The renewed peace efforts under the Republican Dialogue offer a unique opportunity for the government and other stakeholders, including the international community, to learn from the successes and failures of previous peace processes. Building on the investment of existing civil society networks and local peace mechanisms can ensure that inclusive and participatory dialogue capacities are not just maintained during a critical time but are strengthened to build a permanent dialogue.
Reinforcing the relationship building measures between key state institutions and communities, so that communities, women, youth, local authorities, security service providers, and local faith leaders can collectively feed into wider peace processes when national level stakeholders are willing and able to do so is also critical.
As the government seeks to revitalise the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation integrating the conclusions of the political talk, Lunda framework, all eyes are on the national level with efforts focused on bringing the different conflict parties together in the Republican Dialogue. While attention is focused on national peace-making, it is important not to lose sight of local conflict dynamics.
From our analysis and collective experience of working with conflict-affected communities, we know that conflict dynamics in the Central African Republic (CAR) are highly localised. A concentration on securing the agreement of key individual leaders as part of the national dialogue will therefore have little traction if local drivers of armed mobilisation and violence are not addressed in parallel. There is therefore an urgent need to strengthen local peacebuilding mechanisms and initiatives, which are able to effectively address local conflict drivers and causes, strengthen community resilience to violence, and reduce incentives for community armed group support.
Creating an environment for national peace in CAR
Working alongside our partners DanChurchAid, Interfaith Platform, and Vision Enfant Republique Centrafricaine, we aim to create an environment for national peace in CAR by strengthening the ability of local peace mechanisms to prevent violent conflict, build dialogue and foster peace.
We are supporting community peace mechanisms and local authorities and faith leaders to promote needs-based and inclusive dialogue, trust building and violence prevention initiatives. We will work with conflict-affected communities – in particular marginalised groups – to increase their access and willingness to participate in local peace processes and dialogue.
The project will work with people to promote dialogue in their communities, engage local and national government officials and strengthen local peace mechanisms. We will also produce and broadcast radio programmes targeting local actors in communities where we work.
Photo: A facilitator takes notes in a breakout session during a Decentralised Dialogue workshop in Borro, Bossangoa, Central African Republic. (c) Nick Bennett/Conciliation Resources 2022