Recent attention on inclusivity so far has not translated into major changes in the way international actors operationalise peace building. This paper identifies key issues, lessons and challenges that need to be taken into consideration for strengthening and deepening the uptake of diverse perspectives in peacebuilding processes. It highlights that inclusivity is about engagement at various levels by multiple actors at the same time.
The paper draws on an expert meeting organised by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform held in Sweden in 2013. It also forms part of a larger initiative that aims to develop a sector-wide strategy for strengthening and deepening the uptake of diverse perspectives in peacebuilding processes.
- Inclusivity can best be achieved by aligning engagements in multiple, overlapping processes at various levels, with multiple actors at the same time.
- Contextualisation is key to the successful implementation of a strategy.
- Inclusivity does not only refer to when to include whom in the peace process leading up to a peace agreement in the aftermath of violent conflict. It also refers to the connections between multiple processes within differing levels of society, in different places and driven by a diversity of actors.
- The current institutional structure of international organisations such as the United Nations is a challenge to them engaging with and operating in local peacebuilding contexts.
- Generating greater buy-in among decision-makers is needed to operationalise true inclusivity in peacebuilding processes.
- The role of international actors in peacebuilding contexts should mostly be limited to one of catalyst and facilitator, with an focus on improving their capacity to build and maintain relationships with local actors.
- Reaching higher levels of inclusivity requires an action framework that is based on multi-layered and multi-stakeholder designs. It is necessary to engage at various levels and establish mechanisms for linkages between them. This should involve the national government, external actors, civil society organisations and communities.
- Flexibility and continuity are important factors in order to enable adapting to the local context and promoting local ownership.