The Potential for Peacebuilding

The Potential for Peacebuilding

Throughout history, war has been a scourge on mankind. Recent years have seen an increase in armed conflict, (1) reversing the long-term downward trend.(2) In addition to those killed and wounded, some 70 million people are currently refugees or internally displaced persons, driven from their homes by warfare. The economic cost of war is over $14 trillion per year.(3)

Nevertheless, there are signs that a big step forward toward promoting peace can be made in the next few years: The peacebuilding community is learning about how to become more effective. For example, information on factors that affect the results obtained by peacebuilding organizations have been identified by scholars such as Severine Autesserre,(4) Susanna Campbell,(5)  and Iris Malone.(6)
The value of the opinions of local citizens about how violence in their communities can be averted is being increasingly recognized. Locally led peacebuilding is gaining traction.(7)
For the first time, comprehensive data about warfare and peacebuilding activities will be available in a book to be published later this year.(8)

The next major step forward may be what Jonathan Haidt calls a “hive switch,” moving from separate to group action, like bees building a hive.(9) Until recently, there has been little coordination across the peacebuilding field, and no overall strategy or set of priorities. Initial steps have been taken toward peacebuilding organizations coming together to achieve what none could accomplish alone, such as:
Through DM&E, a global community of practitioners, evaluators and academics shares best and emerging practices on how to design, monitor, and evaluate peacebuilding programs. (10)
Twenty organizations have recently joined together as the “+Peace Coalition” to build support for peacebuilding.(11)
Another new organization, “Impact:Peace,” is forming partnerships to initiate research to determine how peacebuilders can do most to reduce political violence.(12)(13)The potential for hive switching in the peacebuilding field is enormous! Working together with each other and with funders, and with information provided by new research, the many organizations committed to building peace can reverse the recent trend toward increased armed conflict.
5.Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind
6.Elliot Short and Milt Lauenstein, War and Peacebuilding Since 1991
7.Local Peacebuilding :  What Works and Why
8.Iris Malone, Cost-Effectiveness of Demobilization and Reintegration Programs
9.Susanna Campbell, Global Governance and Local Peace
10.Severine Autesserre, Peaceland
11.The Economic Value of Peace
12.Observed Trends in a World of Risks: What does the evidence show
13.Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature


MiltLauenstein, warandpeacebuildingorg, warandpeacebuilding