Understanding Peacebuilding as Essentially Local

When applying Complexity theory to peacebuilding we can conclude that self-sustainable peace is directly linked to, and influenced by, the extent to which a society has the capacity and space to self-regulate. For peace consolidation to be self-sustainable it has to be the result of a home-grown, bottom-up and context-specific process.

The robustness and resilience of the self-organising capacity of a society determines the extent to which it can withstand pressures and shocks that risk a (re)lapse into violent conflict. Peacebuilding should thus be about safeguarding, stimulating, facilitating and creating the space for societies to develop robust and resilient capacities for self-organisation.

International peacebuilding interventions should provide security guarantees and maintain the outer parameters of acceptable state behavior in the international system, and they should stimulate, facilitate and create the space for the emergence of robust and resilient self-organised systems. International peacebuilding interventions should not interfere in the local social process with the goal of engineering specific outcomes, such as trying to produce a neoliberal state. Trying to control the outcome produce the opposite of what peacebuilding aims to achieve; it generates ongoing instability and dependence, and it undermines self-sustainability.

The art of peacebuilding thus lies in pursuing the appropriate balance between international support and home-grown context-specific solutions…

For the full paper, see: Cedric de Coning, Understanding Peacebuilding as Essentially Local, Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, Vol 2, No 1 (2013), available at: http://www.stabilityjournal.org/article/view/sta.as

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