COVID-19 and the impact on local peacebuilding

COVID-19 and the impact on local peacebuilding

The COVID-19 pandemic and responses to it are exacerbating many of the underlying causes of conflict, particularly inequality, a report from Humanity United, Conducive Space for Peace, and Peace Direct finds. Based on input from more than four hundred peacebuilders in more than sixty countries, the report, COVID-19 and the impact on local peacebuilding (8 pages, PDF), found that violence is being reignited and peace processes threatened as a result of insufficiently conflict-sensitive government measures, while in other places governments are exploiting the crisis to further restrict civil society space and increase authoritarian measures. And while the pandemic has provided opportunities to advance peace in the form of ceasefire campaigns, local mutual aid, and community-building initiatives, peacebuilders are struggling to sustain their work in the face of declines in international funding and social-distancing restrictions that undermine existing efforts that rely on in-person gatherings and people-to-people approaches. Feelings of isolation and stress stemming from the pandemic also have exacerbated mental health issues and trauma for people living in conflict-affected areas. The report's recommendations include adopting conflict-sensitive, gender-sensitive, and trauma-informed approaches to conflict resolution; providing flexible and sustained financial support; funding local organizations' technology needs; and supporting youth-led efforts.