Networks for Peacebuilding foster exchange, joint learning and joint action. They can be focused thematically, regionally or at linking actors across levels. Following the “peace constituency” of John Paul Lederach, peace networks are formed by those people, initiatives and organisations having a sustainable interest in constructive transformation of the conflict (Lederach 1997).
Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
Building on the initital impulses from the Colombian multi-actor network Redprodepaz and the Civil Peace Service university exchange program SAUP, the peer exchange facilitated by Barbara Unger from Berghof Foundation was enriched by other networking experiences e.g. from Brot für die Welt, the global network GPPAC or the interinstitutional network of Geneva Peacebuilding Platform.
The exchange provided insights on different aspects of peacebuilding networks:
Building networks in divided and conflict-ridden societies itself is peacebuilding, as it builds up relations that overcome divisions (ethnic, sectoral, etc.) and work on establishing trust in a setting full of mistrust
Peace networks tend to be successful when they are driven by an enthusiasm for change, if they meet a need. A solid organisational structure as well as an active atti-tude of the coordination body is inspiring and motivating the members. The effec-tiveness of multi-actor and dialogue-oriented networks depends on a joint vision for their cause, openness towards other actors, and strong dialogue capacities to bring about the expected changes. Civil society networks follow a constant process of learning, ,mutual empowerment and trust building for cohesion among network members, to strengthen their potentials and ultimately enable for a stronger out-reach. The international donor community called upon to adapt their project orientat-ed funding logic: Networks in conflict are long-term endeavors with the need for long-term support.
The pandemic showed again clearly that digital exchange, while having a great po-tential to link members over distance with little financial effort, is conditioned by in-ternet access in rural areas, challenges with regard to security, digital expertise, ressources for digital platforms and knowledge management.