Armed non-state actors (ANSAs) often act as important security-providers in conflict environments but are typically excluded from long-term strategies for peace. To succeed, pragmatic routes to peace should consider how to incorporate ANSAs into longer term frameworks for peace.
This fall will mark three years since the Colombian Peace Accord between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerrilla group was ceremoniously signed in Havana, Cuba. It was unique for a variety of reasons: it ended the world’s longest-running civil war, it was signed with the world’s oldest guerrilla group (the FARC), and—what few know—is that it is also the first peace process that explicitly includes economic actors in the truth and accountability mechanisms to help the country transition to peace.
Many small, local steps may lead more sustainably to peace than big dreams of the perfect state. This principle lies at the heart of an innovative approach to conflict mediation developed by a Kenyan mediator and an ETH researcher.
Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.
Summary of a presentation given by Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground, at the ETH Workshop on Religion in Swiss Peace Promotion, organized by Culture and Religion in Mediation (CARIM) at CSS ETH Zurich
What worked in the past will not automatically work in the future. We need to update and diversify our peacebuilding approaches. In our current context, this includes a greater emphasis on engaging with religious-political actors with constituencies, even if their worldview is very different to our own.
The challenge of peacebuilding missions is not only to stop violence and prevent a rekindling of conflict, but also to help societies and governments reset their internal relations on a peaceful path towards sustaining peace.
In the short run, it might be tempting to dismiss environmental issues when considering the insurmountable task of building peace after armed conflict. Yet, it is increasingly clear that the interaction between social, political, and ecological processes decisively shapes the post-conflict landscape.