United Nations Conflict Prevention and Preventive Diplomacy In Action: An overview of the role, approach and tools of the United Nations and its partners in preventing violent conflict

Politically Speaking: 2017 in Review: The end of year publication features some of the highlights of our online magazine Politically Speaking in 2017. 

Politically Speaking: 2016 in Review: The end of year 'Politically Speaking - Year in Review 2016' publication features some of the highlights of our online magazine Politically Speaking. 

Factsheet: Helping Prevent Conflict and Sustain Peace


Strategic Plan

DPA Strategic Plan 2016-2019: This Strategic Plan sets out a vision for DPA that is centered on the need to promote inclusive political solutions as the key to preventing, managing or resolving conflicts and acts of political violence, while ensuring long lasting solutions that reduce human suffering and make peace sustainable. The Strategic Plan complements and integrates many aspects of the GA approved biennial Strategic Frameworks 2016/17 and 2018/19, and comprises three goals involving eight strategic objectives (see Strategic Plan leaflet).

DPA Theory of Change: DPA’s mission is to help prevent and reduce violent conflicts and sustain peace through inclusive political solutions. The Department’s Theory of Change recognizes that a multitude of actors and variables affect achievement of the Department’s mandate. Therefore, deep and effective partnerships, within the United Nations system and outside it, are required to address root or immediate causes that lead to violent conflict. As conflict is complex and its dynamics are embedded in societal, economic, legal and political systems, conflict prevention and management require a non-linear and cyclical approach.

2018 - 2019 Results FrameworkDPA’s Strategic Plan is also accompanied by a Results Framework to assist in the monitoring and evaluation of DPA’s performance in the period 2016-2019. A biennial Results Framework with the expected accomplishments and indicators was defined for the first two years (2016-2017). Following a mid-term review, the second (2018-2019) biennial Results Framework was developed for the remaining two years of the Strategic Plan.

The objectives of the Results Framework are to:

  • Operationalize the priorities of the Strategic Plan (SP) into concrete and achievable results
  • Support integrated planning across Divisions of the Department
  • Support better and more regular monitoring and reporting of achievements
  • Form the basis for the Annual Work Plans (AWPs) of the Divisions and Offices of the Department


Extrabudgetary Funding

Multi-Year Appeal 2018-2019: The Multi-Year Appeal 2018-2019 lays out the priorities for the biennium, taking into account the Secretary-General’s vision and focus on prevention, and in line with DPA’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2019. Under the overarching priorities of the Strategic Plan, the MYA 2018-2019 puts emphasis on inclusive processes as part of setting the agenda for conflict prevention and as a cross-cutting theme in all areas of our work. The MYA continues investments in sustaining peace and further strengthening of partnerships and common agendas with regional and sub-regional organizations.

Multi-Year Appeal: 2017 Update: The 2017 Update complements the MYA 2016-2017providing an overview of what’s new for 2017 with a particular focus on DPA’s response to the twin “Sustaining Peace” resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly in April 2016.


Annual Reports:
Annual Report 2017:
This annual report shows how donor contributions allowed DPA to extend its assistance and expertise to help prevent or mitigate conflict and sustain peace in countries around the world, expand its network of regional presences, and to continue to work for more inclusion of women, minorities, indigenious peoples and marginalized groups in conflict prevention, peace processes and peacebuilding. 

Annual Report 2016: 2016 was a year of transition for the United Nations. In his last year at the helm of the Organization, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon moved to translate the conclusions of the wide ranging and recent reviews of the United Nations peace and security work into meaningful reforms and action, and saw the adoption of the landmark “Sustaining Peace” resolutions. The United Nations also welcomed a new leader, António Guterres, who has made a “surge in diplomacy for peace” his clarion call. These changes, along with the continuously evolving “conflict landscape” that gave rise to them, promise to have a transformational effect on the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). 


Quarterly Progress Update on the Multi-Year Appeal:
1 April to 30 June 2018: Second Quarterly Progress Update 2018 on the Multi-Year Appeal

1 January to 31 March 2018: First Quarterly Progress Update 2018 on the Multi-Year Appeal

1 July to 30 September 2017: Third Quarterly Progress Update 2017 on the Multi-Year Appeal

1 April to 30 June 2017: Second Quarterly Progress Update 2017 on the Multi-Year Appeal

1 January to 31 March 2017: First Quarterly Progress Update 2017 on the Multi-Year Appeal


UK Annual Review of DPA's Performance:
For a fourth consecutive year, DPA has received a score of A in a United Kingdom review of its performance in raising funds and using them effectively. 



UN Reports

Conflict Prevention and Mediation
UN Activities in Support of Mediation (2017 – A/72/115): The Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly on United Nations activities in support of mediation in the peaceful settlement
of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution recognizes mediation as an important tool for conflict prevention, management and resolution; analyses five elements of mediation support, providing examples of United Nation activities within the framework of each element; and sets out the means through which the entities of the United Nations system can coordinate their support for mediation initiatives at different levels.

Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace. A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2015): This Study reinforces the Security Council’s original crucial recognition of the power of engaging women in peace with compelling proof. It shows that women’s participation and inclusion makes humanitarian assistance more effective, strengthens the protection efforts of our peacekeepers, contributes to the conclusion of peace talks and the achievement of sustainable peace, accelerates economic recovery, and helps counter violent extremism. 

Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on mediation (2015 – A/70/328): The present report describes efforts to strengthen cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations to build mediation capacity and deepen strategic and operational partnerships in carrying out mediation efforts. It reviews trends in conflict and mediation and recalls the fundamentals of effective mediation as a background for cooperation efforts. 

Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations on uniting our strengths for peace: politics, partnership and people (2015): Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, chaired by Jose Ramos-Horta, to take a comprehensive look at how United Nations peace operations can continue to contribute to the prevention and resolution of conflicts and be best designed and equipped to deal with the challenges of tomorrow and to undertake a thorough review of the current United Nations peace operations and the emerging needs of the future.

The UN and Conflict Prevention: a Collective Recommitment (2015 - S/2015/730)The report reflects on how prevention tools have been promoted and strengthened throughout the United Nations system as a whole, and how they can continue to be reinforced, including through cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.

Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution (2012 - A/66/811)The report outlines progress made in implementing resolution 65/283 on "Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution", in the context of key trends in the field of mediation. 

Preventive Diplomacy: Delivering Results (2011): The report illustrates how preventive diplomacy engagements have made a difference on the ground in a range of different contexts. It discusses the risks and obstacles that continue to hamper preventive efforts and identifies key elements which, in the experience of the United Nations and its partners, have proven critical in maximizing the success of these efforts: early warning, flexibility, partnerships, sustainability, evaluation and resources. 

Report of the Secretary-General on Enhancing Mediation and its Support Activities (2009): The report examines the challenges faced by the United Nations and its partners in providing professional mediation assistance to parties in conflict. It describes the need for experienced and knowledgeable mediators and support teams, with women adequately represented, and sufficient resources to provide assistance at an early stage to help parties design and pursue processes that will address the root causes of their conflicts, overcome obstacles that block progress, and achieve agreements that lead to sustainable peace. It discusses the importance of building local, national and regional capacity for mediation and the need for coherent partnership between the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations, States and non-governmental organizations.

Secretary-General’s Progress Report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (200620032001): The report examines the potential for preventive action at several levels, looking at both operational and structural prevention and introducing a third sphere of action, namely, systemic prevention, which refers to measures to address global risk of conflict that transcend particular States. 


Special Political Missions

Report of the Secretary-General. Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions (2017): report on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions, including efforts towards improving transparency, accountability, geographical representation, gender participation, expertise and effectiveness in respect of all special political missions.

Report of the Secretary-General. Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions (2015): report on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions, including efforts towards improving transparency, accountability, geographical representation, gender participation, expertise and effectiveness in respect of all special political missions.

Report of the Secretary-General. The future of United Nations peace operations: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015): The Secretary-General's report on the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations from 16 June 2015 constitutes his response to the report and an agenda with which to take forward the recommendations of the Panel.

Report of the Secretary-General. Overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions (2013): report on the overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions, including their evolution and trends, as well as their role in the activities of the Organization relating to the maintenance of international peace and security, and to make recommendations to increase their overall transparency and effectiveness.

"Brahimi Report" - Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (2000): Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000 appointed the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. He asked the Panel to assess the shortcomings of the then existing peace operations system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change. The result, known as the “Brahimi Report” after Lakhdar Brahimi, the Chair of the Panel, called for renewed political commitment on the part of Member States, significant institutional change, and increased financial support. The Panel noted that in order to be effective, UN peacekeeping operations must be properly resourced and equipped, and operate under clear, credible and achievable mandates.




Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Report of the Secretary-General (A/72/707-S/2018/43)The report provides an update on the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture and contains specific recommendations to address existing gaps. The aim is to forge a common vision and common systems and capacities across the United Nations to consistently and adequately support Member States in their endeavour to sustain peace and build resilient and prosperous nations in line with their commitments to leave no one behind.

Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the 2015 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture (2015): This report represents the first part of a two-stage review of the role and positioning of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), as well as the operational entities of the United Nations (UN) active in peacebuilding. The report is intended to nourish the second, inter-governmental stage, which it is hoped will lead to concrete actions to strengthen the UN’s approach to sustaining peace.    

Progress Report of the Secretary-General on Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict (2010)

Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict (2009)The present report focuses on the challenges that post-conflict countries and the international community face in the immediate aftermath of conflict, defined as the first two years after the main conflict in a country has ended.


Development of the UN's Peace and Security Framework

In Larger Freedom: toward Security, Development and Human Rights for All (2005)Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a five-year progress report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration of 2000, setting out priorities for action in the fields of development, security and human rights, and the strengthening of the United Nations. 
The Agenda for Peace (1992): In light of the UN’s increased involvement in internal conflicts, then-UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali was asked by the Security Council to help define the role in the new security environment of the post-Cold War era. Advocating an “integrated approach to human security,” the resulting Agenda for Peace stresses that “[t]he sources of conflict and war are pervasive and deep. To reach them will require our utmost effort to enhance respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to promote sustainable economic and social development for wider prosperity, to alleviate distress and to curtail the existence and use of massively destructive weapons.” The Agenda identifies poverty, environmental degradation, disease and organized crime as root causes of violent conflicts. In the Agenda, the Secretary-General also acknowledged that the new security environment forces the UN to look inside states. Reiterating that “[r]espect for [the state’s] fundamental sovereignty and integrity are crucial to any common international progress”, he cautions that “[t]he time of absolute and exclusive sovereignty, however, has passed: its theory was never matched by reality.”