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Whose peace is it anyway? Connecting Somali and international peacemaking

For many people Somalia is synonymous with violence, warlordism, famine, terrorism, jihadism and piracy. Nearly 20 years of foreign interventions – diplomatic, military and statebuilding – have failed to build peace. No government emerging from any internationally-sponsored peace process has established its authority or legitimacy among Somalis.

But Somalia is not an entirely lawless and ungoverned land. Somalis have used their own resources and traditions of conflict resolution to re-establish security and governance in many communities.

Accord 21 seeks to improve understanding and links between Somalis and international policy and practice.

Edited by Mark Bradbury and Sally Healy it contains over 30 articles, including interviews with Somali elders and senior diplomats from the African Union, the UN and IGAD; and contributions from Somali and international peacemaking practitioners, academics, involved parties, civil society and women’s organisations.

This Accord shows how Somali-led initiatives have set up viable political and administrative arrangements to manage conflict and provide durable security and law. In many places Somali entrepreneurship has also revitalised the economy.


The project was carried out in collaboration with Interpeace and their Somali partners, and draws on their peace mapping study.

We should all recognise that Somalia is not given the necessary attention and care by the international community. We call it a failed state and we seem to admit this is a new category of states for which we are helpless. From my own experience in Somalia I believe there is a remarkable potential in the people of this country which deserves to be given a chance: through real long term support for economic development and federal governance. This Accord publication essentially highlights some of the ways that international policy can better engage with Somali peacemaking.

Mohamed Sahnoun, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Africa and former Special Representative for Somalia, and Vice Chair of Interpeace and of the UN mandated University of Peace

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