On the occasion of its Annual Forum, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform met to discuss the topic of “interim stabilization”. Bringing together more than 80 international experts and practitioners from the humanitarian, development, security and peacebuilding communities to share experiences and exchange ideas, the day produced lively debates and revealed a number of shared views.
Interim stabilization is described as a way of buying time to enhance social, political and economic conditions so that Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) programs can be more effective, and places greater emphasis on the context of individual cases advising a bottom-up, area-based approach. Emerging from experimentations on the ground, these approaches bear many lessons for tailoring new practices in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
As a contribution to the policy discussions around interim stabilization measures, the Platform brought together 12 speakers from the UN, NGOs, the donor community and the mediation sector. They provided a holistic account of interim stabilization drawing on their various experiences in the field and at policy level.
First, the conceptual underpinnings and limitations of interim stabilization were discussed. Experiences from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan provided a contextual base for further analyses. An overview of how interim stabilization measures are being incorporated into intervention strategies at the International Organization for Migration, International Labour Organization and the United Nations Development Programme followed. A more general discussion on the implications for the wider peacebuilding field rounded off the event.
The discussions revealed that the international community’s understanding of the complexities of post-conflict environments is becoming more sophisticated. However, the constraints placed on projects by donors and the politics of peace agreements frequently dilute and alter what interim approaches prescribe, resulting in projects that are standard DDR/SSR under another name.
The Forum also gave the opportunity to Ambassador Jean-Francis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin to the U.N. in New New York and Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, to address the Geneva community. During his speech, Ambassador Zinsou examined the work of the PB architecture, focusing on the role of the PBC, the innovations that it brought on board, its achievements, the challenges of UN support to peacebuilding, and the recommendations made to improve it.