#State-society relations (RSS)

Supporting sustainable peace in Guinea-Bissau: Making room for constructive dialogue between state and society

Mario Miranda, Independent Consultant, Guinea-Bissau

A young observer once told: “Our role here is to reduce tensions and facilitate dialogue. But this only works if we make it our priority to listen to people!” (sic-somewhere) Undoubtedly, crisis prevention is a vital crossroads for the search for and guarantee of peace. This crossroads unfolds into scenarios, making visible the different actors involved in conflict - either triggering or suffering from political, military, social and economic upheavals. Even when conflicts are endemic in the history of a society, the prevention of conflict escalation and work towards peaceful transformation through dialogue remains important.

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How the New Deal can help to address the challenges of conflict in Nigeria (and what’s Germany got to do with it)

Theophilus Ekpon, Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) and CSPPS Focal Point in Nigeria

Nigeria, with a population of approximately 186 million people, has been experiencing various forms of conflict since independence in 1960. These conflicts include struggle over control of oil and gas resources, dispute over communal land ownership, conflict between pastoralists and farmers, ethnic and religious divisions and violent extremism. The International Dialogue for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) and its New Deal is a great opportunity to address these challenges of conflict in Nigeria holistically.

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Strengthening states’ legitimacy and supporting local actors of change are the best ways to build and maintain peace in Africa

Gilles Olakunlé Yabi, Economist and political analyst, Founder of WATHI, West Africa Citizen Think Tank (www.wathi.org)

Political crises associated with the challenge of state and nation building are the main sources of insecurity in Africa. Most episodes of violence are associated with conflicts over political power at the highest level. The Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, and Central African Republic are current examples, which confirm the profoundly political dimension of recurrent violence and instability.

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Challenges of peacebuilding for “transforming our world”

Cornelia Ulbert, Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)

After two days of intense debates at the FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum let me act as a kind of sounding board resonating some of the points we were talking about. In my reflections I would like to focus on five issues: the nature of violent conflicts; the state and its relationship with civil society; visions and motivations to act: the role of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); institutional silos and organizational entrapments; and peacebuilding “beyond aid”.

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Interview with Evalyn Monyani, Catholic Diocese of Malindi, Kenya

FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum

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Education and trust building. Remarks from a Sri Lankan experience

Rüdiger Blumör, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Sri Lanka

„During the war“, I was told in the east of Sri Lanka, „we used to open our mouth only to eat”. In wartime trust becomes a question of life and death. Mistrust is a good advisor for survival, instead. If we view the war in Sri Lanka as something that stretched from 1983 to 2009 we will face an account of insurgency and counterinsurgency, interrupted by successions of more or less unsuccessful attempts to broker a political solution. Education has a position of high esteem in Sri Lanka because it is seen as the instrument for social advancement per se. As part of insurgency and counterinsurgency strategies education played a crucial role to “win hearts and minds”. What was at stake in many areas was not so much an absence of state institutions, but an excess of such structures because the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was keen to exhibit its own state-like capacities to the people. In consequence the state and the LTTE competed in winning hearts and minds and building trust.

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Trust building in a post-conflict society: the case of Somaliland

Mohamed Farah Hersi, Academy for Peace and Development, Somaliland

Somaliland, which was under British colonial rule from 1884 to 1960, became an independent state on 26 June 1960. Four days after its new-found independence Somaliland unconditionally unified with the Italian colonised Somali territory of the South. The unification of these two Somali territories was due to a Pan-Somali nationalistic ideology aimed at bringing ethnic Somalis of all former colonised territories together under one Somali state.

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Strengthening constructive state-society relations in fragile and post-conflict situations. Some important considerations from Colombia

Lina María García, Departamento Nacional de Planeación, Colombia

Nowadays, in Colombia it is necessary to rethink how to transform and generate new kinds of relationships between the state and the (civil) society, not only for the post-conflict stage but to facilitate and make possible the peace dialogues and conversations taking place in Cuba. Colombian society is very divided and polarized around peacebuilding topics, even before an eventual post-conflict scenario. For example, the current dialogue process (Government-FARC) does not have the acceptance and support from the society as a whole. The protracted armed conflict has generated a social adaptation to war, a situation that makes some social groups believe that keeping the armed conflict that mainly affects the rural and isolated areas is more feasible and acceptable than achieving peace in the whole country (see also James Robinson, 2013).

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Interview with Sweta Velpillay, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies

FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum

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Interview with Emmanuel Bombande, Chair of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Executive Director of WANEP

FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum

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