What Works in UN Resident Coordinator-Led Conflict Prevention: Lessons from the Field

United Nations University, June 2018.
Sebastian von Einsiedel, Cale Salih, Josie Kaye, Wendy MacClinchy, Francesco Galtieri.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has placed conflict prevention at the top of his agenda. One of the key challenges he will face is that of making Resident Coordinators (RCs) in fragile and conflict-affected countries without peace operations more effective prevention actors. While so-called “non-mission settings” are widely recognised as the frontline of preventive action (peace operations are usually deployed once efforts to avert outbreak of violent conflict have failed), they also tend to be contexts where the UN faces some of its most acute challenges in making prevention work. This is because RCs, who head the UN’s development presence in such places, face significant political, mandate, and resource constraints in the pursuit of prevention. Against this background, UNU-CPR with the support of the UK Mission to the United Nations, undertook a research project to extract lessons of RC-supported preventive action in nine countries, where such support has generally been effective. The project had two central aims: first, to produce analytical narratives of success stories, detailing how RCs and UN Country Teams (UNCTs) have effectively engaged across various settings in a preventive manner; and second, to identify good practices of what has worked in RC-supported prevention in the past, and how those lessons might be relevant to RCs in other settings.