Promoting Innovative Approaches to Peacebuilding

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The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Carnegie Corporation of New York

Call for Proposals 1 September 2015

Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are joining efforts to promote innovative approaches in the broad and evolving field of peacebuilding.

This joint Public-Private Partnership on Peacebuilding (Px4 Initiative) will provide funding for one to three consortia that will present projects involving a US, a Norwegian, and at least one Southern/emerging power partner. Grants can be up to USD 1 million.  There should be substantial involvement by all three consortia partners, with special emphasis on the Southern/emerging power partner. One institute should coordinate the consortium submission, including taking responsibility for financial management and reporting. 

Background

Since the end of the Cold War there has been an increasing number of peace processes and post-war peacebuilding international operations. The results are mixed and in many cases controversial.  Some experts consider that peacebuilding policies are perpetuating economic and institutional models that are at the root of conflict. They also consider peacebuilding as a way of consolidating the domination of Western powers over so-called fragile states. 

For other practitioners, analysts, governments, and international organizations the only way to proceed is supporting and helping countries in post-conflict processes to consolidate effective state systems and to re-integrate into the global economic and mainstream political democratic systems.

In recent years the positive trends of fewer armed conflicts and more efforts toward peace have reversed.  Armed conflicts of different type and complexity, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, are challenging advances in peace and state building, slowing the consolidation of peace processes and dashing hope in efforts to transition from authoritarian to democratic regimes.

Most of the current armed conflicts involve unconventional extremist actors, such as Boko Haram, al-Shabab, ISIS, al-Qaeda and hundreds of militias in Libya, Syria, and the Sahel region. All of them use identity as a political tool to co-opt and attract young men and women who face poverty or other constraints on their future prospects, as well as a limited but significant number in Western countries.  The absence of reliable, representative, inclusive, and responsive states leaves no apparent options for young people who are then attracted to militias that offer a visionary mission, order, and weapons.

At the same time, while criminal violence does not have overtly political aims, it nevertheless can subvert the politics of the state and so should be considered part of the landscape of international armed conflict. In addition, the impact of armed criminal action on human rights and violence against civilians drives humanitarian organizations and others to consider criminal organized violence as an expression of war.

The roots of the conflicts are varied and complex.  They include local, national, regional, and international dynamics.  They involve weak or corrupt states with no support for its citizens; the absence of jobs, education, and any opportunities for the future; competition for increasingly scarce natural resources; ethnic, tribal, and religious clashes; violence over illicit markets; territorial disputes; and outsiders who benefit from and even incite the conflict—not only arms dealers.

These developments underscore the need to revise the entire arc of conflict and conflict resolution, from its prevention, resolution (including mediation activities), peacemaking, peacebuilding, consolidation, and the transformation of the root causes of organized violence.

The proposed projects should move beyond the debate between mainstream and critical approaches, and consider the developments mentioned above in order to present ideas connecting peacebuilding policies to current trends and developments in the international system.  At the same time, the projects should take into consideration the serious reverses and negative developments noted earlier. Some examples of possible ideas include:

a. How to connect peace processes with post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation practices.

b. How countries in peacebuilding processes could become self-sufficient given the sustained reduction of international funding by the donor community.

c. How the actors of the international system, including Southern/emerging powers and Northern countries, the UN, and other multilateral organizations could interact in the future with peacebuilding practices. 

d. How possible new alliances among Northern and Southern/emerging power donors and political dialogue between internal and external actors could facilitate the construction of more effective peacebuilding policies.

e.  What might the role be of South-South and South-North cooperation in mediation and peacebuilding?  

f. What lessons can be learned from post-conflict peacebuilding experiences in Africa and other parts of the developing world that might, someday, be relevant to Iraq and Syria?

g. How does the emergence of violent extremist groups complicate peacebuilding challenges, and what can be done about it?

h. How can effective channels of influence be created for regional, national, and community level knowledge about peacebuilding that can inform international decision-making processes?

i. How do notions of national “ownership” and “inclusion” need to be revised in light of recent peacebuilding experiences?

j. Does the nature of the state, in Africa and the Middle East, need to be revisited and new models be advanced to address both the social contract between state and citizens and the shortcomings of peacebuilding efforts to date?

k. Given the threat posed by emergent security challenges to established frameworks, and existing capacities and approaches of the UN and other regional organizations, as well as emerging powers, what kind of changes are needed to unlock the potential of these actors in building and sustaining peace?

l. How might peacebuilding policies and practices be linked with the new post-2016 Sustainable Development Goals and UN efforts to revise its “peacebuilding architecture”?

The projects should involve translation of research from both Northern and Southern/emerging powers into practical policy recommendations.  Specifically, proposals should demonstrate how to bring those voices into decision-making centers (i.e., EU, NATO, emerging powers governments, and regional organizations such as the OAS and AU). Applicants will be evaluated in terms of how the proposed projects will:

  • Address peacebuilding challenges over the next decade in an innovative way that incorporates new approaches to these challenges.
  • Translate research into policy.
  • Establish a more global and inclusive research and policy dialogue.
  • Structure a North-South/emerging power collaboration to ensure an equitable balance in terms of intellectual input, budgetary allocation and comparative advantage. 

In addition to the above, specific plans or blueprints on key issues related to countries in peacebuilding processes would also be welcome.

Applications:

Each consortium applicant will incorporate the elements above and provide the following:

  • Contact information for the project leader and description of the lead organization (of the three) and evidence that the consortium is functional.
  • Rationale for the proposed project and how it connects to other related work.
  •  Description of a two-year project, timeline, amount requested and itemized budget (in USD) including a brief narrative explanation of each major budget item.
  • Qualifications and competence of participating consortium members regarding the issues and/or region, as well as their legal and non-profit status. All applicants must meet US and Norwegian legal and regulatory requirements for grants.
  • Description of how the consortium will monitor and evaluate its work.
  • Initial applications should be no more than 8 pages.

All applications should be sent in PDF format to: Christopher Harris at charristmg@gmail.com.

Deadline:  Deadline for applications is Monday 2 November 2015.

Grant Awards:  The proposals will be reviewed in two stages. In the first stage, the funding partners will review proposals submitted by 2 November and semi-finalists for grant awards will be contacted on or about the first week of February 2016.  The second stage involves some additional information from the semi-finalists and ultimately formal approval by the trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York and equivalent senior officials of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Finalists will be contacted regarding their status in late June and grant awards will be announced 1 July 2016 .

Inquiries: Inquiries should be directed to Christopher Harris at charristmg@gmail.com who is serving as manager of the application and grant program.