Peacebuilding involves a range of measures targeted to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and tailored to specific needs of the country concerned, based on national ownership, and should comprise a carefully prioritized, sequenced, and therefore relatively narrow set of activities aimed at achieving the above objectives.
Multilateral Peace Operations
According to the most recent data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (“Trends in multilateral peace operations” – May 2017), various multilateral actors—the UN, regional organizations and alliances, and ad hoc coalitions of states—conducted 62 peace operations in 2016. This is one fewer than in 2015. The UN led 22 operations (16 Peacekeeping Operations and 6 Special Political Missions that qualify as peace operations according to SIPRI’s definition), regional organizations and alliances led 31, and non-standing coalitions of states led 9. (More details on each operation can be found in SIPRI’s website.)
Altogether, the 62 peace operations that were active in 2016 deployed 153,056 personnel. Of these, 106,234 (69 per cent) were deployed by the UN, 43,646 (29 per cent) were deployed by regional organizations and 3,176 (2 per cent) were deployed in ad hoc operations.
The need for training in Peacebuilding
The need to promote training in new strategies aimed at preventing conflicts and keeping and building peace in post-conflict zones and areas at risk of relapsing into violence is becoming increasingly evident: approximately 50% of countries that emerge from a war relapse into violence within five years; some of the most dramatic events of recent decades have occurred following peace negotiations; and the UN has more field missions now than ever.
A close analysis of each conflict, together with its causes and the actors involved, is required to successfully plan operations that will maximize the positive impact of interventions and minimize their negative impact. To guarantee long-term stability, it is essential to engage local communities in the project and design an exit plan that contemplates strategies to ensure continued success once international funds are no longer available.
Peacebuilding activities are highly varied and include disarmament of the parties involved in the conflict, restoration of order, the custody and possible destruction of weapons, the repatriation of refugees, the provision of support in the training of armed and security forces, international election monitoring, the implementation of measures to protect human rights, the reform and strengthening of government institutions, the fight against corruption, or the promotion of democracy and political participation, among many other areas.
Given the wide range of activities that come under the umbrella of post-conflict reconstruction and conflict prevention, and the hundreds of thousands of people active in the field in these areas, the need to adequately train people to deal with the many challenges they face is more than evident. Training thus is an essential tool which, combined with other strategies such as the creation of pools of civilian experts that can be rapidly deployed when needed, can greatly contribute to stabilizing fragile countries and providing support to governments and affected citizens.