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Research Report

Conflict Policy in Some Western Countries:: Some Explorative Notes

Klaas van Walraven
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 1999
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 29
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 7-8)

    As part of the ‘Conflict Policy Research Project’ (CPRP) this report explores the rough outlines of the policies and postures of some other Western governments with regard to countries in conflict. It is predominantly based on official government documents, which were collected by an undergraduate student working on behalf of the CPR Project.¹ Only the documentation relating to Norway was of a different nature as it involved evaluation studies by research institutes, albeit undertaken at the request of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a report on relief work in crisis situations that was drawn up by another institute....

  2. (pp. 9-12)

    As in the Netherlands, Norway does not have a separate Ministry of Development Cooperation. This field of activity is dealt with inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Information on the Norwegian vision on intra-state conflict in the post-Cold War era is secondary in nature as the data involved come from evaluation studies undertaken by independent research institutes, among which the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen.² While some of these were executed at the behest of the Norwegian government they do not represent official government policy or opinion. Nevertheless, these reports do provide some clues as to Norwegian thinking on the...

  3. (pp. 13-17)

    The Swedish government has gone to some lengths not only to employ concrete aid programmes as instruments in the implementation of conflict policy but also to formulate an explicit, official posture on the issue of prevention and resolution of intra-state conflict.⁵ In this way we can obtain a clear picture of the Swedish vision and ideas on the issues discussed in this report. According to the Swedish government conflict prevention refers primarily to measures that can be implemented before a difference or dispute escalates into violence or to measures aimed at preventing a flare-up of violence after a peace agreement...

  4. (pp. 19-21)

    This chapter is based on policy statements of different ministerial departments.10 I Britain the disbursement of development aid is the responsibility of the ‘Department for International Development’ (DFID). In executing its tasks DFID has begun to integrate, what it calls, conflict reduction objectives in its development programmes. The goal of conflict reduction is defined as building up the political and social means to enable equitable representation of different interest groups, the promotion of all human rights and the resolution of disputes and grievances without recourse to violence. Good governance, human rights, accessible justice and personal security are deemed of crucial...

  5. (pp. 23-26)

    Canadian interest in efforts to intervene and resolve conflicts centres around the concept of ‘peacebuilding’. In recent years the government introduced a so-called ‘Canadian Peacebuilding Initiative’ which involved, among others, the establishment of a new peacebuilding fund of some ten million Canadian dollars and financed by the ‘Canadian International Development Agency’ (CIDA); the disbursement of development assistance to countries and regions wrecked by violence; and Canadian support for peacekeeping or ‘peace support’ operations.

    Institutionally both CIDA and the ‘Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’ (DFAIT) are important in the implementation of Canadian conflict policy. DFAIT engages in preventive diplomacy...

  6. (pp. 27-30)

    Based on the previous chapters it would be difficult to present a definitive and detailed comparative analysis of Western conflict policies. However, the principal observation that can be made on the basis of our cursory exploration is that there seems to be a remarkable similarity in policy objectives in this area, as well as a remarkable likeness in the language used to articulate Western conflict policies. Conflict resolution, conflict management, reconciliation, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants are key objectives in the conflict policies of all the countries discussed. Their conflict policies are, moreover, firmly embedded in their more general...