Employing early warning diplomacy Implementing quiet diplomacy Developing preventative diplomacy
Preventive diplomacy is action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.
Once an elusive and undefined concept, preventive diplomacy is now becoming understood as a vital field for practical action. New forms of preventive diplomacy have evolved in recent years. These incorporate efforts designed to prevent the occurrence of armed conflict, such as fact-finding, good offices and goodwill missions, the dispatch of special envoys to tense areas, and efforts to bring parties to a potential conflict to the negotiating table. Because of the nature of this work, and the requirements of the parties, such diplomacy often takes place behind the scenes. When efforts succeed, there nature must often remain confidential. Such diplomacy takes place continuously and can range from brief telephone conversations to the movement of military units.
Since its formation in 1945, the United Nations has used quiet diplomacy to avert over 80 imminent wars. In 1993 the Secretary-General reported that over 100 missions of representation, fact-finding and goodwill offices were undertaken on his behalf.
The biggest payoff from preventative diplomacy would come from a global agreement to ban the production, export and use of anti-personnel land mines. This one step would shorten future conflicts, drastically reduce civilian casualties, sharply lower the costs of economic reconstruction, prevent the loss of desperately needed agricultural land, allow the return of refugees and protect the lives of peacekeepers and relief workers.
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