Conflict and Fragility

2074-3637 (en ligne)
2074-3645 (imprimé)
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This series of books from OECD's Development Co-operation Directorate address the issues of violent conflict and fragile governments in developing countries, and how aid can be designed to reduce violence and strengthen governments.

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Improving International Support to Peace Processes

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Improving International Support to Peace Processes

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21 août 2012
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9789264179844 (PDF) ;9789264179837(imprimé)

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Peace processes hold the promise of re-starting non-violent efforts towards creating more equitable, resilient and developed societies. Yet, such processes are politically and psychologically complex, as well as high-risk. Many fail and such failure is harmful, as it reduces confidence and increases cynicism amongst parties to a conflict, citizens and international partners alike. International support can help a peace process to succeed but its nature and quality matter greatly.

"The Missing Piece" identifies seven recommendations to improve the quality of support that states and international organizations provide to peace processes. It does this through a thorough analysis of: the characteristics of today’s violent conflicts, the factors that influence the success and failure of a peace process and  the current strengths & weaknesses of international support.

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  • Foreword

    Nelson Mandela observed that "if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." From this perspective it is encouraging that the last two decades have seen a substantial increase in the number of peace processes worldwide. International support to such processes has also intensified, with the United Nations and various regional organisations, such as the African Union, playing key roles. New actors have also entered the scene as peacemakers, such as Qatar, Turkey and civil society organisations. All of this suggests an increased willingness to give peace a better chance. Bringing a halt to the violence that affects the lives of so many is a worthy endeavour. At the same time, we must remain aware that violence is sometimes used intentionally in pursuit of private agendas. Also, the exclusion of social groups that can lead to conflict can be purposeful, and geopolitical considerations inevitably impose constraints on peace processes.

  • Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Executive Summary

    Violent conflict is bad for development. Peace processes – if conducted well – offer the promise of creating more equitable, resilient and developed societies. Yet such processes are politically, socially and psychologically complex, as well as high-risk. Many fail and such failure does harm by reducing confidence and increasing cynicism amongst conflict parties, citizens and international partners alike. International support can help a peace process to succeed, but the nature and quality of this support matter greatly. "The Missing Piece" makes seven recommendations to improve the quality of support provided by states and international organisations to peace processes. These seven recommendations have been drawn from an analysis of the characteristics of violent conflict today (Chapter 1); of ingredients of a successful peace process (Chapter 2); and of the strengths and weaknesses of existing support (Chapter 3). Figure 0.1 summarises the main findings and recommendations.

  • Introduction

    Peace processes hold the promise of re-starting non-violent efforts towards more equitable, resilient and developed societies. Conflict negatively affects development and peace processes can put a halt to this.1 Yet, such processes are politically, socially and psychologically complex as well as high-risk. Many fail and such failure does harm by reducing confidence and increasing cynicism.2 International support can help a peace process to succeed, but the nature and quality of such support matter greatly. Engagement is not a light matter and comes with the responsibility to engage effectively and capably. As the saying goes, "if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen".

  • Violent conflict and organised violence today

    This chapter briefly analyses four general characteristics of today’s violent conflicts and draws out implications for international support to peace processes. There has been a shift in the nature, frequency, effects and implications of violent conflict and organised violence in the 21st century. Today conflict is relatively simple and cheap to initiate and maintain because of easy global access to finance and weapons, and local access to recruits; it has significant local, regional and global costs; it features a fusion of criminal, political, terrorist and commercial interests, and often recurs. The implications for international support to peace processes include the need to understand both the global and local drivers of conflict, and to make sure that peace agreements contain provisions to reduce access to the resources that fuel conflicts. Peace agreements should place more emphasis on breaking the structures for violence than conventional efforts, including attention to transnational organised crime, rebuilding community conflict resolution mechanisms, educational efforts to reduce the culture of violence and reducing political/commercial incentives for organised violence. Peace support efforts also need a strong focus on restoring social capital. On a positive note, the chapter finds that the international toolkit for dealing with and preventing violent conflict is becoming more successful and sophisticated, though more can be done.

  • What are ingredients for success in a peace process?

    This chapter provides international actors with a framework to guide their support to a peace process. It outlines nine key factors which contribute to a successful peace process, grouped around three crucial dimensions: the context, process and implementation. For each dimension, the chapter outlines their implications for the actors involved in supporting peace processes targeted by this publication. These nine factors are as follows:
    1. Engaging international actors jointly and positively in conflict resolution
    2. Taking care over how the conflict is framed internationally
    3. Seizing the "ripe" time for resolving a conflict
    4. Stimulating the ability of leaders to mobilise and engage broad coalitions
    5. Being well prepared
    6. Choosing a credible and acceptable mediator
    7. Ensuring an inclusive process
    8. Seeing implementation as a process of political dialogue
    9. Enabling conflict parties to make a successful political transformation

  • Strengths and weaknesses of international support

    How effective is international support for peace processes? What is the international community good at and what needs improvement? How does its support reflect the "ingredients" discussed in the previous chapter? This chapter brings together the main findings from a review of international engagement in recent peace processes. It identifies four key weaknesses and three key strengths, and uses some current examples of peace processes from around the world to highlight good practice:
    Weakness 1: The dominance of international views and priorities
    Weakness 2: Weak co-operation among development, mediation and security actors
    Weakness 3: A lack of "conflict sensitivity" and the ability to learn from mistakes
    Weakness 4: A lack of fit-for-purpose financial and human resources
    Strength 1: International tools and techniques create pressure for peace
    Strength 2: Integrated international resources and action provide vital support to long-term peace
    Strength 3: Global-regional-local partnerships generate context-specific, sustainable responses to conflict

  • Recommendations to improve international support

    This chapter makes seven recommendations to improve international support to peace processes. The recommendations are grouped into two main categories and are mainly addressed to senior decision makers and policy experts from the member countries of the OECD’s Development Advisory Committee DAC and of INCAF:
        Making sure we have the right tools, by: 
            1. Developing practical incentives for more co-ordinated international support for peace processes 
            2. Ensuring that permanent international mediation teams have diverse and up-to-date skill sets 
            3. Re-allocating existing financial resources to increase international support 
        Making sure those tools are put to best use, by: 
            4. Conducting joint conflict analysis and agree on a joint support strategy whenever possible 
            5. Linking international support more effectively to regional and local conflict resolution mechanisms 
            6. Supporting the implementation of an agreement as a process of continued political dialogue 
            7. Helping leaders develop the ability to build bridges in societies in conflict

  • From recommendations to action: Country responses

    In this final chapter, four INCAF members – Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States – outline how they currently support peace processes and how they are taking forward many of the recommendations of Chapter 4. These contributions demonstrate the productive interaction that has taken place during the project of which this publication is the final outcome. They highlight how these countries have led the way on some of the recommendations and also indicate how efforts by other countries can be further strengthened through the project’s findings.

  • Glossary
  • Annex A Key roles of diplomatic/mediation, development and security actors in different phases of the peace process

    The roles of development, security and diplomatic/mediation actors have been extensively discussed in this publication on the basis of the context, process and implementation dimensions of peace processes. The table below complements this overview by outlining possible roles on the basis of the different "chronological" phases of a peace process.

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