Moving Beyond Crisis Mode? New German Guidelines for Managing Crises and Conflicts
For almost a year, the German government has engaged experts from government institutions, civil society and academia in a dialogue on the future German engagement in the field of civilian crisis prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. But what follows from this dialogue process for the actual design and implementation of German peace policy? Can the new guidelines move long-term and cooperative approaches to civilian crisis prevention and peacebuilding into the center - in the face of increasing nationalism around the globe? Which concrete implementation steps are needed now – and which steps should the next German government take? How and where can the critical and constructive dialogue between state and civil society be pursued further? The FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum 2017 offered the opportunity to discuss these and other questions.
In his opening address, Michael Hippler, Co-Chair of FriEnt, emphasised that the multitude and simultaneity of current wars and conflict situations pose major challenges for development and peace policy actors. The pressure to react to crises in the short term has increased significantly. Moreover, global trends, such as authoritarian tendencies and renationalisation, are destabilising the international order and potentially affect crisis prevention and peacebuilding negatively.
Sustainable funding for peacebuilding
It is certainly important to react to immediate situations of need. At the same time, however, it is essential to not lose sight of long-term and cooperative approaches to peacebuilding. In order to "move beyond crisis mode", the 2030 Agenda offers a suitable framework that must be ambitiously implemented. Political impetus and sustainable financing of peacebuilding and its structures are central. This requires coherent, coordinated and inter-ministerial action by the German government.
There is a lack of long-term approaches to reflect on the consequences of an intervention and to precisely define the role of development cooperation. State-building does not automatically lead to a better relationship between the state and civil society. It is necessary to learn from the experience of previous crises in order to increase positive influence and avoid the repetition of mistakes. For example, experience shows that countries are more stable in the long run when domestic power structures are fair and economic development is inclusive, and when fragile countries are supported in developing mechanisms to deal with violence at the local and national level. Participants also agreed on the need to adress the question of "what works" more systematically.
German government should focus on prevention
The audience agreed that the new German government should focus on prevention in the future. It was demanded that the international community should take the long-term consequences of global financial flows and economic interdependencies in crisis prevention and peacebuilding strategies into account. The real work is just beginning with the implementation of the new guidelines.
FriEnt will gladly continue to offer a forum for trustful, structured dialogue, to encourage cooperation and to strengthen the discourse in the policy field.