Conflict Prevention and International Organizations

Conflict resolution and crisis prevention are critical components of any development strategy. International organizations have the power and capacity to dramatically influence policy in any development strategy option. International institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN), International Police Organization (Interpol), European Union (EU), and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) play a critical role in promoting global progress (Mullenbach 530). Development is defined as multifaceted improvement in all sectors of an economy (these aspects include poverty, politics, social wellbeing, national output, trade, improved standards of living, security, and peace). The problems of the 21st century would not have been conquered without the efforts of international organizations.

It is globally believed, that it is the responsibility of international organizations to maintain the world, regional, and sub-regional stability and peace. The stability may be in form of economic, political or social and that they should act in the interest of the international community. In this essay, the role of international organizations in prevention or acceleration of conflict is discussed. The essay is subdivided into sections which analyze the specific global companies and their contributions in prevention or acceleration of conflict (Barnett and Martha). International organizations possess considerable global presence, technical assets, and financial resources and thus they are a major contributor in conflict management.

The United Nations (UN)

Some major regional conflicts that may have resulted into the Third World War between the 1970s to the late 1990s had been negotiated and settled or substantive steps towards settlement had been made courtesy of the United Nations (UN). To mention some of the positive steps, the Soviet Union withdrawing their force from Afghanistan, the war in Iran and Iraq that had cost great loss of life and property was halted based on the peace agreements chaired by the UN, Namibia got independence due to the United Nations mediation which ended the 13 years long conflict between Angola and South Africa over Namibia (Weiss et al.). The last major conflict situation resolved by the United Nations is the agreement among Central American countries to proposed peace plan by Oscar Arias Sanchez (Costa Rica President) which called for halt to external assistance to insurgents, cease-fire, national reconciliation commitment and democratic, free, and fair elections in the region.

All these were made possible through the efforts of the United Nations among other regional and international organizations. These conflicts may not have been settled or such steps towards resolution would not have been possible without the direct and vigorous engagement of this organization. However, it has not been the settlement of conflicts for the United Nations as there are certain situations that they have tried for several years to better them but the case has been deteriorating (Thakur).

The International Police Organization (Interpol)

As the mission of Interpol states, enabling police worldwide to work in corporation with the aim of making the world a safer place (that is securing the world through the connection of police). Due to the `high-tech infrastructure of Interpol police in all member countries and states can connect or get access to an instantaneous criminal database (Sandler, Daniel, and Walter 88). This feature enables police to share critical criminal-related information worldwide. Each member country is facilitated to set up National Central Bureau (NCB). The Bureau functions are to connect police officers on the ground with each other and to the Interpol command center situated in Lyon, France.

The information on Interpol database can instantly be shared through NCB among all member countries. Apart from sharing information on crime Interpol provides training that is targeted, provision of investigative experts and communication channels that are secure. With these in place, Interpol is at the forefront of preventing conflicts. How they achieve this is, however, indirect, they ensure that people who are wanted and may present a threat to the state of peace in a country are brought in to face the full force of the law (Sandler, Daniel, and Walter 105). By doing so they have full knowledge of each member states accomplishes and this kind of information is essential in prevention and control of conflicts.

World Health Organization (WHO)

In the year 1981 during World Health Assembly, Resolution 34.38 was made. This decision enabled WHO to continue their work based on principles that are linked to humanitarian standards and human rights as well as medical ethics. Since the inception of the resolution, health has been viewed as the bridge for peace. World Health Organization’s main mission is to save lives while conflicts claim them. The direct link between health and conflict makes WHO at the forefront of prevention of the problem (Irive). WHO is the first international organization to deal with the results of conflict (wounded and dead people) and for that, they have first-hand information on causes and ways of preventing disagreements.

International organization’s main strategy in the current century is not managing conflicts and providing post-war care but it is to help prevent such problems if possible. WHO have faced several challenges in carrying out its mandate due to war. For example, on 15th June 2000 conflict in Congo disrupted planned immunization of polio. This resulted into loss of close to 180,000 doses of polio vaccines. Also, countries that are facing continuous armed conflicts pose a challenge to disease control which is the other objective of WHO (Moreton-Robinson). However, the organization has been reported to be biased in handling conflict situation in some countries. Nevertheless, WHO contributes significantly to the prevention of conflict through the provision of health education and joining hands with other international organizations in preventing regional conflicts (Banatval and Antony 101).

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Western European countries faced a constant threat of invasion during the cold war. The Soviet Union controlled by Kremlin actually stood at the ready to invade Western Europe. Due to this threat, NATO was conceived with the aim of forming a collective military force. This organization was to pool resources from member countries and made a great army which could face the “Red Army” and the Soviets. As the history of NATO suggest it was not meant to prevent conflict but to counter it (Barnett and Martha). However, later it was realized that countries did not go to war due to the level of preparedness of both sides of the “Iron Curtain”. The Soviet on the other side feared the military ability of the Western European countries as was with these ones. For this reason, NATO ended up preventing war instead of triggering it.

After the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the 90s NATO was perceived as irrelevant, however, it turned to the provision of humanitarian aid and security to several countries of the world. The main reason why NATO has remained a global body is its neutrality in international politics (Ramsbotham, Hugh, and Tom). At the moment, the main objective of NATO is to foster a society of countries with values that are common (specifically countries that value the protection of human rights, the liberal and the democratic government).

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Conflicts require resources to prevent or accelerate. The current state of the world wars cost large sums of resources and, for this reason, World Bank and IMF must be in the forefront in the prevention of conflict. In the past, there have been claims that certain countries use their resources in supporting rebels in other countries (Mullenbach 530). The response of IMF and the World Bank in such situations is to work in conjunction with other international organizations in the implementation of sanctions for such countries. If, for example, a country is not able to sell or buy a product from other states due to economic sanctions, then they will have little resources to organize wars. Through such initiatives, the IMF has helped in prevention of conflicts in many countries

European Union (EU)

Regardless of the name of EU, it does not only operate in Europe. In the recent past, it has been actively involved in putting into effect economic sanctions to countries that do not uphold human rights. It advises its member states not to trade with regions that are contributing negatively to international stability and peace (Vries 5). However, some member states have been linked to supporting factions in other sovereign countries. Such activities are not meant to prevent conflicts but to accelerate them. In spite of such claims EU has been in the forefront in mediation for peace among countries beyond Europe and thus significantly contributes to prevention of conflicts.


In conclusion, the international organizations should continue to strengthen their coordination and cooperation with other humanitarian agencies, stakeholders of civil societies, and development bodies, with a view to further improving their efficiency in the prevention of conflict and the implementation of cultures of peace concepts. Based on the aims, vision, and missions of the international organizations discussed above, their founders were convinced that long lasting peace can only result from respect for the dignity of peoples and individuals, democracy, justice, and freedom of expression. And in pursuit of these, the international organizations work towards ensuring democracy in most member countries, campaigns for the freedom of expression, justice (for instance, Interpol) and respect for dignity (for instance, United Nation). Finally, in order to put into effect the peace culture, all international organizations must foster the ideas of nonviolence and dialogue, the rule of law must be adopted as opposed to the logic of force to force and war cultures.

Nevertheless, International Organizations have greatly shown that they can adapt to dynamic geopolitical realities and conflict situations. The organizations have since developed better approaches and forms of prevention of conflicts (against the management of crisis). For instance, the UN has since employed peacekeeping and mediation which has enabled them to play an enhanced part in settlement and prevention of regional disputes and problems. Moreover, the roles of every international organization in conflict prevention must be accompanied by the support of other key players in the regional or sub-regional organizations. International companies play a significant role in the prevention of conflicts.

Works Cited

Banatval, Nicholas, and Anthony B. Zwi. "Conflict and health: public health and humanitarian interventions: developing the evidence base." BMJ: British Medical Journal321.7253, 2000, pp. 101.

Barnett, Michael, and Martha Finnemore. Rules for the world: International organizations in global politics. Cornell University Press, 2004.

Irive, Akira. Global community: The role of international organizations in the making of the contemporary world. University of California Press, 2002.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. Sovereign subjects: Indigenous sovereignty matters. Allen & Unwin, 2007.

Mullenbach, Mark J. "Deciding to keep peace: An analysis of international influences on the establishment of third-party peacekeeping missions." International Studies Quarterly 49.3, 2005, pp. 529-555.

Ramsbotham, Oliver, Hugh Miall, and Tom Woodhouse. Contemporary conflict resolution. Polity, 2011.

Sandler, Todd, Daniel G. Arce, and Walter Enders. "An evaluation of Interpol’s cooperative-based counterterrorism linkages." The Journal of Law and Economics 54.1, 2011, pp. 79-110.

Thakur, Ramesh. The United Nations, peace and security: from collective security to the responsibility to protect. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Vries, Gijs de. "The European Union's Role in the Fight Against Terrorism: [Opening Address-The Role of the EU in the Fight Against Terrorism]." Irish Studies in International Affairs 16, 2005, pp. 3-9.

Weiss, Thomas G., et al. The United Nations and changing world politics. Westview Press, 2016.

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