The Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP) is a consortium led by International Alert and funded by the European Commission*. IfP draws together the complementary geographic and thematic expertise of 10 civil society organisations (and their networks) with offices across the EU and in conflict-affected countries. Its aim is to develop and harness international knowledge and expertise in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding to ensure that all stakeholders, including EU institutions, can access strong independent analysis in order to facilitate better informed and more evidence-based policy decisions.

ELIAMEP is a partner to this consortium and concentrates primarily in research on capacity building and training in peacebuilding activities and policies and in Security Sector Reform.

Dr. Thanos Dokos, Director General, ELIAMEP
Dr. Ruby Gropas, Research Fellow, ELIAMEP

Violent conflicts represent a threat to life, security, growth and prosperity. The human, physical and social destruction wrought by violent conflict entrenches institutional weakness, fractures communities, collapses economies and further diminishes poorly functioning social services.
The EU has significant potential to contribute to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. It is the world’s largest aid donor, and the EC has Delegations in over 120 countries and plays an important role in global trade. In order to address root causes of the conflicts and expressions of violence, the EU can draw on the Community’s geographical and thematic instruments and programmes, including the Instrument for Stability and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights as well as on its diplomatic, civilian and military capabilities in the context of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)/European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
To date, however, this potential has not been fully realised. Although recent years have witnessed a reduction in the number of violent conflicts, more than 30 remain active throughout the world with many other countries struggling to prevent the (re)-emergence of war. Despite the progress made over the last decade and a half by the EU and the wider international community, much remains to be done in understanding and developing the policies, practice and skills required to end the appalling suffering endured by those affected by violence and war.

In recognition of these complex challenges, IfP promotes a strategic vision of peacebuilding and conflict prevention focussing on the root-causes and factors which fuel conflict. This emphasises that peace cannot be made on behalf of people but international bodies can do much to build the resilience within societies necessary to transform the attitudes, behaviours and structures which drive violence. This demands a tailored, holistic, inclusive and participatory approach.
Accordingly, IfP’s activities include:
•    Collaborative, evidence-based research linking policy and practice.
•    Policy dialogue at all levels (local, national, regional and international) and between representatives of all relevant stakeholders;
•    Capacity-building and shared learning for and amongst local and international civil society organisations, think-tanks and academic institutions, relevant governments and bi-lateral/multi-lateral institutions.
•    Training and awareness raising to promote and enhance skills and knowledge amongst all target beneficiaries.

IfP focuses on multiple themes, across multiple regions and organised under the framework of six interconnecting clusters. Thematically, the action includes: security; gender; democratisation and transitional justice; mediation and dialogue; regional cooperation on environment, economy and natural resource management; and Capacity-building and training.
Geographically, the action covers – in addition to EU Member States – the Balkans and Ukraine; the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, including the territories of Nagorny-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia); the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Territories); Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan); Asia (Nepal, Aceh, Pakistan) and Latin America and the Caribbean (Andean region, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras).

*Further to the decision of the European Parliament to support the establishment of a Conflict Prevention Network for the coming years as a preparatory action (budget line 19.04.05), a call for proposals was launched in 2006 by the European Commission and a grant contract was signed with International Alert and its partners.

For more information about IfP’s research, training and activities, please consult the IFP-website.