Under the new framework of sustaining peace, adopted in identical General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions (70/262 and 2282 respectively), prevention is central, particularly when it is conceived as a function of sustainable development and inclusive governance. However, under existing dominant paradigms, prevention continues to be defined negatively, largely by its symbiotic relationship to conflict. It is not conceived as a proactive, nationally owned and driven strategy for averting the outbreak of conflict and sustaining peace.

In order to bring about such a conceptual shift, IPI organizes a series of high-level, expert-level and local-level conversations to explore how to promote sustaining peace and prevention as a proactive, nationally owned and driven strategy for averting the outbreak of conflict and sustaining peace. These conversations take place at four levels:

Operationalizing Sustaining Peace

Beginning in summer 2018, in partnership with the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), IPI is launching a research project on how prevention and sustaining peace has been operationalized in countries through a series of case studies. The overall objective of this project is to enhance the understanding of the UN’s peacebuilding and sustaining peace agenda at the practical level leading up to the next Secretary-General’s review on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in 2020. The research will focus on to what extent the UN is structured and implementing programming in line with the principles and vision of Sustaining Peace, as defined in Resolution A/70/262, S/2016/2282 and the Secretary-General’s Report of January 2018. This will be achieved by five case studies, concurrent roundtable discussions and one larger cross cutting paper analyzing the implementation of peacebuilding, prevention and sustaining peace across the world.

In line with this work and as a means of supporting and informing preparations for the 2019 and 2020 reports, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation (DHF) and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) are convening a series of roundtable discussion to examine the operationalization of Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, specifically at the country and regional levels. These closed-door discussions are held at expert level, once a month, aiming to create a space for key global policy- and decision-makers to develop a shared understanding of the UN’s Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace agenda.

  • “UN Development System Reform and Operationalizing Sustaining Peace,” May 2019 (Meeting Note)
  • “Young people as drivers of peace – the role of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda in building and sustaining peace,” March 2019 (Meeting Note)
  • “Pathways for Peace and Sustaining Peace: Aligning the two processes of implementation,” January 2019 (Meeting Note)
  • “How Do We Understand the Operationalization of Sustaining Peace?  Glancing Backward before Moving Ahead,” December 2018 (Meeting Note)

Local Voices for Sustaining Peace

Across the United Nations system, there is a common agreement that sustaining peace is a shared task and responsibility that needs to be fulfilled by governments and all other national stakeholders, including local actors. National ownership should not be solely understood as concerning the government but a broad range of stakeholders including local individuals, whether they are part of an NGO, belong to a community-based organization, or are unaffiliated citizens. The impact of inclusive processes is considerable; establishing close partnerships with local actors on the ground allows for a better understanding of key concerns and needs. Rather than external actors imposing peacebuilding plans and actions, the main focus should be on supporting national ownership, particularly through strengthening the capacities of national and local actors for more inclusive engagement in the development and implementation of peacebuilding plans and activities.

This initiative to bring local voices to New York, in partnership with Peace Direct, aims to unpack the details of what ‘sustaining peace’ looks like in different parts of the world by hearing from local peacebuilding working toward to sustain peace on the ground. Through a series of workshops and publication, this this initiative aims to unpack views of local peacebuilders around the world and connect that to the policy discussions underway in New York.

To enrich civil society’s contributions to the sustaining peace conversation, IPI is also seeking contributions to its Sustaining Peace Stories Facebook page.

Prevention for Sustaining Peace

As part of an ongoing effort to unpack the conceptual and practical contours of prevention for sustaining peace, IPI, with the support of the government of Germany, has developed a series entitled “Prevention for Sustaining Peace” which brings together ambassadors from member states and other key stakeholders in a series of closed door high-level conversations. These conversations seek to broaden the understanding of prevention as, not merely a tool for managing short-term crises, but rather an approach to sustaining peace in the long term. Seven conversations have been held thus far focusing on a series of topics (downloadable in English and French):

These conversations ended in December 2017 and culminated in a final compendium unpacking the key themes arising from these conversation. The compendium is available in English and French.

Applying Sustaining Peace

A second track of work is an expert level series entitled “Applying Sustaining Peace.” This is a series of workshops, conducted in partnership with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the NYU Center on International Cooperation, aim to support member states and the UN system to better understanding and implementing sustaining peace in practice. Part one of the series concluded in July 2017. In total, six workshops were held on: