Thompson, Gordon (August 1996). Preventing Deadly Intergroup Conflict: Assembling Evidence on the Effectiveness of Preventive Actions, their Benefits, and their Costs. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Resource and Security Studies. (21 pages, 2 Appendices).

In this document, IRSS provides guidance for the preparation of evidence about actions that can help to prevent deadly conflict between groups of people. The focus is on conflicts that may escalate to major civil disturbances, civil wars, or wars between nations.   Experience suggests that violence can be prevented in many situations, often at relatively modest cost. Assessing the effectiveness and benefits of preventive actions is intrinsically difficult (the costs of preventive actions are easier to assess).   However, evidence can be assembled in such a manner that it will support a reasoned judgment about effectiveness and benefits, thus providing information that is useful for many purposes.

This guide assumes that evidence will be obtained through a case study approach, and so it outlines a proposed standardized format that helps readers to draw their own conclusions.   The objective is to assemble evidence on the effectiveness of the preventive actions, their benefits, and their costs. Two case studies are presented here, using the proposed format.

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Paula Gutlove and Gordon Thompson, (September 1995). Exchanging Knowledge About Conflict Management: A Report on Seminars in Vienna in June 1995. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Resource and Security Studies. (13 pages, 2 appendices).

IRSS, in cooperation with the Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, formerly CSCE), convened a series of seminars that were held in Vienna during the period 18-20 June 1995. These seminars were held to examine needs and opportunities for improved exchange of knowledge about conflict management. For the purpose of the seminars, the term ‘conflict management’ was used to encompass early warning of conflict and interventions that are intended to prevent, mitigate, or resolve conflict. The seminars focused on two parallel tracks. One track builds upon previous IRSS collaboration with the OSCE to clarify and strengthen relationships between the OSCE and NGOs that are active in conflict management. On the second track, IRSS works with other NGOs to enhance the effectiveness of conflict management, placing a major focus on the improvement of information exchange among NGOs and other actors in the conflict management field. This report provides some background information, describes the conduct of the seminars, and summarizes the discussions.

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Thompson, Gordon (April 1995). Assembling Evidence on Benefits and Costs of Preventive Action. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Resource and Security Studies. (12 pages).

This report was informed by a workshop held at the Winston Foundation for World Peace , Washington, DC, on March 31, 1995.   The Institute for Resource and Security Studies (IRSS) has proposed a process for assembling evidence on the benefits and costs of preventive action.   Preventive action (also known as preventive diplomacy) seeks to prevent violent conflict.   It is widely believed that preventive action is more cost-effective than a policy of responding to conflicts or crises after they have erupted.   Yet, there are few systematic analyses of the benefits and costs of preventive action.  

The workshop was held to examine the need for such evidence and the merit of the particular process that IRSS has proposed.   Overall, it was concluded: (1) that evidence on benefits and costs can and should be assembled; and (2) that IRSS’ s proposed process is feasible and useful.

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