Throughout history, peace accords have been negotiated between and signed by those who have done the fighting. In peace, as in war, the fighters have historically ignored the needs, views and concerns of the broader population. Both the roar of the conflict and the hollow silence of many peace accords drown out the voices of women, youth, indigenous peoples and other minorities.
However, half of these agreements fail within five years of their signing because they fail to address the inequities and grievances that caused the conflict. Negotiating an end to hostilities between armed actors is crucial to stopping the war, but insufficient for building peace.
NOREF works to counter the traditional exclusivity of peace processes. We advocate for the meaningful participation in negotiations and peace processes of those who have been excluded, be it women, religious communities or civil society. One of NOREF’s initiatives is to coordinate the Norwegian branch of the network of Nordic Women Mediators. Established in 2015, this network aims to increase the number of women mediators in international peace processes. These will in turn enable them to exert their influence to make the needs and views of excluded groups heard and seen at the negotiating table.
But if an inclusive peace accord is to be more than just a document, the follow-up after the conflict is over is equally important. How does one ensure that the post-conflict government uses its resources to implement the peace accords and prevent further outbreaks of violence, while benefitting all citizens? How might the post-settlement state-building process create institutions and practices that further peace implementation and safeguard the rights of women, children and minorities?
NOREF facilitates the exchange of knowledge on gendered post-settlement public finances so that both the strategic peace and strategic gender objectives are integrated into economic frameworks and reconstruction budgets. The expertise NOREF offers enables the tailoring of post-conflict budgets to address inequalities in public spending or to refashion public policy to target sexual violence in the aftermath of a conflict.
Head of Thematic Programme: Florence Mandelik