GPBS – Expert Consultative Process on Preventing Armed Conflict


This Objective envisions seeking expert input to contribute to moving the international community away from conditions of peace that are accidental, temporary, or left to chance, by replacing the current lack of strategic thinking with methodologies by which collective security is reasoned and analyzed. We hope to initiate an era of planned peace building in which stability is sustainable and replicable rather than a hiatus between cycles of violence. This can be achieved in part by bringing top thinkers together to consider key issues and gaps in the current peace building landscape. This objective offers a methodology for bringing these experts together by convening an expert consultative process to help lead towards a more integrated peace building agenda. The consultations will provide a focused, targeted vehicle for urgently-needed expert input. This process will create a mechanism by which the world’s leading thinkers on conflict prevention can be brought together for issue-specific sessions on unresolved questions to produce concrete recommendations.

The Strategy

In a series of expert consultations, leading experts on specific topics will be tasked with collectively thinking through key unresolved issues and producing specific proposals for each issue. Since costs of such a process would be prohibitive, it will be convened via internet/video technologies. A mechanism will be put in place to identify issues, priorities, and experts, and the sessions will take place according to a planned timetable. Each session will be hosted by a subject-matter expert joined by a panel of fellow experts including members of academia, think tanks, civil society, governments and intergovernmental bodies. These are not discussions for the sake of knowledge exchange, but for the purpose of designing solutions. Moderators will present questions for discussion with the aim of generating specific proposals on how these issues should be tackled. The outcome will be a series of proposals for action that will contribute to a more systematic approach to prevention, which can result, over time, in a more reasoned peace building agenda. We envision four consultations per year; one per quarter, with the first year being Phase I, after which we will take stock of the outcome. The first consultation will explore actions that can be taken immediately when early warning indicators suggest that conflict is imminent. This session will explore the pledge made by armed forces in Egypt not to fire on protestors, and how other armed forces worldwide can be compelled or persuaded to undertake similar pledges. The second consultation will address election-related violence, and the incentives and penalties that can be brought to bear to ensure that national security forces respect election results. A third session would explore creation of regional dispute resolution venues in which senior mediators are available to intervene when disputes appear likely to become violent. A fourth topic might be the findings of the World Development Report in re armed conflict. Additional topics will follow.

Projected outcomes by 2016

An advanced prevention agenda based on the recommendations made.

Project Team

T. P. Dress-Germain, J.D., is an attorney, writer and consultant on conflict prevention and public policy, working with intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and academic institutions.