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Title: Opportunities for conflict prevention. Lessons from the economic community of West African States (ECOWAS)
Oportunidades de prevenção de conflitos. Lições da comunidade económica dos Estados Da África Ocidental (Cedeao)
Authors: Cuadrado, Jara
Keywords: Conflict prevention
regionalization of security
West Africa
Prevenção de conflitos
regionalização da segurança
África Ocidental
Issue Date: Nov-2019
Publisher: OBSERVARE. Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa
Abstract: Conflict prevention has become an important doctrine within conflict management policies in international and regional organizations, especially since the end of the Cold War. There has been an evolution in the last three decades in the context of peace and security that has made conflict prevention gains relevance. In the current context, with the arrival of António Guterres to the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), conflict prevention doctrine could be encouraged, since he has pointed out that it should be the priority of the organization. Conflict prevention offers several advantages to face crisis contexts, since it works on avoiding violence situations escalating towards armed conflicts and helping to control the spread of security threats. By using preventive measures, the structural causes of conflicts can be dealt with in the most durable and efficient manner since the final goal of preventive actions is to transform actually or potentially violent conflict into non-violent processes of social and political change. While conflict prevention has gained greater importance, another trend has been promoted; security regionalization. Since the mid-nineties, there has been a transition in international peacekeeping missions, aimed to warrant peace and security all over the world that has focused on regional actors. This practice has been particularly welcomed in Africa. Both trends –conflict prevention and security regionalization– will be the object of study in this article, using as a practical scenario the region of West Africa. It is a geographic area where a series of cross-border threats are concentrated, hence becoming a zone of international concern. Moreover, the experience on conflict prevention of the regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is interesting. Indeed, ECOWAS has carried out a significant activity regarding preventive diplomacy and mediation in conflicts. Thus, the objectives of this research are: (1) to study the evolution of conflict prevention doctrine; (2) to assess the link between conflict prevention policies and security regionalization; and (3) to use the case of ECOWAS as an illustration, since the organization is at the forefront of conflict prevention iniciatives in the African continent.
Peer Reviewed: yes
ISSN: 1647-7251
Appears in Collections:OBSERVARE - JANUS.NET e-journal of International Relations. Vol.10, n.2 (November 2019- April 2020)

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