Mark Bradbury and Sally Healy introduce the Accord 21 project and publication on Somali peace processes. They discuss how it has focused on Somali and international peacemaking and how better to link the two. They describe the project partnership with Interpeace, incorporating material from Interpeace’s Somali peace mapping study, as well as introducing how the structure of the publication works and the respective articles.
Violence has intensiﬁed in south central Somalia during the lifetime of this project, begging the question whether there has been any peace to study. But we believe there are important lessons to be drawn any peace to study from experiences of Somali peacemaking.
Mark Bradbury and Sally Healy
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For two decades Somalia has defied all foreign diplomatic, military and statebuilding interventions. None of the governments that have emerged from internationally sponsored peace processes have been able to establish their authority or deliver security and law and services to the Somali people.
A collaborative project
This issue of Accord has been produced in collaboration with Interpeace, whose Somali partners have undertaken pioneering work on recording, analyzing and supporting Somali-led peace processes. The insights gained from the work of the Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) in south central Somalia, the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) in Puntland, and the Academy for Peace and Development (APD) in Somaliland are integral to this study. It draws on their work in 2007 in mapping Somali-led and internationally-sponsored peace processes. www.interpeace.org, situating it within a broader comparative field of international conflict resolution approaches in Somalia. In doing so it brings Somali perspectives on conflict resolution to a wider international audience and deepens the debate about how endogenous peacemaking methods can be better aligned with international conflict mediation.
Structure of the publication
The publication is divided into four main sections. In the introductory section we trace the history of the crisis, from a civil war in the 1980s, through the period of state breakdown, clan factionalism and warlordism in the 1990s, to a globalised religious and ideological struggle in the new millennium.
Lessons of international engagement
The first article by Ken Menkhaus asks why intensive diplomatic interventions have failed to end the Somali crisis. His critique of six Somali peace conferences identifies lack of political will, misdiagnosis of the crisis, confusion between statebuilding and reconciliation and poor mediation skills as factors that have contributed to failure. It concludes with some constructive lessons, above all the need to ensure greater Somali ‘ownership’ of the peace process.
Owning the peace: learning from Somali peace processes
In part three of the publication we present a series of articles that explore how Somali communities have achieved reconciliation, managed their security and reconstructed viable ways of life. Several of these articles draw on studies by Interpeace’s partners in south central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland. Although little known beyond their immediate setting, more than 90 local peace processes have been catalogued in south central Somalia since 1991, more than 30 in Somaliland between 1991 and 1997 and eight in Puntland.
Frameworks for stability
The fourth section of the publication discusses some of the efforts, successful and unsuccessful, to create more enduring systems for the maintenance of peace and order.
Peacebuilding and statebuilding
The name Somalia remains synonymous with conflict, violence, warlordism, famine, refugees, terrorism, jihadism, and piracy. As this report shows, despite this image, it is not a lawless and ungoverned land, but one where Somali people over the past two decades have forged systems of governance to manage conflict and provide security and law.