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Prevention and Recovery

Conflict prevention implies both direct prevention and structural prevention. Direct conflict prevention is a series of short-term measures that try to prevent the escalation and promote the diminution of tensions either between States or between different factions in the same State. These measures include mediation, convocation and peacekeeping operations.

Structural conflict prevention focuses more on long-term measures that address the underlying causes of a potential conflict. Its objective is to transform these underlying causes in order to eliminate the factors pushing a certain society towards conflict. These measures include economic assistance, the promotion of development, electoral support, construction of local capacities and institutions and peacebuilding operations.

Early Warning Mechanisms are a series of processes that through the systematic collection and analysis of data try to, on the one hand, evaluate a State’s fragility to phenomenon that might cause its failure and, on the other hand, try to identify which phenomenon are these, be they either natural or of human origin.

The findings of early warning mechanisms are then communicated to decision makers in order to enable them to put in place the measures necessary to deal with the detected menaces and prevent, or at least reduce, their effects. These menaces include wars and armed conflicts, genocides, human rights violations, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.

Early warning mechanisms are a part of crisis prevention, but they are not the same. This is because they try to detect the future manifestation of certain menaces and what kind of impact these might have, but they very rarely define the concrete responses that need to be taken in order to tackle with them.

Recovery: Once a State has been affected by a crisis, be it a natural disaster or a conflict, there is an urgent need to put in place a set of measures that prevent the crisis from developing into a deeper problem that precipitates the State into the realm of failure. These measures try not only to avoy the deepening of the crisis and ameliorate its effects, but also to initiate the process of recovery of the State and its society.


Early Recovery begins during the occurrence of a crisis. It is a multi-dimensional activity whose main objective is to provide help to those who are in need of it, and to construct the basis for the future reconstruction of the society and the State. Early recovery tries to guarantee the restoration of basic services, the provision of shelter, the support to displaced persons and their reintegration, and the security and the rule of law necessary to minimize the effects of the crisis and initiate the recovery process. Early recovery accompanies the provision of humanitarian aid, but should not be confused with it. While its objective is to provide support to affected people, it does so always with a view towards the establishment of the foundations of future recovery.

Post-Conflict Reconstruction tries to promote the transition from a context of violent conflict to one of sustainable peace and economic and social development. It is a complex and multi-dimensional process that involves several measures and initiatives across all sectors of the State and society. Post-conflict reconstruction entails, amongst other things, the reconstruction of infrastructures, the construction of local capacities and institutions, the promotion of processes of reconciliation, the conduction of demining activities, the promotion of education, healthcare and economic development, the creation of democratic State structures and the reform of the security sector, including the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former combatants.

Suggested readings 

African Diaspora and Post Conflict Reconstruction in Africa (Abdullah A. Mohamoud)

Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanisms (Herbert Wulf & Tobias Debiel)

Conflict Prevention – Concepts and Challenges (Erik Melander & Claire Pigach)

Conflict Prevention – Looking to the Future (Benita Ferrero-Waldner)

Conflict Prevention – Options for Rapid Deployment and UN Standing Forces (Peter Langille)

Conflict Prevention and Development Cooperation in Africa (James Putzel)

From Crisis Reaction to Conflict Prevention (Joel Marrant & Linfield Colleg)

From Peacekeeping to Peace Building – Post Conflict Reconstruction in Africa (Barbara Barungi & Karanja Mbugua)

Gender and Conflict Early Warning (Susanne Schmeidl & Eugenia Piza-Lopez)

Generating Conflict Prevention Policy Guidance – A Whole of Governement Analytic Approach (Julia Nelson)

Getting Infrastructure Priorities Right in Post Conflict Reconstruction (P. B. Anand)

Global Early Warning Systems of Natural Hazards (Reid Basher)

Land Reform and Post Conflict Reconstruction – The Case of Rwanda (Herman Musahara & Chris Huggins)

Non Government Organizations in Regional Conflict Prevention (Juan Daniel Reyes)

Policies Towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post Conflict Reconstruction (Frances Stewart)

Post Conflict Reconstruction through State and Nation Building – The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Joseph Marko)

Post Conflict Reconstruction (Sanam Naraghi Anderlini & Judy El-Bushra)

Rebuilding Governance in Failed States and Post Conflict Societies (Derick W. Brinkerhoff)

Reconstruction Development and Sustainable Peace – A Unified Programme for Post Conflict Countries (CDP Report)

Reconstruction of Natural Resources Management in Post Conflict Situations (Elizabeth Watson, Richard Black & Elizabeth Harrison)

Rwanda Women – The Key to Reconstruction (Heather B. Hamilton)

Sanction for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (Peter Wallensteen, Mikael Eriksson & Daniel Strando)

Security Sector Reform and Post Conflict Reconstruction under International Auspices (Michael Brzoska & Andreas Heinemann-Grüder)

State Building and Post Conflict Reconstruction – Lessons from Bosnia (Marcus Cox)

The European Neighbourhood Policy as a Conflict Prevention Tool (Fraser Cameron)

The Role of Non State Actors in Building Human Security (Claude Bruderlein)

The Use of Peace Conditionalities in Conflict and Post Conflict Settings (Georg Frerks)

Violence Against Women – Implication for Post Conflict Reconstruction (Ingrid Palmar)


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