Norms and discreet action
Lessons from conflicts of the 20th century resulted in the development of principles – enshrined in international law and institutions – of peaceful settlement of disputes, international cooperation and respect for basic rights. These principles can and should inform approaches aimed at addressing the root and proximate causes of tensions before they escalate to violence.
Quiet diplomacy can be a particularly effective approach, informed by these and other norms, to prevent violence by establishing and maintaining confidence, creating space for dialogue, and facilitating conciliation and accord. Discretion and confidentiality help build trust, which in turn enables contact over the long-term to identify and address underlying issues through problem-solving, the provision of advice and expertise, and the mobilization of resources.