The UN and Conflict Prevention: From Rhetoric to Concrete Action

Tasneem Jamal

Author Lynne Griffiths-Fulton

The Ploughshares Monitor September 2001 Volume 22 Issue 3

“[M]ake conflict prevention the cornerstone of collective security in the twenty-first century.” Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations

In June, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, produced a report outlining the UN’s responsibilities in the area of conflict prevention. This article provides an overview of the report and highlights those recommendations, which the international community, and in particular the UN Member States, should support in order to cultivate a culture of prevention. Kofi Annan uses the report to confront the obstacles which have plagued preventive measures in the past – lack of coordination between agencies, lack of political will on the part of Member States –

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

Tasneem Jamal

…armed conflicts and their legacies.

When the churches speak of peace, justice, and integrity of creation, they speak of what Project Ploughshares calls “common security”: the reconciliation of partners in conflict, justice in trade relationships between North and South, and the reduction and elimination of the sense of being under threat, among other factors. In the language of the Bible, “common security” is “abundant life” and prophets and preachers repeatedly call on the peoples to “choose life.” Particularist security has made life unliveable; it is killing even without war.

For more than a decade, Canadian churches have called for disarming where we are, on the side which is neither better nor worse than any other side, but which allows us…

Colombia (1964 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Americas


The Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): Historically the Colombian government and military, supported by the United States, have opposed left-wing guerrillas, especially the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). In 2016, the government and FARC, the largest rebel group, signed a historic peace treaty. However, right-wing paramilitary gangs remain a threat to both parties.

What (started the conflict): In the 1960s, social, political, and economic problems led to conflict between the government and left-wing guerrillas, primarily FARC and ELN. In the 1980s and 1990s wealthy landowners backed right-wing paramilitary groups to fight the guerrillas. During this time, drug cartels also fueled major violence; both guerrillas and paramilitaries profited

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

Ploughshares Africa


The Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): The Government of South Sudan, with the support of Uganda, opposes rebel militias. Violence is largely between supporters of the government of President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar. There is dissension within the ranks of the South Sudanese military, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). South Sudan also has disputes with Sudan, the country from which it separated in 2011, over borders, oil production, and support for rebel groups. In January 2016, a UN report accused all parties of war crimes and recommended an arms embargo (International Crisis Group).

What (started the conflict): Animosity between the Dinka and Nuer tribes has inflamed

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Tasneem Jamal

Author Larissa Fast

The Ploughshares Monitor Spring 200 Volume 25 Issue 1

In 2005, representatives of organizations from around the world will gather at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss civil society roles in conflict prevention. The international conference will be the culmination of a multi-year process of transnational and regional networking to address the challenge of more effective civil society involvement in preventing conflict. The overall objective of the initiative, called the Global Partnership to Prevent Armed Conflict (GPPAC), is to develop a common platform for effective action in conflict prevention, from the community to the global levels.

The idea grew out of the 2001 UN Secretary-General’s Report, Prevention of armed conflict, in which Kofi Annan

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

Tasneem Jamal

…rendered homeless, destitute and dependent on humanitarian assistance by the wars of 1997.

The world’s most warring region is still the Middle East (Table 1) where almost half of the region’s 14 states experienced warfare on their territory in 1997. Not surprisingly, the Middle East also continues to be by far the largest recipient of imported weapons (see map on page 17) – a product of the combined ingredients of enduring political conflict and significant oil wealth. About one-quarter of the states of Africa and Asia had war on their territory in 1997 – with Asia hosting almost 40 percent of all the world’s current wars.



Geographic Distributions of Armed Conflicts, 1997

Region # of…

Sudan-Darfur (2003 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Africa


Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): The Government of Sudan, led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and supported by official Sudanese forces and the Janjaweed militias in Darfur, against three (mostly) separate insurgencies in Darfur region, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. Rebel armed groups include multiple factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N), many of which operate under the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) alliance. The SRF has also joined with the National Consensus Forces (NCF), an alliance of opposition parties with the goal of removing al-Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) from power.

What (started the conflict): In

Syria (2011 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Mideast


The Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): The Syrian Armed Forces and militia groups loyal to the Bashar Assad regime versus a diverse and disjointed opposition. Some rebel groups, such as the Free Syrian Army, have drawn on defections from the Syrian Armed Forces for strength, while emerging Islamist groups have relied heavily on support from foreign fighters. Infighting has increased within and between opposition groups.

What (are the major aims and events): Armed conflict began in 2011 when Arab Spring protests demanding greater rights and freedoms were met with brutal repression by government forces. President Assad remains in power. A chemical weapons attack that was widely ascribed to the Assad regime, but which

Israel-Palestine (1948 – first combat deaths)

Ploughshares Mideast


The Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): The government of Israel, with strong support from the United States, opposes the governing authorities of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO/Fatah), is in charge of the West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. In 2014, Fatah and Hamas formed a unity government, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

What (are the major aims and events): Israel aims to consolidate its territory in the region and protect itself against Palestinian attacks. Palestinian groups ultimately seek to end the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank and create a Palestinian state in those territories, making East Jerusalem the capital and allowing the

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

Ploughshares Africa


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

The Conflict at a Glance

Who (are the main combatants): The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the support of some armed militia groups and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), versus numerous armed rebel factions and foreign armed forces.

What (are the major aims and events): Rebel groups are fighting to gain control over territory and vast mineral wealth. The government seeks to put down insurgents and maintain control. The March 23 Movement (M23), a rebel group that had gained substantial territory through violent means since