The Peacebuilding Unit

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins, gave the opening address, via video, at the 2013 United Nations Peacebuilding Fund Workshop: Programming for Peacebuilding, co-host by the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office and ACCORD, in Cape Town South Africa from 9-11 July 2013. Her speech outlines the complexities surrounding peacebuilding and the challenges one faces when trying to implement long-term sustainable peace. A very interesting overview of a very dynamic field!

Peacebuilding seeks to prevent future conflict and to address the root causes of conflict. Preventative and post-conflict peacebuilding measures have been utilised in Africa and elsewhere to prevent violent conflict from arising, to manage conflict situations where they do arise, and to address the root causes of conflict. Peacebuilding, therefore, contains elements of conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict transformation, seeking to prevent, address and transform potential conflict situations.

Peacebuilding is a complex and multidimensional process which takes place, directly and indirectly, over a long time following the formal end of a conflict. Furthermore, peacebuilding is not undertaken by one actor, or one group of actors, alone, but is the product of initiatives and undertakings by a range of stakeholders who play direct and indirect roles in the process of consolidating peace. The consolidation of peace, furthermore, does not take place only at the community level, at the level of the state, or within the recovery and development sphere. Rather, peacebuilding takes place from the grass-roots level to the highest levels of government, and requires efforts and action by internal actors and external actors providing support to peacebuilding processes which, ultimately, are locally owned and must be locally driven. This recognition is slowly taking hold in peacebuilding undertakings in Africa, and the importance of developing peacebuilding approaches which are holistic, inclusive and long-term in their thinking is gaining recognition.

The Peacebuilding Unit is situated in the Interventions Department at ACCORD, along with the Peacemaking, Peacekeeping and Training Units. The Unit aims at positively impacting and consolidating peacebuilding efforts on the African continent. It therefore involves a range of multidimensional and inter-related engagements that collectively and cumulatively aim to bring about security, political stability, socio-economic development and reconciliation, addressing both the consequences and the causes of a conflict and lays the foundation for sustainable peace and development. These engagements aim to promote the enhancement of creative African solutions to peacebuilding challenges on the continent, thereby contributing to ACCORD's vision.

The African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme

The Unit currently implements its vision through one programme, the African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APCP), supported by the Government of Finland, and operational since 2007. The APCP aims at supporting enhanced coherence and coordination, across the peace, security, humanitarian, development and human rights dimensions in peacebuilding operations in Africa. Within this aim, the Programme works in support of the attainment of just and sustainable peace in countries emerging from conflict, focusing on three particular sub-objectives:

  1. The development of local capacity and ownership for peacebuilding processes;
  2. Support to national, regional and international policy frameworks and approaches; and
  3. Create a platform for dialogue and identification of best practices and knowledge.

Above: Focus Countries of Intervention of the APCP

Specifically, the APCP aims to have a direct impact in supporting the peacebuilding process in five particular African countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, South Sudan and Sudan. Each of the five focus countries is in the process of strengthening its long term peacebuilding efforts through the development and implementation of nationally owned and sustainable agendas. In order to allow a more efficient use of capacity and resources, each year the Programme alternates the focus on its particular focus countries. In 2012, for instance, the Unit is directing its efforts to three out of its five focus countries, focusing namely on Burundi, DRC and Liberia. In this context, the Unit has been committed to ensure that gains achieved through the various frameworks within these countries are consolidated and strengthened during this year.

finland The African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme is Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Finland.


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