Prevention of Violent Conflict
|In an effort to prevent a deepening or escalation of conflict, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon may use his ’good offices to focus attention, apply pressure and encourage a peaceful settlement of disputes / Credit: UN Photo
QUNO New York’s work on Prevention enjoys close linkages and synergies with other core Quaker work on Peacebuilding. Activities are informed by a focus on current themes such as the Inclusion of Key Stakeholders, Constructive Engagement with Rising Centers of Power, and Prevention of Election-related Violence.
The role of the United Nations (UN) in preventing violent conflict rests on twin pillars of work: first, structural prevention comprised of early preventive actions that address root causes; second, operational prevention, comprised of late-term preventive actions that address proximate causes. Both pillars of work represent core UN functions necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security. As such, they contribute to the prevention of violent conflict and lay the foundation for longer-term peacebuilding efforts. QUNO New York’s work seeks to engage UN actors in their efforts in the areas of both structural and operational prevention.
The UN faces a number of significant challenges in carrying out this work. One principle constraint lies in its ability to access and learn from the perspectives of key relevant stakeholders. This challenge emerges as a result of the primary role given to governments within an intergovernmental body such as the UN, as well as a host of other practical barriers that often separate policy making at headquarters from experience on the ground. QUNO New York conducts a range of activities aimed at sharing information and facilitating access to these diverse perspectives. Read more about Inclusion of Key Stakeholders in Prevention.
UN Prevention efforts are also challenged by changing dynamics on the world stage that have brought both new countries and new regional institutions into a more prominent role. QUNO New York encourages the UN to seek ways to foster increased engagement with these new actors in order to build deeper consensus and coordination in the area of prevention. Read more about Constructive Engagement with Rising Centers of Power.
Also, QUNO New York works to encourage greater emphasis on capacities to prevent election-related violence. While much effort and resources have gone into the technical side of conducting elections, the UN still grapples with the flashpoint for violence that elections often represent. QUNO New York seeks to raise awareness about preventive approaches both prior to, and following Election Day. Read more about Prevention of Election-related Violence.
In June 2011, QUNO New York worked with other partner organisations to publish a public statement in response to fighting that had erupted in northern Myanmar. The statement included recommendations for immediate action by the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Army, as well as supportive measures to be taken by China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the UN.