UN and Preventive Diplomacy

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Preventive diplomacy refers to diplomatic action taken to prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of conflicts when they occur. While it is conducted in different forms and fora, both public and private, the most common expression of preventive diplomacy is found in the work of envoys dispatched to crisis areas to encourage dialogue, compromise and the peaceful resolution of tensions. Preventive diplomacy can also encompass the involvement of the Security Council, the Secretary-General and other actors to discourage the use of violence at critical moments. Since its inception, the United Nations has played a crucial role in helping to mediate inter- and intra-State conflicts at all stages: before they escalate into armed conflict, after the outbreak of violence, and during implementation of peace agreements. The organization continues to play a preeminent role in peacemaking, 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. The UN’s peacemaking efforts, monitoring global political developments and advising the Secretary-General on the prevention and management of crises, including through 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.

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