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The United Nations and Conflict Prevention in the Post Cold War Era

Constraints to Effective Policy Making and Implementation

©2005 Magisterarbeit 184 Seiten


Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, world affairs have entered into a new era of hopes, opportunities, threats and challenges significantly reframing the international relations of the late twentieth century and beyond. It was a momentum that states, governments, and organizations worldwide embraced with expectations and visions of change. So did the United Nations (UN).
The new era was particularly promising for this universal organization as it had presumably overcome the paralyzed nature of its functioning throughout the Cold War. Moreover, the UN was deemed to have acquired the freedom and authority it needs to exercise its primary obligation enshrined in the Charter, i.e. to prevent and remove through collective efforts threats to the peace, to suppress acts of aggression and to resolve international disputes through peaceful means and „in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.“ The first sentence in the preamble of the Charter, while claiming the international community's determination „to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,“ illustrates the high cause attached to the birth of the organization with a clear link to preventing armed conflicts.
The basic idea of preventing armed conflicts is not novel, and the term preventive diplomacy was coined by Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld already in 1960. Initially the term was understood in the context of the Cold War, when UN efforts were undertaken to eliminate localized disputes and wars that could have provoked wider confrontations between the two superpowers.
Notwithstanding its conceptual importance and available operational tools, conflict prevention received little attention at the margins of global power politics. Traditional diplomatic instruments such as mediation, conciliation, good offices, continued to define the toolbox of conflict prevention activities. Preventive diplomacy, however, received particular attention because of the way Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali broadened and publicized it in his by now well-known report Agenda for Peace. The need for credible early warning mechanisms and fact-finding missions was equally prioritized.
Since the end of the Cold War, the necessity to move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention has been incessantly emphasized and gradually reinforced into unequivocal policy through numerous General Assembly resolutions, Security Council resolutions […]


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Universität Wien – Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Politikwissenschaften
konfliktprävention konfliktmanagement politik friedenspolitik



Titel: The United Nations and Conflict Prevention in the Post Cold War Era