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Has there ever been a time of so much conflict, so much disaster, so much promise, so much of a chance to make a difference? - Dr Jean Houston

Conflict over resources is perhaps the most ancient of human problems. But in spite of advancing technologies and advancing mindsets, war and violence remain as prevalent as ever at the start of the 21st century. What’s stopping us moving beyond such archaic ways of resolving differences?

International Alert (IA) is a worldwide independent peacebuilding organisation. According to their research, the complexities behind global conflict are wide ranging. Mistrust between neighbouring countries and intolerance between different ethnic groups are at the heart of much conflict. These elements combine with greed, economic interests and political cultures that fail to involve citizens properly, with little accountability for dictators or military leaders. Ambivalence from the international community and lack of willingness to intervene are further drivers. These, say IA, are among the reasons behind conflict in the Great Lakes in Africa. Read more

Conflict is actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) to individuals. Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as social disagreement, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations. In political terms, "conflict" can refer to wars, revolutions or other struggles, which may involve the use of force as in the term armed conflict. Without proper social arrangement or resolution, conflicts in social settings can result in stress or tensions among stakeholders.

Many NGOs and independent groups attempt to monitor the situation of ongoing conflicts. Unfortunately, the definitions of war, conflict, armed struggle, revolution and all these words which describe violent opposition between States or armed organised groups, are not precise enough to distinguish one from another. For example, the word terrorism is used indifferently by many governments to delegitimate every kind of armed revolt and, at the same time, by many rebel groups to delegitimate the armed repression of sovereign.
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