Thematic Review on Local Peacebuilding

What is ‘local peacebuilding’? What are the common approaches to local peacebuilding, and which factors enable the effectiveness of local-level peacebuilding efforts? How can the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and other donors better support local peacebuilding initiatives? To answer these and other related questions, the PBF commissioned and recently published a Thematic Review on Local Peacebuilding, in partnership with PeaceNexus Foundation and UN Volunteers programme.

Following through on a commitment to empower youth to carry out field research and data analysis, five young and emerging researchers recruited as National UN Volunteers worked with a senior researcher/Team Leader to conduct field research in four case study locations – Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Kyrgyzstan, and the Western Balkans, with UN Volunteers based in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (as per UN Security Council resolution 1244). This innovative research approach extended the PBF’s commitment to the Youth, Peace and Security agenda by placing young people in the driver seat not only through programmatic investments but also in the analysis of their impact.

The Thematic Review first outlines conceptual considerations that underpin local peacebuilding theory and practice, zooming in on the notion of social contracts and the conflation between ‘the local’ and ‘the national’. It then reflects on the PBF-funded local peacebuilding projects reviewed from the procedural standpoint. This includes the considerations of direct funding to local civil society actors, inclusive processes for identifying diverse local implementing partners, as well as monitoring and evaluating local peacebuilding interventions in a way that is meaningful to local communities yet speaks to national-level peacebuilding dynamics. The Review then analyzes common approaches to local-level peacebuilding initiatives, including those that strengthen local peace structures and projects that improve inter-communal or state-society relations, identifying factors that contribute to their success or failure. The Review concludes with providing practical recommendations for future local peacebuilding programming, including which programmatic aspects should be replicated, scaled, or discouraged. 

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