n Conflict Trends - Peacebuilding in fragile African states : the case for private sector involvement

Volume 2014, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


The subfield of peace and conflict studies known as peacebuilding is still relatively young. Although established in the literature by peace studies pioneer Johan Galtung in 1975, it was not until 1992, when United Nations (UN) Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali highlighted the concept in his An Agenda for Peace - shortly after the onset of the genocidal unravelling of former Yugoslavia - that policymakers, development practitioners, conflict researchers and conflict resolution practitioners began to take the concept seriously. The hard work of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating peacebuilding interventions into 'broken states' across the world then began in earnest.

Generally viewed as a comprehensive state-building, economy-building and civil society-building effort before, during and/or after the 'new wars' that have replaced the traditional, Clausewitzean interstate warfare as the dominant mode of warfare globally, peacebuilding has generally been a failure. A major reason is that most peacebuilding efforts have been 'minimalist' in nature, where third-party interveners have aimed to achieve and maintain 'negative peace' - the absence of hostilities. These efforts have been at the expense of the more ambitious and, within a realpolitik perspective, unrealistic objective of achieving and developing positive peace - the objective of maximalist peacebuilding - where third-party interveners identify and address the deep-rooted causes and conditions of conflict.

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