Peacebuilding and conflict prevention: resources guide

Find here our selection of resources on conflict prevention. If you have any suggestions for more resources, please add them in the comments at the end of this page.

Key resources

Is there a preventive action renaissance? The policy and practice of preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention

Preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention are intended to stop armed conflicts before they escalate to widespread violence. In practical terms, preventive diplomacy refers to the use of mediation and resolution to avert a descent into war. Conflict prevention is a broader concept referring to the monitoring, containment, and reduction of risk factors that shape war onset, intensification, and spread.

The Norweigan Peacebuidling Resource Centre (2013). This report considers historical trends, emerging opportunities, and recurrent challenges associated with preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, and offers reccomendations for future conduct.

Communication from the commission on conflict prevention

The enormous cost in resources and in human suffering caused by violent conflicts calls for major efforts in preventing conflicts. This is above all a moral and political imperative, but it also makes economic sense. It is a lot cheaper to channel conflict into dialogue and constructive action than to deal with the consequences once it has degenerated into violent confrontation.

Commision of the European communities (2001). A paper highlighting the moral and economic implications of failing to stem conflict in its early stages.

Upstream conflict prevention: addressing the root causes of conflict

In order to have real impact, an upstream conflict prevention approach requires prioritisation of the needs and concerns of local communities in conflict affected countries. In particular, it is important to include the perspectives of the most marginalised groups, such as women and young people.

Saferworld briefing (September 2012). The briefing seeks to provide an overview of ‘upstream’ conflict prevention and illustrate how this approach can be put into practice.

The Carnegie Commission on the prevention of violent conflict: executive summary

Strategies for [the] prevention [of violent conflict] fall into two broad categories: operational prevention (measures applicable in the face of immediate crisis) and structural prevention (measures to ensure that crises do not arise in the first place or, if  they do, that they do not recur).

The Carnegie Commision (1998). The Carnegie Commission report on preventing deadly conflict was developed in response to the tragedies that occured in Bosnia and Rwanda during the 1990s, and sought ways to prevent future instances of violent conflict.

Conflict prevention: concepts and challenges

Key intra- and interstate conflicts of the nineties indeed shed the light on the urgent necessity to build an appropriate normative framework for the role of the international community in the containment of violent conflicts. The centre of attention has been driven towards conflict prevention, and a growing concern among international actors epitomises then Secretary General Kofi Annan’s injunctions to move the United Nations “from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention”.

Erik Melander and Claire Pigache (2007) write of the increasing shift in approaches to peacekeeping from reaction towards prevention, and discuss how to fully implement this shift in practice.

Further Reading

Preventive Diplomacy Report: Q&A

UN Department of Political Affairs. A Q&A by the UN on conflict prevention.

European Peacebuilding Liason Office

European Peacebuidling Liason Office's definition of conflict prevention.

Conflict Prevention, Peace building and Mediation

European Union External Action Service (EEAS). An article outlining the EU's role in peacebuilding.

UNDP Conflict Prevention

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) outline their role in conflict prevention.


The Center For Preventive Action (CPA) - Council on Foreign Relations

The CPA seeks to help prevent, defuse, or resolve deadly conflicts worldwide whilst expanding the body of knowledge on conflict prevention.

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

The GPPAC is a member-led network of civil society organisations (CSOs) active in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding across the world.


UN Security Council High-Level Meeting on Conflict Prevention (2011)

Andrew Carnegie distinguished lecture on conflict prevention with David A. Hamburg (2013)

Fighting Poverty, the EU in action: conflict prevention