Berghof colleagues Véronique Dudouet, Hans J. Giessmann and Katrin Planta have just published the policy report “From Combatants to Peacebuilders: A case for inclusive, participatory and holistic security transitions”. It presents key lessons learnt and policy recommendations based on findings from the participatory research project “Non-state armed groups and security transition processes” (2009-2012), and takes futher issues of security sector reform and DDR in the context of post-war security transitions and transformations. The empirical findings of the report are based on thematic case studies written by local teams made up of researchers and former combatants in the contexts of South Africa, Colombia, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Burundi, Southern Sudan, Nepal and Aceh.
This report is complemented by a more comprehensive volume edited by the same authors and published by Routledge, freshly released. Make sure to check out “Post-War Security Transitions. Participatory Peacebuilding after Asymmetric Conflicts”!
Related contents in our Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation include Handbook Dialogue No. 2 on Security Sector Reform (published in 2004) as well as Herbert Wulf’s updated contribution in Advancing Conflict Transformation, The Berghof Handbook II (published in 2011).
Michelle Parlevliet, lead author for Dialogue No 9 on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation, has gone on to further explore this relationship. Collaborating with colleagues from GTZ, DED and the German Institute for Human Rights, she has written this brand new report: Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Transformation. Guidance for Development Practitioners. The overall thinking you’ll recognise if you are familiar with her Dialogue piece, but what’s interesting are the short examples drawn from programmes around the world. There are also some additional new points, notably about developments within the HR and the CR field. We wish you good reading!
We are pleased to inform you that Daniela Körppen and Norbert Ropers – co-editor and lead author of our Handbook Dialogue No 6 – have just published a new book on systemic conflict transformation, together with Hans J. Giessmann. The Non-Linearity of Peace Processes – Theory and Practice of Systemic Conflict Transformation is the first comprehensive volume analysing the value added by integrating systemic thinking into peacebuilding theory and practice. It aims to link the most recent debates in the peacebuilding field, e.g. on liberal peace, on the non-linearity of conflict dynamics and on bridging the attribution gap, with various systemic discourses, discussing the extent to which systemic thinking and methods are helpful to further develop existing approaches to conflict transformation. Against the background of different case studies, practitioners and scholars frame their various understandings of systemic thinking and present a great variety of systemic concepts, such as systems theory, systemic action research and constellation work. More details can be found here.
Michelle Parlevliet writes at the end of her lead article in Berghof Handbook Dialogue 9 that “this article has concentrated on intra-state conflict and has highlighted the role of the state in relation to citizens. It has, however, not engaged with other facets of reality that also characterize many contemporary conflicts, such as cross-border linkages and the role of non-state actors including customary institutions (traditional leaders, informal justice systems) and other social entities (e.g. war lords, religious movements, gang leaders).” A new edition of Conciliation Resources’ Accord series takes up this issue of cross-border dynamics. In Accord 22 – Paix sans frontières / building peace across borders – the editors and contributors explore “how peacebuilding strategies and capacity need to ‘think outside the state’: beyond it, through regional engagement; and below it, through cross-border community or trade networks. And it looks at how beyond and below can be connected”. Case studies focus on East and Central Africa, the South Caucasus, West Africa, Kashmir, the Middle East and Central America.
We find: a volume dedicated to bringing conflict transformation closer to today’s changing challenges! Ultimately, combining work on the state, beyond and below it will be the mix that it takes.
George Wachira of the Nairobi Peace Initiative recounts the peacebuilding activities of Concerned Citizens for Peace in Kenya, in “Citizens in Action. Making Peace in the Post-Election Crisis in Kenya – 2008”, co-published by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
His account complements the reflections of another member of Concerned Citizens for Peace, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, who contributed to Berghof Handbook Dialogue No 6 on A Systemic Approach to Conflict Transformation.
We think: an insight into the many small steps (forward and sideways) that are necessary to transform violence into peacebuilding potential, and a reminder that it takes people who take responsibility and mindful action!
Note: Dialogue 6 has just been reprinted; hard copies therefore remain available for ordering at the Berghof Center.
Recently, PRIO’s Peaceethics Forum has hosted a discussion which resonates strongly with our latest Dialogue issue on Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: The Challenges of Just Peace. The debate centres on “Peace vs. Justice? The Dilemma of Peace and Justice in Post-conflict Societies in Africa: Lessons from Sudan and Kenya”, with a lead contribution by Kwesi Aning and Ernest Ansah Lartey, and comments by Chandra Sriram Lekha, Abdelbagi Jibril and the Berghof Handbook editor Beatrix Austin. Issues covered are how to properly include justice demands in peace agreements, what the role of political elites is in shaping decisions on justice and peacebuilding and how retributive and restorative justice can become complementary approaches – among many others.
We find: for those interested in continuing the discussion and learning more about concrete ways of addressing the delicate balance of peace and justice in different regions, the Peaceethics Discussion Forum is well worth visiting.
Conciliation Resources has published, in the latest issue of its Accord Series, an in-depth analysis of the Somali peace processes: Whose Peace Is It Anyway? This issue discusses, for the case of Somalia, many of the points raised in our own Berghof Handbook Dialogue No 8 – Building Peace in the Absence of States.
The issue editors of Accord 21, Mark Bradbury and Sally Healy, have brought together over 30 articles including interviews with Somali elders and senior diplomats with the African Union, the UN and IGAD, and contributions from Somali and international peacemaking practitioners, academics, involved parties, civil society and women’s organisations. The contributions illustrate that while for many people Somalia is synonymous with violence, warlordism, famine, terrorism, jihadism, and piracy, Somalia is not an entirely lawless and ungoverned land. On the one hand, nearly 20 years of foreign diplomatic, military and state-building interventions have failed to build peace. No government emerging from any internationally-sponsored peace process has established its authority or legitimacy among Somalis. On the other, Somalis have used their own resources and traditions of conflict resolution to re-establish security and governance in many communities.
We find: highly recommended reading.