Who Makes Peace, Who Builds Peace? National Ownership in Peacebuilding Processes
This workshop was organised by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform as part of the 8th International Security Forum (Geneva, 18 - 20 May 2009). The panel considered the challenges that the international peacebuilding architecture faces in order to establish successfully the foundations of lasting peace in post-conflict societies.
The issues under consideration included: identifying and supporting local peacebuilders, finding ways to deal with spoilers, taking into consideration local specificities, and developing nationally-owned and context-sensitive peacebuilding strategies.
The international community has an important role to play in facilitating peacebuilding operations, but it should not dominate the peacebuilding process – priority should be given to internal processes above all. International actors should be strategic and know how to prioritize issues and build trust among local stakeholders.
In order to operationalize this, however, the role of leadership is crucial and it has to be a combination of visionary approaches (being able to maintain sustained international attention and engaging both peacebuilders and spoilers in the process) and humble qualities (not letting egos get in the way of national ownership). Even though international actors are good at producing stable peace agreements there is still a lot to improve, especially within the UN, in relation to what has been referred to as the “nascent peacebuilding architecture”.