Improving International Support to Peace Processes

The Missing Piece

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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.




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.


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