When the European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, it was a recognition of the fact that lasting peace comes through slow and steady processes that engage a multiplicity of state and non-state actors over a long period of time. It also underscored the centrality of a regional approach to transforming lingering historical conflicts into opportunities for cooperation on a wider scale.
As Uppsala-based Professor Peter Wallensteen argues in the opening article of the year-end edition of New Routes, a quarterly journal published by the Uppsala-based Life & Peace Institute, “regional peacebuilding aims exactly at this, turning conflictual regions intro areas of positive cooperation, where the likelihood of another war is reduced or even eliminated.”
But could this model be replicated in other parts of the world suffering from chronic bouts of war? What hope do regional intergovernmental bodies on other continents have in emulating the EU success? What lessons can be learnt from the failed regional peace processes in Central America? What bearing does small arms’ trade across national boundaries have on efforts to end wars? How civil wars in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region of Africa have spiralled into region-wide conflicts?
These and many other related questions have been addressed in the latest edition of New Routes, find it at www.life-peace.org It explores a range of protracted conflicts across the globe from a regional perspective, presenting both theoretical analyses and peace-builders’ hands-on experiences. While eminent academics proffer opinion on the efficacy and potential of taking a regional approach to negotiating a peaceful end to wars, reports from a number of observers from war zones highlight the challenges of translating theories into practice.
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