Capacities for Peace was a project working with local actors to enhance the effectiveness of early warning and early action in 32 conflict-affected contexts.
A Conciliation Resources and Saferworld project, Capacities for Peace was funded by the EU under the Instrument for Stability. The project started in September 2013 and ran until February 2016.
Building on lessons and experiences
Saferworld and Conciliation Resources’ previous work on early warning and participatory conflict analysis highlighted the importance of tackling the disconnect between the analysis of a conflict and the corresponding responses. The Capacities for Peace project tackled this disconnect by:
- Focusing not only on the technical aspects of early warning and conflict prevention, but also on the necessary conditions for responses to be taken forward.
- Acknowledging that conflict prevention is not only political but also affected by issues such as ideology, interests, biases and psychological factors like perceptions and fears.
- Building collaborative relationships between civil society organisations, local and national authorities and international organisations, which are in a position to respond to tensions and conflicts.
- Working with local communities, which have been shown through our work to be well placed to detect and respond to early signs of violence.
"The project opened doors for us in a political sense which would not have been possible otherwise."
Edgardo Mira, CEICOM, El Salvador
Capacities for Peace strengthened skills in conflict analysis and response strategies and developed collaborative relationships between in-country actors to encourage effective use of analysis.
The project focused on learning and sharing lessons about local peoples’ role in generating preventive action and in responding to conflict.
It also created crucial spaces in which key actors have come together to assess and share ideas on conflict prevention, early warning and responses necessary and relevant in their contexts.
Activities have created conducive environments for discussion and opportunities for engagement between different actors and stakeholders.
"The participants were very diverse politically, some in support of the [Syrian] regime and others against it. In other circumstances they could have been killing one another. Politically they don't talk. And they were sat together here talking."
Carmen Geha, Beyond Reform and Development, Lebanon
Contact and communication, which did not exist prior to the project, has enabled collaborative relationships to be built and sustained, with commitments made to maintaining engagement into the future.
"The activities contributed to improving our relationship with the communities and breaking a cycle of misunderstanding and mistrust."
Col. José Antonio Carlos Motril, Armed Forces of the Philippines
Analysis produced and relationships built through the project have contributed to reducing violence.
Avoiding attacks in Central Africa
In Central African Republic, in the areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army, early warning tools such as actors mapping, improved communications between communities and increased monitoring of security incidents have allowed local communities to circumvent routes used by armed groups. Communities have reported that attacks have been avoided as a result.
Local peace pact in the Philippines
A peace pact was made by individuals and groups who participated in the Capacities for Peace project, including leaders of the Dibabawon tribe, local governmentand individuals linked to the New People’s Army (the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines). The pact, based on the indigenous people’s traditional customary laws, sets out rules on the armed groups’ respect for the land and free, prior and informed consent processes. It led to a local de facto ceasefire between the indigenous peoples and the New People’s Army which began in August 2014.
As part of the Capacities for Peace project Saferworld and Conciliation Resources worked in and on the following contexts:
- Middle East and North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Yemen;
- Asia: Pakistan, Pakistan/India (Kashmir), Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Philippines;
- Africa: Mano River region (Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone), Nigeria, countries affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan), Horn of Africa (South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia);
- Latin America: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru.