top of page

The United Nations Program for Sustaining Peace

by Kato Luykx (16 December, 2021)




Table of Contents


Introduction

Definition by the United Nations

1. Broad and inclusive participation

i. Locally led good practices

ii. Women's participation and good practices

iii. Youth participation and good practices

2. Before-during and after conflict

i. Political good practices

ii. Socio-economic good practices

3. Sustainable Peace and The Sustainable Development Goals

i. Good practices involving the SDGs

4. The role of the UN

i. Good practices

Conclusion

End Notes

Bibliography





United Nations Security Council.




Introduction


In light of the criticisms that the UN faced regarding their inability to end some of the world's most protracted armed conflicts, the United Nations adopted a new focus on their peace efforts in 2015. In 2015 the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture formulated a new Sustaining Peace framework. This paper will analyze the definition formulated by the United Nations in depth, and will provide each part with multiple good practices to illustrate the definition in practice.


Definition by the United Nations


The starting point of this new framework begins with the knowledge that the driving forces of violence have serious implications on the efforts of the UN to provide support. The UN uses three main pillars in their work to reach peace: peacebuilding, peacekeeping and peacemaking.


  • Peacebuilding: “generally includes measures to address conflicts in progress and usually involves diplomatic action to bring hostile parties to a negotiated agreement.”

  • Peacekeeping: “is situated before peace enforcement and before the sanctions regime.”

  • Peacemaking: is “a non-restrictive list of peaceful, diplomatic, and judicial means of resolving disputes” according to the UN Charter.(1)


This old framework of facilitating peace has often stayed on the side of short term conflict resolutions. There is a tendency to only intervene in conflict situations, and is thus often an extension of conflict resolution. Whereas Sustaining Peace encompasses interventions in all stages of the conflict cycle; before, during and after. With the new Sustaining Peace vision the UN adopted a long-term perspective on conflict prevention that focuses on multidimensional support. It incorporates peace-building, peacekeeping, political mediation, sustainable development, human rights and humanitarian activities.(2) This holistic approach to peace, rather than focusing solely on conflict and its consequences, is a more effective way to deal with today’s complex and interlinked global challenges.(3)


In the twin resolutions that resulted from the UN Experts Advisory Report, A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282 (2016), Sustaining Peace is defined as follows:

“Recognizing that “Sustaining Peace”, as drawn from the Experts Advisory Report, should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account, which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development, and emphasizing that Sustaining Peace is a shared task and responsibility that needs to be fulfilled by the Government and all other national stakeholders, and should flow through all three pillars of the United Nations engagement at all stages of conflict, and in all its dimensions, and needs sustained international attention and assistance.”(4)


As it can be derived from the first few lines of the above mentioned definition, Sustaining Peace should be understood as “a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society”. It is not enough to have some Sustaining Peace policies in place, Sustaining Peace must be seen as the overarching idea that fuels all economic, social and security policies. When Sustaining Peace is at the center of every policy, it will have a positive effect on the whole community.(5) It is important to note that the mission of Sustaining Peace is not only applicable within conflict-related situations, but in peaceful societies as well. In these conflict-absent societies the attributes that contribute to Sustaining Peace should be nurtured. It will even help prevent future conflicts from arising.(6)


The Sustaining Peace definition by the UN can be divided in four different parts that this paper will further analyze:

  1. A broad and inclusive participation of all strata of society. Sustaining Peace not only includes the international level, but the national and local level as well. It could even be argued to be more important for Sustaining Peace. To ensure inclusive participation, all groups within the society must be taken into account.

  2. Sustaining Peace focuses on the before and after stages of conflicts as well as the conflict itself. Sustaining Peace has thus a long-term vision that addresses the root causes of conflict, as well as strengthening the infrastructure.

  3. Sustaining Peace is interlinked with the Sustainable Development Goals. Their agendas are both mutually reinforcing.

  4. The UN has a specific and supporting role within the Sustaining Peace framework.



1. Broad and Inclusive Participation


For Sustaining Peace to be a deliberate policy objective in all States, it requires a strong and inclusive national ownership. It should be a high priority at the highest levels of the government in every State, not only the ones that are battling conflicts. National ownership doesn’t only include the highest levels of government, it encompasses an inclusive process that brings together all key stakeholders which include: international, regional and sub-regional organizations, civil society organizations, women’s groups, youth organizations and the private sector. Women and youth are not the only groups that need special incentives to participate. Various groups such as opposition parties, displaced people and marginalized groups should be recognized as agents of change. These different social strata are often the most vulnerable groups within the society. All these different layers are woven into the Sustaining Peace Framework.(7) The underlying vision of the broad and inclusive participation of Sustaining Peace is that peace cannot be imposed from the outside. It has to come from within the society. It is a slow process of building peace with all key social strata of the society to ensure that peace can last.(8)



i. Locally-led Good Practices


In the Secretary-General Report of 2020 it is clearly stated that “peace is more sustainable when peacebuilding efforts are locally owned, led and implemented.”(9) Community peace structures can foster trust and collaboration with the local habitants. They can create a space where local groups can have a voice. Local initiatives can even prevent local conflicts from creating higher-level conflicts, when these conflicts are resolved with the Sustaining Peace principles. Local initiatives build trust and social cohesion within the community and can strengthen the efforts on a national level. It paves the way for structural changes.(10)


In recent years, there has been an increase in the recognition of local mediation efforts. High-level mediation can have peaceful outcomes, however to Sustaining Peace local mediation is significant. Local mediation is an entry point when high-level negotiations have become blocked. Local actors in the society are well versed in the different conflict levels. They are more aware of the different needs and challenges on the ground, and are often trusted by the conflict parties. This makes them ideal to facilitate local mediation. The Mediation Support Unit has made an effort to enhance their abilities concerning local mediation, not only to resolve local conflict, but to foster meaningful relationships to strengthen the mediation process at the national level.(11) The Secretary-General Report on the UN activities in support of mediation states a couple of examples on how a local presence in mediation can drastically help facilitate the mediation process towards a peaceful outcome. In Syria, civil society organizations and the Special Envoy have established a women’s advisory board to serve as a platform where they can meet on the margins of the formal intra-Syrian negotiations. Another good practice on the importance of local actors in the mediation process can be seen in the national reconciliation efforts in Libya. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the Peacebuilding Fund assisted Libyan national and local authorities, civil society and other partners in formulating a roadmap for national-level reconciliation.(12)


The UN Dept. of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA - https://dppa.un.org/), the UN's lead agency for Sustaining Peace and Peacebuilding, Multi Year Appeal (2020) mentions different initiatives that include a local component. An initiative in Iraq will organize local consultations to address land disputes in advance of the parliamentary elections. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, an Multi-Year Appeal funded project amplifies the voices of under-represented groups in different public debates.(3) In Colombia, a group of local business people set up a think tank to advance the academic and technical ideas on peacebuilding processes and how the private sector can contribute to the peacebuilding process. Additionally in Colombia, the private sector supported the negotiations between the President and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to contribute to rural entrepreneurship as a way to rehabilitate the victims of armed conflict.(14)


The efforts in Tunisia are a prime example of how civil society organizations can play an important role in Sustaining Peace. The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) was a major member of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. They organized inclusive dialogue between different parties after months of grueling protest. This led to a road map to assist in the post-revolution transition. Through the years UTICA has continued to advocate for structural reforms. Another good practice that shows the importance of incorporating local actors in the Sustaining Peace story, is Colombia. Here, early consultations with civil society resulted in higher commitment from the local communities to drive the peace process because they felt that their opinions and needs were taken into account.(15) These examples of good practices illustrate how civil society organizations can have a major impact on Sustaining Peace. Good relationships with civil society organizations help to create a space for dialogue about the needs of the community. They can be a major driving force to promote tolerance, justice and human rights. Good relationships with local actors create a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their needs and of the local context.(16)


Many peace initiatives never reach their full potential and fail to deliver Sustaining Peace because the local actors don’t develop an attachment to the goals and ideals of these interventions, since they don’t feel as if their opinions and needs are acknowledged or included.(17)



ii. Women's Participation and Good Practices


In the Expert Advisory Report on Sustaining Peace, gender equality, empowering women and addressing women’s specific needs are listed a main priority within the framework. Discrimination and exclusion are serious obstacles to ensure a full participation of women. Social norms in many conflict-related areas, sexual violence against women and girls are only some examples of the trauma women face. Public spaces, and even their homes can be a dangerous place. When incorporating the needs of women into the Sustaining Peace Framework, not only security is crucial. Economic strategies to enable work opportunities and equal pay for women are a crucial goal as well.(18) Women have an important role in the peacebuilding process. Gender equality is a powerful indicator of stability and peace, even stronger than the level of democracy, religion, or gross domestic product. States where women are more empowered, are less likely to experience conflict. (19)


Resolution 70/262 notes that there is a link between the involvement of women in preventing, resolving and rebuilding from conflict and long term sustainability. The resolution thus stresses the importance of equal participation of women in all peace efforts, including their role in decision-making. Even though there is a great deal of evidence that supports the importance of women’s participation, data from the World Economic Forum shows that political and economic participation have been the slowest areas to change.



The Colombian peace process and its resulting Final Peace Agreement of 2016 is internationally seen as an example of gender inclusivity and women participation. The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda was promoted in these negotiations. It was groundbreaking in incorporating women’s participation in peace talks and facilitating attention to women’s rights and gender provisions. Women’ s needs and priorities have been recognized and followed-up. The Colombian experience serves as an exemplary model of how to incorporate a gender inclusive design and implementation in peace agreements. Involving civil society organizations (CSO’s) early on in peace negotiations builds the commitment of local communities to this peace process, since they feel included and their opinions are being taken into account (supra).(20)


A Project established by the National UN Youth Initiative provides Afghan women with opportunities to gain experience, training, mentoring and support to eventually transition to staff posts. Data collected from DPPA’s Multi Year Appeal (2020) states that in 2021, 30 women staff will have gained work experience within this project.(21)


In a number of countries, e.g. Iraq and Yemen for example, DPPA works with consultative advisory women groups. These groups ensure that the priorities, expertise and the experience of women are included in the political processes. In Iraq, the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMI) focused on strengthening the political participation of women and a gender responsive electoral process. DPPA provided a legal expert to analyze hate speech and electoral violence, and discussed its findings with the Independent High Electoral Commission officials and the Higher Committee of Women’s Political Participation. Different stakeholders discussed the needs and challenges of Iraqi women entering politics and how to best overcome these challenges. The Gender Unit of the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) consulted with different important women to search possible ways to improve their roles within political parties. Their aim is to improve that future political processes in Yemen are gender-sensitive, gender-inclusive, and that women can have substantial contributions to the political process in Yemen.(22)


DPPA and The Office of The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) work in close relation with CSOs in an effort to de-escalate the situation in Palestine and Israel, especially with the recent developments in the Israeli occupation of Palestine territory. UNSCO was a supportive party in consultations with Israeli and Palestinian women. These consultations resulted in a joint statement signed by over two hundred women urging for peace negotiations. This joint statement emphasizes the importance of women’s participation in peace processes based on relevant research that shows when women participate, peace processes are more in favor of achieving lasting peace. This agreement not only focuses on the political participation of women, but advocates for economic, educational, health and human rights areas as well.(23) DPPA reports in its quarterly appeal that this statement will form the basis of a series of discussions on this topic. This report further states that there are some planned workshops with both Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations to break the political impasse, with a focus on women and youth representatives.(24)


The Adolescent Girls Reclamation of Education Empowerment (A.G.R.E.E.) Initiative in Sierra Leone is a prime example of a project that focuses on youth entrepreneurship. They provide educational and vocational training geared toward entrepreneurship. Young people are of the opinion that they want to start their own business, although many countries lack the opportunities for them to thrive. This initiative focuses mainly on adolescent and young women, but works with young men as well. There are three main areas that the AGREE initiative works on:

  1. Skill development and capacity-building to participate in emerging economic sectors. In practice this translates to vocational training and support in the establishment of small businesses.

  2. Support and mentorship for young women in and out of school and facilitating opportunities. In other words, supporting ‘girls club that provides training in ICT skills, human rights and reproductive rights.

  3. Supporting and training youth leaders and government representatives on the issues of young women, as well as engaging young men in gender equality.(25)


Gender Equality is a key principle within the UN itself, and fuels all policies, activities and projects. A webinar on the ‘role of election management bodies in promoting the political participation of women’ had a number of participants, ranging from electoral practitioners, CSO’s, government officials, media and other important stakeholders. Additionally the UN Secretary-General ensures that all the reports, statements and briefings include a gender-analysis.(26)



iii. Youth Participation and Good Practices


Young people are often an overlooked group, even though they are an important one. Without educational opportunities and with high unemployment rates they often find themselves drawn into antisocial and violent activities. Too often, young people are seen as a threat to Sustaining Peace, while they are one of its key stakeholders and have the potential to be active agents of positive change with the right support. Giving young people a voice, is giving the future a voice.(27)


The Voices of Youth Forum facilitated by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) can be seen as a good practice within youth participation. As said above, young people must be seen as agents of change and not as a threat to Sustaining Peace. Within this forum young leaders are encouraged to contribute to global policy discussions. On two days in April 2021 almost twenty thousand young people from all over the world joined this year's youth forum. The participants of this forum formulated different general recommendations for UN policy and government representatives, as well as different thematic and regional sessions. To ensure the participation of young people at the highest UN levels, the summary report of this forum will be presented at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2021.(28)




The Academy of Preventive Diplomacy is an initiative by DPPA and the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. DPPA reports that 36 students participated in training seminars that focused on peacebuilding, security and the UN Youth Strategy, how to build conflict settlement skills by understanding the content of a conflict.(29)


In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the majority of the population have lost faith in the political structures. Violence and absence of lasting peace have only increased the disenchantment of the young people with politics and a sense of hopelessness for the future. Using Art to Promote Peace Education and Peaceful Dialogue is a way to provide a space to meet others and share experience and knowledge, all while building a common understanding of the important peace concepts through art. It is a way for young people to have an outlet for their trauma, as well as building inclusion and acceptance within the community. This initiative tries to make the role of young people in the peace building process more visible and can lead to meaningful participation within a political context.(30) Another good practice to enhance young people's commitment to a better future is the National Democratic Institute in Jordan. This program helps young people by using democratic methods and community actions to engage them and help them become more invested in their nation's future. Through this program, named ‘Ana Usharek’ (I Participate), university students are introduced to topics like human rights, political and electoral systems, governance, the role of media, etc. They can put their knowledge into practice since the program facilitates regular town hall meetings with members of Parliament. There they can discuss their community needs and priorities. With the help of this program, Jordanian youth will better understand the benefits of political participation.(31)



2. Before, During and After Conflict


As mentioned above, Sustaining Peace has to be an objective of all Member States, not only those who are currently affected by violent conflict. Sustaining Peace puts a focus on developing proactive measures to build peace where it already exists. A major part of the Sustaining Peace framework centers around strengthening the factors in a society that already foster peace, as well as working within conflict situations to create peace. (32)


Sustaining Peace is thus an ongoing and long-term goal, not a one time intervention. It takes continuous development of the infrastructure to nurture sustaining peace in light of different and changing contexts. Ensuring good political processes, strengthening the rule of law and human rights, safety and security, social services (e.g. water, sanitation, health, education, etc.), economic services (e.g. revitalization, employment, focus on livelihoods, etc.) are important factors of the Sustaining Peace Framework.(33) In each country the framework has to be adapted to the needs of that specific country and situation. For this reason it is best undertaken by national policies that are fueled by the Sustaining Peace mission, instead of international policies that are imposed externally.(34)



i. Political Good Practices


Strengthening the overall infrastructure of the country is the best way to address these grievances. The core government functions on all levels with a focus on transparency, accountability and anti-corruption is a priority.(35)


DPPA’s expertise in peace negotiations, and its Mediation Support Unit and Standby Team, have been vital in different peace negotiations. These teams enable the DPPA to employ the right expertise to the right places at the right time. Expert advice is available on different topics crucial to peace negotiations; process design, constitution making, power sharing, gender related topics, security, transitional justice and natural resources.




In the Report of the Secretary General of 2017 on the UN Activities in Support of Mediation, the Secretary General states the importance of political engagement within mediation. This report mentions some efforts to generate a more supportive political environment. In Gambia, the Special Representative and the Sahel worked in union with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to find a solution to the electoral crisis of 2017. They worked together to create political messages and visits with a common goal to demonstrate regional and international alignment. Another example of the political engagement efforts within peace negotiations and mediation is the efforts of the Special Representative and the Special Envoy for South Sudan. They worked with national, regional and national actors, including the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to build a space for addressing the political issues. (36)


DPPA provided support to the UNSMIL within different tracks of the peace process, political, security and economic. The Team provided expert advice on security arrangements to facilitate the planning of the implementation of the nationwide ceasefire agreement. Additionally, the adoption of a political roadmap in Libya is a result of an intra-Libyan political dialogue forum facilitated by UNSMIL. This road map visualizes the national elections that will be held in December 2021. Since the adoption of this roadmap, the Special Envoy has continued to engage with different Libyan actors to advance the political process, including encouraging a constitutional basis for future elections.(37)


In the Maldives, DPPA and the UN Resident Coordinator have maintained close engagement with the Maldives Government to provide continuous support regarding the building of confidence between different political actors and fostering conditions of meaningful political dialogue. Examples of such support include; high-level visits, good offices, desk-level working missions, and technical assistance within the context of electoral processes. The study from DPPA regarding the UN’s engagement within the Maldives states that the UN’s political engagement has been effective in times of turmoil. The high-level engagement, the flexible tools, the funding and the recurring missions to establish and sustain meaningful relationships with different key stakeholders have been core components to the DPPA’s preventive diplomacy in the Maldives.(38)



ii. Socio-Economic Good Practices


Economic and social issues are often root causes of conflict. When they are not addressed, the grievances will eventually rise again and result in conflict. The Sustaining Peace Framework works to address these root causes. Economic growth and job creations are important components of creating peace; inequitable distribution of resources, economic deprivation, joblessness are well documented root causes of conflict.(39) Economical grievances are a threat to a relapse in conflict, as well as social grievances and human rights violations. (40)


Different programs, funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security in Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco, facilitate platforms for dialogue between the governments, UN system and local peacebuilders to address socio-economic and security challenges in these countries. They work together to identify needs, develop programs and strengthen monitoring and evaluation of their work. For example in Lebanon, the programme to restore community centres and provide places for economic and social activities helped improve the livelihoods of the community.(41)


Jusoor is the name of an CSO project in Lebanon that helps Syrian expats and youth realize their potential through programs in the fields of education, career development, and global community engagement. It is focused on teaching young Syrian business owners how to rebuild what the war has destroyed.(42) A similar project is provided by the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development. They provide Palestinian entrepeneurs with needed business skills and create opportunities for both Israeli and Palestinian business people to foster professional relationships.(43) These types of projects are not only focused on profit, but focus on achieving certain social goals as well. This type of ‘social entrepreneurship’ has the capacity to find innovative solutions for unemployment as well as problems of social exclusion.(44)


While economic growth and job creation are major components of creating lasting peace, only focusing on those two components is not enough. When inequalities, inadequate social cohesion and social exclusion keep existing in the community, sustainable peace will not exist.(45)


The Pink Panthers, a women motorcycle group based in Liberia, adapted their services during the Ebola outbreak. They provided home delivery of groceries and essentials to minimize the number of people in public. Their flexibility added to the prevention and recovery effort during the Ebola outbreak, as well as fostering social cohesion within the community.(46)


2021 was a year of heightened social and political tensions linked to mass protests in Colombia. The UN Verification Mission worked to help fill gaps in the peace process. They focused on strengthening the security guarantees mechanisms, ensuring sustainable community based reintegration, and promoting local dialogue and reconciliation initiatives. In practice this means that there was additional funding to multiple local reconciliation activities, additional support to the team of focal points that monitor security and human right risks for former combatants in the context of the protest, and providing a forum that brings together former combatants, local authorities and communities to address the issues.(47)


A coherent approach to Sustaining Peace is interlinked with security, human rights and development. Sustaining Peace is interlinked with the Sustainable Development Goals, and they are mutually reinforcing.(48)



3. Sustainable Peace and the Sustainable Development Goals


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used as a measuring system to gauge sustainable peace. The slogan of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals “leave no one behind” is applicable to the Sustaining Peace mission. Both are centred around the same ideas: national responsibility, people-centred, preventing violent conflict, inclusivity, interdependence of different issues (e.g. peace, security, human rights and development), root causes of violence are mostly socio-economic aspects, inclusive and accountable institutions, and lastly, working together as one to provide support to Member States. The Sustainable Development Goals see peace as an enabler and as an outcome of sustainable development. Effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will foster a foundation for Sustaining Peace.(49)


Sustainable peace and development are interdependent. Development and healthy business environments depend upon a peaceful society to really thrive. When the environment is plagued with conflict and violence, social problems grow taller and social cohesion erodes. These kinds of environments where social problems such as poverty, inequality, hunger, etc. are prevalent are not conducive towards a healthy economic environment where businesses can grow. Often, businesses have to relocate to more stable and safer locations, thus taking away the opportunities in that specific area. As said above, sustainable peace is not only the absence of violence, it is creating a place where sustainable development can occur. It addresses the causes that destabilize an area, and have conflict and violence as a consequence.(50)


Often Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong institutions) is mentioned in accordance with Sustaining Peace, even though this goal is important, it is not the only one relevant to Sustaining Peace. Examples of other relevant goals are SDG 10 on equality, SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG8 on employment, SDG 12, 14 and 15 on natural resources and SDG 13 on climate change. It is important to stress that not only SDG 16 is of importance in conflict related areas, but also all the other Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, they are not only of importance in conflict related areas, but in all Member States.(51)


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some new challenges to achieve the goals set forward in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and has created challenges regarding sustainable peace as well. Due to COVID-19 there are more growing gaps between the government and the people, with a gap in trust in each other. These indirect effects and the actions that have been taken in response have contributed to the rising tensions in different parts of the world.(52)



i. Good Practices involving the SDGs


The Self-Teaching Project (The Swayam Shikshan Prayog) in India empowers rural women to become clean energy entrepreneurs. With the use of self-help groups they introduce their communities to different innovations, e.g. biogas-based stoves, rechargeable solar lanterns, groundwater conserving irrigation techniques, etc. This is an opportunity for these women to contribute to different SDGs, including SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 6.4 (water management).(53)


In South Sudan, local activists conducted a survey within their community regarding COVID-19 concerns. They identified specific key areas of concern within their community and developed locally rooted recommendations to address these concerns as well as ensuring prevention of violence and instability as results of these COVID-19 concerns.(54) In Kenya, civil society organizations facilitated the development of a national strategy on COVID-19 that addresses the human rights issues that arise from the pandemic.(55)


The AGREE initiative in Sierra Leone (supra) is a prime example of the complex relation between Sustaining Peace and the SDGs. As this initiative works towards SDG five regarding gender equity, it also incorporates SDGs 8 (employment) and SDG 13 (climate change). While supporting young women (and educating young men about gender equality) to become entrepreneurs by providing training and actively working to break down the barriers these women face, the AGREE Initiative will emphasize ecologically sustainable sectors as well. This can include ICT, solar energy and eco-tourism.(56) This initiative is a beautiful example of a project that combines different SDGs to work towards a sustainable peace future.


The economic and social grievances are linked to the SDGs as well as to sustainable peace. The examples of good practices mentioned above are valid in the context of the SDGs as well (supra).



4. The Role of the UN


Most literature states the role of the UN in Sustaining Peace as a supporting role. This mainly supporting and advisory role confirms the importance of the nationally owned policies that foster Sustaining Peace. With this in mind, the UN has to act upon invitation of the Member State to act in their role.(57) This does not excuse the rationalization for international indifference and inaction.(58)


Within their supporting and advisory role the UN has multiple ways of aiding the Member States in their efforts to foster Sustaining Peace. A big role goes to engaging in advocacy. They partner with relevant regional and sub-regional organizations to improve communication and cooperation. The whole UN system is involved in Sustaining Peace, through joint analysis and effective strategic planning. Member States trust the UN to deliver country-based strategies developed in cooperation with all the relevant national and local actors. The UN provides practical support for the Member States in their efforts to Sustaining Peace: providing assistance in gathering resources, engaging in strategic thinking with relevant stakeholders to help formulate a policy, offering neutral meeting places for interested parties, acting as a neutral mediator in high tension situations, etc.(59)


i. Good Practices


The UN System places a high standard on their informed strategic early responses. These are only possible when early warning data is collected. Different levels in the UN System gather data based on development, human rights, climate, peace, gender, etc. which it then analyzes to inform their strategies. An example of this is the UN Regional Monthly Reviews (RMRs). These reviews summarize the data and information flow from the UN Country Teams to leadership at UN Headquarters and the Secretariat, which in turn informs responses to these evolving situations.(60)


The complex challenges that exist in the modern world require specific solutions. Not all conflicts have a need for the same expertise. The UN Mediation Unit and Standby Team have experts on different topics and can deploy them where, when and if needed (supra). As mentioned above, local actors are instrumental in the success of mediation on all levels. DPPA has been establishing different networks to connect with local CSOs and draw on their expertise when necessary. They encourage collaboration between these different non-governmental organizations as well.(61) The Report of the Secretary General on the UN activities regarding mediation states that the process of mediation is as important as the content. The UN is flexible in it’s mediation process; sometimes a UN representative is the mediator, other times they are there in a supportive role with a regional organization that takes up the facilitator role. Each mediation process is unique. The mediation teams and the parties are set up differently according to the needs of the process. For example, when the will to participate in mediation talks is absent between the parties, the Mediation Unit will often engage in shuttle diplomacy and ‘talks about talks’ to increase the will of the parties to meet with each other. In their supportive role, the UN often needs to assess how they work best with other mediation actors, e.g. civil society organizations. This proves to be a multilayered process on how to best include a wide array of different voices.(62)


DPPA assisted the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in providing technical support to negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban. In the second quarter of 2021 the tensions in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory escalated. UN leadership and Headquarters all supported UNSCO in their conflict analysis, prevention and crisis management efforts through monitoring and mediation support. These efforts included: regional ramifications mapping, analysis of key stakeholder responses and identifying possible policy changes. Different teams identified potential risks, visualized a time-sensitive and operational crisis response and focused on neighboring countries. DPPA will continue to monitor the developments on the ground and present proposals on how to best support the parties to move forward in the political process.(63)


A joint UN-CSO working group developed the Community Engagement Guidelines on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace to support UN field officials in their work to develop country specific community engagement strategies, while at the same time providing an operational guide for the UN field presences to engage with local CSOs to build meaningful relationships and work more effectively towards sustainable peace.(64)



Conclusions


Sustaining Peace addresses the failures of its predecessor's; peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping. This doesn’t mean these frameworks are not effective in their own way, they just aren’t the best in accomplishing a peace that will last. The Sustaining Peace Framework on the other hand, has been developed with this specifically lasting peace goal in mind.


Peacekeeping and peacemaking do in fact focus on the more short term interventions in areas that are plagued by conflict. These kinds of interventions focus on an immediate solution to the conflict, and often do not last long term since they don’t address the issues that underlie the conflict. Even though peacebuilding does focus on long term change, it is not always that effective when viewed through a lasting peace lens. Because long term change often requires deep societal change it can create conflicts all on its own. When looking at the Sustaining Peace Framework all three of the before mentioned interventions are used, long and short term. It is a complex framework where long term interventions that focus on the root causes of conflict often cause conflicts in their own right since facilitating societal change is a difficult process. Therefore, short term interventions are necessary to address these conflicts as they arise. Thus, Sustaining Peace encompasses its three predecessor’s as well as other focus points like, humanitarian aid, sustainable development, human rights, etc.


When the definition of Sustaining Peace and each of its parts is analyzed, it shows a framework focused on inclusion, long-term solutions that incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals. Since the Sustaining Peace Framework aims to address the root causes of conflicts, it can be a long process. The other three frameworks of peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping should not halt their interventions and still try to meet their individual goals, which are often more short term. Together they should be able to create a peace that will last.




End Notes


(2) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015)., & UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. „What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group. 01.


(3) Mechoulan, Delphine., Youssef Mahmoud., Andrea Ó Súilleabháin., and Jimena Leiva Roesch. 2016. „The SDGs and Prevention for Sustaining Peace: Exploring the Transformative Potential of the Goal on Gender Equality.” International Peace Institute.


(4) General Assembly resolution 70/262, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/70/262 (12 May 2016)., & Security Council resolution, Resolution 2282, S/RES/2282 (27 April 2016).


(5) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group. & Mahmoud, Youssef., and Anupah Makoond. 2017. “Sustaining Peace: What Does It Mean in Practice?” International Peace Institute.


(6) Idem.


(7) General Assembly Security Council. 2015. “A/69/968-S/2015/490.” Report, United Nations. & General Assembly resolution 70/262, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/70/262 (12 May 2016).


(8) General Assembly Security Council. 2015. “A/69/968-S/2015/490.” Report, United Nations.


(9) United Nations, General Assembly, Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: report of the Secretary-General, A/74/976 (30 July 2020).


(10) Idem.


(11) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Evaluative Exercises: A Summary of Lessons Learned Studies and Evaluations.


(12) United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations activities in support of mediation: Report of the Secretary-General A/72/115 (27 June 2017).


(13) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Giving Peace A Chance: Multi-Year Appeal Update 2020-2022.


(14) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(15) GPPAC, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and International Peace Institute. 2020. „ Building and sustaining an inclusive peace: The role of local civil society and community engagement in operationalizing the Sustaining Peace agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind.” Summary Note.


(16) Idem.


(17) GPPAC, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and International Peace Institute. 2020. „ Building and sustaining an inclusive peace: The role of local civil society and community engagement in operationalizing the Sustaining Peace agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind.” Summary Note.; Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(18) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).


(19) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(20) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Evaluative Exercises: A Summary of Lessons Learned Studies and Evaluations.


(21) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Giving Peace A Chance: Multi-Year Appeal Update 2020-2022.


(22) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Giving Peace A Chance: Multi-Year Appeal Update 2020-2022; Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(23) Joint statement.


(24) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(25) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(26) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: January –March 2021.


(27) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).


(28) Voices of Youth forum.


(29) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(30) GPPAC. 2020. „ No Sustainable Peace Without Us: Local Perspectives on Peacebuilding in

the Middle East and North Africa.”


(31) https://www.ndi.org/Youth_Political_Participation_Jordan


(32) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group. & Mahmoud, Youssef., and Anupah Makoond. 2017. “Sustaining Peace: What Does It Mean in Practice?” International Peace Institute.


(33) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group.


(34) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015)., & Mahmoud, Youssef., and Anupah Makoond. 2017. “Sustaining Peace: What Does It Mean in Practice?” International Peace Institute.


(35) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group.


(36) United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations activities in support of mediation: Report of the Secretary-General A/72/115 (27 June 2017).


(37) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: January –March 2021.; Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(38) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Evaluative Exercises: A Summary of Lessons Learned Studies and Evaluations.


(39) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).; Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, and Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(40) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).


(41) GPPAC. 2020. „No Sustainable Peace Without Us: Local Perspectives on Peacebuilding in the Middle East and North Africa.”


(42) https://jusoorsyria.com/wp/about-us/team/


(43) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, and Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(44) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, and Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(45) idem.


(46) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, and Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(47) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(48) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group.; Mechoulan, Delphine., Youssef Mahmoud., Andrea Ó Súilleabháin., and Jimena Leiva Roesch. 2016. “The SDGs and Prevention for Sustaining Peace: Exploring the Transformative Potential of the Goal on Gender Equality.” International Peace Institute., & General Assembly resolution 70/262, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/70/262 (12 May 2016).


(49) Mahmoud, Youssef., and Anupah Makoond. 2017. “Sustaining Peace: What Does It Mean in Practice?” International Peace Institute. & United Nations, General Assembly, Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: report of the Secretary-General, A/74/976 (30 July 2020).


(50) https://blog.adecesg.com/blog/the-link-between-peace-and-sustainable-development.


(51) UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. “What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable Development Group.


(52) United Nations, General Assembly, Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: report of the Secretary-General, A/74/976 (30 July 2020).


(53) Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. “Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building on What Works.” International Peace Institute.


(54) Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 2021. „Advancing Prevention Across UN Sectors and Institutions: Collective Pathways for Effective Prevention.”


(55) GPPAC, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and International Peace Institute. 2020. „ Building and sustaining an inclusive peace: The role of local civil society and community engagement in operationalizing the Sustaining Peace agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind.” Summary Note.


(56) www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2016/9/lakshmi-puri-speech-on-launch-of-agree-initiative.


(57) General Assembly Security Council. 2015. “A/69/968-S/2015/490.” Report, United Nations., & General Assembly resolution 70/262, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/70/262 (12 May 2016).


(58) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).


(59) General Assembly Security Council, Report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, A/69/968-S/2015/490 (30 June 2015).; Metcalfe-Hough, Victoria., Alastair McKechnie., and Sara Pantuliano. 2017. “Delivering the UN ‘sustaining peace’ agenda.” Overseas Development Institute.; General Assembly resolution 70/262, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/70/262 (12 May 2016)., & General Assembly resolution 75/201, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, A/RES/75/201 (28 December 2020).


(60) Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 2021. „Advancing Prevention Across UN Sectors and Institutions: Collective Pathways for Effective Prevention.” Key Findings from the 2020 Discussion Series on Prevention.


(61) United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations activities in support of mediation: Report of the Secretary-General A/72/115 (27 June 2017).


(62) United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations activities in support of mediation: Report of the Secretary-General A/72/115 (27 June 2017).


(63) Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.


(64) Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 2020. „An Opportunity for Stronger and Equal Partnerships: The UN System-Wide Community-Engagement Guideline (CEG) on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.” A Practical Resource for Local Peacebuilders.



Bibliography


Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Evaluative Exercises: A Summary of Lessons Learned, Studies and Evaluations. https://dppa.un.org/en/2020-evaluative-exercises-summary-of-lessons-learned-studies-and-evaluations-0


Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2020. Giving Peace A Chance: Multi-Year Appeal Update 2020-2022. https://dppa.un.org/sites/default/files/6141_unny_appeal_2021-v28_i.pdf


Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: January –March2021. https://dppa.un.org/sites/default/files/6209_unny_quarterly_report_final_0.pdf


Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. 2021. Multi-Year Appeal Quarterly Report: April-June 2021.

https://dppa.un.org/sites/default/files/6298_unny_quaterly_report2_april_highres.pdf


General Assembly Security Council. 2015. „A/69/968-S/2015/490.” Report, United Nations.


Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 2021. „Advancing Prevention Across UN Sectors and Institutions: Collective Pathways for Effective Prevention.” Key Findings from the 2020 Discussion Series on Prevention.


Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 2020. „An Opportunity for Stronger and Equal Partnerships: The UN System-Wide Community-Engagement Guideline (CEG) on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.” A Practical Resource for Local Peacebuilders.


GPPAC. 2020. „ No Sustainable Peace Without Us: Local Perspectives on Peacebuilding in the Middle East and North Africa.”


GPPAC, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, and International Peace Institute. 2020. „ Building and sustaining an inclusive peace: The role of local civil society and community engagement in operationalizing the Sustaining Peace agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind.” Summary Note.


Mahmoud, Youssef. 2016. „Freeing Prevention From Conflict: Investing in Sustaining Peace.” International Peace Institute.


Mahmoud, Youssef, en Anupah Makoond. 2017. „Sustaining Peace: What Does It Mean in Practice?” International Peace Institute.


Mahoud, Youssef, Lesley Connolly, en Delphine Mechoulan. 2018. „Sustaining Peace in Practice: Building onWhat Works.” International Peace Institute


Mechoulan, Delphine, Youssef Mahmoud, Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, and Jimena Leiva Roesch. 2016.


"The SDGs and Prevention for Sustaining Peace: Exploring the Transformative Potential of the Goal on Gender Equality.” International Peace Institute.


Metcalfe-Hough, Victoria, Alastair McKechnie, and Sara Pantuliano. 2017. „Delivering the UN ‘Sustaining Peace’ Agenda.” Overseas Development Institute.


UN Secretary-General. 2020. A/74/976-S/2020/773. Report of the Secretary-General, United Nations.


UN Sustainable Development Group. 2017. „What does “sustaining peace” mean?” UN Sustainable

Development Group. https://unsdg.un.org/resources/what-does-sustaining-peace-mean.


United Nations Department of Political Affairs. 2020. „2020–2022 Multi-Year Appeal Update: Giving Peace a Chance.” Multi-Year Appeal Update.




Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page