What is Peacebuilding?




The term "peacebuilding" came into widespread use after 1992 when Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then United Nations Secretary-General, announced his Agenda for Peace (Boutros-Ghali, 1992). Since then, "peacebuilding" has become a broadly used but often ill-defined term connoting activities that go beyond crisis intervention such as longer-term development, and building of governance structures and institutions. It includes building the capacity of non-governmental organizations (including religious institutions) for peacemaking and peacebuilding. The emphasis of the United Nations has been on structural transformation, with a primary focus on institutional reform.

Peacebuilding involves a full range of approaches, processes, and stages needed for transformation toward more sustainable, peaceful relationships and governance modes and structures. Peacebuilding includes building legal and human rights institutions as well as fair and effective governance and dispute resolution processes and systems. To be effective, peacebuilding activities requires careful and participatory planning, coordination among various efforts, and sustained commitments by both local and donor partners. To summarize a construction metaphor used by Lederach, peacebuilding involves a long-term commitment to a process that includes investment, gathering of resources and materials, architecture and planning, coordination of resources and labour, laying solid foundations, construction of walls and roofs, finish work and ongoing maintenance. Lederach also emphasizes that peacebuilding centrally involves the transformation of relationships. "Sustainable reconciliation" requires both structural and relational transformations (Lederach, 1997, 20, 82-83).


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