Supporting Sustainable Peace

The DIE research project “Supporting Sustainable Peace” took a closer look at how countries emerging from civil war can be supported on their paths towards sustainable peace. It was conducted from 2015 to 2018 and financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project consisted of three main work streams analyzing both international and domestic factors’ effect on peace.

Project Lead:
Jörn Grävingholt

Project Team:
Charlotte Fiedler
Julia Leininger
Karina Mross

Financing:
Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Time frame:
2015 - 2018 / completed

Project description

The DIE research project “Supporting Sustainable Peace” took a closer look at how countries emerging from civil war can be supported on their paths towards sustainable peace. It was conducted from 2015 to 2018 and financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The project consisted of three main work streams analyzing both international and domestic factors’ effect on peace.

The first workstream provides novel insights into the effectiveness of international peacebuilding support. It analyzed the interplay of the five main areas of peacebuilding (peacekeeping, non-military security support, support for politics and governance, for socio-economic development, and for societal conflict transformation). Core results of the first workstream include:

  • International peacebuilding can make a difference, while post-conflict countries that receive no substantial international support are prone to experience conflict recurrence
  • Peacekeeping is only one important component of effective post-conflict support
  • Although democratization might sometimes have conflict inducing effects, international engagement aimed at building political institutions, democracy and governance can in fact contribute to peace after civil war
  • Only combined international efforts across all types of support can address difficult contexts

 

The second workstream took a closer look at democracy support as one particularly debated type of international engagement in post-conflict countries, and demonstrates how post-conflict democracy support has to be designed to effectively foster peace. Some of the core findings include:

  • Democracy support does not trigger conflict recurrence
  • External democracy support that accompanies post-conflict democratisation can mitigate potential destabilizing effects, in particular when supporting both political competition and institutional constraints at the same time
  • In contrast to widespread assumptions, prioritising stability over democracy is not less risk-prone than gradualist support for both goals

 

Finally, a third workstream studied the effect of domestic political institutions and institutional change in post-conflict countries, showing that specific types of political participation can increase countries’ chances to remain peaceful. More concretely, the research findings show that:

  • It is possible to identify concrete, domestic political institutions that help make peace stick
  • Post-conflict constitution-making can significantly increase countries’ chances to sustain peace. However, such processes need time and should not be rushed.
  • While many warn of the dangers connected to national and regional elections, it can be shown that local elections can increase a country’s chances for peace

Publication

Events