Peace Beyond Borders: A roadmap to peace for the Great Lakes region

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Recurrent conflict in Rwanda, Burundi and North and South Kivu provinces of the
    PEACE BEYOND BORDERS    A ROADMAP TO PEACE FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION OXFAM NOVIB CASE APRIL 2015  2  PEACE BEYOND BORDERS OXFAM NOVIB CASE SUMMARY A BOTTOM-UP PEACE PROCESS IN THE GREAT LAKES Recurrent conflict in Rwanda, Burundi and North and South Kivu provinces of DR Congo, collectively known as the Great Lakes region, will not be solved by top-down policies. Peace can be effectively attained only by engaging communities in understanding the root causes of the conflict and defining ways to address it. The Peace Beyond Borders programme is working with communities to define why the conflict keeps recurring  –  issues of competition over land and weak governance are central  –  and to draft and implement a bottom- up “Regional Roadmap to Peace”. The following case description covers the period 1 January 2014  –  31 December 2014. The whole project period is 1 July 2012  –  30 June 2016. CASE DESCRIPTION AIM OF THE PROJECT The ‘Peace Beyond Borders’ programme aims to implement a “Regional Roadmap to Peace” across four provinces in Burundi, two provinces in DRC, and three pr  ovinces in Rwanda. Based on comprehensive research, it will address the causes and consequences of conflict related to land and governance, seeking the commitment of and building trust among communities, governments and other local, national, and regional stakeholders. The project aims to reach over 1 million people  –  about 28% of the total population in the target area  –  by 2016. These people will benefit through having increased understanding of the causes and consequences of conflict, support for their urgent livelihood needs, and the confidence and skills to participate in the peace process at local, national, and regional level initiated by this programme. To attain this overall objective, the programme works towards achieving five outcomes: Outcome 1:  After participatory action research on the cross-regional dynamics of issues around land and governance, at least half of the targeted government, civil society, and community representatives understand the causes and consequences of these issues, and have the commitment and skills to mobilise support for a peace process. Outcome 2: The urgent livelihood needs of vulnerable, conflict-affected women, youth, and former combatants in Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda are addressed. Outcome 3:  A conducive environment and sustainable mechanisms for inclusive dialogue and conflict transformation are established at local, national, and regional level. Outcome 4:  A Regional Roadmap to Peace is implemented, with the commitment of communities and other stakeholder representatives. Outcome 5:  At least half of the targeted women and youth representatives have the confidence and skills to participate in the programme’s peace process and are recognised as valuable contributors by other stakeholder representatives.   PEACE BEYOND BORDERS 3  OXFAM NOVIB CASE CONTEXT The contexts and problems of countries in the Great Lakes region differ in many respects. However, they also share common and inter-linked problems: poverty, armed conflict, and weak or undemocratic governance with limited space for civil society organisations to advocate and campaign. The problems with governance date back to the drawing of the borders between Burundi, Rwanda and DRC in 1885, based on the political interests of the colonial powers and disregarding traditional leadership and coping mechanisms. Rwanda, Burundi and the Provinces of North and South Kivu in Eastern DRC are densely populated, and there is great competition for arable land. Conflicts over land and resources have divided people based on their ethnicity and led to violence. Gender stereotypes are strong across the region  –  men must be soldiers and heroes, while women are mothers and wives  –  and widely supported by both men and women. Discrimination and sexual violence are widespread problems. Gender norms make it difficult for women to take up positions of power, as they will meet with fierce or even violent resistance in their families, communities and wider society. Women who do manage to get into positions of power are likely to copy rather than challenge the dominant management styles. Oxfam Novib, Oxfam affiliates and partner organisations in Burundi, Rwanda and DRC identified weak or undemocratic governance and competition for arable land as the two main inter-linked problems that sustain conflict and hinder the establishment of lasting peace, stability and human security in the Great Lakes Region. Exacerbated by migration, competition for land is more commonly a source of conflict than is generally supposed. Reallocations of land during conflict can lead to further conflict, as access to land for many people can be fundamentally altered, for example through massive forced population displacement. More insidiously, conflict changes social relationships in profound ways, and perceptions of mutual rights and responsibilities in relation to land between individuals, social groups, and the state are altered due to changes in perceived legitimacy of institutions and obligations. Important questions remain about the nature of policy reforms on land issues necessary to prevent violence, during and following conflict. The transition between ‘conflict’ and ‘post - conflict’ is rarely clear: the causes of conflict may never be fully resolved; and violence itself may continue sporadically well past the official declaration of ‘peace’.  Transitional governments which seek to be inclusive or conciliatory by incorporating former belligerents, are, in reality, often characterised by wide differences in vision and development objectives, which may translate into struggles between military and civilian leadership, or between ministries. More research is needed on the politics of policy-making in such difficult institutional environments. Participants in programme design and analysis workshops also concluded that, while most interventions addressing conflict, land and governance issues are implemented at local and national level, they have important regional dimensions too. Improved relations and cooperation between the governments of DRC, Rwanda and Burundi are a pre-condition for viable cross-border trade and value chain development, and stabilising the region. Interventions that focus on the local and national level miss an important opportunity; regional approaches open the door for much broader, more encompassing, and integrated problem solving.  4  PEACE BEYOND BORDERS OXFAM NOVIB CASE Through years of experience in conflict and post-conflict areas, Oxfam and partner organisations have found that interventions will be effective and sustainable only if they result from a process of conflict transformation  –  that is, transforming the institutions and discourses that justify violence. Such interventions are based on: a) A deep comprehension amongst all involved stakeholders about the root causes of conflicts; b) The (re)building of trust relations and cooperation among affected stakeholders as a way to build the commitment and structures necessary for effective and sustainable solutions. Land and governance issues cannot be addressed sufficiently by individual projects. They must be part of a wider, long-term process of network-building between local, national and international institutions to build a constituency for peace and justice. This should involve sustained but low-profile engagement by donors, informed by research and meaningful involvement of grassroots organisations. In late 2013 and early 2014, staff of Oxfam and partner organisations were trained in conflict analysis, conflict transformation and conflict sensitive programming using the “ Reflecting on Peace Practice ”  methodology. The resulting conflict analyses are a building block on which the rest of the programme will be based. On a regional level, there was consensus that four factors drive conflicts in the region: a) Lack of political will and capacity to guarantee rights and security; b) Manipulation of identities; c) Economic inequalities and competition for land; and d) Security threats posed by armed groups, including the recruitment of young men. WHY DID OXFAM NOVIB GET INVOLVED? Oxfam Novib’s involvement came in response to a call for proposals that fit the priority theme of conflict transformation, which had then just been established.   THE INTERVENTION & RESULTS Initially the programme was heavily delayed, but its difficult start-up phase laid a solid foundation that was built on quickly. Nearly 95% of activities and outputs planned for 2014 were implemented. There are still a lot of challenges remaining in turning the programme’s outputs into real and tangible effects felt in the lives of the people the programme intends to serve, but there is now a sense of confidence that the programme can finish on time. PROGRESS TOWARDS OUTCOME I - PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH The programme successfully implemented participatory research on the cross-regional dynamics of conflict, increasing stakeholders’ understanding about the cause s and consequences of conflict in the region. The programme capitalises on this increased understanding by building engagement and capacity among selected peace brokers to mobilise support for the Regional Roadmap to Peace. Outputs included: Six national-level research reports and one comparative regional analysis based on participatory research involving 3,161 participants in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda. Research findings have been fed back and analysed with targeted communities, increasing knowledge on conflict and conflict transformation. The programme identified, selected and trained 72 peace brokers, who are recognised and selected by their peers in their communities as contributing to peace and conflict transformation through their character or actions. These peace
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