Capturing UN Preventive Diplomacy Success: How and Why Does It Work?

151513UN Photo/Helena Mulkerns

Mediation program director, Laurie Nathan, is the lead author of a new policy report on successful preventive diplomacy by the United Nations (UN). The report, entitled Capturing UN Preventive Diplomacy Success: How and Why Does It Work?, can be found below.

The report grows out of a research project led by the Centre for Policy Research at the UN University. The research was conducted in collaboration with the UN Department of Political Affairs and supported by the United Kingdom Permanent Mission to the UN.

The report refutes the widely heard claim that the UN always fails at preventing armed conflict. It shows that the UN, working closely with regional partners, is often successful. But the successes are much less dramatic and noticeable than the failures, which have resulted in catastrophic civil wars like South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The report presents a conceptual framework explaining how and why UN preventive diplomacy succeeds; it identifies the critical reasons for success; and it concludes with a set of recommendations for improving prevention initiatives. Attached to the report are case studies on preventing violent conflict in Guinea (2008-10); Lebanon (2011-17); Malawi (2011-12); Nigeria (2015); Sudan (2010-11); and Yemen (2011).

Preventive diplomacy has averted mass violence and destruction in the past, and can do so again in the future, especially if global and regional powers are united in supporting the diplomacy.

Capturing UN Preventive Diplomacy Success: How and Why Does It Work? (PDF)

Assessment Framework for UN Preventive Diplomacy: An Approach for UN Mediators and International Policymakers (PDF)