Infrastructures for peace

 Villagers discuss community affairs in Bangladesh Villagers discuss community affairs in Bangladesh Photo: DRIK by Shehab Uddin

Societies that are resilient to violent conflict are those where different groups can constructively interact with one another to address potential causes of tension, such as socio-economic, political, ethnic or religious differences, or unequal resource allocation. To respond to this challenge, states increasingly adopt more systematic and institutionalized ways to manage conflict and build peace. These institutions, mechanisms, resources, and skills through which conflicts can be resolved and peace sustained within a society can be described as infrastructures for peace.

 UNDP helps countries to build and strengthen regulatory frameworks and institutional mechanisms for conflict prevention and peacebuilding by supporting a range of strategically interconnected activities that reinforce peace architectures. Such initiatives include enhancing the coordination of local, national and regional peace groups, providing advice and support for the establishment of government departments and institutions responsible for national peacebuilding, dialogue and mediation, as well as assisting governments to design policies and regulations that support the establishment of peace infrastructures. UNDP also advocates for the active participation of women and youth, as well as marginalized groups, in national and local peace infrastructure and initiatives.

UNDP helps to ensure that there is a standing capacity to deal with potential conflicts, by enhancing the capability of stakeholders to resolve issues in a systematic manner. UNDP supports “insider mediators” who work inside communities to assist with non-violent conflict resolution.

UNDP also provides national and local actors with advice, training and support towards the analysis of issues, trends and patterns that may lead to violence.

Examples of countries which have received support from UNDP in establishing national infrastructures for peace include Ghana, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Tunisia and Uganda. In 2013, UNDP supported two African consultations with representatives from national governments and civil societies from countries across ECOWAS and SADC, together with the AU, which resulted in the adoption of regional declarations on the establishment of national infrastructures for peace.

UNDP also works to harness the wealth of knowledge and experience in supporting national infrastructures for peace through various initiatives including the development of research products and an online portal for practioners.

Since 2004, UNDP also implements with DPA a Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention. The programme provides strategic expertise through the deployment of Peace and Development Advisors which are presently deployed in over 35 countries to help Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams analyze, adapt and respond to complex political-development situations with conflict-sensitive programming. The programme also supports joint UNDP-DPA analysis missions and short-term accompaniment.

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