The recent experience of a temporary ceasefire by both the Afghan Government, and, for the first time since they were ousted from power in 2001, the Taliban, could be a first step on an incremental journey towards peace. But what should happen next and how can this gradual progress towards peace be supported?
This year, the UN’s International Youth Day is championing safe spaces for youth - places where young people can come together, express themselves, and participate in decision making. In peacebuilding, creating these safe spaces is a vital first step in allowing young people to share their experiences of conflict, and work towards achieving a more peaceful future.
Participation of women and other excluded groups in peace talks and political bargaining is important for sustainable peace. Clear opportunities to support gender inclusion exist in all phases of a peace process – before, during and after a peace agreement.
Inclusive societies are more resilient and less prone to violent conflict, and achieving greater inclusion is a widely accepted peacebuilding goal. What’s less obvious however, is the journey people in less equal and inclusive societies need to take to get there.
There’s no tried and trusted formula for this.
The ongoing instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) is not a religious conflict. There are undoubtedly some religious elements to it, but the popular story that it is an intractable war of Muslims versus Christians – of former Séléka rebels versus anti-Balaka vigilantes – is far too simplistic.
Conflict analysis is all about deepening one’s understanding of a conflict and the broader context in which it is situated. Good conflict analysis is sensitive to relations of power – including gender.