Peacebuilding can look like any one of hundreds of different actions, and mean different things to different people. And its often hard to comprehend the impact that peacebuilding has on the lives of people living with conflict. So, to mark the International Day of Peace, we’ve asked our peacebuilding colleagues, partners and friends from around the world to share their most memorable peacebuilding moments.
A new round of Armenian-Azerbaijani violence has once again sent tremors through the fragile status quo constraining a major new war in the South Caucasus. While the escalation ended after a few days and the status quo held, new dynamics indicate that it cannot be taken for granted. In the face of totalising trends radicalising all aspects of their relations, Baku and Yerevan should return to the negotiating table in pursuit of pragmatic agreements on issues where their red lines are not involved.
The consequences of a coronavirus outbreak for a country already affected by conflict are likely to be disastrous. Weakened healthcare systems and strained relationships between communities and authorities have the potential to spark further tensions. In the Central African Republic, young people trained in peacebuilding are working to ensure that their communities are prepared for the challenges ahead.
Weak governance, an impoverished health service and a population with disproportionate health problems all increase the likelihood that the coronavirus pandemic could have a significant negative impact in Abkhazia. There is misinformation about Covid-19, limited access to protective equipment, and no infrastructure to enable deliveries of essential goods, other than by friends, family or volunteers. This is made worse by Abkhazia’s economic overdependence on tourism from Russia as months of travel restrictions between Russia and Abkhazia have caused economic stagnation and eaten up what little savings people may have had. The weak welfare system means many are suffering socio-economic hardship. There are multiple drivers for these problems, but the isolation resulting from decades of unresolved conflict is a root cause, hampering modernisation and development, and creating the potential for fault lines to emerge in a society strained by economic stagnation.
In the Pacific Islands, communities are seeing their climate and environment change around them. Climate change is causing sea level rise, changes in rainfall, coral bleaching, and increased intensity of natural disasters. This is affecting ecosystems and the rich biodiversity of the land and ocean, while impacting upon food and water security, and livelihoods. Environmental change is invariably affecting the social, spiritual and relational wellbeing of communities across the region.
The people of Paoua sub-prefecture have lived in the shadow of conflict and insecurity long before the Seleka coup d’état in 2013 that marked the beginning of the most recent crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR). An important border area in the north west of CAR, Paoua has played host to a succession of armed groups and militia, bringing with them waves of violence, abuse and displacement. For most of the young people of Paoua, peace, education and the possibilities of a secure livelihood have been absent their entire lives. For many, joining one of the multiple armed groups in and around Paoua has been a matter of survival.
This month the United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a global ceasefire. Resolution 2532 recognises that COVID-19 is already exacerbating existing issues in conflict-affected countries, and demanded a cessation of hostilities as the only way to ensure an effective response to the pandemic. However, in many countries, the resolution is yet to have an effect and COVID-19 is continuing to have a negative impact on prospects for peace.
Reimagining Victory is a digital series, developed by Conciliation Resources in partnership with the IWM Institute. The series sees leading journalists, peacebuilders, artists and academics discuss the concept of victory, and look at some of the most pressing issues surrounding conflict and peacebuilding in today’s world. As we mark 75 years since the end of the second world war, what does it really mean to ‘win’ a war today?
The COVID-19 pandemic has not paused conflict around the world – despite calls for a global ceasefire, researchers have found. The data comes from a new digital tracking tool developed by the University of Edinburgh, with support from Conciliation Resources and our strategic partners mediatEUr.
From North America to South Asia the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated societal conflicts promoting a rise in militarised responses from governments. But behind the headlines and stark images, community leaders, including women peacebuilders are stepping in to mediate and deescalate tensions.