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Preventing Violence, War and State Collapse

The Future of Conflict Early Warning and Response

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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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Future Directions for Early Warning and Early Response

International threat perceptions have changed since the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001. Another mutation in threats is likely over the next decade – involving a mix of repercussions of climate change (water and land scarcity, population displacements), fallout from the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan and the war on terrorism, and the transformation of violent conflict into criminalised armed violence, to mention just a few factors. Whether advances in technology, early warning and global response capabilities are likely to place us in a position to effectively manage these threats is questionable. The future of conflict early warning and response is likely to be driven by a combination of future security threats, advances in technology and, of course, current warning and response trends. What does that add up to? What are the implications for current early warning and response systems? This chapter attempts to provide some answers to these questions.

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