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Ir Theories

By | September 2009
Page 1 of 3
International prevention of internal conflicts has been advocated since the end of the Cold War. In the light of several conflict management tasks successfully accomplished by the UN in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Namibia, El Salvador), the UN Secretary-General’s Agenda for Peace of 1992 devoted an entire chapter to conflict prevention. The spread and global importance of internal conflicts in the 1990s, together with the increasing diversity of players in international affairs, has led to a certain multilateralization of conflict prevention efforts. This multilateralization presupposes that international and regional organizations, States and non-State entities would combine their efforts to fight the spread of deadly conflicts, in other words that all parties involved should accept a policy scheme that subscribes to a common vision on conflict resolution. But the diversity of mission mandates, the respective organizational turf, the bureaucratic red tape, national interests and conflicting views on conflict prevention and humanitarian actions set limits to effective multilateral action. It is no secret that most international organizations continue to be focused narrowly around a single function, and to pursue that function without regard for other functional areas. For example, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund imposed economic austerity programs on El Salvador at the same time that a United Nations brokered peace agreement called for expanded social programs. UN agencies are notorious for acting independently or even at odds with each other. Neither has the UN developed effective ways of cooperating with NGOs. There have been many calls for better coordination and cooperation between international organizations. Intergovernmental groups are also notoriously hierarchical, independent, and prone to assert exclusive control over a narrow field. Here again such groups would do well to look to the decentralized organizational models suggested...

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