The UN and Conflict Prevention: From Rhetoric to Concrete Action

Tasneem Jamal

…the Security Council issued a resolution that sought to address conflict at all stages – from peace agreement to post-conflict peacebuilding.1

In his report to the Security Council in June, the Secretary-General followed up on last year’s presidential address and made conflict prevention the focus once again. This year, there were far-reaching recommendations that should guide the UN’s future approach to conflict prevention:

1) Conflict prevention is one of the primary obligations of Member States set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, and United Nations efforts in conflict prevention must be in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

2) Conflict prevention must have national ownership. The primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments,…

We Call for Peace: Statements on Peace by Canadian Churches and Religious Organizations

Tasneem Jamal

…organizations alone. At the same time, we can not expect to leave it to individual members of the church to sign up for peace service on our behalf. The challenge for those of us who witness great human suffering is to put our institutions to the task of building peace. That challenge will require attention to

structural issues (e.g., how we integrate our contributions to emergency relief, development, and conflict resolution), conflict dynamics (understanding the stages of conflict and the roles that need to be played by people and institutions in resolving conflict), relationships (dealing with the psycho-social issues that unleash hatred, not just the presenting issue), resources (drawing on the peace resources in the middle of the war zone…

Colombia (1964 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Americas

…talks between the government and left-wing rebel groups, for example. FARC and the government of President Santos began serious peace negotiations in 2012, which culminated in a historic peace treaty in 2016. Over 220,000 people, approximately 80 per cent civilian, have been killed during the 50-year conflict.

Where (has the conflict taken place): Fighting has taken place in virtually all regions of Colombia. In recent years FARC and the ELN have maintained only a few strongholds, but have waged sporadic attacks and ambushes in various parts of the country.

Summary Type of Conflict Parties to the Conflict Status of the Fighting Number of Deaths Political Developments Background Arms Sources Economic Factors



2016 The Colombian government and FARC took…

South Sudan: formerly Sudan (1983 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Africa

…mid-December and has continued since.

Where (has the conflict taken place): In December 2013, fighting began in the capital city of Juba and quickly spread to Unity, Eastern Equatoria, and Jonglei states, focusing on key oil cities. Much fighting occurred in Pibor County in Jonglei state, in the southeast of the country, bordering on Ethiopia.

Summary Type of Conflict Parties to the Conflict Status of the Fighting Number of Deaths Political Developments Background Arms Sources Economic Factors


2016 In January, President Kiir appointed 50 members of the SPLM-IO opposition to parliament and reestablished SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar as first vice-president in a transitional unity government. SPLM-IO forces arrived in Juba, and Machar was sworn in April 26….

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Tasneem Jamal

…South to work directly on grassroots conflict prevention activities. Organizations that are part of the GPPAC continue to engage the UN and governments in discussing ways of improving and strengthening conflict prevention policy and activities.

A version of this article is appearing in Interaction, the journal of Conflict Resolution Network Canada ( Notes

Adapted from ECCP 2002, p. 16. The following was taken from Marriott and Carment 2003.


European Cemtre fpr Conflict Prevention 2002, Conflict Prevention Newsletter, V:2 (December).

Marriott, Koren and Carment, David 2003, “Conflict Prevention in Canada: A Survey of Canadian Conflict Prevention Professionals,” CPCC, Ottawa.

United Nations 2001, Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on Prevention of armed conflict, UN Doc S/2001/574, 7 June.

The Wars of 1997: Introduction to the Armed Conflicts Report 1998

Tasneem Jamal

…in region # of conflicts in region # of countries hosting conflicts % of countries in region hosting conflicts % of world conflicts Africa 50 13 13 26 35 Asia 42 14 10 24 38 Europe 42 1 1 2 3 The Americas 44 2 2 5 5 Middle East 14 7 6 43 19 World Totals 192 37 32 17 100

37 armed conflicts in 32 countries:

India hosts 3 conflicts; Philippines, Indonesia, Iran and Iraq each host 2 conflicts; Israel and Lebanon together host the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Two new armed conflicts emerged during 1997. In Congo (Brazzaville) between 5,000 and 10,000 people were killed in an intense struggle for power. Congo (Brazzaville) was earlier on the list of

Sudan-Darfur (2003 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Africa

…and sometimes engage in ethnic killings. Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has not experienced much violence since 2003, but was the site of major protests and police brutality in September 2013 after the government cut fuel subsidies. The public and opposition groups in Khartoum are frustrated with the current regime of Omar al-Bashir (1989 to present), citing chronic financial mismanagement.

Summary Type of Conflict Parties to the Conflict Status of the Fighting Number of Deaths Political Developments Background Arms Sources Economic Factors


2016 Conflict in Sudan persisted, despite talks between the government, rebel groups, and the international community. Informal talks between the government and the SPLM-N made no progress, with disagreements about the distribution of humanitarian aid….

Syria (2011 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Mideast

…vehemently denied, killed more than 1,000 in 2013. In 2014 the Islamic State stepped up attacks in Syria, declaring a caliphate in captured territory from Syria in the northwest to the eastern Iraqi Diyala province. The conflict led to a grave humanitarian crisis and displaced millions of Syrian civilians, creating nearly 4.8 million refugees and 6.8 million internally displaced persons.

When (has fighting occurred): In March 2011, peaceful demonstrations in Damascus and Deraa were met with violent repression from the government, resulting in the deaths of some protestors. Violence has since escalated and the conflict has increased in intensity and complexity over the last six years.

Where (has the conflict taken place): The conflict has spread across the country. Government…

Democratic Republic of the Congo (1990-first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Africa

…more died from conflict-related malnutrition and disease.

2002 According to independent media reports, more than 1,000 people died as a direct result of the conflict. A U.S. State Department report cited more than 4,000 fatalities. Thousands more died from conflict-related famine and disease.

2001 Conflicts in remote areas and limited media access made precise fatality figures impossible to obtain. Unsubstantiated reports suggested that thousands were killed.

2000 At least 1,200 people were killed. The International Rescue Committee estimated that 2,600 people died each day from malnutrition and disease.

1999 At least 5,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

1998 An estimated 5,000 people, most civilians, were killed.

Political Developments

2016 Tensions remained high as the possibility of President Joseph Kabila’s…

Israel-Palestine (1948 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Mideast

…of Palestinian refugees to their homeland.

When (has fighting occurred): Fighting has occurred since 1947, when the United Nations created the state of Israel. In 1978 and 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon.

Where (has the conflict taken place): In recent years the primary centres of conflict have been in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip have been met with Israeli airstrikes, and the two sides have frequently exchanged fire. In 2014 there was a major increase in violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem – a period known as the “Third Intifada.”

Summary Type of Conflict Parties to the Conflict Status of the Fighting Number of Deaths Political Developments Background Arms Sources Economic…