contemporary conflict resolution the prevention, management, and transformation of deadly conflicts

Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse, Hugh Miall

post-conflict peacebuilding

overview of article

the need to shift the focus of post-conflict peacebuilding to the community directly affected rather than putting the focus on outside players, which will create the most sustainable and successful results

shifting the emphasis

"...peacemaking processes must be based not merely on the manipulation of peace agreements made by elites, but more importantly on the empowerment of communities torn apart by war to build peace from below."

this has lead to a clearer understanding in regards to...

the embedded cultures and economies of violence provide bigger barriers to possible intervention than previously thought

the long term development frameworks should be focused on eroding cultures of violence and sustain peace processes on the ground

the focus on non-governmental sectors such as local knowledge and wisdom

can you think of any connections to these ideas and past readings?

where did "peacebuiling from below" come from?

many of the shifts in thinking for post-conflict peacebuilding came from the challenges that countries faced after armed conflict in the 1990s

Elise Boulding

  • focus of community in peacebuilding
  • "cultures of peace can survive in small pockets and spaces even in the most violent of conflicts"

Adam Curle

  • worked with he people of Osijek, Croatia, post-Cold War conflict
  • hard to shift peacemaking from a concept to an action due to the many feelings of anger and bitterness that conflict created within local communities and individuals
  • saw how the influence of outsider-neutral parties was not powerful or relevant enough to promote peace

"solutions reached through negotiation may be simply expedient and not imply any change of heart. And this is the crux of peace. There must be a change of heart. Without this no settlement can be considered secure" -Curle

can you think of a time when you were in a conflict and an outsider attempted to intervene?

peacebuilding from below

emphasis shifts from using outsider-neutral parties to create peace towards a partnership with local actors

supporting local peacemakers through consultative-facilitative role

  • workshops and training in a variety of fields the local groups find necessary

empowering approach

  • more sensitive┬áto the context in which the conflict took place
  • works to empower civil society and deepen it's ability to create non-violent social change
  • "Indigenous empowerment"
  • "grassroots peacebuilding"

liberating communities while working towards cultures and structures of peace

  • transformative rather than prescriptive
  • brings the importance of cultural relevance sensitivity into the conversation about conflict resolution
why do you think it is important to involve all levels?

peacebuilding models within international policy

post-conflict peacebuilding emerged as a clearly define policy objective when it came to resolving international conflict in the 1990s

most of the large international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations published their own definitions and guidelines

how could this de detrimental to peacebuilding efforts?

World Bank devotes about 16% of it's total funds on projects addressing war

  • a country coming out of civil war has a 50% chance of relapsing into conflict in the first five years of peace
  • it can take a generation to return to pre-war living standards
  • in 2003, $13 million was disbursed to support those countries transitioning from conflict to peace

increased focus on peacebuilding has lead to the need for map out guidelines for ethical and effective practices across all agencies who wish to support countries transitioning from conflict to peace

implementing peacebuilding from below

application of peacebuilding from below transforms the way in which conflict is viewed

reorientation of thrid-party outsider roles

one suggestion: methodology for peace and conflict impact assessment (PCIA)

  • the need for development agencies and donors to assess projects
  • screen the positive or negative impacts on conflict of proposed projects
  • develop indicators of the conflict, indicators of the project's effectiveness, then map the factors or variables that lie between the project and the conflict in an effort to trace connections

an update on peace, thoughts, and thoughts about peace...

but also...

thoughts? are you conflicted?

criticisms across the board

lack of coordination between outside parties coming in to "help" an area

are organizations being gender sensitive but also culturally sensitive?

outside facilitators worsening the conflict

how do we measure success of a peacebuilding initiative?

keep in mind...

Local groups are susceptible to the effects of structural global forces and structural pressures

should not be assumed that a civil society operating at the local level is inevitably a pure place for peaceful activity and values

focus of this article was to present peacebuilding from below as a core construct of contemporary conflict resolution not the only way to do it

final thoughts

"When you raise your fist, you cannot reach out your hand."

do you have any?


Posters for tomorrow. (2017) 4tomorrow association. Retrieved from:

Miall, H., Ramsbotham, O., & Woodhouse, T. (1999). Contemporary conflict resolution: The prevention, management and transformation of deadly conflict. Cambridge: Polity.

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