Introduction to the Peacebuilding Guide for Northern Ireland
For most people in Northern Ireland, ‘the war is over.’ The 1994 ceasefires, 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, IRA decommissioning (to the satisfaction of international observers) and the IRA’s stated end to its armed campaign have dramatically reduced levels of violence and created a positive context for a political solution to the conflict. These developments owe much to diplomatic efforts to move contending parties into dialogue and peace negotiations. However, they are also testament to a broader peacebuilding process.
To date, peacebuilding in Northern Ireland has involved many different actors working with various target groups at all levels of society. It has been a process of addressing the root causes and consequences of conflict through reconciliation, state building, and political as well as socio-economic transformation. Peacebuilding therefore concerns not only post-conflict reconstruction, but preventing the recurrence of violence and assisting the transition from conflict to self-sustaining and durable peace.
With the support of a massive £1.5 billion investment from the European Union to help ‘embed the peace process’, there have been many successes in relation to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. This is especially true of interventions designed to improve relations within and between communities, as well as those designed to address the structural and socio-economic factors that contributed to the outbreak of ‘the Troubles’ in the late 1960’s. Countries across the globe therefore look to Northern Ireland for ideas and assistance in transforming conflict.
Background to the Guide
In November 2006, the Community Foundation held an 'Implementing Peace' Symposium in Northern Ireland with a small group of US and European Foundations.To inform and assist the work of the symposium INCORE and the Community Foundation co-developed a 'Guide to Peacebuilding' in Northern Ireland. This web-based guide explores peacebuilding in Northern Ireland as "a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes and consequences of conflict through reconciliation, institution building and political as well as socio-economic transformation." (SAIS, Conflict Management Toolkit)
Rather than provide a detailed history of peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, the guide brings together a variety of online resources focusing on new trends, opportunities and challenges in relation to:
Available on the side-bar menu, the guide provides brief summaries and links to pertinent and useful articles, papers and other documents available on-line on a range of peacebuilding themes.
- on-going and emerging causes of continuing conflict in Northern Ireland;
- addressing the impact and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland;
- the process of state building following a peace accord;
- the political, social and economic transformation of a society emerging from conflict;
- macro intervention issues currently impacting on peacebuilding practices in Northern Ireland.
This guide continues to be regularly updated to include relevant new research, policy papers and opinion pieces on the theme of building peace in Northern Ireland.
Original introductory text and Peacebuilding Guide design by Helen Lewis. Updates to text and guide by Gráinne Kelly, Policy/Practice Coordinator, INCORE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last update of guide: 6 July 2010 click here for Summary