Prevention armed conflict

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The primary responsibility for conflict prevention rests with national governments, with civil society playing an important role. The main role of the United Nations and the international community is to support national efforts for conflict prevention and assist in building national capacity in this field.

Preventive action should be initiated at the earliest possible stage of a conflict cycle in order to be most effective. One of the principal aims of preventive action should be to address the deep-rooted socio-economic, cultural,environmental, institutional and other structural causes that often underlie the immediate political symptoms of conflicts.

An effective preventive strategy requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses both short-term and long-term political, diplomatic, humanitarian, human rights, developmental, institutional and other measures taken by the international community, in cooperation with national and regional actors.

Conflict prevention and sustainable and equitable development are mutually reinforcing activities. An investment in national and international efforts for conflict prevention must be seen as a simultaneous investment in sustainable development since the latter can best take place in an environment of sustainable peace.

A successful preventive strategy depends on the cooperation of the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and United Nations agencies, offices, funds and programmes, as well as the Bretton Woods institutions. The United Nations is not the only actor in prevention and may often not be the actor best suited to take the lead.Therefore, Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other civil society actors also have very important roles to play in this field.

Some governments that live up to their sovereign responsibility to resolve peacefully a situation that might deteriorate into a threat to international peace and security and call on the United Nations or other international actors for preventive assistance as early as needed, provide the best protection for their citizens against unwelcome outside interference. In this way, preventive action by the international community can contribute significantly to strengthening the national sovereignty of some countries.

Conflict prevention lies at the heart of the mandate of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, and that a general consensus is emerging among Member States that comprehensive and coherent conflict prevention strategies offer the greatest potential for promoting lasting peace and creating an enabling environment for sustainable development. The imperative for effective conflict prevention goes beyond creating a culture, establishing mechanisms or summoning political will. The United Nations also has a moral responsibility to ensure that genocides such as that perpetrated in Rwanda are prevented from ever happening again.