Conflict prevention

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:

  • Enquiry
  • Mediation
  • Conciliation
  • Arbitration
  • 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 Affairs (DPA) 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

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.
  • 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.

Websites

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.
  • 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.