Contemporary Conflict Resolution

Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse, Hugh Miall

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Endorsements

“There is no more definitive text in the field of peace and conflict studies. It is impressive in its clarity, comprehensiveness, and ability to incorporate an historical overview of each area as well as the latest thinking and debates.”
Professor Oliver Richmond, Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of St Andrews

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For details and comprehensive data on contemporary conflicts and peacekeeping, the resources below will provide useful information:

Models, Ideas and Resources

  • Based in the UK, and formed in the early 1960s, the Conflict Research Society (CRS)is the prime interdisciplinary forum linking professionals and academics concerned with co-operation and conflict and provides a meeting point for sharing their work.
  • Since 1964 the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) has been pursuing interdisciplinary research into the most pressing issues related to sustainable peace around the world today. As a network of scholars, practitioners and decision-makers from all continents, IPRA strives to stay at the cutting edge of the state of the art of peace.

Origins, Foundations and Development

  • Indicating how extensively the field has grown in recent years the Conflict Resolution Information Source is an online clearinghouse, indexing more than 25,000 peace- and conflict resolution-related webpages, books, articles, audiovisual materials, organizational profiles, events, and current news articles.
  • The Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford is one of the largest academic centres for peace and conflict studies worldwide.
  • The Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC) at the University of Kent is a multi-disciplinary Faculty Research Centre. It is based in the School of Politics and International Relations.
  • Transcend is based on the work of Johan Galtung, one of the founders of peace research, and gives a good idea of Galtung’s analysis of current conflict, including the ‘war on terror’.

The Statistics of Deadly Quarrels And The Measurement Of Peace

  • The School for the Culture of Peace (Escola de Cultura de Pau) based at the Autonomous University of Catalunya in Barcelona. It produces a searchable database on current conflict and peacebuilding activities. The School also publishes Alert, an annual report on global conflicts, and periodically updated reports on conflicts and international activity (Barometro and Semaforo).
  • The University of Uppsala in Sweden has recorded ongoing violent conflicts in its Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) since 1979. UCDP provides one of the most accurate and well-used data-sources on global armed conflicts and its definition of armed conflict is becoming a standard in how conflicts are systematically defined and studied.
  • Vision of Humanity produces its Global Peace Index annually, based on measuring the peacefulness of nations rather than conflict.
  • The  is an independent research centre affiliated with Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada. The HSRP tracks global and regional trends in organized violence, their causes and consequences. Research findings and analyses are published in the Human Security Report, Human Security Brief series, and the mini Atlas of Human Security.
  •  compiles information about development policy related issues. It is based in the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex, and includes documents from development agencies, relevant to global security, complex emergences, post conflict reconstruction, refugees and forced migration, and gender and conflict. There are links to documents, resource guides, briefings and country profiles.
  • Located in the Department of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) gathers documentation and conducts research and analysis of national and international political conflicts. It was founded in 1991 to continue the work of the research project COSIMO (Conflict Simulation Model). COSIMO records information on political conflicts since 1945 and currently holds information on more than 500 conflicts in over 2,500 phases, according to levels of escalation and de-escalation and violent and non-violent phases. Research results are published in an annual Conflict Barometer.

Understanding Contemporary Conflict

  • The International Crisis Group provides a range of ongoing and up dated conflict analysis briefings.
  • The website of the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado was founded in 1988 as a multi-disciplinary centre for research and teaching about conflict and its transformation. The Consortium has pioneered efforts to use rapidly advancing information technologies to provide citizens in all walks of life with the information that they need to deal with conflicts more constructively.
  • The Conflict Mapping page on the University of Colorado’s Conflict Research Consortium’s site gives a summary of Paul Wehr’s approach and a number of links to examples and related articles.
  • Other important examples of conflict mapping methods are the conflict assessment framework of the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the Conflict Analysis Framework of the World Bank at http://web.worldbank.org/
  • Based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, INCORE offers a conflict data service which provides a detailed database on conflicts and conflict-related issues worldwide, offering information on conflicts in specific countries and thematic information, as well as interdisciplinary guides on how conflict affects and interacts with other issues and phenomena. There is also an online database of peace agreements from around the world. INCORE publishes an Ethnic Conflict Research Digest.

Preventing Violent Conflict

  • The European Centre for Conflict Prevention is a non-governmental organisation that promotes effective conflict prevention and peacebuilding strategies and actively supports and connects people who work for peace worldwide. The ECCP is the Global Secretariat of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), is a world-wide civil society-led network which aims to build a new international consensus on peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict. It was established in 2003 in response to the call of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his Report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (2001). GPPAC strengthens civil society networks for peace and security by linking local, national, regional, and global levels of action and provides an effective vehicle for engagement with governments, the UN system, and regional organisations.
  • The conflict prevention and crisis management policies and programme of the European Union are available here.
  • Based on Michael Lund’s toolkit, SAIS guide to conflict prevention provides an assessment of a wide range of policy options that can be used for conflict prevention.

Containing Violent Conflict: Peacekeeping

Ending Violent Conflict: Peacemaking

  • The United Nations Peacemaker lists peace agreements, peacemaking resources, and other information about managing a peace process.

Other UN sources include the following:-
The Integrated Regional Information Network of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs provides news summaries on humanitarian issues from Africa and Asia at IRIN news.
ReliefWeb by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs provides country-by-country news and analysis from a range of sources.

  • The Mediation Support Unit has been established within the Department of Political Affairs within the United Nations, New York. DPA's Mediation Support Unit, established in 2008, works closely with the Department's regional divisions to plan and support mediation efforts in the field. Among its functions, MSU provides advisory, financial and logistical support to peace processes; works to strengthen the mediation capacity of regional and sub-regional organizations; and serves as a repository of mediation knowledge, policy and guidance, lessons learned and best practices. The Department manages the United Nations Standby Team of Mediation Experts – an "on call" group of experts established in 2008 that can be deployed individually or as a group to assist mediators in the field.
  • The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue based in Geneva is an independent mediation organisation which provides mediation between warring parties and provides support to the broader mediation community.

Post War Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

  • The World Bank has identified fragile and conflict-affected countries as one of its six strategic themes for achieving sustainable globalization. To advance this agenda, the Bank created a new trust fund: the State- and Peace-Building Fund (SPF). The SPF, which came in to effect in July 2008, seeks to address state and local governance needs, and peace-building in fragile and conflict-affected situations. Information about peacebuilding projects supported by the SPF are accessible via the World Bank’s State and Peacebuilding Grants Database
  • The Stabilisation Unit is a UK Government inter-Departmental unit that helps improve the UK's ability to support countries emerging from violent conflict. It is jointly owned by the Department for International Development (DFID), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD) – its three ‘parent departments’. Set up in 2004 as the Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit (PCRU) it was renamed the Stabilisation Unit in late 2007.
  • The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission created by both the General Assembly and the Security Council resolutions adopted in 2005. The Commission is mandated to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery, and it focuses reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development, in countries emerging from conflict.
  • The Peacebuilding Portal, sponsored by the UN, the UNDP, the OAS, the AU and the Federal Republic of Germany is a website that aims to promote collaboration and consultation among organizations and individuals working in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. It supports multilateral collaboration on conflict prevention & peacebuilding by offering local, national, and multi-lateral stakeholders a real-time web tool to strengthen their work and better respond to issues surrounding human security, peacebuilding & conflict.
  • There is a wide variety of online information about the roles and activities of civil society organisations in peacemaking. Conciliation Resources is a London-based NGO that specialises in supporting civil responses to conflict in conflict-affected countries. It publishes a valuable series on peace processes.

Reconciliation

  • LSE Global Governance is a leading research centre dedicated to research, analysis and dissemination about global governance. Based at the London School of Economics, LSE Global Governance aims to increase understanding and knowledge of global issues, to encourage interaction between academics, policy makers, journalists and activists, and to propose solutions.
  • Environmental Conflict Resolution. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading UN forum for climate analysis.
  • African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) is Nairobi-based science, technology and environmental policy think-tank. Since 2000 it has been running a project examining ecological sources of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Inventory of Conflict & Environment (ICE) Database is a project of the American University, featuring 200 case studies examining relationships between conflict and environment. http://www1.american.edu/TED/ice/ice.htm
  • Met Office Centre for Climate Change – The UK's official centre for climate change research, focusing particularly on scientific issues. Advises the British Government.

Gender and Conflict Resolution

  • Established in 1976, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is the women's fund at the United Nations, dedicated to advancing women’s rights and achieving gender equality. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women's empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.

Religion and Conflict Resolution

  • The Tanenbaum Centre works to reduce religious ignorance and prevent hatred and violence perpetrated in the name of religion by supporting religious peacemakers who struggle in areas of armed conflict and by overcoming religious intolerance in workplaces, health care settings and schools.

Conflict Resolution in Art and Popular Culture

  • UNESCO's Intercultural Dialogue programme is part of the global framework of an Alliance of Civilizations launched by the United Nations. More specifically, within the larger framework of intercultural dialogue, which also encompasses interreligious dialogue, special focus is placed on a series of good practices to encourage cultural pluralism at the local, regional and national level as well as regional and sub-regional initiatives aimed at discouraging all expressions of extremism and fanaticism and highlighting values and principles that bring people together.
  • The Culture of Peace programme promotes values, attitudes and behaviours in people so that they will seek peaceful solutions to problems. As a transdisciplinary project, all Sectors of the Organization are active in the development of innovative projects and activities that foster this new culture. In working with a wide range of partners, UNESCO aims to advance a global movement for a Culture of Peace.
  • Through the UN Office for Sport Peace and Development (UNOSPD) .In recent years, UN bodies – along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development agencies and sports organizations (present at www.sportanddev.org) – have increasingly recognized and systematically harnessed the power of sport to achieve their objectives, particularly the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000, hence contributing to the emergence of the Sport for Development and Peace movement.
  • Specific examples of sports in conflict resolution are Coaching for Hope which uses football to create better futures for young people in West and Southern Africa. Coaching for Hope taps into the universal passion for football and organise coaching courses where professional coaches from the UK train local youth workers to recognised FA standards. At the same time, the local coaches learn how to deliver HIV awareness sessions to young people in their communities. Once the UK coaches leave, our programme staff provide ongoing support to the graduates. This means they can deliver Coaching for Hope sessions and develop training initiatives of their own.
  • The Foundation of the football club at FC Barcelona has explicit objectives to support the links between sport and conflict resolution. This was marked by FC Barcelona’s adhesion to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the donation of 0.7% of the club’s ordinary income to the Foundation to support its programmes and projects. This has led to the strengthening of our early alliances with Unicef, UNESCO and UNHCR. FC Barcelona was awarded a position as a member of the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council of the United Nations) and has recently endowed a UNESCO Chair in Sport and Peacebuilding in partnership with the Open University of Catalunya to support and develop sport as a tool for social coexistence and the resolution of conflicts. The initiative has seen the launching of an Masters Degree, in Spanish and in English, in Sport, Social Cohesion and Conflict Resolution.

The Media and the Communications Revolution

  • The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) forges the skills and capacity of local journalism, strengthens local media institutions and engages with civil society and governments to ensure that information achieves impact in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
  • The World Wide Web Foundation was launched by the inventor of the www, Tim Berners Lee. The Foundation works to enable people to use the Web’s capabilities to play an increasingly vital role in reducing poverty and conflict, improving healthcare and education, reversing global warming, and spreading good governance.
  • iRevolution is a website developed by Patrick Meier to promote ‘the individual’s revolution in self-sufficiency, self-determination and self-survival facilitated by information communication technology. iRevolutions take place when new technology or innovative applications empower the individual to make better decisions for her or himself in times of crisis. iRevolutionaries can be described as individuals who undertake nonviolent activity by relying primarily on their own skills or networks to conduct their actions’. The website features examples of uses of ICT for conflict and crisis mapping and conflict prevention, such as the USHAHIDI programme.

Simulations and Teaching Materials

  • CR Info is a page of useful information about roleplays and simulations on mediation, negotiation and conflict.
  • Fisher’s Oil Pricing, Harvard Program on Negotiation.
  • Ebner’s game Pasta Wars.

Other social networking and Multimedia Resources

  • United Nations Messengers for Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, music and sports, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations. Backed by the highest honour bestowed by the Secretary-General on a global citizen for an initial period of two years, these prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of United Nations’ efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.
  • Facebook has a Peace page.

YouTube peace and conflict resolution related videos

Music and conflict resolution

  • In 1999, Daniel Barenboim, together with the Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, set up the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which brings together young musicians from Israel and the Arab countries every summer. The orchestra seeks to enable a dialogue between the various cultures of the Middle East and to promote this through the experience of making music together.