#Shrinking space (RSS)

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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Draconian laws within democratic states – what space remains for civic society and peacebuilding?

25. Sep. 2015
Nobokishore Urikhimbam, United NGO Mission Manipur, India

Manipur, which was merged to the Indian Union in 1948, experiences multiple armed and political conflicts. Under the absence of inclusive politics, controversy about political identity and empowerment, territorial status, economic development, divide along ethnic lines and the rest of India have led to the fight between armed state actors and non-state actors against the Indian State on one hand and the infighting between the various non-state forces aligned along ethnic lines. Civil society’s engagement in the interests of human rights, peace and social transformation is controlled and regulated.

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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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Re:think Peacebuilding – Kicking-off the debate 2015

Marc Baxmann & Natascha Zupan

“Seizing opportunities” was the theme of FriEnt’s first Peacebuilding Forum, which took place in Berlin in May 2014. Against the background of a changing global context for peacebuilding, the Forum ended with a strong call to re-think current peacebuilding policy and practice in terms of our partnership approaches, the responsiveness to local needs and the embracement of complexity concepts. However, there was a clear sense of optimism among participants that we are already moving into the right direction and that there are promising initiatives at both the policy and practice level.

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