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.
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.
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