“In order for peacebuilding to be successful,” the ACCORD Peacebuilding Handbook says, “there is a strong need to understand local contexts and to develop strategies that address root causes of conflict.”  Released in April 2013, the Handbook provides an introductory look at the various actors involved in and phases of peacebuilding efforts and identifies different approaches that practitioners have used in recent history when trying to end conflicts nonviolently. “As can be expected from such an ambitious undertaking, a large variety of peacebuilding tasks are conducted at different levels (grass-roots, sub-national, national and international) and at different stages of a conflict-to-peace spectrum (pre-conflict through to post-conflict environments),” it says. The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a conflict management organization based in Durban, South Africa, and has worked with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi.

Peacebuilding can be a complex process and often involves a wide-range of actors, including non-governmental organizations, which often play a “critical role in peacebuilding processes,” the Handbook says.  A table identifying various roles civil society can play in these efforts from the Handbook includes:

  • Monitoring and early warning analysis;

  • Conflict analysis;

  • Advocacy and education;

  • Protection;

  • Track-two mediation and facilitation;

  • Service delivery and livelihood generation;

  • Youth work;

  • Initiatives to foster social cohesion;

  • Psycho-social support;

  • Documentation and initiatives for dealing with the past

See also: CSN’s Peacebuilding page