PeaceCapacity draws on the research of the EU-CIVCAP project. EU-CIVCAP has highlighted the lack of local ownership, and the need to fully integrate affected communities, in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Increased capacity/local ownership correlates with increased representativeness, improving the sustainability of peace processes, especially regarding vulnerable groups, e.g. women/minorities.
EU-CIVCAP’s research demonstrates that the EU cooperates with civil society in myriad ways to prevent conflict, e.g. funding civil society conflict prevention activities; sharing information and analysis; and multi-level collaboration with civil society to influence peace processes. But problems remain with low public participation, weak local ownership practices and low participation/protection of women/minorities in conflict areas, demonstrating a need to reach out to vulnerable groups or non-organised civil society.
Who we want to engage and why
PeaceCapacity enables the dissemination of and engagement with EU-CIVCAP’s findings with a wider variety of civil society practitioners within three key conflict areas: the Ogaden region in Ethiopia (also known as Somali Regional State or Somali region of Ethiopia); Somaliland; and Kosovo. These conflicts have been at the centre of instability in the Horn of Africa and the Western Balkans in the last two decades.
These conflicts were selected because each represents a different stage in the conflict cycle—the Ogaden region, under threat from Ethiopian security forces, being wholly unrecognised in peace processes, Somaliland, vulnerable to continuing violence from wider Somalia, being a state in all but legal recognition, and Kosovo being legally recognised by some states but still under threat from Serbia. In all three cases, there has been extreme violence and the marginalisation of ethnic minorities, and the three areas share a common aspiration for statehood, which in turn is related to a desire for territorial autonomy on an ethnic basis.
The five partner organisations together constituting PeaceCapacity are well-established, with extensive experience working in these conflict areas. Their access to civil society organisations in these regions (and respective diaspora communities), crucial to inclusive peace processes, will amplify the impact of EU-CIVCAP’s research.
Therefore, aside from this website, PeaceCapacity will produce three key pieces of work to maximise the impact of the EU-CIVCAP project’s research:
Three training events—one in Pristina (Kosovo), one in Hargeisa (Somaliland) and one in London (UK), with a plan for engaging women and minorities;
A tailor-made ‘Handbook of best practices for PeaceCapacity’;
Policy briefings summarising key findings.
Problem to be addressed
As outlined above, EU-CIVCAP identifies an engaged civil society as being crucial to successful peacebuilding. Often this lacks willpower, skills and finance behind it, and local stakeholders – particularly women and minorities – are often shut out of the process. Capacity building in peacebuilding refers to efforts to strengthen organisations and individuals capacities to meet the challenges of sustainable peace.
PeaceCapacity aims to play a role in capacity building within the designated regions by engaging civil society actors and policy makers with the EU-CIVCAP project’s findings, ensuring local ownership among a range of groups. PeaceCapacity will achieve this by engaging with 60 people from ten target groups, with 40 actors from four marginalised groups, especially women/girls, ethnic minorities and youth. For each region we will co-produce with workshop participants a policy briefing (engaging policymakers) and guidelines for local groups (engaging civil society).