Latest ACCORD Policy & Practice Brief provides recommendations for external peacebuilders


ACCORD's newest PPB sets forth key guidelines for non-state actors to assist in further enabling national peacebuilding efforts.

Entitled Creating an enabling peacebuilding environment: How can external actors contribute to resilience?, the latest Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) published by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) focuses on how external peacebuilding actors can contribute to a country’s self-sustainable resilience to tensions, external influences and shocks.

Written by ACCORD’s Gustavo de Carvalho, Cedric de Coning and Lesley Connolly, the PPB argues that peacebuilding approaches should aim to enhance a society’s institutional capacities to stimulate the development of local human abilities and collective social institutions so that societies are resilient and better able to manage change.

The ideas and approaches set forth in this PPB will help peacebuilding actors to understand:

  • the critical elements that enable a society to avoid relapsing into violent conflict and to build sustainable peace
  • what external actors can do – and what they should not do – to assist a society or country to develop an enabling peacebuilding environment
  • how external actors can provide such a society with the space it needs to allow its own resilience to emerge and for the country to achieve sustainable peace.

The brief analyses how certain approaches can foster the creation of enabling peacebuilding environments and provides recommendations on how external actors can support these processes while avoiding pitfalls, focusing particularly on the concepts of fragility and resilience. It explains that instead of contributing to resilience, external actors often contribute to a country’s fragility and that interference from external actors may inhibit countries’ self-identification of vulnerabilities, challenges, and operationalisation of initiatives aimed at transforming fragility into resilient social institutions. The authors urge that instead of understanding local ownership as a process of consulting and involving locals to understand how externally designed models can be made to fit the local context, self-sustainable peace requires that local societies generate their own choices about their future.

In conclusion, the brief advances that external actors should become more aware of their roles so that they can better contribute to the creation of an enabling peacebuilding environment by safeguarding, stimulating, facilitating and creating sufficient space for societies to develop resilient capacities. The authors suggest several important elements for the creation of this enabling environment.

It is anticipated that external actors who adopt the approaches advanced in this PPB will be more capable of identifying needs and opportunities for contributing to peacebuilding initiatives around the world.

Article by:

Cedric de Coning
Cedric de Coning
Senior Advisor and Chief Editor of the COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Gustavo de Carvalho
Senior Researcher on Russia-Africa ties at the African Governance and Diplomacy Programme, SAIIA