to fundamental changes in the nature of conflictprevention (Jentleson 1999). Before the end of the Cold War, preventive efforts were generally performed to monitor cease-fire arrangements between two warring states. The superpowers of the Cold War period could either block formal United Nations missionsor deter most unilateral efforts on the part of their rival (Carment and Rowlands 1998). With the reduced importance of traditional ideologically based rivalry, the ability for individual states or state coalitions to intervene in the conflicts of othershas increased dramatically. Furthermore, with the loosening of ideological bonds and the erosion of strong state centres backed by foreign governments, the likelihood of intrastate conflict has risen, especially conflict over territory and identity (Wallensteen and Sollenberg, 1997).

4.  For other definitions of conflict prevention, see: Carment and James (1998) Carment and Garner (1999) among others. For distinctions between operational and structural prevention see Jentleson (1999) and The Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict: Final Report (1997); Michael Lund, Preventing Violent Conflict, Washington: USIP, 1996, Chapter One and Conclusion; J. Bercovitch, "Understanding Mediation's Role in Preventive Diplomacy" Negotiation Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1996. S.J. Stedman, "Alchemy for a New World Disorder: Overselling Preventive Diplomacy," Foreign Affairs, May/June, 1995; D. Chigas, "Preventive Diplomacy and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: Creating Incentives for Dialogue and Cooperation." in A Chayes and A.H. Chayes, eds., Preventing Conflict in the Post-Communist World, Washington: Brookings, 1996; K. Sklelsbaek and G. Fermann, "The UN Secretary-General and the Mediation of International Disputes" in J. Bercovitch, ed., Resolving International Conflicts, Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1996; J. Bjork and A. Goodman, "Yugoslavia, 1991-1992: Could Diplomacy Have Prevented a Tragedy?" Pew Case Studies in International Affairs. See also S. Touval, "Lessons of Preventive Diplomacy in Yugoslavia," Managing Global Chaos, Washington: USIP, 1996; and Albrecht Schnabel and Nika Strazisar, "Conflict Prevention in the Former Yugoslavia: Missed Opportunities and Lessons for Post-Conflict Peacebuilding," in Hans-Georg Ehrhart and Albrecht Schnabel, eds., The Southeast European Challenge: Ethnic Conflict and the International Response, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1999.

5.  Hammarskj÷ld’s approach covers, however, only one type of conflict action, i.e. the horizontal, cross-border escalation of violence. In addition, escalation can also be vertical when the destructiveness of violence increases within a given political unit without spilling over boundaries to other units. A critical difference between these two processes of escalation lies in their relationship with the principle of sovereignty. In the former case, national sovereignty is violated and thus the offense-defense cycle is set in motion.

6.  According to the Carnegie Commission in declining situations a number of steps may help manage the crisis and prevent the emergence of violence. First, states should resist the traditional urge to suspend diplomatic relations as a substitute for action and instead maintain open, high fidelity lines of communication with leaders and groups in crisis. Second, governments and international organizations must express in a clear and compelling way the interests in jeopardy. This step is particularly important should more assertive steps to deal with the crisis become necessary later. Third, the crisis should immediatelybe put on the agenda of the UN Security Council or of the relevant international organization, or both, early enough to permit preventive action. At the same time, a means should be established to track developments in the crisis, to provide regular updates, and to include a mechanism to incorporate information from NGOs and other nongovernmental actors to support high-level deliberations on unfolding events. Fourth, and notwithstanding the foregoing imperative to broaden the multilateral context of an unfolding crisis, governments should be attentive to opportunities to support quiet diplomacy and dialogue with and between moderate leaders in the crisis. Special envoys and representatives of key states or regional organizations or on behalf of the UN have time and again demonstrated their value, particularly in the early stages of a crisis. Diplomatic and political strategies to avert a looming crisis demand creative ways of defusing tensions and facilitating mutual accommodation among potential belligerents. Such strategies can include a serious discussion of peaceful border adjustments or revisions, new constitutional arrangements, forms of regional or cultural autonomy, or even, in unusual circumstances, partition. Potential solutions may lie in various forms of power sharing to help assure groups that their interests are not at the mercy of the whim of the majority.

7.  Michael S. Lund, "Early Warning and Preventive Diplomacy," (1996b), p. 379.

8.  Jane Holl et al., Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict: Final Report, Washington, D.C., Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1997. Web-based text is available at chapter 3.

9.  See for example S.J. Stedman, "Alchemy for a New World Disorder: Overselling Preventive Diplomacy," Foreign Affairs, May/June, 1995.

10.  Indeed, to convince themselves that action is necessary, strategists must have knowledge about the costs of not being involved coupled with the likelihood that a conflict will escalate. Early warning is necessary only if decision-makers can be persuaded that accurate information is useful to finding an appropriate fit between strategy, the problem at hand and the resources available (Jentleson 2000). Such an approach has two implications. First, it means that the analysis of events and intelligence gathering do not fit neatly into compartmentalized and modular frameworks of responsibilities (if they ever did). Second, it means that in order to cope with events as they unfold "just in time" strategies of information gathering and analysis become crucial. Long term planning tends to take a back seat to more medium term and short term contingency planning.

11.  Ted R. Gurr, "Early Warning Systems: From Surveillance to Assessment to Action" in Kevin, M. Cahill, ed., Preventive Diplomacy: The Therapeutics of Mediation, Proceedings of a conference at the United Nations, New York, 23-24 April 1996.

12.  Gurr, "Early Warning Systems," 1996.

13.  Will Moore and Ted R. Gurr, "Assessing Risks of Ethnopolitical Rebellion in the Year 2000: Three Empirical Approaches," in Susanne Schmeidl and Howard Adelman, eds., Synergy in Early Warning Conference Proceedings, 15-18 March 1997, Toronto, Canada, pp. 45-70.

14.  Gurr, "Early Warning Systems," 1996

15.  Carnegie Commission Report

16.  Bruce Jones Janice Gross Stein, "NGOs and Early Warning: The Case of Rwanda," in Schmeidl and Adelman, eds., Synergy in Early Warning Conference Proceedings, 1997, pp. 235-248.

17.  William DeMars, "Eyes and Ears? Limits of NGO Information for Early Warning," in Schmeidl and Adelman, eds., Synergy in Early Warning Conference Proceedings, 1997, pp. 213-234.

18.  Jones and Gross Stein, "NGOs and Early Warning: The Case of Rwanda," 1997.


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