How the actors in peacebuilding can influence the peacebuilding agenda

This research group has adopted a rather broad definition of peacebuilding, in line with the UN Security Council's resolution in 2001 (S/PRST/2001/5). This resolution changes the definition of peacebuilding from focusing explicitly on post-war activities to stating that 'peacebuilding is aimed at preventing the outbreak, the recurrence or continuation of armed conflict'. The Peacebuilding research group is multidisciplinary, constituted by historians, political scientists, human geographers, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists.

Whereas much of the academic and political debate on peacebuilding has focused on definitions, strategies, and context, there have been fewer debates****on the peacebuilders – or on the actors in peacebuilding. There are many types of peacebuilders: international, regional, national, local, men, women - and even children. The question of who takes the initiative to participate - or who is (or is not) invited to participate in a peacebuilding process - raises several new questions about ethics, motivation, legitimacy, representativity, resources, capabilities and efficiency.

Who the peacebuilders are influences the agenda and the content of peacebuilding. Specific strategic interests are often the driving forces behind the participation of both international and national actors. This often sets the premises for what the peacebuilding process is going to be about – security issues and/or political issues – or more seldom – socio-economic improvements and reconciliation. The relationship between the actors' vested interests and the content of peacebuilding will be an important focus area of this research group.

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