In recent years there have been growing calls for new approaches to supporting peace in post-conflict contexts, as current peacebuilding models do not accurately reflect what we know about the nature of conflict, how it ends, and how peace processes are sustained and peace consolidated. To address these issues, The Asia Foundation has launched Beyond the Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia, the fourth paper in the Working Politically in Practice series.
This fourth paper in the series, Beyond the Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia, posits that existing peace process support models do not refect what we know about the nature of confict, how it ends, and how peace processes are sustained and peace consolidated. This is true everywhere but especially so in the context of confict in non-fragile settings. New ways of working are needed to ensure that peace support work connects with the realities faced by confict-affected countries. One alternative lies in learning from the ‘thinking and working politically’ agenda – with its focus on more nationally and locally led and politically astute ways of working.
The paper provides an initial conceptual framing of the Foundation’s approach to peace support to capture existing knowledge about how conficts – broadly speaking – end and the nature of post-confict transitions. It also briefy outlines key insights on what fexible programming means in practice, using examples from the Foundation’s experience undertaking peace support activities in the Philippines, Myanmar and Nepal. These insights may be of particular interest to practitioners interested in exploring new ways for supporting peace processes, in Asia and beyond.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THE PEACEBUILDING TOOLKIT
In practice, peacebuilding is delivered through a set of common components that help to establish the liberal values that are seen as key to peace. This involves a long list of sequenced activities, including:
- Brokering peace negotiations: to achieve ceasefires and accords that are the first step to providing a window of stability to allow for other peacebuilding activities;
- Disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating former-combatants: to dismantle fighting forces and begin to shed their militarized mindset so they are ready for civilian life;
- Repatriating refugees and internally displaced persons: to enable families to re-establish homes and encourage diasporas to return;
- Carrying out transitional justice: to prevent impunity for past crimes, heal wounds, and rebuild trust between citizens and the state;
- Reforming the security sector: to transform police, militaries and other security providers from being sources of insecurity for the population to sources of protection, also enabling the rule of law to take hold which will encourage investment;
- Supporting and monitoring elections: to support democratically elected and thus locally legitimate leaders through free and fair franchise;
- Building state capacity to deliver services and manage finances: to enable the state to deliver healthcare, education, water and sanitation and other services, and to ensure taxation and financial accountability for sustainable financing of government services;
- Strengthening civil society and the media: to hold government to account and provide a voice for citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable, in the public sphere.