Our approach works
Building sustainable peace doesn’t happen overnight, which is why we’re in it for the long-term. We think about our work in terms of years, not months, and this means we can develop relationships of trust. Where there is trust, it is easier for all sides to take cautious steps towards peace.
We build connections between those who wouldn't normally meet, breaking down barriers between divided groups.
We encourage marginalised people to speak out about the conflicts which affect them, and work to ensure they have the space to do that. And we develop skills, share knowledge and promote lessons to improve how individuals, organisations and governments around the world respond to conflict.
How we address conflict
Simply stopping fighting is not the same as transforming conflict and putting a permanent end to violence. Patient, persistent work to find creative solutions to conflict is needed to build sustainable peace.
Conciliation Resources works to truly understand conflicts, and then we share what we learn with others. We create connections between the different groups involved, and most importantly, ensure the people directly impacted by conflict are leading initiatives to respond to the violence.
25 years of building peace
Conciliation Resources begins
Conciliation Resources was established by Andy Carl and David Lord, initially working in Fiji and Sierra Leone. The staunch conviction of our founders was that people living in areas of violent conflict should be involved in its resolution. Twenty-five years later, this principle still forms the basis of our approach.
A resource for peace is born
The first Accord publication, looking at the Liberian peace process, was produced to analyse and share practical lessons from peacebuilding. Since then, more than 30 Accord publications have been written covering different regions and topics, with contributors including international mediators, government negotiators and leaders of armed groups.
Transforming conflict in war-torn Sierra Leone
In response to civil war and widespread violence, Conciliation Resources began providing support for community mediation. Over the next 12 years, our work with the Bo Peace and Reconciliation Movement resulted in increased community cohesion, ‘peace monitors’ resolving hundreds of community disputes and the reintegration of ex-combatants into communities.
Educating citizens in Fiji
Alongside our Fijian partner, Citizens' Constitutional Forum, we produced a cartoon-illustrated booklet explaining the country's new constitution and electoral system. The booklet was launched by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and distributed to schools across the country, significantly increasing awareness of the changes.
Progress through Georgian-Abkhaz dialogue
In 2000, we organised the first of many informal dialogue meetings, bringing together high-level Georgian and Abkhaz officials, politicians and civil society representatives to discuss key issues connected to the conflict. Over the past 20 years, these meetings have fed ideas and insights into the formal peace talks and led to tangible progress in areas of mutual interest such as education and the environment.
Owning the process
Our Accord publication, Owning the Process, kick-started a real change in thinking around who should be involved in peace processes. Now there is a broad global consensus that the views and experiences of all those impacted by conflict need to be included in finding solutions, not just governments and armed groups. Our 2019 Accord on inclusion, delves even deeper into practically how this can be done.
Alternative narratives on conflict in the South Caucasus
Launched in 2004, our innovative radio diaries project challenged stereotypes and gave a human face to conflict, with over 1,500 diaries broadcast across the South Caucasus. It led to other unique initiatives such as Dialogue through Film, which brought together more than 30 young Armenians from Nagorny Karabakh and Azerbaijanis to make short films about the conflict that divides them.
Ground-breaking research on talking to armed groups
Our 16th Accord 'Choosing to engage: armed groups and peace processes', contributed new thinking to this hotly debated topic. Bringing together the voices of armed groups, governments and mediators, it highlighted the importance of communicating with armed groups for peace, despite the rhetoric of the 'war on terror'.
Trading for peace in Kashmir
The governments of India and Pakistan opened up the Line of Control in Kashmir for limited trade in 2008. Conciliation Resources supported this trade, facilitating written agreements and consolidating the development of the Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This award-winning initiative has built confidence and developed relationships between the two sides, in one of the most militarised regions in the world.
Regional response to conflict in East and Central Africa
In 2008 the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) spread from Uganda, into the border areas of southern Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In response, we established a Regional Civil Society Task Force, bringing together people affected by the conflict from all four countries to discuss and coordinate solutions. Over time, they developed a network that provided early warning of LRA attacks.
Colombia-Philippines peace exchange
In 2010, Colombia and the Philippines were grappling with similar peacebuilding challenges. We arranged the first of a series of exchange visits where politicians and professionals from both countries could learn from each other, as well as international experts from around the world. These exchanges helped ensure that the issues of gender and indigenous rights in particular became key components of the formal peace talks in both countries.
A new commitment to peace in the Basque country
At an international conference co-sponsored by Conciliation Resources, participants including Kofi Annan, issued a declaration calling on ETA to formally end armed confrontation in the Basque Country. That same month, ETA announced it would end armed activity after four decades of violence.
Assisted Fiji’s return towards constitutional democracy
At the request of their Chair, Conciliation Resources worked with Fiji’s Constitutional Commission, helping them to establish a Secretariat and organise a dynamic process which promoted public participation in developing a draft constitution for the country.
Helping abductees return home
Our work has helped hundreds of women, children, and other vulnerable adults, abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army to return to their communities. In 2013, we helped the Ugandan Government introduce an Amnesty Act, which allowed some members of the armed group to return home safely once they denounced the rebellion and laid down their arms.
Philippines peace agreement
In March 2014, the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement after 16 years of negotiations. We had supported the peace talks since 2009, as a member of the International Contact Group. The new head of the Philippines Government panel said Conciliation Resources had been instrumental in preventing the talks from collapsing when both panels presented their draft agreements.
Responding to Ebola-driven conflict
Ebola was not just a health crisis. In the already tense border regions of West Africa the epidemic, and attempts to control it, sparked fresh waves of violence, fuelled by fear and misinformation. Our work with 18 District Platforms for Dialogue across the Mano River Region, created spaces for communities to discuss their grievances and be informed about the epidemic. They helped resolve 142 conflicts between border communities, security officials and health workers.
Youth building peace
In 2017, we worked with over 3,500 young people in 8 different contexts, including Jammu and Kashmir, the Democratic Republic of Congo and northeast Nigeria. We trained them to manage violence in their communities and empowered them to have a voice on the conflicts that impact them. In the same year, research we undertook in Afghanistan, Kashmir, South Sudan and the Georgian-Abkhaz context fed into the UN’s Global Progress Report on Youth, Peace and Security.
Securing a peace deal in Ethiopia
25 years of conflict has made the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia one of the country’s poorest states. In October 2018, the Ogaden National Liberation Front and the Government of Ethiopia finally signed a peace agreement. We were there at the signing, as we have been for the previous seven years, supporting the negotiations between these two parties and helping draft the final peace deal.
Over 25 years, sharing knowledge from experience and working in partnership with others has been central to our work. In 2019, we strengthened collaboration by linking peacebuilders across the world through initiatives such as Smart Peace and Women Mediators across the Commonwealth – combining our skills and expertise so that together we can make peace possible.