Conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy encompass many instruments, such as early warning, fact-finding missions, confidence-building measures, demilitarized zones and the preventive deployment of peacekeeping forces.
Chapter VI of the UN Charter deals with conflict prevention. It advices the parties to any dispute, which is likely to endanger international peace and security, to try to find a peaceful solution by the following means:
- Judicial Settlement
The role of the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General plays a central role in peacemaking in his personal capacity or through his Envoys and Special Representatives. He may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.
Department of Political Affairs (DPA)
Department of political and peacebuilding affairs (DPPA) under the UN Secretariat provides advice and support to the Secretary-General and to UN peace envoys and political missions in the field, monitors and analyses political developments and identifies conflicts and services the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies.
UN and electoral assistance
Elections are important for the implementation of peace agreements around the globe, and the United Nations plays a major role in providing international assistance. The Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD) of the Department of Political Affairs helps states to conduct free and fair elections providing coordination and support, advisory services, logistics, computer application and short-term observation.
More on UN and Conflict prevention
Reports and documents
- Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization is a summarized overview of the work of the Organization with a chapter on peace and security, conflict prevention and peacemaking. It is issued as no 1 i the documentary series serien Supplements to the Official Records of the General Assembly, Annual report on the Work of the Organization.
- "Brahimi report". Report of the Panel of Peace Operations (A/55/305) is an assessment of the shortcomings of the existing system and recommendations for change.
- Reforming UN peacekeeping. More information on the the reform of UN peacekeeping.
- An Agenda for Peace. Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-keeping. Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to the Statement adopted by the Summit Meeting of the Security Council on 31 January 1992, (A/47/277) written by the former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali with a programme of action for United Nations peacekeeping and peacemaking.
- Supplement to an Agenda for Peace. Position Paper of the Secretary-General on the Occasion of the fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations (A/50/60).
- An Agenda for Democratization (1996) is an assessment of the UN role in democratization by the former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
- The Secretary-General's progress reports on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa. Reports and information are also found at the OSAA website.
Interpretation and application of the UN Charter
- Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. The Repertoire provides an analysis of the actions related to conflict prevention taken by the Council and its subsidiaries.
- Pacific Settlements of Disputes (Part VI). The Repertoire covers implicit references and explicit references to Chapter VI and Articles 11, 33-38 and 99 of the Charter in documents of the Security Council, as well as case studies.
- Representatives, Mediators, Coordinators, and Good Offices. A short description, as well as links to the sections covering them in The Repertoire.
- The Charter of the United Nations : a commentary Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Simma, Bruno; Khan, Daniel-Erasmus; Nolte, Georg; Paulus, Andreas. Available at Dag Hammarskjöld and Law library, Uppsala.
- Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UNDPA). A website with information on conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy, Prevention and mediation, with links to important reports and documents.
- UN Peacemaker. An online mediation support tool developed by the Mediation Support Unit (MSU) in the Policy and Mediation Division of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). Information on peace agreements, mediation resources and peacemaking mandate.
- United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation
Key UN documents
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.