January 2013

January 2 2013: A monthly selection of the best new research and resources on local peacebuilding worldwide, as chosen by Insight on Conflict. This month’s edition features articles on local ownership in Afghanistan, traditional conflict resolution in East Africa and more Sign up here to receive the newsletter by email each month.

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Research this month

Building on what’s already there: Valuing the local in international peacebuilding

There is a need to acknowledge local agency and empowerment as one of the foremost challenges of contemporary peacebuilding practice

Building on what’s already there, by Nathan Funk, argues that a greater role is needed for local leadership in international peacebuilding. The author suggests that peacebuilding could be strengthened by drawing on local capacities, with internationals acting more as facilitators helping locals achieve their potential.

Understanding “local ownership” in peacebuilding operations in Afghanistan

In a context where political authority is fragmented among a multiplicity of external and internal actors, often with divergent interests and agendas, it has become increasingly difficult to locate ownership and where accountability lies.

Understanding “local ownership” in peacebuilding operations in Afghanistan [pdf] examines at the idea of local ownership in Afghanistan, and finds a complex and confused situation on the ground. The case study is part of Exiting Conflict, Owning the Peace, a joint study from from Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the London School of Economics into local ownership in international peace operations.

Integrating traditional and modern conflict resolution

The continuing role and influence of traditional leadership in modern Africa is hard to miss. Nonetheless, the relationship between the state and traditional institutions should not be taken for granted for it is a contested terrain fraught with complexities

Integrating traditional and modern conflict resolution is a collection of articles from Accord discussing how traditional and modern methods of conflict resolution can work together. Drawing on examples from Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan, the monograph looks at the varied roles traditional institutions play in conflict resolution and prevention, and the relationship with the state.

The EU and Peacebuilding

On a conceptual level, the EU has reacted to the major criticisms towards liberal peace by emphasising priorities that go beyond state elites and address local circumstances. At the same time, however, the way the EU is dealing with new peacebuilding challenges on the ground … suggests that it is in fact still following its old paths.

The EU and Peacebuilding [pdf], published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, looks at how the EU has began to reform how to approach peacebuilding, in response to criticism that its policies do little to address local circumstances and focus too much on state-level structures. The paper argues that although high-level thinking is changing, little is changing on the ground.

Transforming pain into hope: Human rights defenders in the Americas

Drawing on decades of work with defenders in the Americas region … this report highlights both the enormous progress that they have helped bring about, and the dangers that they continue to face.

Transforming pain into hope, from Amnesty International, details the plight of human rights defenders in the Americas.  The report exposes the threats and violence activists face in the course of their work.

From the Blog

Uganda: Local land dispute threatens violence

A local land dispute in Uganda, close to the border with South Sudan, threatens to escalate into violence, and has become an international issue. Otim Denis Barnabas, from Ugandan peacebuilding organisation the Refugee Law Project, explains the conflict. Read more »

From the field: Civil Society in Afghanistan: a decade of progress and challenges

Within Afghanistan, the role of Civil Society Organisations has never been more crucial. With planned exit strategies by key allied and NATO forces approaching, many will look to these organisations to provide stability and a respite from deleterious conditions. Mariam Safi explores the progress civil society organisations have made within Afghanistation, and the situation that they find themselves in now. Read more »

Peacebuilding through community-based NGOs: Paradoxes and Possibilities

Local organisations are increasingly seen as key stakeholders in peacebuilding, but their role is a contested one, not least because of the complexities of different conflict situations around the world. One of the latest attempts to probe deeper into the peacebuilding potential of civil society is Peacebuilding Through Community-based NGOs – Paradoxes and Possibilities by Max Stephenson Jr. and Laura Zanotti of Virginia Tech. Laura and Max spoke with Insight on Conflict to share their findings. We here share a transcription of some of what they told us, and you can also listen to an audio file of the full interview. Read more »

Do you speak the language of Human Rights?

December 10th is the International Day of Human Rights. In order to mark the day, this movie was put together by the Human Rights advocacy group of the UNOY Peace Advocacy Study Session 2012 in Budapest. Read more »

Uganda’s black gold: a blessing or curse?

A recent documentary by the Ugandan organisation the Refugee Law Project, looks at the discovery of oil in the Hoima district of Uganda. What does the discovery mean for the local population? And will oil prove to be a blessing or a curse for the country?Read more »

Lessons for peacebuilders from choreography

Dr Abul Kalam introduces the notion of choreography and it’s application to peacebuilding. By introducing choreography in a peace context is it possible to draw parallels from the techniques applied in popular entertainment to better help peacebuilders design interventions? Read more »

Local engagement to strengthen the New Deal for Fragile States

The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and the associated International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) process represent a new way for fragile states and their aid donor partners to work together. Jennifer Erin Salahub, from the North-South Institute, argues that more meaningful inclusion of civil society organisations, particularly locally-based organisations will contribute to better, more sustainable implementation of the New Deal. Read more »

The need for civil society in peace negotiations

Peace negotiations are traditionally dealt with using a top down approach, whereby state actors and leaders often enter into peace discussions without consulting or involving the many other stakeholders involved, including civil society groups. But what impact can these groups really have in the peace negotiation phase? Read more »

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