What we do
International Alert is an international peacebuilding organisation.
But what does that mean? The term itself has only been in use since
1992, when UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali used it in
his report to the Security Council, Agenda for Peace.
There have been 126 armed conflicts since the end of the
Cold War in 1989. Over 7 million people have died as a result and 75% of
them were civilians. The vast majority of these armed conflicts are not between
states but within them. Most of them take place in developing countries causing
massive human suffering and disrupting social and economic development efforts
for many years.
Although there was an upsurge in armed conflicts in the
1990s, there has also been a heightened global effort for peace. In the fifteen
years since the end of the Cold War the world has achieved more peace
agreements than in the previous two centuries.
However, successful peace negotiations dont ensure
lasting peace. Around half of all peace agreements fail within five years. Some
break down because of bad faith and hidden agendas, some because of breakaway
factions continuing the fight and others because war has destroyed lives,
livelihoods, communities, social cohesion, human values, hope and belief in the
If the long-term causes of the armed conflict are not addressed
in the peace process, it is likely that violence will recur. The
aftermath of one war may well be the prelude to the next.
Peace does not come ready-made at the moment when a peace
agreement is signed. Attempting to rush it is likely to be counter-productive.
Instead, it has to be built in a continuing process that encourages the
attitudes, the behaviour and the structural conditions in society that lay the
foundations for peaceful, stable and ultimately prosperous social and economic
Peacebuilding is the art of encouraging and facilitating
this process, either during violent conflict, once the fighting is over, or in
order to prevent it from erupting.
Peace cannot be made on behalf of people in war-torn and
war-threatened territories but work can be done to equip them with knowledge
and skills that will radically improve their chances of avoiding violence. This
requires the assistance of organisations with a professional knowledge of what
is needed and an ethical commitment to providing it organisations such
as International Alert.
Awareness of sustainable peace processes at government and
international levels has grown over the past decade but there remain widespread
deficiencies in knowledge and understanding. The policy world needs more
insight into the practical consequences of its decisions and priorities, as do
international companies and development and humanitarian NGOs. Providing advice
and practical recommendations on this is another important priority for
Peacebuilding takes time usually more than a decade
because it has to address the root causes of conflict. It involves
a wide-ranging and strategic approach that addresses issues
of security, the socio-economic foundations of peace, governance
and the need for justice and reconciliation to recover from the
wounds of war. Click here to find
International Alert and
International Alert seeks to understand the root causes of
violent conflict and then to act to make a difference. We are committed
1. Working together with people who live in areas affected or threatened
by armed conflict to make a positive difference for peace: find
2. Improving both the substance and implementation of international
policies that affect peacebuilding and the prospects for peace:
find out how
3. Strengthening the peacebuilding sector through increasing its
effectiveness and profile.
We dont have one methodology peacebuilding
requires a tailored approach rather than an off-the-shelf technique or standard
template. We work in a number of ways, using one or more of these methods,
depending on what is most appropriate for the situation.
Dialogue creating safe spaces in
which to bring together groups and people who are divided by conflict and who
would not otherwise be in dialogue with each other
Accompaniment working with diverse
groups to strengthen their involvement in peace processes.
Capacity building building
organisations awareness of peacebuilding issues and their capacities to
strengthen prospects for peace.
Research and analysis a mutual
process with local partners that is the basis of both our work in conflict
zones and our policy development.
Public education raising awareness
both in conflict countries and in the UK of peacebuilding, how it works, and
why it matters
Partnerships are important to us - we work closely with civil society
and NGOs in conflict areas, with international NGOs and with other
actors including inter-governmental organisations and companies
to encourage and assist them in contributing positively to the prospects
for peace. Click here for links
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