A praxis journey: peacebuilding, natural resource management and development actors

2014-05-06 - 3:32 pm

By Lancedell Mathews

The quest for peace in the world has taken nations and peoples down diverse paths – the paths of freedom and justice, the way of democracy and human rights, and the road of security and now natural resource management.

The lesson we are learning from these journeys is that the values of peace are overarching and must be reflected in local, national and international economics or politics, business and industry as well as the social and cultural everyday life of people everywhere. Natural resources and its ownership, use and how it is administered has for very many years now been called into question and the rich experience of how we have managed it in the past whether through ideas of imperialism, and colonialism, communism or capitalism and now natural resource management must be harnessed and used for promoting a peaceful world.

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No development without security: Re-adjusting priorities in external support to security sector reform

2014-05-05 - 7:40 pm

By Steffen Eckhard
Global Public Policy Institute

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest state and rich in natural resources, had the potential to be a success story. After the peaceful secession from Khartoum in 2011, there was initial political will to resolve remaining disputes between ethnic groups peacefully. However, not all were eager to share oil revenues. And the country remained under arms: military spending accounts for almost half of the state’s budget and 60 percent of all men carry guns. Although the 2011 peace plan foresaw an integration of militias in the new army, previous allegiances and old chains of command remained intact. In December 2013, President Kiir announced that he had headed off a coup led by his rival, the former vice president Machar. The army quickly disintegrated into its former ethnic blocks and South Sudan lurched into violence and upheaval with heavy fighting in Juba and oil blocks in the East. Until today, more than 20.000 have died in what experts see as a blow in the face of liberal statebuilding.

International assistance to security sector reform is about more than just improving security forces

South Sudan is now threatening to disintegrate. This is problematic for all those who have supported the country’s transition, be it due to economic interests, care for human rights and development or because they fear a lack of statehood in South Sudan might threaten their own security back home. A humanitarian military intervention can provide interim stability. However, South Sudan, as any other state, must eventually be able to sustain its internal and external security by itself. International support to security sector reform is about assisting a state to preserve such a course. Not only crisis countries are in need of security reform. As internal and external threats change, all states continuously reform their security institutions – often by learning from others.

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Security governance – still a touchy issue for peacebuilders?

2014-05-05 - 11:33 am

By Marius Müller-Hennig
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and member of the FriEnt team

The UN Security Council recently adopted Resolution 2151 on the issue of Security Sector Reform. This is the first time that the Council adopted a standalone Resolution on this topic. While this obviously is not making any headlines around the world, it is nevertheless an important indicator of the relevance of a subject that sounds dull and technical to some, and highly suspicious to others.

Security Sector Reform definitely has become a standard feature for peacekeeping operations and for a variety of development programs and projects. And there are good reasons for this: In Post-conflict situations into which Peacekeeping Operations are being deployed, security is usually fragile and security institutions are often compromised. To enable these institutions to provide credible security for all citizens, while at the same time preventing them to turn into repressive or predatory instruments of intransigent elites, is an obvious peacebuilding need. But it poses severe intractable practical problems.

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Social services for peacebuilding

2014-05-02 - 11:01 am

By Sharif Baaser

Peacebuilding is a multi-faceted endeavour that normally requires a range of activities, in different sectors, and at different levels, all of which must be tailored to the needs of a specific context.  In countries emerging from violent conflict, the most common peacebuilding interventions have traditionally focused on political, security and justice sectors. Support to constitutional processes, organization of elections, and reform of security and justice systems are normally, and understandably, among top priorities for peacebuilding that often attract high levels of international attention and donor funding.

While historically limited attention has been paid to the socioeconomic dimensions of peacebuilding, particularly the role of basic social services, there is increasing recognition that equitable delivery and management of basic services like education, health, clean water and sanitation can make important contributions to peacebuilding. 

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Peacebuilding: the role of natural resource management

2014-04-28 - 1:00 pm

By Oli Brown

The role of natural resources in causing violent conflict has been much discussed, leading to the appearance of terms such as ‘blood diamonds’, ‘conflict minerals’, and the ‘resource curse’. A raft of different initiatives has sprung up to address these challenges: the Kimberley Process, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the EU Forest Law Governance and Trade initiative (EU-FLEGT). 

There has also been much discussion, and some practical examples, of how shared environmental challenges (such as pollution or climate change) or common resources (transboundary water, for example) can help to bring groups together and encourage dialogue and cooperation.

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Welcome to the FriEnt PBF Voices Blog


The PBF Voices Blog is not solely shaped by us, the FriEnt team, it shall rather provide a space for conference speakers, participants and other interested persons to share ideas and insights on the future of peacebuilding policy and practice.

All posts relate to the multifaceted theme of the conference in its widest sense. Every article reflects the author’s personal opinion and captures his or her unique style.