How to re-introduce a degree of objectivity in thinking in countries debilitated by conflict is a task like any other in capacity building efforts. Arguably, if this is done successfully then the whole process can in simple terms take less time, and the problem of the lack of stamina amongst capacity builders is less of an issue.
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.
The reform agenda of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is a welcome, belated intervention that has adopted an inevitable, necessarily deliberate pace. Yet the Security Council today is an anachronism, and must change to reflect the world today. Will Mr Guterres take his eye off this bigger prize?
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.
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.
Seventy years since General Assembly Resolution 181 (partition), a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the emergence of a sovereign and independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel as recognised in that resolution, are yet to be achieved. World leaders have tried – and failed – to achieve a just resolution for the most symbolic conflict in the Middle East. What should they be focusing on now and in the new year?