We are very pleased to announce the release of “Giving Peace an Address? Reflections on the Potential and Challenges of Creating Peace Infrastructures” by Ulrike Hopp-Nishanka. It is the lead article of our next Handbook Dialogue “Peace Infrastructures – Assessing Concept and Practice” to be published this fall.
The article defines and narrows the emergent concept of “Peace Infrastructures” as networks of organisations established by conflict parties with the aim of building peace. Thus, it argues, infrastructures for peace have a great potential to contribute to peacebuilding, by strengthening the ownership and commitment of the stakeholders to the conflict.
Building on earlier ideas of John Paul Lederach, the emerging concept sets out criteria to distinguish infrastructures from other important actors such as peace constituencies or civil society networks. This article argues that peace infrastructures serve different objectives and function at various stages of a peace process. By linking them vertically and horizontally, they can cover all levels of peacebuilding and constitute relevant entry points for peacebuilding support.
Given their particular characteristics, peace infrastructures, however, face diverse challenges with a view to legitimacy and inclusiveness, and depend on their owners’ political will and leadership. The article invites the reader to examine existing structures thoroughly in order to understand and enhance their contribution to peacebuilding in the future.