On 6 November, QUNO’s UN Representative Rachel Madenyika participated on the opening panel of the 10th Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Entitled ‘Preventing Violent Conflict: Taking stock and looking forward’, this session took stock of the progress being made towards the prevention of violent conflicts, exploring the future of prevention practices for all actors in this field. Joining Rachel on the panel was the Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor on Policy, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez, and Mr. Darynell Rodriguez Torres of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
The interactive discussion connected past trends of the policies and practices with current and future needs for the proactive prevention of violent conflict. The session asked questions that considered lessons-learned from the many cases of failed prevention, practical priorities for preventing violent conflict, and the future for the UN in the prevention of violent conflict. In her remarks, Rachel first expressed the importance of understanding why, and what, we are preventing, and secondly that by looking at lessons learned from the last twenty years of UN engagement, one possibility is to focus on examples of long term success to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Rachel articulated that conflict analysis that does not consider participatory approaches lead to interventions that do not necessarily address the real needs of local people, and therefore, the inclusion of all key actors is central to conflict prevention. In closing, Rachel encouraged the full auditorium that inclusion of a wide range of perspectives including those of the people most affected leads to better understanding, more legitimate and more long-term decisions to prevent conflict.