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Conflict Resolution Institute

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Andrés Álvarez Castañeda, MA

ColemanFrom 2006 to 2008, Guatemalan national authorities and members of the international community worked towards the creation of a Conflict Early Warning System (CEWS), in an effort that built on the existing institutional base for conflict prevention. The CEWS functioned as a pilot project over the course of two years in six departments in Guatemala , under the guardianship of the Vice-Presidency of the Republic. Following a change of administration in the executive branch, the project was discontinued, and to the best of the authors' knowledge, has not been resumed. This study represents an effort to document the most important aspects of the project and to salvage those lessons learned from the CEWS experience.

First, the article reviews the history of Early Warning Systems (EWS) and conflict-specific EWS. A brief summary of the project's history and the institutional framework into which it was embedded is then presented. The models and methodological instruments used by the system are then described – how the database operated and the types of information it produced, as well as the analytical utility of these products. Finally, a series of lessons learned from the project are drawn for future interventions.

Andrés Álvarez Castañeda can be contacted at

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