Preventive Diplomacy at the UN

Preventive Diplomacy at the UN

Bertrand G. Ramcharan, Leon Gordenker
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/07/2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21983-1
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The concept of preventive diplomacy has captivated the United Nations since it was first articulated by Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld a half-century ago. Successive generations of diplomats and statesmen have invested in the idea that diplomatic efforts might be able to head off international conflicts and disasters. Dramatic successes, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, contrast with dramatic failures, such as the inability of UN efforts to halt the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In this careful study, distinguished former UN civil servant Bertrand G. Ramcharan traces the history of the practice of preventive diplomacy by UN Secretaries-General, the Security Council, and other UN organizations, and assesses the record of preventive diplomacy and examines its prospects in an age of genocide and terrorism.

Author Bio

Bertrand G. Ramcharan is Professor of International Human Rights Law at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies and Chancellor of the University of Guyana. He was a member of the UN Secretariat for 32 years and served as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is the author or editor of more than 25 books on international law, human rights, and the United Nations.


“A superb work of scholarship by one of the most versatile scholar/practitioners of the UN.”
 — Margaret Vogt, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs

“No task is more fundamental to the United Nations than the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. Prevention, in particular, must be central to all our efforts. —Kofi Annan, former UN Secretar”
 — General

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Table of Contents

Series Editors' Foreword by Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas G. Weiss
Foreword by Leon Gordenker
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Secretaries-General on Preventive Diplomacy


1. Preventive Diplomacy in the Concert of Europe, the Hague Peace Conferences, the League of Nations, and the UN Charter
2. UN Policies and Doctrines of Preventive Diplomacy
3. The Practice of Preventive Diplomacy by the Security Council
4. The Practice of Preventive Diplomacy by the Secretaries-General
5. Preventive Diplomacy during the Cuban Missile Crisis
6. The Practice of Preventive Diplomacy by Representatives of the Secretary-General and UN Subregional Offices
7. The Preventive Role of UN Peacekeepers and Observers
8. Preventive Diplomacy in the Economic, Social, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Fields
9. Preventive Diplomacy in an Age of Genocide, Terrorism, and Nontraditional Threats to Security
10. Cooperative Preventive Diplomacy with Regional and Subregional Organizations

Conclusion: Some Thoughts for the Future

About the Author
About the United Nations Intellectual History Project

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