Today the world is coalescing into stable and unstable regions. On the one hand there has been a decline in the number and severity of internal armed conflicts worldwide over the past 20 years . However, we are experiencing prevalent and chronic political instability, state fragility, social volatility, proliferation of non-state armed groups, weak governance systems, and toxic disputes over land and natural resources in many parts of the world, with many scholars believing that by 2050 lethal armed conflicts will be largely concentrated in Africa and South Asia . Bringing stability to the estimated 1.2 billion people living in fragile and conflict affected countries and territories requires innovative, effective and sustainable conflict transformation approaches and tools. The task necessitates a deep grasp of conflict drivers, as they manifest in each specific context, in order to design bespoke targeted and cost-effective programmatic interventions. Achieving precision in this endeavour has become ever more challenging as the nature of socio-political violence diversifies and evolves across the modern global polity.
And yet, all too often, peacebuilding and development programmes are designed based on limited input from a small number of in-country experts or conflict analysis consultants, and as a result they lack data-driven insights and fail to resolve strategic design dilemmas. Is more intergroup dialogue essential? Should the high-level peace process be opened up to a broader range of stakeholders? What role does reconciliation play in facilitating high level political negotiations? How should gender and youth dimensions be engineered into the peace process? How should development incentives be incorporated into the process for sustaining peace? How can we re-imagine peace as a transformative process rather than an objective end-goal? Existing assessment approaches are often challenged when it comes to empirically linking potential drivers of conflict with desired peace outcomes in a way that can help resolve programmatic dilemmas. While conceptual linkages between conflict drivers, programmatic activities and desired outcomes are routinely proposed in everyday peacebuilding practice, these rarely amount to more than untested working hypotheses. As such, lack of evidence-based participatory assessment tools render peace-learning difficult, and hence thwart the impact and effectiveness of peacebuilding and development programmes.
We aim to address the abovementioned deficits in designing sustainable processes of conflict transformation and state-building by developing state of the art research methods, tools and metrics. Our mission is to promote inclusive and evidence-based policy-making on every level and to contribute to improving civic participation and multi-perspectivity as an effective way to address social, political and economic issues without the use of violence or coercion, support conflict transformation and thus foster sustainable peace and democratic development. We envision peaceful and functional democracies, firmly committed to the values of inclusivity, accountability and sustainability. By developing innovative methodologies to provide cutting-edge know-how, we contribute to identifying programmatic entry points which are most likely to have a positive impact on peacebuilding outcomes and policy making in divided or transitional societies. We collaborate with governments, donors and peacebuilding organisations to ensure an inclusive and sustainable outcome and to systematically design and test conflict transformation theories of change before sponsoring and endorsing new peace-building programmes and policies.