Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Preventive Diplomacy: Regions in Focus

December 2011

International Peace Institute


Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest in employing preventive tools to thwart the outbreak and escalation of violent conflict. This paper looks at the state of and challenges ahead for preventive diplomacy in four different regions of the world: Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia. As Francesco Mancini, IPI's Senior Director of Research, noted in the paper's introduction, the instruments of preventive diplomacy are more cost-effective than the deployment of a peacekeeping operation and can avert the loss of innocent lives and prevent the devastating consequences produced by internal displacement and economic upheaval. It remains a key priority for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has called it “one of the smartest investments [the UN] can make.” Additionally, Mr. Mancini wrote that the preventive diplomacy field has become increasingly crowded, and now comprises a vast array of international, national, and local actors. Furthermore, this new wave of prevention is no longer primarily externally driven. Local actors have become more proactive in expanding their roles in support of preventive initiatives within their own countries.