Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative

10 October 2017

© Vikalpa, Groundviews. Protest organized by NGOs in front of Colombo railway station.

IPTI is partnering with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) on a new Impact Local Peace Project on Strengthening the Relevance and Effectiveness of Local Civil Society in Peacebuilding. The objective of the project is to support local civil society organizations (CSOs) to make their peacebuilding projects more relevant and effective. The project aims to identify innovative approaches to reach all areas of the peacebuilding sector and provide local CSOs with relevant tools.


Civil society plays an important role in supporting peace processes and political transitions. Since the early 1990s, international assistance to civil society has starkly risen as the international community has increasingly seen it as a pillar for democracy and peace. This has been a major shift in focus by the traditionally state-centric international peacebuilding community. Yet despite this shift, little is known about the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of these supported civil society initiatives with regards to their stated goal of sustainable peacebuilding.

Addressing such knowledge gaps was the starting point for two multi-year research projects initiated in 2005 at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies under the lead of Dr. Thania Paffenholz. These projects now form the centerpiece of the knowledge base of IPTI. In its inception phase, IPTI was overwhelmed with requests from policymakers and practitioners to makes use of these projects’ results, yet until now most focus has been on support to high-level (“track one”) peace process actors, including mediators, governments, and conflict parties.

This 18-month project will allow IPTI to support local CSOs directly and thus contribute to the enhancement of the peacebuilding field across all tracks. A key feature of the project’s implementation plan is a targeted survey of local CSOs to better understand their thematic interests, needs, and experiences, and capture existing tools. A field phase will validate and specify needs of local CSOs. Based on these assessments, specific tools will be developed, tested, and disseminated.

The project will allow civil society actors to not only profit from IPTI’s knowledge base, but also to merge it with their own local experiences and knowledge through the joint development of an open-access platform of practical tools for local CSOs and their international partners. Through this joint learning process and open access dissemination, IPTI expects to enhance peacebuilding impact and sustainability in the medium to long-term.






Role of civil society in peace and transition processes

How can different civil society actors make effective contributions to peace and transition processes, in which phases and under what conditions?