Greece and the Republic of Northern Macedonia: The (in)visible role of the EU


On 12 June 2018, the prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia signed an historic agreement on the new constitutional name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which will change to “Republic of Northern Macedonia”. This is expected to end a dispute which has poisoned the relations between the two countries since 1991, and to contribute to stability through a strategic partnership.

Challenges on trade routes between Afghanistan and Pakistan


Despite growing political tensions, Pakistan had remained Afghanistan’s largest trading partner until 2015. However, from 2016 onwards, Iran has taken over as the country’s key trading partner. Understanding, and addressing, challenges to trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will help both governments to revive economic ties.

Local elections in Nepal and Sri Lanka: empowering or undermining the margins?


In the aftermath of civil wars, local elections are often viewed as transformative moments when voices from the margins can be heard and where new, more inclusive political settlements can be forged. However, existing academic research has been more cautious about the peacebuilding potential of local government institutions.

Advancing local ownership of peacebuilding: Moving beyond paternalistic capacity building


How do local peacebuilding actors develop their own models of post-conflict reconstruction? This question has been subject to extensive academic discussion since the limitations of mainstream liberal peacebuilding models became evident in the late 1990s. Many local peacebuilders in Cambodia and Mindanao have presented strong potential to promote advanced ownership of their programmes as well as limitations that should be addressed to offer good foundations for stable peace and sustainable development.

South Sudan: Where civilian protection meets state sovereignty


There is no shortage of challenges to focus on for 2018 when it comes to conflict, peacebuilding, and humanitarian crises. However, one which shouldn’t be forgotten (assuming it ever received much attention) is the war in South Sudan. South Sudan’s conflict highlights the dilemmas surrounding the protection of civilians.