Peacebuilding and Security

Comprehensive approaches for the promotion of peace at national and multilateral level entail both challenges and opportunities regarding the coordination across different ministries and policy actors. Protracted conflicts and crises require sustainable reforms at multiple levels as well as trusting cooperation and effective coordination among actors. In these contexts, a coherent combination of humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peacebuilding is paramount. Addressing this so-called triple nexus or Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) nexus and its potential for the promotion of sustainable peace is particularly important for FriEnt. This applies especially to the primacy of prevention. All support measures for crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation and the consolidation of peace should also aim at preventing a recurrence or escalation of violent conflict. This strive for peace should guide all international support.

Lack of common understanding

“Comprehensive approach“, “3D”, “whole of government“, “interlinked security” or “civil-military cooperation” – in recent years, there have been multiple terms and definitions to describe the interaction of foreign, security and development policy in situations of conflict and fragility. These concepts are based on the paradigm of the security and development nexus, which implies the notion that this interlinkage will increase the overall impact and political leeway of support measures.

However, this variety of terms and conceptual approaches is prone to cause misunderstandings and may lead to controversial discussions due to competing interpretations of key categories such as “security”, “crisis prevention” and “cooperation” or underlying values and objectives. Whose security shall be protected or reinstated? What objectives are guiding external support measures and who decides what to do and how to do it? What does this imply for civil-military cooperation and for the collaboration of state and nonstate actors on the ground? And which concrete options, but also which problems may arise from this cooperation?

These questions occur at different levels and contexts of cooperation. At national level, they apply to interministerial and cross-sectoral collaboration as well as civil-military relations with state and nonstate actors. At multilateral level, considerations on how to integrate more comprehensive approaches for development and peacebuilding into peace and stability missions by UN, AU and EU are also receiving increasing attention.

Statebuilding and the security sector

Simultaneously, the international debate on “statebuilding” and the promotion of peace in fragile and conflict-affected states has gained momentum. In this context, a discussion focus is set on the importance of the national security sector and its regulation (security sector reform – SSR), including requirements for civil oversight and control. In addition to promoting state legitimacy and social services for the population, the provision of public security constitutes the third pillar of statebuilding. However, most international approaches for democratic control and reform of the security sector remain focused on state actors while nonstate agents, such as private security companies, receive less attention. This also holds true for the “watchdog” function of civil society organisations, which is largely neglected. Further disputed issues refer to the prioritization and sequencing of international activities before, during and after violent conflicts.

Against this background, it is particularly important to generate attention for the views and perspectives of local actors and populations on how security and development should be interlinked and integrated into foreign, security and development policy. These considerations should also be considered for the political debate in Germany and serve as an impetus for dialogue and exchange. A guiding principle for this discussion remains the promotion of human security and putting the protection of people affected by violent conflict and crisis at the centre of all activities.

The Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt) is an association of governmental organisations, church development agencies, civil society networks, and political foundations.


Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden

und Entwicklung (FriEnt) c/ o GIZ

Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 36

53113 Bonn

Tel +49 228 4460-1916


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