4.0 Module 301 : Conflict Management and Peace Building
4.3 Peace Building
Peace Building encompasses measures in the context of emerging, current or post conflict situations for the explicit purpose of preventing violent conflict and promoting lasting and sustainable peace. Peace-building can be understood as a supplement to preventive diplomacy, peacemaking processes, conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations. It encompasses measures in the context of emerging, current or post-conflict situations for the explicit purpose of preventing violent conflict and promoting lasting and sustainable peace. Many peace-building activities are similar to development co-operation activities in countries that are not affected by conflict, but the context and purposes are different. A conflict-sensitive approach to what should be done and how it should be done is required. We need strategic conflict analyses and peace and conflict impact assessments
Several aspects of good donor practices in peace-building need to be mentioned:
- Ownership, alignment and harmonization: In all peace-building interventions particular emphasis should be given to the ownership of the process. Work may need to be done to ensure that it is truly representative and not perpetuating existing divisions in society or community.
The community’s peace-building efforts should be based on joint analyses, common needs assessments and common strategic frameworks for action. The community’s poverty-reduction strategies and areas of conflict or other planning documents should be the basis for intervention. Where such strategies do not exist, peace facilitators, must provide space, time and support for them to be developed. Where there are illegitimate governance or serious concerns about existing governance commitment to peace-building and poverty reduction there may be reasons for not using governing authority. In these cases peace facilitators should harmonize their procedures in a way compatible with government systems, and coordinate their efforts.
- Gender Perspectives
The UN Security Council highlighted the importance of gender perspectives in conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peace building Women and men experience and respond to crisis in different ways. In peace-building, women tend to be excluded. For a sustainable peace, women must be included in all aspects of the peace process, agreements and transitional governance structures. Gender perspectives and issues of gender equality must be addressed at all stages and all levels of planning, implementation and evaluation, in conflict prevention, and at every rung of the ladder to peace.
Peace-building requires substantial financial and human resources. Transitional assistance makes it possible to bridge the gap between short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term development co-operation emerging from prolonged deep-seated conflict. Such funds are primarily used to support viable political and administrative structures, democracy and respect for human rights. They may also be used to strengthen the international community’s capacity and competence in connection with peace-building. Broad-based, comprehensive peace-building efforts require close political and administrative co-ordination of the use of funds from different budget chapters.
Erratic and inappropriate follow-up in post-conflict situations increases the likelihood that violence will recur. In many post-conflict situations too much assistance may come in too fast, paying insufficient attention to the ability of the country to properly use it. This is often followed by a rapid decline in funds and inadequate funding for long-term needs. Thus in many cases, despite improved “absorptive” capacity, very little assistance is provided during the period three to five years after a conflict, when needs remain at a critical level.
The international community must, while facilitating (and pressing for) fast results, have the stamina for long-term efforts to promote lasting and sustainable peace. It is vital to understand that the critical period for preventing the recurrence of conflict can last for well over a decade.