Blessed are the Peacemakers
Human Security in 2003
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UNITED NATIONS Secretary-General Kofi Annan points out in our lead article that 'effective conflict prevention is a long-term investment.' On that much there likely would be little disagreement. He and others in this issue go on to say that responsibility for preventing conflict lies not only with those traditionally considered responsible - governments, for instance, or the United Nations - but those in civil society, such as NGOs and development agencies. 'The conventional view of civil war was that its causes were essentially ethnic or political, so that conflict prevention was not the proper business of the development agencies,' says Paul Collier, director of the World Bank's Development Economics Research Group, in this issue. Not any more. 'The costs of preventing large-scale violent conflict through promoting development are modest relative to the terrifying consequences of global insecurity.' According to these and other contributors, the scope of what is involved in conflict prevention needs broadening. Direct and indirect factors must be considered. How does HIV/AIDS figure into the equation? What lessons for preventing conflict can we learn from grassroots efforts to foster reconciliation and restoration in Rwanda since the genocide? 'Successful conflict prevention also requires all sectors in society to do their part,' the Secretary-General adds. 'NGOs in particular can offer non-violent avenues for addressing the root causes of conflict at an early stage.' The long-term, behind-the-scenes work of preventing conflict may not be glamorous, and usually doesn't make headlines. But it cannot be neglected. And, for it to be effective, it must include not only those in the spotlight, but all of us.
- The role of NGOs in conflict prevention - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan claims the biggest obstacles to effective conflict prevention are the attitudes and priorities of states themselves, but adds that all sectors - from civil society to the media - must do their part.
- Development and peace - Paul Collier, director of the World Bank's Economics Research Group, questions the conventional wisdom regarding some of war's causes, and suggests solutions that call for long-term investment.
- Will conflict prevention remain a distant dream?
- The impact of HIV/AIDS on Africa's security
- UN peacekeeping in the future
- Civil wars need civil peace
- Effective development requires security
- Walking a tightrope in Colombia
- Building hope in a time of anxiety
- Development aid and conflict mitigation
- NGOs and conflict prevention in Central Asia
- Violent conflicts and civil society
- The European Union in the peace process