Preventive diplomacy includes all measures aimed at preventing existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and at preventing conflicts, if they occur, from spreading. Prevention addresses the root causes of conflict from a perspective that integrates the three pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights and inclusive development.
In 2015, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon presented a report entitled "The United Nations and Conflict Prevention: Renewing Collective Engagement". In this document he underlined the need to evolve from a traditional culture of reaction to a necessary essential culture of prevention. His successor, António Guterres, continued his legacy, making the culture of prevention one of the main priorities of his mandate.
Spain has supported this commitment, as well as the need for the international community to strengthen the use of preventive tools and, furthermore, to take into account the involvement of other local participants and to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
Spain's presence in the Security Council between 2015 and 2016 was useful in strengthening the Council's preventive role, in order to improve its capacity to respond to emerging crises and potential threats to peace and security.
It is no coincidence that conflict prevention is a fundamental part of Spain's current foreign policy. In view of the increase in conflicts, civil wars and the alarming figures of forced displacements, Spain considers it essential to use preventive diplomacy that integrates sustainable development, peace, governance, human rights and the rule of law.
The Alliance of Civilisations builds on these principles. It is an initiative of the United Nations, co-sponsored by Spain and Turkey, which aims at promoting dialogue and cooperation between different communities, cultures and civilisations and to build bridges that unite peoples and individuals beyond their cultural or religious differences, developing a series of specific actions aimed at preventing conflicts and building peace.
Spain has also led several initiatives related to mediation in recent years, focusing on the Mediterranean area, and has stressed the preventive dimension of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the framework of the United Nations.
Amongst Spain’s priorities in the field of preventive diplomacy, it is worth highlighting the implementation of National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. These plans comply with two clear lines of Spanish foreign policy: working for international peace and security and the fight in favour of non-discrimination on the basis of gender.
Furthermore, in the field of youth, it is worth highlighting Spain's co-sponsorship of various United Nations Security Council Resolutions on the contribution of young people to the peace processes.
The United Nations and conflict prevention: renewing collective commitment