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Do Forecasts Matter? Early Warnings and the Prevention of Armed Conflict (Foresight)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: Oct 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

What impact do forecasts have on political action? How are they communicated, perceived and used in order to prevent harmful events in the future? There are few policy areas as dependent on good forecasts as efforts aimed at preventing intra-state violent conflicts. Both practitioners and scholars agree that early, appropriate and sustained action on the part of various international players can help to avoid or at least alleviate many of the harmful consequences. Preventing the outbreak of such conflicts has increasingly become a priority objective of the European Union and its most influential member states. But there is a curious gap in the literature with respect to the exact linkage between early warning and political response: under what conditions do forecasts of impending conflicts lead to political action? The first objective of the project is to better understand the interplay of communication and political perception of early warnings about impending intra-state armed conflict. In a second step, the project will compare the findings about early warnings regarding armed conflict to insights about the impact of forecasts in other policy-areas such as adjusting to impending environmental and economic crises. Thus, the project aims to contribute to improving public policy by analysing the interplay of forecasting, advocacy and preventive decision-making.
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