PeacEPeacebuilding constantly throws up all sorts of dilemmas. How should peacebuilders engage with military forces? At what stage in a peace process should reconciliation be promoted? What role should ‘outsiders’ play? These sorts of issues can often be thought of in practical terms, but it is important that peacebuilders have the space to discuss and explore the ethical considerations of their work. In order to provide a space for peacebuilders to discuss these very sorts of ethical issues, the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) has set up ‘PeacE – The Forum for Peacebuilding Ethics’. On the site, they argue that research on peacebuilding has tended to focus on the practicalities of how to create peace, with insufficient time spent thinking about the ethical assumptions that constitute the underlying fundament of the work: “If an ethical turn is not made at this point, the field of peacebuilding research will make itself irrelevant or even illegitimate.”

The site already features a number of interesting articles, and PeacE is currently looking for more contributions and comments from peacebuilders: ‘Detailed dilemmas and personal experiences as well as more general policy-oriented and theoretical perspectives are encouraged’. As the field is still relatively young, this is an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding ethics at a critical stage in its development.

Ruairi Nolan, Insight on Conflict. 21 April 2010