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Michaella Claire P.

Layug October 15, 2015


Topic: The Role of International Organizations in International Conflict Resolution

Main Argument:
Results of cooperation between states and of dominant international organizations (UN) to resolve existing
conflicts between countries have effectively addressed the issues crucial to the maintenance of international

Research Question:
Has the United Nations as an international organization actively sought cooperation from states to effec-
tively address conflicts that gave rise to threats to international peace and security?


I. Background of the Study

With the occurrences of war for the past centuries, it has well been established that international conflict
seems inevitable. There have been numerous events in the past, which gives the idea that conflict among
countries result to the damaging of nations and societies all over the world, which is probably why the
struggle for peace appeals to many. International conflict resolution is the general idea that directly ad-
dresses the existing conflict among states, although it also poses various complexities because it involves
cooperation among other states as well as international organizations. To clearly grasp the concept, inter-
national conflict resolution is defined as the body of knowledge, practices, norms, and institutions that seek
the prevention, reduction, and transformation of potential or actual violent conflict within and between
states. (Coleman, Deutsch,&Marcus, 2014, p. 1)
International organizations play a huge role in state mobilization, one example of an organization's agenda
showing international organizations' role in conflict resolution is the UN secretary-general's 1992 Agenda
for Peace. This sets out an even broader range of current and proposed UN functions in situations of inter-
national conflict: fact finding, early warning, and preventive deployment; mediation, adjudication, and
other forms of dispute resolution; peacekeeping; sanctions and military force; impartial humanitarian assis-
tance; and post-conflict rebuilding. (Abbott&Snidal, 1998, p. 4) With former eventualities of conflict which
resulted to fatalities from one nation to another, states have started to intervene in different ways mostly
militarily to protect citizens other than its own nationals from humanitarian catastrophes in order to estab-
lish political order. Humanitarian intervention, one of the matters addressed by the UN also has its compli-
cations because concerned states need authorization from the UN in order to carry out intervention actions.
As Finnemore (1996) stated: The UN play an important role in both arbitrating normative claims and struc-
turing the normative discourse over colonialism, sovereignty, and humanitarian issues.

II. Research Problem

The concern of the proposed topic, which is the role of international organizations in international conflict
resolution, is to look into the results of cooperation between states and of dominant international organiza-
tions (UN) to resolve existing conflicts between countries specifically where actions of humanitarian inter-
vention is necessitated; whether these results are ideal in a way that they have effectively addressed the
issues crucial to the maintenance of international peace. International organizations also have the important
role of mobilizing states to act when needed, which is why the interaction of both is of high significance in
the field of international relations.

III. Significance of the Study

The global community has unceasingly faced threats emerging from conflicts between countries and taking
into consideration the casualties of these occurrences, it leads to the question whether the dominant inter-
national organizations such as the United Nations has actively sought cooperation from states to effectively
address conflicts which gave rise to threats to international peace and security.

IV. Scope of the Study

This paper will seek to examine international conflict resolution; its origins and implications to further
elaborate the need to evaluate the vital role of international organizations in the preservation of international
peace and prevention of conflict; specifically, the aspect of humanitarian intervention by the United Na-
tions. International cooperation (between states and organizations) was forged under the existence of con-
flict. Therefore, this paper will include examples of pre-existing conflicts leading to the disputes of today.
To further elucidate the concept of conflict resolution, the researcher will take into account several theoret-
ical approaches used in former research works on conflict resolution. Humanitarian intervention as a part
of conflict resolution will also be given substantial attention. Moreover, humanitarian intervention is one
of the purposes of the United Nations which will be the key organization given thought in this research.

V. Theoretical Framework

The theory that would be used in the analysis of the stated subject matter is constructivism. Constructivism
is a structural theory of the international system that makes the following core claims: (1) states are the
principal units of analysis for international political theory; (2) the key structures in the states system are
intersubjective, rather than material; and (3) state identities and interests are in important part constructed
by these social structures, rather than given exogenously to the system by human nature or domestic politics
(Wendt, 1994, p. 385). This approach would be beneficial in the completion of the research on the afore-
mentioned topic, which is the role of international organizations in international conflict resolution; it would
help refocus on important things to consider such as the influences affecting state behaviour regarding
interests that might imply choices of states under the pressure of intervening militarily for the purpose of
humanitarian aid and establishment of political order.

VI. Sources:

Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (1998). Why States Act through Formal International Organizations. Journal
of Conflict Resolution, 42(1), 3-32. doi:10.1177/0022002798042001001

Coleman, P. T., Deutsch, M., & Marcus, E. C. (2014). International Conflict Resolution From Practice to
Knowledge and Back Again. In The handbook of conflict resolution: Theory and practice (pp. 1-36). Re-
trieved from

Finnemore, M. (1996). Constructing Norms of Humanitarian Intervention. The Culture of National Secu-
rity: Norms and Identity in World Politics, 1-25. Retrieved from:

Holzgrefe, J. L., & Keohane, R. O. (2003). The humanitarian intervention debate. In Humanitarian inter-
vention: Ethical, legal, and political dilemmas (pp. 15-52). Retrieved from
Hopf, T. (1998). The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory. International Security,
23(1), 171-200. Retrieved from

Slaughter, A. (2011). International Relations, Principal Theories. Retrieved from https://www.prince-

Tanner, F. (2000, September 30). Conflict prevention and conflict resolution: limits of multilateralism. Re-
trieved from

Vyrynen, R. (1985). Focus On: Is There a Role for the United Nations in Conflict Resolution?. Journal of
Peace Research, 22(3), 189-196. doi:10.1177/002234338502200301

Vyrynen, R. (1985). The United Nations and the Resolution of International Conflicts. Cooperation and
Conflict, 20(3), 141-171. doi:10.1177/001083678502000301

Wendt, A. (1994). Collective Identity Formation and the International State. American Political Science
Review, 88(2), 384-396. Retrieved from