Preventing Violence, War and State Collapse

The Future of Conflict Early Warning and Response

image of Preventing Violence, War and State Collapse
The international community today is hardly in a position to avoid another genocide, as witnessed in Rwanda in 1994, despite the significant evolution of early warning systems in recent years. Based on a review of the literature on early warning and response, as well as inputs from surveyed agencies, Preventing Violence, War and State Collapse assesses the value and role of early warning for the prevention of violent conflict and identifies the most effective early warning and response systems. It concludes with a set of recommendations for policy makers in donor and partner countries in influencing future developments in this field.

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A Short Contemporary History of Conflict Early Warning

Charting a short history of the conflict early warning field is not easy. The field draws heavily on work in many sectors (early warning for natural disasters for example), and has benefited from thinking, research and advocacy by numerous individuals and organisations. This chapter seeks to explain initial thinking behind conflict early warning and looks at its emergence on the international policy agenda. It outlines the evolution of operational early warning systems after the end of the Cold War and particularly after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It reviews the initial debates among implementing organisations and discusses the evolution of different tools and methods (e.g. conflict assessment and analysis of state fragility) and of individual operational early warning systems. The chapter concludes with a review of the main points of criticism and challenges with which proponents of conflict early warning need to engage

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