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Civil Society Roles in Conflict Prevention: developing new partnerships for peace and security


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Title: Civil Society Roles in Conflict Prevention: developing new partnerships for peace and security

Civil Society Roles in Conflict Prevention
developing new partnerships for peace and
  • Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed
  • Catherine Barnes, Ph.D.
  • ----
  • InterAction Forum 2004
  • Washington DC, 19 May 2004

  • Explore some of the key roles that civil society
    organisations play in preventing and transforming
    violent conflict
  • Present the Global Partnership for the
    Prevention of Armed Conflict - and how it aims
    to strengthen civil society capacities in working
    with conflict and partnerships with the UN,
    regional organisations and governments.

Civil society more than NGOs
Political parties movements
Business associations cooperatives
Movements social, political, environmental,
  • Civil Society Organisations
  • NGOs
  • Voluntary charities
  • Community-based groups
  • Etc.

trade unions professional associations
Traditional leaders social structures
Private foundations donors
Religious institutions faith-based
Media private non-profit state
Educational research institutes
GONGOs, QUANGOs Parastatal companies
Why civil society in preventing armed conflict?
  • A vibrant diverse civil society is a key
    element of structural prevention. (1) Strengthens
    internal cohesion, mediates social conflict
    constrains arbitrary exercise of power (2)
    Attempts to suppress civil society tend to
    provoke a struggle to meet basic human needs
    through other means, including violent
  • Efficacy Within any society, these diverse
    groupings constitute a potentially powerful force
    that can mobilise either to escalate conflict or
    facilitate its resolution. They can do things
    that neither the state nor international
    organisations can do.
  • Ownership sovereignty The state belongs to its
    people mobilising civil society to address
    problems that could generate conflict strengthens
    long-term social and political development. If
    the diverse elements within a society feel that
    the solutions are legitimate, they are more
    likely to take responsibility for implementing

CSO orientations to prevention
Prevention at different stages in the evolution
of an armed conflict
Structural Prevention
Operational Prevention
Structural Prevention
Political talks gain momentum
Final accords signed begin consolidation peacebu
Escalation of tension violence
Pre-crisis phase
Conflict emergence
Armed conflict
Ceasefire / process toward settlement
Peacebuilding post-settlement reconstruction
CSO roles in structural prevention addressing
the root causes
  • Addressing structural violence promoting human
    security through development, human rights
    monitoring promotion, preventing environmental
  • Making governments state structures more
    responsive through participation in political
    processes, policy dialogue, monitoring, advocacy
    campaigns, protests
  • Alleviating social tensions and conflict
    through challenging xenophobia discrimination,
    facilitating dialogue, and promoting tolerance
    and a culture of peace
  • Strengthening capacities to mediate conflict and
    manage differences through conflict resolution
    training, mediation services, education,
    promoting rule of law

Operational PreventionCSO roles in the early
crisis phase
  • Early warning of emerging crises monitoring,
    analysis, and communication strategies to raise
    awareness and generate attention
  • Developing options and strategies for response -
    formulating recommendations, engaging in policy
  • Mobilising political will for response lobbying
    and campaigning, sensitising domestic audiences
  • Taking action Unofficial diplomacy, social
    dialogue, public protests

CSO roles during violent conflict
  • Humanitarian relief support to war-affected
  • Facilitating communication and generating
    alternatives Track II dialogue processes
  • Strengthening local CSO capacities for conflict
    transformation peacebuilding
  • Developing strengthening constituencies for
    peace and public awareness work
  • Violence reduction and monitoring creating
    zones of peace

CSO roles in peacemaking
  • Support for political negotiations and confidence
    building initiatives
  • Shaping the negotiating agenda to ensure it
    addresses root causes
  • Participating in the negotiations process,
    directly or indirectly
  • Helping behind the scenes continuing to
    facilitate social dialogue and Track II dialogue
    good offices

Preventing recurrence CSO roles in
post-settlement peacebuilding
  • Public education awareness-raising on the peace
    agreement and consolidating support.
  • Facilitating the rehabilitation of war-affected
    relationships communities ? laying the
    groundwork for reconciliation.
  • Contributing to transitional justice processes
  • Resumption of initiatives contributing to
    structural prevention encouraging good
    governance, reconstruction and development,
    mediating social conflict, promoting human rights

CSOs working on conflict special contributions
  • Because CSOs are aware of events as they are
    unfolding, they can make important contributions
    to early warning.
  • They can act swiftly flexibly to respond to
    conditions as needed, often using innovative
    non-coercive strategies and quality processes to
    address problems.
  • CSOs can act when official actors are immobilised
    (often related to mandates, lack of political
    will or the implications conveyed by their
    official status).
  • CSOs can improve communication and relationships
    by fostering interaction across conflict divides.
  • By mobilising people power, CSOs can put
    pressure on decision-makers to reach a peaceful
    settlement. They can also push for policies and
    practices designed to address root causes of

Partnership respect for local ownership
  • Partnerships are key to effective prevention.
  • Need mechanisms resources for interaction
    between CSOs, IGOs and governments to
    institutionalise the capacity for prevention.
  • Need official acknowledgement of the legitimacy
    of CSOs in peace security matters recognition
    of their roles in the conflict prevention
  • Primary responsibility for conflict prevention
    rests with national governments and other local
    actors. Greater ownership is likely to result in
    a more legitimate process sustainable outcomes.
  • The primary role of outsiders is to create spaces
    support inclusive processes that enable those
    directly involved to make decisions about the
    specific arrangements for addressing the causes
    of conflict ? Build on capacities that exist.
  • Outsiders must avoid actions that displace
    undermine homegrown initiatives or that promote
    short-term objectives at the expense of long-term

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed
  • GPPAC the convening process for July 2005
    conference at UN Headquarters ? Initiated in
    response to UN Secretary-Generals Report on the
    Prevention of Armed Conflict (2001), where he
    urged NGOs to organise a conference on their role
    and interaction with the UN in prevention.
  • Global partnership 15 regional processes ECCP
    (international secretariat) NGO UN Conflict
    Prevention Working Group International Steering

Global Level Building an Action Agenda for the
Global Partnershipfor the Preventionof Armed
Strategy Group
Beyond 2005
Global Partnership More than a conference
  • Generating social infrastructure Stimulating
    forums at national, regional, and global levels ?
    creating an effective worldwide network
  • Developing a voice Thousands engaged in
    discussion research at national regional
    level to identify issues, exchange experiences
    lessons, and set priorities for Action Agendas
  • Increased political acceptance of the role of
    civil society in preventing armed conflict
    strengthened mechanisms for interaction
    partnership between state non-state actors on
    conflict, peace security matters for integrated
    approach to prevention
  • Laying the groundwork for long-term action
    public education awareness raising
    strengthened operational capacities ? new

How you can get involved
  • Join the initiative connect your organization
    with regional processes
  • Contribute understanding of your issue area to
    conflict prevention
  • Mainstream prevention principles in your
    organizations work and operations
  • Contribute financially
  • European Centre for Conflict Prevention