Governance and peacebuilding

Poor governance is often both a root cause of conflict and a major obstacle to building lasting peace. At the same time, the legacies of conflict – such as polarised societies with high levels of distrust and weak institutions – create barriers to improving governance.

Conciliation Resources works to help people in conflict-affected societies voice their needs and engage effectively with politicians and policymakers in decision-making on issues that impact their everyday lives.

Improving accountability and access

We work with partners in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Uganda, Fiji and the Georgian–Abkhaz context to:

  • improve government accountability and responsiveness in dealing with the unmet needs and contested issues that cause conflict
  • increase ordinary people’s ability to voice concerns, monitor government actions and improve their access to information about existing policies
  • create better understanding of the challenges and strategies for peacebuilding and governance
  • deepen analysis and inspire fresh ideas through international joint analysis workshops and comparative learning between partners.

We are starting to more explicitly explore the policy implications of this experience.

Peacebuilding and statebuilding

Peacebuilding and statebuilding are increasingly the focus of much international attention towards conflict-affected states. The core concern of peacebuilding is putting in place processes that help end violence, address conflict and repair relationships. The focus of statebuilding is on enhancing governance, state capacity and state-society relationships.

While these two processes are undoubtedly linked, there can at times appear to be tensions between them. Our publication Renegotiating the political settlement in war-to-peace transitions (2009) explores the ‘political settlement’ as a crucial though little understood element linking the two processes.

Aid and development effectiveness in conflict-affected states

Many donors and international institutions work in states affected by conflict and fragility in order to support peacebuilding, statebuilding, and long-term development. But the history, politics and relationships of societies affected by conflict mean that these processes – and the role of international assistance in supporting them – are incredibly complex.

Conciliation Resources has been working since 2010 as a member of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding to help governments and civil society understand these challenges and the implications for how aid is delivered and how development is supported.  The outcome of these discussions is reflected in the ‘New Deal’ for engagement in fragile states, currently endorsed by 35 countries and organisations.

The difference we make

  • Through our governance work we are helping civil society organisations become more effective at raising governance issues with policymakers.
  • In the South Caucasus, we have been able to support IDPs in Georgia to engage with decision-makers and, as a result, they have been able to solve tangible problems they are facing relating to housing and resettlement.
  • We are supporting local organisations in Liberia to engage with officials and use tools to assess the extent to which local governance systems are participatory, representative, transparent, accountable and effective. As a result governance is being strengthened.
  • We supported the training of 150 ‘youth monitors’ in northern Uganda, enabling local communities to hold officials to account. This means that implementation of the Ugandan Government’s Peace, Development and Recovery Plan is scrutinised and officials are starting to deliver what was promised to the people in these areas.
  • Our international policy work contributed to the adoption of the ‘New Deal’ for engagement in fragile states by several dozen counties.

…strengthening legitimate institutions and governance to provide citizen security, justice, and jobs is crucial to break cycles of violence.

World Development Report, 2011

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