The entire world is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated disruptions and impacts. There is considerable focus on the health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. There is growing recognition and concern that the pandemic, including the measures to curb the spread of the virus, will reinforce existing and trigger new tensions, conflicts as well as violent and non-violent protests across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic is a threat multiplier/ stressor. While the lockdown/ shutdown restrictions and social distancing regulations may initially result in a decline in the number of protests and conflicts; the increase in unemployment, disruptions to lives and livelihoods, food shortages, education challenges, and gender based violence, coupled with interruptions to peace operations and efforts, may result in a surge in different types of violence and conflicts.
The restrictions associated with the lockdowns and shutdowns have placed considerable pressure on individuals and communities already vulnerable to high levels of poverty, gender-based violence, lack of access to services and infrastructures, and persistent safety and security concerns. Africa in particular, as indicated by ACCORD (2020) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS, 2020), will see the loss of livelihoods, political governance challenges, popular uprisings and increased protests, increase in hunger and food shortages, increase in gender-based violence, and the cessation of peace support operations. This creates ideal contexts for dissonance and conflicts to thrive. There is major concern in areas, which is the case in parts of Africa, where conflicts and protests are already underway. In these conflict-affected areas, populations and communities are vulnerable to any escalation in violence. There is also the likelihood of ‘pandemic refugees’ that will increase tensions between states and within communities. The COVID-19 pandemic presents the peace and conflict resolution sector with a major and evolving challenge that will require international leadership and collaboration to ensure that effective monitoring of conflicts and protests take place to inform early warning systems and response strategies. It also creates the opportunity to strengthen efforts to build peace and unity nationally, regionally and globally as partnerships, structures, systems and processes are being initiated at different levels to deal with the pandemic. Additionally, innovations associated with the 4th industrial revolution present avenues to rethink traditional ways to deal with conflicts and support peace building efforts.
The peacebuilding and conflict resolution sector it is not unfamiliar with responding to local, regional and global upheavals and catastrophes including wars, ethnic conflicts, and environmental-induced conflicts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is characterised by high levels of uncertainty and unpredictability, which poses impacts and challenges not previously experienced. The inability to anticipate and manage tensions and outright conflict will have devastating consequences for individuals, communities and even entire states. This Special Issue adopts a multidisciplinary lens to examine the range of issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and aspects relating to conflict and peacebuilding.
Possible Areas for Consideration
Potential contributors may consider submitting abstracts for consideration in the Special Issue in relation to the following issues/ areas;
- Impacts of COVID-19 (including measures to curb the spread of the virus) on peace operations and missions
- Peace and security threats and responses in relation to the pandemic
- Impacts of the diversion of funds and resources
- Different aspects of threat multipliers (economic, social, environmental/ climate change, geo-political, health, etc.) and vulnerability factors
- COVID-19, the 4th industrial revolution/ technology development and peace/ security efforts
- COVID-19 pandemic as a facilitator for unity and peace building
- Which groups are likely to be most vulnerable (including examining domestic and gender-based violence)?
- Levels of preparedness in different contexts
- Consideration of differential impacts such as which regions are likely to be the most affected
- Global, country-level and/ or locality specific case studies that examine trends and experiences (including comparative analyses)
- The phenomenon of ‘pandemic refugees’ and associated xenophobic and other types of conflicts
- How panic, fear and perceptions fuel tensions and conflict?
- Peace sector employee well-being and impacts
- Governance issues, including national, regional and international collaboration and dialogue as well as organizational and country specific responses
- Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and areas of consideration for future policy formulation
- Lessons from previous epidemics (such as the Ebola crisis)
- Conflict resolution and peacebuilding recovery and monitoring efforts and approaches/ building pandemic resilience
- How is the COVID-19 pandemic likely to change peacekeeping efforts and mechanisms to deal with violence and conflict in society?
AJCR publishes high-quality solicited and unsolicited articles, in English. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscripts that meet the general criteria of significance and scientific excellence. All articles published in AJCR will be peer-reviewed.
The following types of papers are considered for publication:
- Original articles in basic and applied research
- Case studies
- Critical reviews, surveys, opinions, commentaries and essays.
- A succinct title
- A brief abstract (not to exceed 500 words) which includes at least the focus of the study, the importance of the study/ contribution to knowledge, the methodological approach adopted and key findings/ aspects to be covered
- Author/s name/s
- Author/s institutional affiliation
- Contact details
The SUBJECT line for this Special Issue should read: COVID-19 Conflict Abstract by… (Name of the corresponding author).
- 15 June 2020 Deadline for submission of abstracts
- 30 June 2020 Final date for decisions on abstract
- 31 August 2020 Final date for submission of paper
- 31 August to 15 October 2020, Peer review process
- 25 November 2020 Submission of final edited papers
- 11 December 2020 Publication
Special Issue Editors:
Prof. Urmilla Bob (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Prof Cheryl Potgieter (Durban University of Technology)
ACCORD. 2020. Conflict and Resilience Monitor – 13 May 2020