A report tilted: ‘Consolidating the Peace?’ which is a study by Action Aid, CAFOD and CARE International states that some policy-makers involved in peace and security issues are reluctant to include civil society, viewing it as a “destabilizing influence.”
The report further states that many conflict-affected countries are characterized by particularly politicized and fractured civil societies.
It maintains that in post-conflict societies, many local Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are either captured by political factions implicated in the conflict dynamics or are dependent on international donors, and consequently have a weak support-base in local communities.
In such settings, the report continues, “donors place increasing emphasis on so-called ‘State-building’ – efforts to restore the state security structures, establish central institutions and the formal processes of democracy, such as elections.”
‘Consolidating the Peace?’ notes, “yet the picture is more complex than that – and this is where civil society can play an essential and constructive role.”
Peace processes, it states “require a political settlement, typically negotiated at the elite level, to be gradually extended outwards.”
Increasingly, the report continues “experience demonstrates the importance of support to the ‘demand side’ of good governance and accountability.”
“Support to central state institutions, such as a trained and financed civil service, army and police force must be complemented by support to democratic checks and balances, including healthy involvement of civil society in monitoring and accountability mechanisms,” it states.
Arguably, the report continues, “a narrow approach to state-building is an imbalanced and ultimately ineffective one,” adding that in this context, various international actors maintain different comparative advantages and preferences that guide their engagement with civil society. This report explores how these issues play out in terms of the PBC’s remit and added value in Sierra Leone and Burundi