This collaborative research project examines how to enhance the European Union’s capabilities for supporting sustainable and inclusive peacebuilding processes. It does so by assessing EU interventions related to dialogue and mediation, as well as (political and security) governance reform, in four conflict-affected countries within and beyond the European neighbourhood: Georgia, Ukraine, Mali and Yemen. Guided by a ‘whole-of-society’ approach, the project will also provide forums for dialogue bringing together various stakeholders in Europe and in the field, including EU officials, national policymakers, civilian and military practitioners, civil society representatives and academic experts.
The project consortium is comprised of ten partners and four associates in Europe and in the four case study countries. It is funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020. The Berghof Foundation’s main responsibility in this collaborative project is to coordinate thematic research on EU multi-track diplomacy and governance reform interventions.
International peacebuilding interventions face the dual challenges of coordinating the efforts of an increasing range of national, regional and international actors, and ensuring the relevance and ownership of such interventions for local populations. This project intends to address the dilemmas and paradoxes that are inherent to external interventions, and to explore practical options for enhancing the EU’s peacebuilding capabilities. In so doing, it will bring together both top-down and bottom-up peacebuilding needs and demands.
June 2015 – November 2017
The EU and its member states will increasingly be faced with issues of conflict and fragility in the coming years. Both internal and external demands for effective EU-wide responses to regional and global conflict trends are likely to remain at the top of Europe’s political agenda. In response to these challenges, since the 2009 Lisbon Treaty the EU has expanded its institutional peacebuilding capacity and policy ‘toolkit’ on several fronts. Yet, the EU is still grappling with harmonising its foreign policy and positioning itself as a global peacebuilding actor. Thus, today there is a strong need for the EU to sharpen and refine its civilian peacebuilding capabilities to make meaningful and effective regional and global contributions to peace and stability.
This project aims at assessing the EU’s peacebuilding capabilities and best practices by collecting, analysing and disseminating empirical data from Georgia, Ukraine, Mali and Yemen. We will assess past and ongoing initiatives by focusing on three key areas of EU interventions: multi-track diplomacy, security sector reform (including civilian-military cooperation), and governance reform. The ‘whole of society’ approach denotes a specific interest in engaging a wide range of non-state actors at various ‘tracks’ of society, both in the research and dissemination phases of the project. We take a cautious approach to ‘best practices’, with a focus on principles, processes and tools that can support context-specific interventions, rather than prescriptive models.
Aims and outcomes
The project partners will create a ‘community of practice’ by convening online and physical dialogue forums to validate and discuss avenues for applying the empirical findings, focusing on four cross-cutting themes: local ownership, gender, multi-stakeholder coherence and Information and Communication technologies. Furthermore, the project will elaborate a tailored set of recommendations and strengthen their impact through direct engagement with relevant policy actors throughout the process. Project result will also be disseminated to a wider policy audience in order to strengthen the sustainability of the projects findings. Recipients will include stakeholders within EU institutions and among European and country-based policymakers, civil society practitioners, academic experts and the end users and beneficiaries of EU interventions. By providing policy and practical support and by highlighting the peacebuilding potentials of ICTs, the project hopes to contribute innovatively to current and future EU peacebuilding efforts.
The case studies for the WOSCAP project are Georgia, Mali, Ukraine and Yemen.