Implementing conflict prevention: explaining the failure of UK government’s structural conflict prevention policy 2010-15

Oliver Walton, Andrew Johnstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Conflict prevention has been a long-standing and high-profile international policy goal, and yet in practice international agencies have found it difficult to operationalise, with the structural dimension of conflict prevention proving especially challenging. Drawing on a review of policy documents, parliamentary debates, and key informant interviews, this article uses a detailed case study of the UK government’s structural conflict prevention policy between 2010 and 2015 to understand why international agencies have found it difficult to implement such policies. Our analysis traces this failure by examining top-level strategy, translation into department-level policy, and country-level implementation in South Sudan. The article finds that the UK government failed to implement structural conflict prevention for three key reasons: because the concepts were not well defined or communicated, because priorities were quickly drawn to more urgent problems, and because the approach was not institutionalised within departments or country offices. We argue that for SCP to succeed, international agencies need to be more realistic about the complex challenges associated with SCP and pay more attention to the process of institutionalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-564
Number of pages24
JournalConflict, Security & Development
Volume21
Issue number5
Early online date19 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Conflict prevention
  • South Sudan
  • UK
  • peace-building
  • structural conflict prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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