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  • Author: Morten Bøås
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Political instability and administrative weakness have been permanent features of the Central African Republic (CAR) ever since independence. This is, therefore, the history of a collapse foretold. Michel Djotodia may have had good intentions when he put together the Séléka alliance; the problem was that the only thing that kept it together was the desire to get rid of François Bozizé. When Bozizé was gone, the coalition's internal coherence also disappeared. Thus, for lack of other options, the alliance members continued to make their livelihoods based on plunder. As the situation worsened, the communities plundered established their own militias, and the stage was set for a simmering sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims. It is in this mess of communal violence that the international forces are supposed to re-establish law and order. The main challenge, however, is how to avoid adding fuel to the sectarian fire. The international forces must tread carefully, and any attempt at disarming militias must be conducted with this in mind. What has happened and is happening is tragic, but it is neither genocide nor a full-blown sectarian conflict. This can still be avoided if the international forces behave impartially with regard to the two main religious communities in the country.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Religion, Sectarian violence, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Isaline Bergamaschi
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: This policy brief deals with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It explains its first achievements and the two main challenges it has faced so far: issues of leadership, including co-ordination between actors and capacities, on the one hand, and issues related to security conditions and the absence of peace, on the other. Finally, the policy brief proposes some recommendations to the actors involved – MINUSMA itself (i.e. its civilian and military personnel) and the UN member states supporting it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Peace Studies, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Diana Felix da Costa
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Despite the Murle group being politically and economically marginalised, local and national political and popular discourses portray this group as the main aggressor in South Sudan's Jonglei State. This widely asserted narrative ignores the fact that responsibility for the cycle of violence in Jonglei rests with all those perpetrating violence and certainly not solely with one group. While sharing an overarching ethnic identity, when it comes to issues of peacebuilding, the Murle can be neither seen nor treated as a consolidated group. Rather, there are cattlekeeping Murle living in the lowlands of Pibor county and agrarian Murle living in the Boma Plateau; there are also age-sets, clans and many other differentiating factors. Accusing all Murle of responsibility for violence only serves to magnify the sense of marginalisation and isolation felt by the Murle as a whole. This policy brief seeks to address some of the differences between the cattlekeeping lowlands Murle and the cultivating highlands Murle from the Boma Plateau. By doing so, it highlights the importance of understanding cultural specificities and the local political economy and, when it comes to peacebuilding, of differentiating who is responsible for a specific conflict and who has influence over those responsible.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jort Hemmer
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Monday July 9th 2012 marked South Sudan's first anniversary as an independent state. But one year down the road, what is there to celebrate for this newborn polity? Faced with political stability and enduring external and domestic threats to its security, the nascent state of South Sudan has evolved into a patronage and crisis management tool for the ruling elite, putting the benefits of governance well beyond the reach of the majority of the population. There is little doubt that continuing conflict with Sudan, extreme underdevelopment and dependence on oil revenues will ensure that South Sudan remains a state in emergency for years to come. In many ways the characteristics and uses of this emergency dominate domestic political calculus. Essential institutional reforms have been postponed, as has any real democratic opening. Until a measure of calm in South Sudan's relations with Sudan is achieved, donors will have to look for areas of engagement where their objectives do not interfere with the short-term interests of a government that subsists on a war footing. In this regard South Sudan's decision to suspend oil production and the subsequent need to generate alternative revenues may offer new opportunities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Roland Marchal
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Somalia has long been a byword for statelessness and extreme insecurity. However, eight years of transitional rule are set to end in 2012, and expectations are rising that continued military-led stabilisation, changing regional security dynamics and efforts to rebuild the Somalia state might soon enable the country to declare an end to two decades of civil war.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Islam, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Roland Marchal
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: No clear settlement of the crisis in Mali seems possible in the short term, despite a UN Security Council resolution on October 12th paving the way for a military intervention by ECOWAS countries. The crisis is fed by various dynamics that need to be reconciled for peace to prevail. Firstly, the transition in Bamako is going nowhere, and further divisions in the government and the resurgence of the coup makers undermine the fragile progress witnessed in July. Unable to agree on a solution in Bamako, most political actors have developed a militaristic approach to any solution for the north. Secondly, Islamist and jihadist movements were able to gain control of northern Mali (two-thirds of the country) in a few months and have enforced new rules inspired by their understanding of Islam. Although protests erupted in several cities, the militants deepened their control over the region and its local and transnational economy and may have a constituency among the population. ECOWAS, supported by France, is willing to intervene militarily, but the fragmentation of the Malian army is a key weakness. Moreover, ECOWAS has not spelled out the actual aims of its intervention: mere territorial gains without addressing local and national grievances may mean the return of the status quo ante, which would be unacceptable to most people in northern Mali. As usual, the long-term political dimensions of the ECOWAS intervention are dismissed in favour of an immediate military victory that would be very fragile as a result.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Islam, Armed Struggle, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Africa, France, Northern Mali
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt, Åshild Falch
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: As a former coloniser and the Sudan's Nile-valley neighbour to the north, Egypt will inevitably be affected by the Sudan's political transition. As Egypt's regional influence appears to wane, the Sudan's increasing economic strength and the likely secession of Southern Sudan exemplify Egypt's overall difficulties in regard to the regional politics of the Horn of Africa and Nile Basin. Egyptian policy-makers and diplomats struggle with fundamental contradictions in Egypt's current regional status, competing priorities, and the need to stay on good terms with all political parties in the Sudan. To be able to balance domestic needs, relations with its immediate neighbours, and its role as a regional power Egypt must reshape its foreign policy; Egypt's national interests in the Sudan preclude neutrality in the processes ahead. It can however play a key role in a joint regional and international effort to secure the peaceful secession for Southern Sudan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Democratization, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan, Egypt
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement 9 January 2005, which formally ended the 22-year civil war in Southern Sudan, the frequency and severity of local conflicts increased during 2009. These conflicts are threatening the stability of the South, and ultimately the peace process itself. Widespread insecurity will also make it difficult to hold the planned national elections in April and the 2011 referendum on secession. Land and natural resources are increasingly contested in Southern Sudan and these issues trigger and fuel local violence. The return of internally displaced persons and refugees is also a source of controversy. In addition, partially incompatible interpretations of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army policy of “land belongs to the people” combined with institutional fragmentation further complicate the situation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Øystein Rolandsen, Jacob Høigilt
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The conflict in Sudan's western province of Darfur has revived even as the peace talks in Qatar between Sudan's government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) seem to have collapsed. Egypt has hitherto refrained from involvement in negotiations to end the conflict, a strategy that has contributed to further diminishing Cairo's already weakened status as a major player in regional politics and diplomacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Arabia, Egypt
  • Author: Ingrid Samset
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: On 28 May 2010, the United Nations Security Council made a critical decision on the future of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) – the largest and most costly such operation in the world. The Council decided to reduce the number of peacekeepers by 2,000, and to transform Monuc into a stabilisation force, renamed Monusco.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations