While the COVID-19 pandemic is not a cause of violence, it acts as a driver and accelerator of conflict and as an obstacle to peace. In numerous country contexts, the pandemic adds new layers of conflict and risks to an already tense situation, while local peacebuilders and human rights defenders are facing serious challenges and threads. International actors are called upon to stand by their local partners and to provide targeted support for the promotion of peace and sustainable development.
What are the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on peace, conflict and (human) security in countries affected by violent conflict, poverty, and fragility?
Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
COVID-19 is a poly-crisis with direct and indirect impacts on peace and security. They are mutually reinforcing and act as a catalyst for state fragility.
In many cases, political response and security measures become an additional challenge: Fighting the pandemic serves as an excuse for discrimination and oppression, and peacebuilding is considered as a “luxury” in times of economic hardship.
The dynamics of relationships have been affected, both at national and international level: Internationally, state cooperation on peace and security is becoming more challenging due to protectionist tendencies (less multilateral cooperation). At national level, there is less trust in the government and less accountability.
In some countries, a shift in donor priorities left funding gaps for stabilisation and peacebuilding. National actors reclaim these shortfalls as a serious risk for sustainability and call for continuous commitment.