Peacebuilding in the dictionary

Why do we need peacebuilding?

The number of violent conflicts has increased dramatically since 2010. The world urgently needs to respond differently. 

Violence affects everyone. Wars prevent communities from developing, stop children going to school and make it harder for people to access healthcare. Poverty then drives more conflict, and the cycle continues.

  • Around a quarter of all people live in countries affected by conflict and violence. 
  • Over 68 million people alive today have been forced to flee their homes. This is the highest it’s been since the end of the second world war.
  • Conflicts drive 80% of all humanitarian needs. 
  • By 2030, it is predicted that half of the world’s poorest people will be living in conflict-affected places. 

We need to think differently – it’s time we stopped picking up the pieces and started putting an end to the cycles of violence. It’s time we invested more in peacebuilding.

What does peacebuilding involve? 

Making peace ultimately requires the firm commitment and extraordinary courage, on the part of all sides, to ensure a permanent end to violence.
Kofi Annan, October 2011.
Speaking at the International Conference to promote resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country, co-sponsored by Conciliation Resources.

Peacebuilding is a long-term process of encouraging people to talk, repairing relationships, and reforming institutions. For positive change to last, everyone affected by a destructive conflict has to be involved in the process of building peace.

Transforming relationships is key to putting an end to violence. That means understanding  and dealing with why people are fighting in the first place, and finding ways of moving things forward. This is true whether the conflict is within communities, between societies, or between the state and ordinary people. 

In practical terms, peacebuilding can look like any one of hundreds of different actions. It can be bringing different groups together to discuss the issues, or using film and media to help people understand the viewpoints of others. It might be providing support to formal processes of negotiation between governments and armed groups, or ensuring marginalised groups can have a say. Peace is built when we break down stereotypes and when different groups work together.

Diaspora woman initiative
Peacebuilding takes years of careful, dedicated, and patient work.

How we address conflict

Simply stopping fighting is not the same as transforming conflict and putting a permanent end to violence. Patient, persistent work to find creative solutions to conflict is needed to build sustainable peace.

Conciliation Resources works to truly understand conflicts, and then we share what we learn with others. We create connections between the different groups involved, and most importantly, ensure the people directly impacted by conflict are leading initiatives to respond to the violence.

EQUIP through local ownership

Helping people affected by conflict make a change.

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We work side-by-side with the people affected by conflict – providing connections, developing skills and equipping them to take part in peace processes. We bring people from regions of conflict to meetings with policymakers, so policies can be informed by those experiencing the impact of violence. All this means that their voices are heard, they lead initiatives and their insight drives action.

BUILD sustainable solutions

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Working together to find different responses.

Working in partnership, we find creative ways to initiate dialogue, solve problems and kick-start change when conflicts seem stuck. We accompany our partners, involve the community and influence governments to do things differently. The result – we help build peaceful and inclusive societies. 

CONNECT everyone involved

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Building relationships with communities and governments.

Developing trusted relationships and networks is vital. We connect groups in conflict who rarely speak or meet, across dangerous and often impassable divides. We work with all sections of society – from politicians to communities – reaching out to people who are bypassed by mainstream peace processes.

 

LEARN from experience

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Analysing conflicts and sharing learning. 

Analysis is the foundation of our work. Collaborating with others, we learn from diverse perspectives and real experiences, to understand the many factors that cause and sustain conflicts. We share lessons from peace processes across the globe and use past experience to shape solutions for the future – it’s central to everything we do.

 

Making peace possible

Learn more about our approach to peacebuilding

Get involved

We rely on substantial support from our funding partners; institutional donors, trusts and foundations, corporate support and very importantly, individuals who share our commitment.

Our work in action

Peacebuilding comes in many forms. Explore what our work looks like in practice.

How we make a difference

With our courageous partners, and the vital support of our donors, we are helping people living with conflict to reduce and prevent violence in their communities. And we are guiding countries that have suffered decades of war, on to the path to peace.