What are you searching for?
GIGA Focus Global

No One Size Fits All – A Global Approach to Peace

Number: 5 | 11/2017 | ISSN: 1862-3581

People tend to agree on the vital importance of peace, but there is no consensus on what peace is and even less so on how it can be accomplished and secured. International peace-building strategies privilege a concept of peace that stems from Western experiences of a centralised democratic state. A global approach to peace needs to include the experiences of the Global South and to focus on reducing various forms of violence rather than simply ending war.

  • Peace is a complex process that is influenced by social, economic, and polit­ical structures; a variety of actors; and a multitude of policies. Current post-war societies reveal a high degree of variation regarding post-war violence and changes to the political system.

  • A global approach to peace is required in order to include the diverse cultural and historical experiences of all regions across the globe. There is no shortcut to or way to replicate the state-centred Western development path.

  • An interregional comparison of violence patterns suggests that conflicts are closely related to processes of social change at the intersection of increasing globalisation and local, salient cultural and historical trajectories. The analysis of these conflicts is thus the necessary starting point for peace-building strat­egies.

  • Peace-building strategies must focus on violence reduction and non-violent conflict transformation. The termination of war is an essential first step but does not suffice. Although the specific arrangements to end collective violence are shaped by the incompatibilities and structures of conflicts, such agreements need to be open to future change.

Policy Implications

External support for peace processes by the German government, the European Union, or the United Nations needs to take seriously the claims and interests of various local constituencies and the fact that peace processes are a form of contentious politics. Promoting peace is not about following a single globalised template but rather about searching for common ground in order to end violence and non-violently transform conflicts.


The GIGA Focus is an Open Access publication and can be read on the Internet and downloaded free of charge at www.giga-hamburg.de/en/giga-focus. According to the conditions of the Creative-Commons license Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 this publication may be freely duplicated, circulated and made accessible to the public. The particular conditions include the correct indication of the initial publication as GIGA Focus and no changes in or abbreviation of texts.

The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

GIGA Focus

In the various editions of the GIGA Focus, the GIGA publishes its research findings and concise analyses of current events. Four editions cover politics, economics, and society in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, respectively. A transregional edition examines global trends.

Picture of blue lock

Open Access

The concept of "open access" has empowered the GIGA to virtually eliminate the financial, technical, and legal barriers normally faced by many of those seeking to access the institute’s research findings. This publication strategy ensures that people all around the world have equal opportunities to keep up with scholarly advances.

GIGA Online Catalogue

Users can search the IZ’s collections online. These include, for one, the World Affairs Online (WAO) database, which offers more than one million titles on international relations and area studies – 100,000 of which come with links to full texts online. The WAO is one of the largest social science literature databases in Europe. The catalogue is available to users in German and English.