Peacebuilding requires more time, money and planning, and should not be outsourced to armies or aid agencies, a Friends of Europe panel held at the European Development Days on 8 June has heard.
“In development, until now, a lot of it has been separating the political strategy and the financial planning,” said the European Commission’s Maria-Manuela Cabral.
EU institutions and member states signed a new “Consensus on Development" this week to help meet the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals, one of which is to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies”.
According to Maria Victoria Llorente of the Colombian think-tank Fundación Ideas para la Paz, political leadership and vision are needed for lasting peace. “We are really divided about peace,” she said of her native Colombia, “so politics is critical. It is not only a technical issue.”
Hannes Lambrecht of the German development agency, GIZ, says proper analysis - of the “causes of conflict”, making sure to do “sensitivity monitoring” - is necessary before going into war zones.
Bringing minorities, young people and women on board is the answer for Farahnaz Ghodsinia, a European Development Days Young Leader. Behind every conflict, she says, are people who feel “left behind, unjustly treated” - like the autonomous Muslim region of Mindanao in the Philippines.
The private sector also has a role to play, but many multinationals’ strict ethics codes often require them to pull out of danger zones, starving struggling economies of jobs and investment. “We are not in conflict areas, as a company,” said Lawrence Dechambenoit of mining company Rio Tinto.
But concentrating on smaller, low-risk projects in conflict zones can deliver quick wins and “buy time” to do more strategic thinking, said Olivier Ray of the French development agency (AFD). “That’s our job: winning the peace,” he said.
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