#External actors (RSS)

The EU has plans for peace – but is spending on defence

Dilia Zwart, Quaker Council for European Affairs

The long-term perspective of peacebuilding and the short-term focus of politics are usually at odds, but seem especially tense today. In a time when peacebuilding is needed more than ever, the rise of populist politics in Europe and other parts of the globe have challenged international cooperation. The fragmented political climate has been accompanied by a shift towards defence, particularly in Europe. However, plans for peacebuilding can be encouraged by politicians, practitioners and citizens.

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Italy’s contributions to peacebuilding: One step forward, two steps back

Bernardo Monzani and Bernardo Venturi, Agency for Peacebuilding, Italy

As violent conflict and instability have grown around the world and in the Mediterranean neighbourhood in particular, Italy has been thrust in a difficult position: affected by those crises in more direct ways than other European countries, it felt unprecedented pressure to actively engage as an international peace-broker. However, without official peacebuilding policies or consolidated capacities, its responses have often been hesitant.

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Turkey’s approach to development and peacebuilding: It’s not all about money!

Kristoffer Nilaus Tarp and Maria Stage, The Council for International Conflict Resolution (RIKO) in Denmark

To understand what has changed in Turkey’s peacebuilding strategy in recent years, it is important to remember a number of facts about contemporary Turkey as a donor country. First of all, Turkey dedicated over $7.9 billion of development assistance in 2016, nearly 85% of which was generated by the state. Second, Turkey overwhelmingly opted to provide its ODA via bilateral means (96%), and it should be noted that 94% of this was for official humanitarian aid ($5.87 billion). Finally, it is also important to note that Turkey counts its assistance to Syrian refugees in its own territory as part of this ODA, and that, in fact, this constitutes the lion’s share of $5.85 billion (TIKA, 2018). From this perspective, by simply looking at the amount of ODA provided by Turkey and to whom, the country may not seem to be potentially one of the most important peacebuilding actors globally. However, a number of other facts should also be borne in mind for a more advanced judgment.

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Why isn’t the prevention of violent conflict more of a priority in Danish policy and practice?

Kristoffer Nilaus Tarp and Maria Stage, The Council for International Conflict R

Prevention of violent conflict in a world taunted by violent conflict cannot only save human lives. It is also one of the most cost-effective tools of international interventions. Aiming to promote peaceful means to end violent conflict, the Council for International Conflict Resolution(RIKO) recently organised a conference at the Danish Parliament on conflict prevention, Danish foreign policy and development cooperation. At the conference, the current opposition parties showed interest in working towards a more prominent Danish engagement in prevention and peacebuilding. Most of the government ministers, ironically, could not participate as they were visiting companies in the Danish defence industry. The current government does, however, mention prevention in strategies on foreign policy and development cooperation. However, conflict prevention is not a high priority in policy and practice. If the majority agrees on the benefits of conflict prevention, then why isn't it more of a priority for Denmark?

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Peacebuilding: New and Ongoing Challenges in a Changing Environment

Elizabeth Hume, Senior Director of Programs and Strategy, Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP), USA

Global levels of violence are at a 25-year peak, reversing the promising reduction in conflicts recorded in the 1990s, undercutting global stability and development gains, and driving record levels of forced displacement. 2017 proved to be a challenging year for peacebuilding. Real concerns emerged about nuclear conflict, resulting in the Bulletin for Atomic Scientists moving the hands of its symbolic Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight. According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, violence continues to cost the world economy $14.3 trillion a year, exacerbating global threats like disease and trafficking, and underpinning the most critical US security challenges, including violent extremism. UN Secretary-General António Guterres summed up the crisis well in his 2018 New Year message, proclaiming we need “a red alert for our world."

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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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New blog series: Moving beyond crisis mode!

To accompany the FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum 2017 we have launched the next online discussion series. This Blog shall provide a platform to gather perspectives and expectations from international partners of the FriEnt members towards German contributions to civilian crisis prevention and peacebuilding.

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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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Peacebuilding in conflict torn societies – a perspective from Afghanistan

Masood Karokhail The Liaison Office, Afghanistan

After over three decades of conflict and multiple regime changes, the post-Taliban period of 2001 provided a massive window of opportunity for peaceful transformation in Afghanistan. Although much progress has been made over the past 14 years, the country is once again engulfed in violent conflict. With the withdrawal of international military, ground combat has grown, sadly with high civilian casualties. The Afghan security forces are increasingly challenged in their fight against the insurgency with population protection being difficult to master. According to a July 2015 UN report, in the first six months of 2015 a 23 per cent and 13 per cent increase in women and child casualties respectively was documented.

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Violence, power and the outside peacebuilders: shrinking or enlarging the space for local Civil Society?

Thania Paffenholz, The Graduate Institute, Geneva

A set of factors either enables or constrains local civil society’s role as peacebuilder. These factors are both external and internal to civil society (CS), and can be local, regional and/or international. There are three main sets of factors known from research. The first set of factors consists of the national or local context conditions, such as the level of violence, the behaviour of the state and powerful elites in the country, as well as the features of national or local media. The next set of factors is internal to civil society itself. This set encompasses how different CS actors engage and cooperate as forces for peace, or to what extent CS is divided by politics, ethnicity, religion, etc. A third set of factors operates at the regional or international level, and encompasses whether external actors, including powerful regional actors, support peace in a given context, as well as whether donors and the international peacebuilding community give support that is relevant, timely and effective. Frequently, international peacebuilders restrict the space for local CS by pursuing inappropriate or insufficient strategies. I want to briefly discuss only three factors here, namely power, violence, and the potential constraining role of external peacebuilders.

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