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A New Road for Preventive Action
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A New Road for Preventive Action: Report from the first Global Conference on Preventive Action is the product of 250 senior officials and experts who participated in an international conference hosted by EWI and the European and Belgian Parliaments on December 6-7, 2010. Funded largely by the German government, the conference grew out of a recommendation from EWI’s International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy. Its aim: to devise discrete diplomatic and political actions that can more effectively stop large scale violent conflicts before they start.
“Preventive action is cheaper and more effective than expensive peacekeeping efforts, which is particularly relevant in an era of slashed budgets,” says EWI’s Matthew King, whose team organized the conference. “As we see it, preventive action’s mantra is ‘doing more with less.’”
The report lays out concrete recommendations for building the political will needed to increase budgetary allocations and broad-scale collaboration for preventive action worldwide. The report declares, “To seize the moment, the United Nations should take a leading role and help put preventive action center stage in international politics.”
Among steps to be taken at the UN, the report calls for: a revival of the Arria Formula meetings between civil society and UN Security Council Ambassadors to strengthen information-sharing and clearer early warnings of conflict; a new global network of UN regional centers; new flexible funding mechanisms to support rapid response by the UNDPA; and a new major advocacy program similar to the UN’s high-profile campaigns around the Millennium Development Goals and the Women Agenda.
The report also highlights the need for the emerging powers, particularly the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), to support the UN’s civilian preventive work. According to the report, in 2010 China had only one diplomat and Brazil only four on political missions for that purpose compared to the United States with 78, the United Kingdom with 48, and Russia with 17.
“By directing their resources toward diplomacy, the emerging powers can get a better return on their investments – in money and lives,” says King.