Women mediators are constantly finding innovative ways to bridge the peace gap in all spaces of mediation – within communities, nationally, and across borders to engage regionally and internationally. Through our work and research we know that women are there, and always have been. But 20 years on from the United Nation’s landmark resolution on women, peace and security, women for the most part remain unrecognised and invisible and are continually denied access to the peace table and decision-making spaces.
Alicia Kuin has facilitated over 600 conflict processes, and as a 33-year old woman, she’s usually working in spaces dominated by older men. Twenty years after the landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, Alicia reflects on the challenges she experienced as a young female mediator and what she’s learning from colleagues around the world.
Gender inequality is a root cause of conflict. Evidence shows that high levels of unequal power relations and gender-based violence are associated with increased vulnerability to war and the use of more severe forms of violence in conflict.* Understanding these dynamics allows us to uncover, target and transform the root causes that fuel violence and conflict.
A year ago, a ground-breaking public exhibition opened in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Corridors of Conflict: Abkhazia 1989-1995 was the first of its kind – an exhibition focused on Georgian-Abkhaz relations, the years leading up to violent conflict in 1992-1993, and its consequences. How can exhibitions like this help deal with the past, with a view to transforming conflict for the future?
'The Corridors of Conflict: Abkhazia 1989-1995' was an exhibition that took place in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 2019. Based on unique archival material, the exhibition triggered reflection and debate. Creating archives, and documenting lived experience of the violent past, is important for transforming conflict. It allows people’s voices to be heard, and helps people learn from what happened, so that the same mistakes can be avoided in future.
Bossangoa is often known as the heartland of the Anti-balaka. The town, and surrounding areas, in Ouham prefecture, were at the centre of the conflict that engulfed the Central African Republic from 2012, and gave rise to the armed civilian groups. Now, as the country examines its conflict history and how to build a more peaceful future, it’s vital to understand how and why young people became involved in the violence.
Conciliation Resources has launched Accord 29 ‘Pioneering peace pathways – making connections to end violent conflict.’ It explores the early stages of peace processes, and the patient engagement in formative and pre-formal peacemaking that often takes years. The publication underscores the importance of persistent promotion of dialogue, and accompaniment of conflict parties and affected communities to reach negotiated solutions. Starting peace processes is neither quick nor easy.
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.