Integrated Peacebuilding: From the Ground Up

All over the world, MCC partners with local communities and organizations to build peace! These peacebuilding efforts are a diverse set of actions that proactively seek to both understand and respond to the local social, political and economic context – so as to do no further harm; address the roots of conflict, including the root causes of forced migration; and build toward sustainable peace. The global pandemic has created additional strain and exacerbated conflicts and violence in already fragile countries and regions, like Myanmar, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Syria and other contexts.

Peacebuilding, particularly locally-led peacebuilding, is not only an alternative to military or violent interventions but also an essential part of any humanitarian or development project. Applying a peace lens to all interventions opens the door to possibilities for long-term change for the better.

Here are just three examples of innovative local peacebuilding by MCC partners around the world.

Peacebuilding as fostering alternative crops in Colombia

Peacebuilding through kitchen gardens for both displaced and host communities in DR Congo

Peacebuilding between faith communities through emergency relief in Syria

A group of children sit on the ground listening to a woman speak.

As displaced people streamed into Deir Attieh from other parts of Syria and needed food and support, MCC and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank partnered with Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue (FDCD) to respond through local volunteers and organizations. Here, Rahaf Abdo of FDCD talks with children in Deir Atteih. (Photo courtesy of FDCD, 2016)

How do we bring more peacebuilding into Canada’s international work?

Did you know that in 2016 Canada supported the Grand Bargain, which calls governments to support more locally-led programs and organizations in our international assistance? Some effort has been made in this area, but most civil society organizations agree that there is a long way to go. In the context of COVID-19, the need for local leadership in the implementation and delivery of aid has never been clearer.

Did you also know that Canada only gives about 0.28% of our annual Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA)? The global standard for wealthy countries like Canada is 0.7%, with Canada lagging behind many of our global peers. On top of that, in recent years, only 5-10% of this total ODA has been earmarked for peace and security programs. However, military spending is about five times higher than Canada’s total ODA amounts. Often in policy announcements and speeches around Canada’s role in addressing conflict, we hear a lot about the role of security and military approaches. It’s time to give peace a chance and instead invest in more comprehensive plans for sustainable change.

Youth stand in a line holding hands

 Peace camp participants practice their listening skills by responding to commands during an ice-breaking session at a peace camp for youth in Thalat village in Laos. (Photo courtesy of Alouny Souvolavong, 2018)

 

Sample Questions to Candidates:

  • In your view, what is Canada’s role in supporting sustainable peace in our international assistance and diplomatic work? What does this work look like?

 

  • Often in policy announcements and speeches around Canada’s role in addressing conflict or violence, we hear a lot about the role of security and militarized approaches. But where do you see the role for non-violent, local-level peacebuilding?

 

  • The pandemic has made many countries around the world that were already fragile (Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, etc.) even more fragile. How would you promote a positive and stable peace for people living in fragile places?

 

  • In 2016 Canada supported the Grand Bargain – which calls governments to support more local level civil society organizations in our international assistance. In the context of COVID-19, it has become clearer than ever, that there needs to be more local leadership when responding to crises. What changes would you make, or what practices would you continue for Canada’s assistance to reach more locally-led programs and interventions, particularly peacebuilding?

 

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