Resolving and Preventing conflicts in Hela

Thirty-three men and women participated in an intensive peacebuilding training programme to enhanced their understanding of conflict across Hela Province, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The participants represented a diversity of roles within their communities that were necessary for conflict mediation and prevention.

December 31, 2022

Peacebuilding training participants.

Photo: Conciliation Resources.

Participants included women, youth and church leaders, schoolteachers, police reservists and village court magistrates, attended this 10-day peacebuilding programme to raise awareness in conflict-sensitive leadership, conflict transformation and the use of conflict analysis tools.

Implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the training is part of the ‘Addressing Conflict & Fragility in the Highlands’ project supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

“UNDP is investing in empowering local community leaders to promote a culture of peace that can resolve and transform violent conflict in Papua New Guinea,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Edward Vrkic. “This training for community leaders helps to create and sustain the conditions to prevent violent conflict in the first place and to build resilience in minimizing the impact of violent conflict when it does occur.”

Using a mix of knowledge transfer, reflection, dialogue, analysis and practical exercises, the training workshop enhanced participants’ understanding of peacebuilding concepts and conflict-sensitive community leadership.

“I feel motivated and challenged to understand conflicts differently, critically analyse the root causes of conflict, and play a proactive role in promoting peace and non-violence in my community,” said a participant.

Participants also used analysis and reflection tools to identify how they can leverage their leadership roles and positions to promote non-violent conflict resolution mechanisms and mitigate risks of violence in their communities. They developed Social Action Plans that promote locally owned solutions to local conflict issues.

Coordinated by UNDP, the training was facilitated by Conciliation Resources in partnership with the Youth Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) Centre to deliver peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills to the Hela community leaders (seven women and 26 men) from Koroba-Kopiago, Tari-Pori and Komo- Magarima districts.

UNDP’s capacity building support to local peace actors is supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea and being implemented within the framework of the UNDP-led, UN Highlands Joint Programme for Peace and Development (HJP). The HJP is the UN’s flagship peace building programme in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, to support the creation of peaceful and enabling conditions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.