Highlighted Selections from:

Darren Kew on Conflict Prevention

Kew, Darren. Interview with Alexander Berger. "About Conflict Prevention." Givewell (2013): 1-5. Web. http://files.givewell.org/files/conversations/Kew%209-13-13%20(final).pdf

p.1: Interest in conflict early warning systems and conflict prevention strategies developed during the early 1990s. The Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, was interested in such systems because he thought that the UN should use preventive diplomacy to limit conflict. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Carnegie Corporation of New York funded early studies of conflict prevention strategies. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.1: If advocacy efforts like these were successful, government actors would work to prevent conflict by:

  • Having diplomatic discussions with the country at risk
  • Carrying out military peacekeeping operations
  • Working out peaceful power sharing arrangements

-- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.2: In the late 1990s, decision-makers in some of the key conflict prevention organizations like the CFR, and some funders in the field, concluded that advocacy-oriented conflict early warning organizations were unnecessary because the pre-existing diplomacy system functioned sufficiently well in its early warning capacity. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.2: Ultimately, the early warning system approach was seen as helpful but generally not important enough to justify additional funding, although some NGOs and academic programs in the area managed to stay afloat. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.2: Recently, conflict prevention has become more integrated or “mainstreamed” with local development programming. Many people involved in conflict prevention have recognized that broader development projects may be effective at reducing conflict. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.2: The UNLocK Project, which works in Nigeria and Kenya, uses spatial technology to map where conflicts are happening and then works with local activists to analyze the data and to use it to reduce conflict. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.3: Civil society work is often focused on organizing members of society to improve government. Civil society groups are often nonpartisan, but many are deeply vulnerable to government influence. Some conflict-related activities include:

  • Persuading the established government to support development policy and to foster relationships with civil organizations.
  • Studying particularly peaceful and politically engaged neighborhoods in order to replicate their successes.
  • Holding sessions to help people recognize their common bonds.

-- Highlighted apr 2, 2014

p.4: Today, the UN system has conflict units that have early warning components. The UN sees itself as doing preventive diplomacy, which often involves conflict prevention. -- Highlighted apr 2, 2014