Agents for Change: Civil Society Roles in Preventing War & Building Peace

This study emerges from the experience and discussions undertaken through the first three years of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). The main focus is to survey many of the ways in which civil society organizations (CSOs) respond constructively to conflict, with the primary purpose of raising awareness of this potential. It starts with a brief description of the wider context of peace and security concerns that GPPAC aims to address. It then gives an overview of what is ‘civil society’ and why it is relevant in addressing conflict. After presenting a framework of the ways in which CSOs respond to conflict, it then provides a more in-depth review of the many roles and functions that can be undertaken by CSOs, illustrating these points with numerous examples. It concludes by identifying some of the key challenges facing the wider field of civil society peacebuilding if it is to maximize this potential and effectively catalyze a new way of responding to conflict that promotes human security in a more just and peaceful world.

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