EARLY WARNING MECHANISMS AND CONFLICT PREVENTION

(With a Reference to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension)

Patrick Philippe MEIER, Dr. Daniel LINOTTE


Patrick Philippe Meier, Consultant on Early Warning, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Medford, U.S.)

Daniel Linotte, Senior Advisor, Policy and Legal Advice Center (Belgrade, Serbia)


Introduction

International organizations are increasingly realizing the significance of information collection and early warning for conflict prevention. High-quality and continuous information gathering is the nervous system of the humanitarian enterprise; without it, any form of principled actionwhether now or in the futureis paralyzed. Early warning analysis and early response thus lie at the heart of conflict prevention.

This article addresses the design and deployment of early warning mechanisms, with a reference to the context of the OSCE economic and environmental dimension. Specifically, three parts are distinguished. The first one addresses the meaning and the importance of early warning for conflict prevention. Part two overviews major early warning mechanisms that have been considered and, for some of them, that are currently used. The OSCE is considered in the third part.

The OSCE case is particularly important because the OSCE is presently the worlds main regional security organization that, to


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