Preventing war, creating peace and dealing with the aftermath of war and violent conflict are some of the most central challenges of our time. History shows that the way we end a war has a major impact on whether the war is followed by lasting peace or by a new war. Research has shown that about 50 percent of all conflicts flare up within 10 years after a peace agreement is signed. Although international intervention can provide temporary stability, international actors still play a limited role – peace must be supported locally in order to be sustainable.
- What are the main types of war one can distinguish between?
- What factors can contribute to war being followed by lasting peace?
- How much can or should the international community contribute?
2: Two types of war
Professionals distinguish between two main types of war: intergovernmental war and civil war . After 1945, the number of intergovernmental wars – wars between two or more states – has fallen sharply. This type of war was particularly common in European history until 1945. It can be argued that this type of war was important for the emergence of the nation state, intergovernmental relations and international law, including the international law of war.
After World War II, the countries of the world came together – at least 51 of them – and established the United Nations (UN) in 1945. The main goal was to work together to prevent future wars, especially a third world war. The UN and regional institutions such as the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) have been given some credit for the fact that the number of intergovernmental wars has been monologically reduced since then. The second type of war, civil war, has proved more difficult to overcome. There are many examples of such stubborn conflicts, including those in Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
Wars that end with a clear loser and winner – normally it means that one party surrenders – are best not to flare up. Modern civil wars, however, rarely end like this. The particularly long war in Sri Lanka (26 years), which even in 2009 with the government winning over the Tamil Tigers, is a rare exception.
3: The international community intervenes
According to TRAVELATIONARY, Sidan UN diaper recreate that, we have gained international laws, institutions and bodies safeguarding Council of the United Nations and the UN Peacebuilding Commission. In addition, we have mediators, special envoys and peace operations , who in various ways seek to prevent war between and within countries, and who regulate and prescribe how national and international actors should contribute to the work of peace and stability after war and conflict. In essence, it can be said that civil wars either end in a ceasefire or a peace agreement negotiated by international mediators, followed by a peace operation that supports the peace process.
Recent examples can be found in Colombia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Alternatively, civil wars end in peace in parts of the country, and a peace operation is launched to ensure peace in the rest of the country, while at the same time trying to help change the governance system in a more democratic direction. Examples of this can be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Mali and in the Central African Republic.
4: Why are peace processes needed?
Peace processes usually aim to rebuild the country, the state apparatus and the economy – get the wheels turning . To build that a state often includes amending or drafting a new constitution, planning and administering elections, changing the judiciary and the security sector, including defense, police and intelligence services. Furthermore, it often includes establishing (re-) establishing basic social services and ensuring that the governing authorities have control over the entire country.
Peace agreements often deal with legal issues in the wake of a war, including a form of truth and reconciliation commission . The tension between justice and peace – the compromise that the parties must enter into to ensure peace – is among the most controversial issues in a process towards lasting peace. After often many years of war, fear and lack of trust in “the others” dominate and hinder further development and peaceful coexistence – therefore all measures that can contribute to a reconciliation between former warring parties are particularly important – and difficult. Other important aspects of a peace agreement are disarmament , demobilization and re-integration into society by the combatants, ie by the soldiers.
Another need is to get the economy back on track, preferably with a focus on creating jobs, employing young people and attracting foreign investment. It is now widely accepted that women play a crucial role in the success and sustainability of a peace process. In most peace processes today, emphasis is placed on including women – both to recognize the great suffering they are inflicted as victims of the conflict, and to emphasize the potential they have as key actors and resource persons in peacebuilding.
5: Sustainable development and lasting peace
There is a broad consensus that there is a strong link between development, governance, the judiciary, politics and security in order to promote sustainable peace. This is the idea behind goal 16 in the new goals for sustainable development . Goal 16 is “to promote peaceful and inclusive societies with a view to sustainable development, ensure access to justice for all and build well-functioning, responsible and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
The way in which these dimensions are coordinated and implemented has a major impact on whether a peace process becomes sustainable or whether peace will collapse and violent conflict breaks out again. The civil wars in South Sudan and Yemen are strong reminders of how vulnerable peace processes are.