Burundi Early Warning Election Project

The last couple of years have seen a number of highly impressive developments in the use of mobile phones to monitor conflicts and humanitarian disasters. Now, the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams has created the Burundi Early Warning Project to use the mobile platform to collect information and report on upcoming elections in Burundi. In this way, they will be able to identify flashpoints and enable communities to respond to potentially dangerous situations. Given the fears of violence for these elections, this grassroots information could turn out to be invaluable.

USIP Peacemaker's Toolkit

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has released its Peacemaker's Toolkit, a series of accessible booklets on mediation and peacebuilding. Free to download and ranging in length from 57-85 pages, the 5 booklets are:

  • Managing a Mediation.
  • Managing Public Information in a Mediation Process.
  • Integrating Internal Displacement in Peace Processes and Agreements.
  • Debriefing Mediators to Learn from the Experiences.
  • Timing Mediation Initiatives.

Connecting Community Security and DDR: Experiences from Eastern DR Congo

As part of a long-term study by the Peace Security and Development Network, the Working Group on Community Security and Community-Based DDR in Fragile States has produced the first paper of their study. Connecting Community Security and DDR: Experiences from Eastern DRC (pdf) looks at the link between community security, as perceived by communities, and community-led DDR initiatives, arguing that community-led initiatives have a lot to offer national and international DDR efforts (and in some cases may be better placed). It argues that local communities have their own security arrangements and these need to be understood and considered in any DDR planning and implementation, that local communities must be better included in any DDR programmes, with a greater role given to local civil society. The paper is a first result of the working group's study, which has begun in eastern DR Congo but will eventually include Burundi, Sudan and Colombia.

Innovations for Post-Conflict Transitions: the United Nations Development Program in DR Congo

The UN has received many strong criticisms for their recent interventions in DR Congo, but the Harvard Kennedy School of government has released an in-depth report, Innovations for Post-Conflict Transitions (pdf) that praises the work of one of the UN agencies in that country - in this case, the UN Development Programe (UNDP). Counter to perceptions of the UN as bureaucratic, researchers from the Harvard Kennedy School found that an entrepreneurial culture emerged as staff were empowered to take decisions. Also, because the UN decided that "serious attention to the longer-term process of peacebuilding in all [of] its multiple dimensions is critical" to success of the UNDP's work, they found themselves heavily involved in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, areas not previously considered to fall within the UNDP's remit.

One on One with Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung is often referred to as the 'father of peace studies', as his idea of 'positive and negative peace' has been hugely influential to peacebuilders around the world. Al-Jazeera have posted an interview with him to their site, as part of their 'One on One' series. The intimate set-up and relatively long duration of the interview (over 20 minutes) allows Galtung to explain the ideas behind his thinking, and how they have allowed him to continue making direct interventions for conflict resolution and peacebuilding.