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UK Mission to the United Nations

New York

London 20:43, 02 Jan 2013
New York 15:43, 02 Jan 2013
Last updated at 3:37 (UK time) 7 Jul 2011

Conflict prevention

For more than six decades, the United Nations has played a prominent role in the peaceful resolution of armed conflict around the world. Since the end of the Cold War in 1990, UN peacemaking has flourished, as many longstanding armed conflicts were brought to an end through political negotiated settlements often brokered and implemented with strong United Nations involvement. Now, the UN is more often called on to help prevent conflict, to provide a peacekeeping force for a particular country, or to build and strengthen state institutions.

The primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national Governments, with civil society playing an important role. The United Nations and the international community support national efforts to prevent violent conflict and support government plans to build up national capacity in this field. UN prevention activities can take the form of short or long-term political, diplomatic, humanitarian, human rights, and institutional activities, in co-operation with national and regional actors. Work to promote economic and social development and alleviate poverty can also make a substantial contribution to preventing conflict.

Enshrined in the United Nations Charter is the principle of the Member States working together to promote the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN system and its inter-governmental bodies - the Security Council, the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) - have a long history of working together to prevent, contain and manage conflict.

The UK supports the UN’s role in conflict prevention in a number of ways. First, the UK works through the UN's intergovernmental bodies to prevent conflict. The Security Council has the reponsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and has the ability to authorise short-term preventative actions or impose measures (such as sanctions) if necessary. The General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Human Rights Council, set standards and norms for conflict prevention work. The Peacebuilding Commission, a subsidiary body of the Security Council and General Assembly, focuses on mobilising international action to prevent recurrence of conflict. Second, the UK provides support to the UN agencies, funds and programmes, aimed at developing better conflict prevention, policy and practice.  This also includes work towards the enhancement of key UN capacities, such as the Mediation Support Unit.   In addition, t he UK also invests in UN conflict prevention programmes around the world, for example Security Sector Reform, governance and Rule of Law work.  

The UK supports efforts to strengthen the UN’s overall capacity, in particular by improving the organisation’s ability to practice preventive diplomacy and to use mediation to avert potential crises at an early stage. And we are committed to encouraging the UN to move from "reaction" to "prevention", working with Member States and civil society to pursue comprehensive strategies that address more immediate as well as deep-rooted structural causes of conflict. 

International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding

The International Dialogue was created in Accra in 2008 . It is a partnership between donors and fragile partner countries to develop a set of international objectives on statebuilding and peacebuilding. The objectives will help focus and guide international interventions to address the root causes of conflict and fragility, build states and help create the conditions for better progress towards the MDGs. The UK and East Timor are currently the co-Chairs of the Dialogue, which has its own secretariat .

Website of the International Dialogue


The g7+ group of countries is an independent and autonomous forum of 17 fragile and conflict affected countries and regions that have united to form one collective voice on the global stage. The g7+ is currently led by East Timor through a chairperson, H.E. Emilia Pires, the Minister of Finance. The g7+ Secretariat is housed alongside the National Directorate for Aid Effectiveness (NDAE) within the Ministry of Finance in Dili, East Timor.

Info about G7plus