Peacebuilding


Overview
Peacebuilding, or post-conflict reconstruction, is a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building and political as well as economic transformation.
Peacebuilding initiatives are not limited to the post-conflict environment. Most of the tasks described above are effective tools to prevent conflicts. Furthermore, a negotiated peace-agreement should include an agenda for reconstruction to secure sustainability. And during peacekeeping missions the first steps into post-conflict reconstruction can be taken. Reconstruction should be multidimensional and multisectoral.

Peacebuilding is complex and results materialize only in the medium and long-term. A great number of agents engage in a wide variety of reconstruction efforts. These efforts include addressing the functional and emotional dimensions of peacebuilding in specified target areas, such as civil society and legal institutions, among others. Evaluating the success and failure of peacebuilding efforts is therefore especially challenging.

Tasks

  • Create an environment conducive to self-sustaining and durable peace: Resolve the problems of willingness to cooperate. Social and economic transformation is paramount for the establishment of durable peace.
  • Reconcile opponents: Consider the psychological and emotional components of protracted conflict and the relationships between antagonist groups.
  • Address structural and social factors: Direct efforts towards transformation of the conditions that caused the conflict.
  • Prevent conflict from re-emerging: Create mechanisms that enhance cooperation and dialogue among different identity groups in order to manage conflict of interests with peaceful means.
  • Integrate civil society in all efforts: Include all levels of society in the post-conflict strategy. Design political transformation to include civil society in decision making (bottom-up and top-down approaches).
  • Establish mechanisms to handle issues of justice: Set up institutions that aim to avoid impunity of crimes that were committed during the conflict (truth commissions, war crime tribunals, fact finding missions).


Dimensions
In carrying out the tasks, peacebuilding should address all dimensions of society; the societal and state structures as well as the emotional conditions of individuals.

  • Functional structures: Building institutions that provide procedures for channeling conflict into acceptable solution mechanisms.
  • Emotional conditions and social psychology: So much less tangible than the physical destruction of war, the effects of conflict on the psychology of individuals and a society are as profound as they are neglected. If the attitudes that lead to conflict are to be mitigated, and if it is taken that psychology drives attitudes and behaviours of individuals and their collectivities, then new emphasis must be placed on understanding the social psychology of conflict and its consequences.
  • Social stability: Restoring peaceful interaction among groups on the horizontal as well as on the vertical levels.
  • Rule of law/ethics: Re-establishing social norms, the rule of law and ethics in the population.
  • Cultural dimension: Understanding the needs and cultural peculiarities of the affected groups.


Agents
Peacebuilding targets all levels of society as well as all aspects of the state structure. Therefore, a wide variety of different agents engage in the implementation of post-conflict reconstruction. Notice that success requires local ownership, thus external agents (international organizations and NGOs) can only facilitate and support Peacebuilding, but can never impose it.

  • International organizations intervene at the governmental level on request of the affected country. Their engagement carries the legitimacy of the international community, thus they have the ability to change and transform established structures.
  • Donor institutions provide the necessary funding for Peacebuilding projects. International organizations are the largest donors. Private foundations contribute through project-based financing.
  • Regional institutions are international organizations with a regional mandate. They fund and/or implement Peacebuilding strategies
  • NGOs in most cases carry out small-scale projects to strengthen the grass-root level of affected countries.
  • The government of the affected country is subject as well as object of Peacebuilding. The government structures are often changed after conflicts. At the same time, the government oversees and engages in reconstruction.
  • Specialists (lawyers, economists, scholars, educators, teachers) are employed to carry out the specific Peacebuilding projects. Their expertise plays an important role for the reconstruction of the state and transformation of society.
  • Religious networks can play an important role for the reestablishment of moral ethics. Their role might be questionable in cases where the conflict had been aggravated by religious differences in the population.
  • Academia provides important insights for practitioners through research and theories, which are derived thereof.













Reconciliation

"Notions of ethnicity and culture are not static, natural and biological facts, but social construction that are being used for political power purposes." -Inger Agger

Overview
Reconciliation is imperative to prevent future violence. But the devastating effects of violence on the emotional well being of the affected society, and the often complete breakdown of social cohesion, require a long transitional phase until peaceful coexistence of former adversaries and true human forgiveness can be achieved. The challenge is to reunite the population to cooperate in the reconstruction of the country, its political institutions and its economy.

In an ideal case, a post-conflict government that represents all groups of society is put into power. It is often difficult to identify those leaders who are interested in and capable of reconciliatory governance. Rising politicians are tempted to resort to their ethnic group to establish their political power-base. Identity-based political parties emerge.

Psychological, social and economic effects of violence in conflicts permeate throughout the entire society, thus reconstruction and reconciliation efforts need to consider all groups–- former combatants, displaced, orphans and widows-– with each group requiring a different type of intervention.

Reconciliation becomes increasingly difficult after identity-based civil wars, when leaders have used ethnic, religious or historical differences to mobilize and incite a population to wage war. It becomes almost impossible when atrocities such as ethnic cleansing and genocide have taken place.

Furthermore, international organizations might incur difficulties in promoting reconciliation as an explicit policy. The traumatized population is often suspicious of their capacity to achieve reconciliation. Victims question the expertise of international agents, who come in as outsiders without having experienced the atrocities committed during the civil war. Thus, rather than making the establishment of peaceful coexistence an outspoken program objective, organizations might be better advised to pursue reconciliation indirectly, incorporating this goal as one element of their overall Peacebuilding efforts.

In the immediate aftermath of the conflict, emotions – hatred, distrust, anger, grief, guilt, loss, fear and sadness - are fresh. There is an imminent threat of relapse into conflict if assistance programs push towards reconciliation too soon. In most cases there is a large number of other, more pressing issues that have to be addressed before reconciliation can take place: providing housing and land for returning refugees, reunification of families, food distribution, re-establishing basic living conditions, etc. Only after this emergency phase of reconstruction should reconciliation be openly addressed as program objective. Peaceful coexistence can only be achieved in the long-term.

Agents: A Three-Level Approach
Although international organizations can have a major impact as facilitators, the population itself is the main agent for reconciliation. Psychological transformation takes place within the society; outsiders can merely assist this process through incentives.

It is useful to consider three levels of society, as suggested by John Paul Lederach's pyramid model. At the apex of the pyramid are political and military leaders, who engage in peace negotiations and are in charge during the transitional situation. Between these top-level officials and the grass-root level, there are the middle-level leaders- religious leaders, prominent academics, activists, journalists, and jurists, as well as the external actors, who provide humanitarian relief.

Even though grass-root organizations and communities might be most engaged in the search for peace and stability, they may be vulnerable to manipulation through the opinion leaders. The middle-level is capable of changing perceptions and floating new ideas through their connections both to the top and the grass-root actors.

External intervention should therefore target the middle-level as well as assisting grass-root organizations to help them emancipate themselves from the influence of political and military leaders.

Possible Stategies
Reconciliation can be achieved by creating the awareness of urgent needs of the country and its entire population; needs that have to be addressed and resolved immediately. These super-ordinate goals can only be achieved through the cooperation of former adversaries. Mutual dependence and cooperation increase trust among members of society.

  • Integration of former combatants: Providing counseling, training and job opportunities to former combatants and others likely to return to violence.
  • Peaceful coexistence: Establishing housing projects for ethnically diverse neighborhoods, where community needs can only be met through the cooperation of each community member.
  • Prosecution of war criminals and truth commissions: Holding individuals rather than entire groups responsible for atrocities. Trials have to be fair and just. This can be a difficult task as the criminal justice systems in post-conflict countries are often under-resourced. However, the "culture of impunity" has to be overcome. It is more important to achieve justice first, even if that delayed reconciliation.
  • Peace-keeping: A period of stability needs to form the platform for meeting basic needs, allowing a period for healing and re-knitting of war-torn communities.
  • Civil society: Strengthening and creating a civil society able to step into the breach created by limited government capacity and legitimacy. Building organizations that provide counseling for traumatized population.
  • Micro-credit: Facilitating income generating activities predominantly in ethnically mixed communities.
  • Law enforcement: Restructuring police forces, so that all ethnic and religious groups are represented in order to establish trust in law enforcement agencies.
  • Access to land: Ensuring that land is equally distributed among different groups, in order to guarantee survival of all affected constituencies.
  • Guide to project selection: Establishing "social harmony impact assessment tools" for the selection of relief projects implemented or funded by external actors.
  • Media: Providing technical assistance and training to press representatives to reestablish a critical media that does not jeopardize the reconciliation process, but at the same time represents all voices of society.













Human Rights

"Strong emotional dynamics produced in the traumatized society after severe human rights violations may in fact lead to new human rights violations."

Introduction
Human rights express the basic standards of living in a state. They represent rights of the individual or groups vis-à-vis the government, as well as responsibilities of the individual and the government authorities. Civil, cultural, political and economic rights cover the fundamental rules of social life.

The post-crisis climate is one of violence and suspicion, in which there is little respect for human rights and the rule of law. Government institutions and the judiciary, which bear the main responsibility for the observation of human rights, are severely weakened or even completely powerless during conflict.

In the aftermath of conflict violence often persists due to dominance of the military and security apparatus. In many cases they make unlimited use of their license to establish safety and security. They remain unchecked due to the weakness of government institutions and the powerless judicial system. But a general improvement in the human rights situation is essential for rehabilitation of war-torn societies. Healing of the psychological scars caused by atrocities and reconciliation at the community level cannot take place if the truth about war crimes is not revealed and if human rights are not protected. To preserve political stability human rights implementation must be managed efficiently. Issues of mistrust and betrayal must be addressed. The rule of law has to be restored.

Human rights must not become just another compartmentalized aspect of recovery, but must be infused throughout all Peacebuilding activities. They are not separable from other reconstruction efforts. Democratization implies the restoration of political and social rights. Officials of government authorities and members of security and police forces have to be trained to observe basic rights in the execution of their duties. Finally, being able to forgive violations is the core element for reconciliation of society.

The universality of human rights is, in principle, a recognized fact. It was established through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international covenants, which expand the regulations of the first document. However, all international norms are subject to cultural interpretation. External agents that assist in the restoration of human rights standards in post-conflict societies therefore have to be careful to find local terms with which to express that universality, since foreign terms can potentially create misunderstanding and distrust in implementation mechanisms in countries where different social norms prevail.

Challenges
Programmes designed to prevent future human rights violations by establishing moral and political standards are challenged by psychological and cultural realities.

  • Truth: After conflicts there are strong external and internal interests of discovering the truth about what happened. Victims, in particular, are interested in punishment of perpetrators. But this quest for "truth" can be abused by interest groups for their own political purposes. By pointing at the crimes of others they might seek to hide their own violations. Rebels often accuse government troops of severe human rights violations, while arguing that their crimes committed against innocent civilians were acts of necessary defense or justified revenge. Thus, agreement has to be reached about the fundamental concepts of truth and justice.
  • Universality/cultural interpretation: International agents engaged in the promotion of human rights derive their legitimacy from the universal character of human rights. Their intervention is based on the idea that human rights represent basic rights, with which every individual should be endowed. All human beings are equal and should thus have the same fundamental rights. But at the same time, human beings are determined by their environment. The perception of which basic needs should be guaranteed through fundamental rights differs according to cultural, political, economic and religious circumstances. Consequently, promotion of human rights has to be culturally adapted to avoid distrust and perceptions of intrusion into internal affairs.
  • Impunity: Impunity is the absence of penalties or inadequacy of compensation for massive and severe violations of human rights. Governments often omit to acknowledge or persecute human rights violations committed by their agents. This might be due to legislation that grants immunity to government officials or simply due to non-enforcement of existing laws. In the ideal case, inaction on behalf of the governments is prevented by putting - in one form or the other - all former adversaries in charge, so that checks and balances are established. But when peace comes after a decisive victory of one group, it becomes very difficult to bring all perpetrators to justice.
  • Incrimination: War heroes, who violated human rights for their "just" cause, become criminals and killers once the war ceases to be "just". This turn of their fate can bring former soldiers to grief. At the same time the victims of human rights violations suffer from their experiences. This mutual sentiment of grief might either help for reconciliation and forgiveness, or might render reconciliation and forgiveness impossible.
  • Forgiveness: People, perpetrators as well as victims, are inclined to chose the easier way of forgetting about the past atrocities rather than to try to overcome them. But forgetting is not a positive path, because by forgetting sentiments are just lagged and feelings of hatred and revenge might flare up in the future.

Methods
To promote human rights standards in post-conflict societies psychological aspects have to be resolved. New social norms have to be introduced or old moral standards have to be reestablished.

  • Education: Technical and financial assistance should be provided to increase knowledge about human rights. Members of the police and security forces have to be trained to ensure the observation of human rights standards for law enforcement. Research institutes and universities should be strengthened to train lawyers and judges. Most important, education about human rights must become part of general public education. To uphold human rights standards in the long-term, their values must permeate all levels of society.
  • Dialogue: Dialogue groups that assemble people from various ethnicities should be organized to overcome mistrust, fear and grief in society. Getting to know the feelings of ordinary people of each side might help to change the demonic image of the enemy group. Dialogue helps finding out the truth.
  • Legislative Assistance: External specialists to provide guidance in drafting press freedom laws, minority legislation and laws securing gender equality should be employed. They can assist in drafting a constitution, which guarantees fundamental political and economic rights.
  • Monitoring: International observers can exert modest pressure to bring violations of human rights to public notice, at the same time discouraging further violence. Not only violations but also the progress in the realization of human rights should be made public by monitors. To avoid that notorious perpetrators do not become emboldened if no action is taken after the results of investigations have been made public, effective mechanisms that achieve justice have to be established.
  • Truth Commissions: Truth commissions are usually established after a dictatorial government has been toppled. They investigate the crimes committed by the former authorities. Their mission is to make the truth about what happened public knowledge, but their effectiveness is limited. Truth commissions adhere to the same requirements as ordinary courts – independence, impartiality and competence – but traditionally there is no mechanism to guarantee the enforcement of their recommendations.
  • International Tribunals: The most effective institutions to ensure that individuals, who committed human rights violations, are held criminally responsible are international tribunals. However, as the experiences with the war tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia indicate, it remains difficult to sentence the top-level decision makers, who bear the ultimate responsibility for atrocities. They often enjoy political immunity as members of the post-conflict government. The question of how much justice must be done to establish peace remains open. To insist that holding all violators criminally responsible is necessary for the sake of human rights promotion might not be advisable. Incriminating a popular leader might lead to violent protests and sometimes even to relapse into conflict.
  • Judiciary: For sustainability and long-term viability of human rights standards strong local enforcement mechanisms have to be established. An independent judiciary has to be restored that provides impartial means and protects individuals against random and politically influenced persecution.













Social Psychology

So much less tangible than the physical destruction of war, the effects of conflict on the psychology of individuals and a society are as profound as they are neglected. If the attitudes that lead to conflict are to be mitigated, and if it is taken that psychology drives attitudes and behaviours of individuals and their collectivities, then new emphasis must be placed on understanding the social psychology of conflict and its consequences. The suffering and trauma that are the results of war need to be addressed and prioritised in plans for peace. Effective means for dealing with these less visible consequences of violent conflict must be developed if a true and sustained peace is to be realized.

History

Any analysis of conflict requires learning its history, the progression of events which led to the eruption of violence. As groups or nations interact with each other, patterns of interaction develop over time. Iterated experience leads to the formation and solidification of beliefs and perceptions of self and other. While this can be a positively reinforcing process in which the relationship between the two parties is based on trust and cooperation, in situations of conflict such processes are largely negative. If the history shared between two nations is competitive- either over resources or over power- then the other party is viewed as a threat. Wars fought in the past will create a collective history, the loss and suffering transferred in collective memory from one generation to the next. When there is a history of domination of one party over the other, there is little basis for trust or cooperation. Each of these past experiences lays the foundation for interactions in the present and the future.

As history builds upon itself, individuals and societies mobilize against the negative other, and soon define themselves according to their opposition to that other. Continuing conflict or threats of conflict lead to the formation of vested interests, expressed in the various aspects of war, defence and opposition. Kelman includes such vested interests as those of the arms and weapons industry, the military, paramilitary and guerrilla forces, and political groups whose very existence is a product or instigating factor of the conflict. Each of these interests becomes an integral component of the conflict dynamic, as ending the conflict effectively threatens their own existence. The longer the conflict continues, the more assured is the continuation of their operations.

In the social psychological analysis of conflict, great emphasis is placed on the importance of acknowledging history. Previous wars fought, previous aggressions committed, or previous actions which led to the loss of trust are not easily forgotten. Denying these past realities does not remove them from history. On the contrary, denying claims rooted in history creates fear and insecurity, challenging the existence of other groups and nations. Denying historic claims to nationhood and associated notions of identity can exacerbate tensions and heighten conflict. It is important to acknowledge the negative experiences and consequences of history between parties in order to reduce tensions. Tensions can thus be limited to contemporary issues over which control and change can be affected.

The processes of history thus institute the relations between groups and nations. Usually history contributes to the formation of a weltanschaung - or group identity- for those involved. History contributes to the formation of perceptions of the other, and cindentrally, to the formation of one's own identity. Viewing history as solid and unchanging, memories can become modern realities, forcing perceptions and identities to become dangerously entrenched. But acknowledging the aspects of history in the national discourse, specifically its darker aspects, allows for at least the possibility of positive transformation, where lessons can be learned and new relationships built.

Truth Commissions
There are many ways to address history in the national discourse. The increasing use of Truth Commissions serves as a key example of how societies deeply divided by a history of violent conflict. Societies such as South Africa, El Salvador and Sierra Leone, can acknowledge their past and serve justice while supporting forgiveness in order to rebuild a peaceful society.

Social Psychological Analysis in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
The components of social psychological analysis- history, perceptions and identity- are easily viewed in modern conflict. Perhaps the best example of conflict escalation is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which provides both the depth and longevity to exemplify the importance of the social psychological analysis, as well as the consequence of ignoring such an approach. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has demanded more attention from the international corps of diplomats and negotiators than any other, in a period spanning decades. Yet each of the various iterations of peace processes has narrowed and focussed the conflict, resulting in further entrenchment of interests and heightened violence. A history of violence, driven by issues of security and force, threatens identity and entrenches negative perceptions of the other. Each instance of violence feeds back on previous experience, each time contributing to further escalation and entrenchment of violence.

The conflict is usually said to have begun with the formation of the Israeli state in 1948. But in order to understand the true origins of the conflict, it is necessary to retreat further back in history, to the millennia of persecution and expulsion faced by people of Jewish faith. Awareness of such a history facilitates an understanding of why a state- a homeland- becomes so important to the identity of a people who otherwise have none. For the Israelis, a homeland represents the end of persecution and flight, a place of belonging, security and ownership. Acknowledging these claims and needs of the Jewish people must be accompanied by an equally impartial awareness of the Palestinian plight. The brutal displacement of Palestinians and the occupation of Palestinian territory took away the place of belonging to which Palestinians justly claimed.

The satisfaction of one nation's identity exacerbated another's need. Establishment of the Israeli state left the Palestinian people without their own homeland. The national identity of Israeli's has become one of a people isolated in a region when their presence is resented, while the Palestinians have come to identify themselves with the struggle against powerful odds for a tangible liberation. Struggle, defensiveness and violence couch the perceptions of the self and the other. Both of these perspectives are legitimate, yet neither side is willing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other's claim. The conflict is the expression of deep fears, built on the experiences of history, in which each side perceives the existence of the other as a threat to their own existence.

Identity
Identity can be described as the norms, beliefs, practices and traditions with which one engages one's environment. Self-perception underlies the notion of identity, a pivotal component of social psychological analysis. Identity and perceptions of the self provide the lens through which one views others. Identity is not an immutable concept, rather, it forms and changes depending on the particular historical moment. Conceptions of identity influence the process of conflicts. Yet identity is still overlooked when attempting to understand the origins of conflict, or in conceptualizing its management. This can be very dangerous, as "dismissing or ignoring the identities of component groups in a country is not only to deny them their sense of dignity, but also to disregard their unique cultural and environmental experiences, skills, and capabilities for a self-sustaining approach to the challenges of their context. As Francis Deng suggests, this is a fundamental incapacitation which any group can be expected to resist.

As described by Erikson, identity becomes important in the event of a national crisis, where individuals and groups are forced into a revolution of awareness. At the state-level, self-awareness is transformed into a collective nation-awareness, usually evolving into nationalism, which can be defined as the loyalty individuals feel towards their nation. Notions of nationalism do not necessarily preclude a prejudice against non-members, what Druckman calls an ethnocentric patriotism. At its most positive, nationalism can be a driving force of pride and innovation. But in negative terms- in expressions of ethnocentric patriotism- nationalism can increase the perception of exclusion by non-members. If leaders capitalize on these feelings of exclusion by appealing to their own nationalistic cause, tensions can easily escalate.

The fluid adaptability of identity reveals its vast potential as a tool for conflict management. While national identity can easily become a negative influence, it can just as easily be transformed to a positive impetus for peace. Intentional manipulation of any national identity should inspire wariness- as exemplified with the rise of hyper-nationalist movements or of calls to genocide and holocaust- yet leaders and peacemakers can affect significant positive change through identity transformation. Increasing awareness of the self and supporting a more equitable perception of others can be facilitated through cross-cultural exchanges, or high-level and highly visible dialogues. Sharing of each group's unique history, traditions and culture are all positive initiatives that mutually reinforce one's own and the other's identity.

Perceptions
In relations between nations and groups, perceptions are formed by interactions experienced over time. Values of and threats from others, power distribution and resource control, each contribute to the formation of perceptions. The realist school of international relations theory describes conflict as a result of a shift in power and the display of relative strength. Amplifying this in social psychological terms, it is the perception of power, rather than the actual possession of power, which is important. Power is most often perceived in military, economic or political terms. If these terms are perceived as zero-sum, it is likely that conflict will erupt or escalate; the likelihood of violence is greatest when parties see themselves as near equals. However, if the terms of conflict can be moved from zero-sum to positive sum, then options for conflict management are greatly augmented.

Kelman's exposition of mirror image theory describes how parties develop parallel images of the other, with self-perceptions as largely positive, while perceptions of the other are mostly negative. Violence and aggressiveness become associated with the other party while virtue and justice are qualities possessed by one self or one's own group. As stated by Druckman, Deutsch's folk theory of war, in which one side perceives itself as only good and the other side as only evil, can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where violence rapidly escalates. The best tool to counter the negative effects of mirror-imaging and the good versus evil dialectic is empathy, something rarely found in the realm of international relations.

An essential feature of social interaction is the effort to take account of the other's purposes, perceptions, intentions, and expectations by implicitly taking the role of the other on the assumption that the other has a mind like one's own, with similar kinds of purposes, perceptions, intentions, and expectations.

Herbert Kelman (1997)

Perceptions are formed early in life, and unless otherwise challenged, continue to solidify. The danger with perceptions is that, while they are drawn from reality, over time they create reality: the self-fulfilling prophecy. However, as argued by Druckman, perceptions are not templates but rather imperfect images of reality developed through social experience. In other words, perceptions of others can be changed. New perspectives are learned; values and interests are communicated through the sharing of experiences. International exchange programs and problem-solving workshops are the most promising methods to change perceptions. Such Practices are also valuable in building trust, opening communication, increasing sensitivity and augmenting perspectives of the other. These bridge-building initiatives allow perceptions of the other to change. With this comes a change in self-perception.

Trauma and Healing
The psychosocial effects of violent conflict are by their nature difficult to see. This lack of visibility has kept the mental health consequences of violence from receiving the necessary priority in emergency and long-term reconstruction efforts. Trauma associated with the experience of violent conflict commonly manifests itself as psychiatric disorders. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are examples of the many ways in which mental and emotional suffering can be expressed in individuals.

Mental health issues entail great suffering on the individual level. If many individuals are unable to go through the process of healing, there will be broader social, political and economic repercussions. Such factors as work capacity and productivity will be negatively affected. These socio-economic effects have grave implications for the peacebuilding process, and must be addressed as early as possible. Diagnosis of and treatment, however, require professional and instrumental resources, neither of which is easily acquired in post-conflict situations. Again, this calls for a new priority on treating mental health in reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts.

When treatment is provided on the individual and communal level, strategies must be culturally adapted. It is crucial that these strategies be in accord with community and familial norms. Processes of traditional healing, where present, should be integrated.

"From a psychosocial perspective, community programmes might focus on strengthening family and kinship ties, promoting indigenous healing methods, facilitating community participation in decision-making, fostering leadership structures, and re-establishing spiritual, religious, social, and cultural institutions and practices that restore a framework of cohesion and purpose for the whole community."

Derrick Silove (2000)

The incorporation of the psychosocial perspective in peacebuilding should:

  • Acknowledge the importance of psychosocial affects of violent conflict and integrate this perspective into peace plans and reconstruction efforts.
  • Include psychosocial trauma treatment in emergency post-conflict efforts.
  • Plan for post-conflict reconstruction and include support for mental health infrastructure and adequate training for mental health professionals.
  • Adapt mental health programs to the local context, drawing from traditional and communal practice and customs.

Further sources for psychosocial practice:













Local Level

Coming soon.












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