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Department of Political Affairs

Peacemaking and Conflict Prevention

Nepal peacemaking

Since its establishment more than six decades ago, the United Nations has played a preeminent role in the peaceful resolution of armed conflict around the world.

UN peacemaking flourished in the decade following the end of the Cold War, as many longstanding armed conflicts were brought to an end through political negotiated settlements often brokered and implemented with strong United Nations involvement.

The organization remains highly active in this field today, working increasingly in partnership with regional organizations in order to bring ongoing conflicts to an end, and to prevent new crises from emerging or escalating.

  Video: Peace through preventive action (2011)

Anchoring the UN's peacemaking efforts is the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. DPA monitors global political developments and advises the United Nations Secretary-General on the prevention and management of crises, including the use of his diplomatic "good offices" to help parties in conflict settle disputes peacefully. The Department provides support to numerous envoys of the Secretary-General engaged in peace talks or crisis diplomacy, while overseeing field-based United Nations "political missions" with mandates to help nations and regions resolve conflicts and tensions peacefully.

Efforts are ongoing to bolster UN peacemaking capacity, in particular by strengthening the ability of the organization to practice preventive diplomacy and to employ and support mediation in order to head off potential crises at an early stage.

The work of the United Nations in conflict prevention also extends well beyond traditional preventive diplomacy to involve a broad constellation of United Nations entities operating across a wide range of relevant disciplines — poverty-eradication and development, human rights and the rule of law, elections and the building of democratic institutions, the control of small arms, to name just a few.

The United Nations has committed itself to moving from a culture of "reaction" to "prevention", to work Member States as well as civil society to pursue comprehensive strategies that address more immediate as well as deep-rooted structural causes of conflict. DPA also work through interagency mechanisms in order to strengthen national capacities for conflict prevention.