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Department of Political Affairs

Promoting Peaceful, Political Solutions to Conflict

The United Nations employs the political tools of diplomacy and mediation to help nations prevent and resolve conflicts peacefully and to avert the suffering and destruction of war.

In pursuit of these objectives, United Nations envoys are dispatched to areas of tension around the world to assist in defusing crises and brokering negotiated settlements to conflicts. Civilian-led “political missions” are deployed to the field with mandates to encourage dialogue and cooperation within and between nations, or to promote reconciliation and democratic governance in societies rebuilding after civil wars. 

The work of the United Nations to foster credible elections around the world also contributes directly to its efforts to promote peace and prevent conflict. Underpinning the activities of the United Nations in all of these areas is the conviction that political issues lay at the root of many conflicts, and thus political solutions are required to resolve them. Dialogue and compromise are a better alternative to violence.

UN peacemaking and preventive diplomacy has made major contributions to reductions in armed conflict globally in recent decades. These successes notwithstanding, far too many people around the world continue to live in the shadow of war. Efforts are ongoing, therefore, to increase the effectiveness of the United Nations in carrying out its Charter responsibilities to prevent and resolve conflict, especially through the strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs, which anchors UN peacemaking and preventive diplomacy missions. With the support of UN Member States, DPA is evolving into a more mobile and agile platform for crisis response, capable of rapidly deploying mediation experts and other peacemaking expertise to the field and partnering effectively with regional organizations at the frontlines of conflicts.

By taking action at an early stage, the United Nations and its partners can prevent disputes and crises from escalating into larger and costlier tragedies for nations, peoples, regions and the world.

More about DPA's activities in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East and West Asia.

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