Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 12/2012

Go Long: Six Actions to Structurally Address Organized Violence

J. Brian Atwood, Erwin van Veen

December 2012

International Peace Institute


Many of the traditional tools for confronting organized violence—such as peacekeeping, law enforcement, and mediation—are short term in nature, designed to stem violence or manage crises. But in a globalizing world, where organized violence is evolving beyond interstate and even intrastate conflicts, these tools often do no more than temporary damage control. This issue brief presents a long-term vision for addressing organized violence. It argues that in order to be most effective, international action must be integrated in nature, global in scope, and focused on changing the structural conditions that provide fertile ground for violence. In this spirit, the authors propose six concrete actions: 1. Generate an integrated UN policy to address organized violence in all forms. 2. Develop an approach to the illegal drug trade that is based on public health, development, decriminalization, and law enforcement. 3. Create a binding international regulatory framework for the security-services industry. 4. Strengthen incentive structures and international support for regional and local efforts to prevent organized violence. 5. Support “infrastructures for peace” that can transform cultures of violence. 6. Stimulate leadership for peace.