Communication for Peacebuilding: Practices, Trends and Challenges

TitleCommunication for Peacebuilding: Practices, Trends and Challenges
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleNew report by Search for Common Ground
Year of Publication2011
Number of Pages32p.

The report identifies a wide range of activity that uses varying forms of communication (old and new) undertaken by Non-Governmental Organizations, Governments, Multilaterals and the Private Sector to prevent conflict, improve early warning, monitor peace and promote peacebuilding post-conflict. The research identifies a field that is relatively new with little hard evidence to back up claims for effectiveness, although much anecdotal evidence to suggest that interventions are making a practical difference on the ground. A key development is the mingling of forms of communication tools as the distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ media blurs and newer technologies are being used to amplify and complement the messages of the more traditional forms of media. This comes with the recognition that new tools for communication are no panacea for conflict prevention and peacebuilding although they do open up new channels of communication and offer new opportunities for local people to become more actively engaged in conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. There are many challenges in the use of communication tools including the need for collaboration and improvement in the flow of information between organizations, issues of credibility, trust and validity, the need to ensure privacy, security and practices that are ethical and challenges posed by environmental and cultural factors. One key challenge ahead is the need to develop a knowledge bank of evidence-based practice. There are clearly new opportunities and new possibilities being created by the emergence of more distributed, horizontal communication flows, but much of the potential remains unrealized. There is a need to learn about the situations in which a focus on communication flows are most important, how changes in those flows can best be facilitated, and how these flows can best be harnessed to create positive peacebuilding outcome. (from report's summary)

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