Progress in conflict prevention depends upon a better understanding of the underlying circumstances that give rise to violent conflict and mass atrocities, as well as the warning signs that a crisis is imminent. In recent decades there has been a substantial amount of empirical research on the causes of violence and the driving forces of conflict. The policy implications of this must be exploited to a greater degree so that the conditions that enable widespread violence can be addressed, before it occurs. The prevention of violent conflict and mass atrocities involves a range of social, economic and institutional factors, and it highlights broad challenges – many of which are international – relating to deprivation, inequality, political access and environmental management. It also involves overcoming a number of acute political obstacles that are currently embedded within the values and institutions of global governance. From this perspective, the paper presents a range of proposals related to structural conflict prevention and crisis response, as well as the prevention of mass atrocities.

About the authors
Edward Newman is Professor of International Security in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds. He previously worked at the University of Birmingham and the United Nations University, where he was Director of Studies on Conflict and Security in the Peace and Governance Programme. His latest book is Understanding Civil Wars: Continuity and Change in Intra-state Conflict (2014) and he has published in Security Dialogue, Contemporary Security Policy, Review of International Studies, Global Responsibility to Protect, Third World Quarterly, Peacebuilding, International Studies Perspectives, and Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, amongst others. Further information can be found at

Eamon Aloyo is a Senior Researcher on the Conflict Prevention Program. Dr. Aloyo is a political scientist working on policy relevant topics at the intersection of political theory and international relations. His interests include the responsibility to protect (R2P), just war theory, global justice, and related issues. He has published in Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Ethics and International Affairs, Global Constitutionalism, Global Society, and International Theory.

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