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The Inclusive Peace in Practice Initiative

The IPIP 2020 – 2022 Vision: We want to change how peacebuilders and policymakers interact and work together. We believe this will create better global policies for responding to conflict and promoting peace around the world. We also hope it will result in new policymaking processes that are genuinely participatory and mutually beneficial. This is the goal of the Inclusive Peace in Practice initiative.

Changing the ways and altering the spaces in which local peace actors and global policymakers meet, talk and communicate can deepen mutual understanding and respect. It can also inspire greater cooperation, support shared interests, and lead to more meaningful collaboration. And it can build more equal relationships. Above all, it can result in global policy responses that are more effective in addressing the needs and concerns, and the hopes and aspirations, of the people whose lives are affected by violent conflict. Inclusive and sustainable peace depends on this.

But the reality is that global peacebuilding policies often fall far short of intended goals and achievements. Despite the best of intentions, they fail to create lasting peace. In large part, this is because of a disconnect—the huge gap—between global policymakers and the people who work every day to build peace in their own communities.

Interactions between global policymakers and local peacebuilders are rare. When they do happen, they tend to be one-off meetings or relatively superficial conversations and exchanges. They also take place on a very uneven playing field, with global policymakers always having the upper hand. At times, such interactions can even reveal a lack of mutual understanding and clearly divergent interests.

The Inclusive Peace in Practice initiative aims to change this. It aims to bridge the gap between global policymakers and local peacebuilders so they can work together in new ways to develop policies that more fully reflect the needs and realities of people affected by conflict. And in the process, better enable and support local peace actors to non-violently transform those conflict environments. This is about global peacebuilding policies answering to local, not just global, concerns.

Our work: An Overview

We work to enhance partnerships and collaboration between those that build peace in conflict-affected environments, and those directing global policy decisions. This means ensuring local peace actors are able to access and participate in global discussions, but also creating space for international policymakers to work with, and understand the needs and perspectives of, local peacebuilders. Fundamentally, we seek to make relationships between these two sets of conflict stakeholders more equal, building on the diverse forms of power held by each. Our role is to facilitate better conditions for collaboration on policymaking and putting policies into action. In particular, we support local peacebuilders and global decision makers to jointly develop and test new models for policy engagement. We also promote the use of various forms of evidence and expertise, including the lived experiences of local peacebuilders. We enable meaningful engagement and participation before, during, and after these interactions so they are mutually beneficial processes. Our goal is to ensure all participants have constructive experiences of working together to come up with concrete plans that are long-lasting and effective. We call this Participation Plus.

We use two kinds of spaces to do this: invited spaces and claimed spaces. Invited spaces are existing spaces for policy engagement, whereby authorities permit others to participate in decision-making. We make sure local peacebuilders are part of this process. Claimed spaces are those in which people outside formal decision-making structures set their own policy agendas and make room for change. We make sure local peacebuilders can take those agendas to relevant policymakers at national, regional, and global levels.

We believe this is one way multiple perspectives can find a voice and be heard in global policymaking processes and decision-making, and contribute to more effective global peacebuilding policies.

Inclusive Peace in Practice
Inclusive Peace in Practice Inception Journey October 2018 – December 2019

The 2020 - 2022 Pilot Programme 

The pilot programme expects to make progress towards this objective by working on three-interrelated outcomes:  

Outcome 1: Understanding – Diverse actors in the peacebuilding ecosystem develop a shared understanding of the positives and negatives of current policy engagement models, and consensus on and commitment to work with better approaches.

Outcome 2: Collaborative Relations and Practices – Collaboration is fostered among diverse actors on testing new engagement models for evidence and participation in policy processes related to specific conflict contexts that signify new types of relationships and practices within the system.

Outcome 3: Policy Responses and Action – Policy responses and actions in conflict environments begin to reflect the demands of a wider set of actors, including those operating within that conflict.

Results and Outputs Thus Far

Graphic showing who we have engaged with and where in 2019
Graphic showing who we have engaged with and where in 2019
  • Through a series of workshops, LPI undertook a process of reflection with itself and its partners to interrogate LPI’s experiences of using bottom-up policy engagement processes, also referred to as participatory policy engagement (PPE) processes, through three policy engagement experience in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and at the regional level, which aimed to affect Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) policy across the Horn of Africa. The result of this is a stocktake report that offers up a humble consideration of our struggles and doubts about the meaning of this type of work- Participatory Policy Engagement: A Learning Paper.

 LPI Kenya Programme Partner inception workshop, Nairobi
LPI Kenya Programme Partner inception workshop, Nairobi
  • Facilitated a collaborative power analysis of the global peacebuilding policy arena with 15 participants from local partners and peer organisations.

Participants of the Power Analysis Workshop, Nairobi
Participants of the Power Analysis Workshop, Nairobi
  • Clarified and better defined the challenges and opportunities related to participating in and influencing global peacebuilding policy, as a result of extensive and in-depth consultations with more than 220 different key actors, including long-term LPI partners and peer organisations (INGOs), through a series of workshops held in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, culminating in the report- Global Peacebuilding Policy: Analysing Local to Global Engagement.

  • Developed a web series called A New Table, featuring the stories of local peacebuilders and LPI peer organisations about their experiences of inclusion and exclusion, and representation and participation in global decision-making related to peace and conflict issues.

Participants of A New Table, New York
Participants of A New Table, New York
  • Produced a discourse analysis of the global peacebuilding community focused on the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), a space in which the peacebuilding sector comes together and where the discourses of contemporary global peacebuilding are most audible. The analysis assessed these discourses at the global level, defined as the set of ideas, concepts, terms, and labels used in the peacebuilding sector, examining how these discourses set boundaries and define how peace is conceptualised. Finally, the analysis looked at what practices, actors, tools, contexts, skills, and resources are privileged or preferred over others. In particular, it explored the means by which peacebuilding discourse and language creates or reduces space for meaningful local-to global engagement.

  • Conducted 8 validation workshops to share key findings and emerging insights from the first phase of the initiative, and assess their relevance, with a total of 113 people (69 women and 44 men, including 21 young people). Coming from more than 70 organisations and institutions, the participants represented a broad set of stakeholders—grassroots movements, national and international non-governmental organisations, think tanks and academia, international organisations, government policymakers, and donor agencies. Workshops were held in Addis Ababa, Mogadishu, Nairobi, New York, Washington D.C., Stockholm, and London.

IPIP validation locations
  • Co-developed the Inclusive Peace in Practice initiative (2020–2022) through an Inclusive Peace Lab, held in Nairobi, with thirty-five LPI partners and peers.

The Inclusive Peace Lab participants came together in November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya to develop the IPIP pilot programme.
The Inclusive Peace Lab participants came together in November 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya to develop the IPIP pilot programme.
  • Hosted a regional consultation as part of the 2020 UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review, at the request of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) in New York. Participants represented a diverse range of stakeholders from the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region, including community-based peacebuilding practitioners whose perspectives are often neglected in global policy processes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we used a mixed virtual process that included two face-to-face consultations in Mogadishu (Somalia) and Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo), four virtual or phone consultations with peacebuilding practitioners from the Ethiopian borderlands (Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan) and one virtual consultation with representatives of regional and international organisations.

Graphic showing the breakdown of peacebuilding practitioners LPI engaged with in this process
Graphic showing the breakdown of peacebuilding practitioners LPI engaged with in this process
  • Submitted a contribution to the 2020 UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review process, based on the consultation process: The United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture in Practice: Perspectives from Local Peacebuilders in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region. Part One presents the perspectives of the peacebuilding practitioners, highlighting their examples and experiences. These examples—largely unseen and under-recognised in global peacebuilding policy and action—demonstrate the richness of local peacebuilding practices, efforts, knowledge, and experiences. To a large extent, these are untapped resources for building sustainable peace. Building on these perspectives, Part Two presents four recommendations directed at the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. If these are implemented, they will support a transformation towards a more inclusive space for decision makers and practitioners, working in pursuit of aligned goals to sustain peace.

  • In partnership with the LPI Somalia Programme,  Zam Zam Foundation, Somali Peace Line (SPL) and Somalia Women’s Solidarity Organization (SWSO), IPIP co-hosted a process to identify a policy issue that is immediately relevant to the needs, experiences and perspectives of community members in conflict-affected areas of Somalia. This is part of a broader strand of working aiming develop policy responses to conflict from the bottom up – to allow local communities to shape their own policies, rather than have them created for them by other (more powerful) actors. The intention is to allow communities to tell us what is important to them, and what policy responses they want to see, rather than us deciding for them.

Our Donor

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) funds the Inclusive Peace in Practice Initiative (October 2018 – December 2022).

Outcome Reports

Participatory Policy Engagement: A Learning Paper

Global Peacebuilding Policy: Analysing Local to Global Engagement

Discourse Analysis (forthcoming) 

A New Table

The United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture in Practice: Perspectives from Local Peacebuilders in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region.

Articles about IPIP

Covid-19 and virtual inclusion: Who decides how the pandemic affects peacebuilding?

My Experience Addressing the United Nations Security Council

The Life & Peace Institute at the High-Level Political Forum

Related articles & resources
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Kenya - Nairobi

LPI’s Kenya programme and Inclusive Peace in Practice (IPIP) initiative are administered from the office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Postal Address
Life & Peace Institute, P.O. Box 64495-00620, Nairobi, Kenya

Visiting Address
Mpaka Road, Nairobi, Kenya

Phone +254 (0) 20 4440433

Email nairobi@life-peace.org, info@life-peace.org