Donor to the Project: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – SIDA
Implementing Parties: Interpeace’s Regional Office for Latin America in Guatemala, and Interpeace’s partner organizations in Liberia - the Platform for Dialogue and Peace (P4DP), and in Timor-Leste - the Centre of Studies for Peace and Development (CEPAD).
Dates: 2014 - 2016
Frameworks for Assessing Resilience (FAR) was designed by SeeD’s long-term strategic partner Interpeace, to better understand, address and assess the key sources of fragility and resilience within conflict or violence-prone countries. The FAR program combined multi-stakeholder participatory research in the three pilot countries – Timor-Leste, Guatemala and Liberia – with a dialogue process at the global level involving various international experts and practitioners. In this regard, SeeD contributed to the FAR program by providing feedback to the initial Global Desk Review on Resilience and participating in two Global Methodology Workshops held in New York. Furthermore, SeeD took part in a week-long survey design workshop in Guatemala City and provided feedback to the final project report entitled “Assessing Resilience For Peace: Guidance Note” (published in April 2016).
FAR compared the identified resilience factors in order to explore where they were unique to particular country contexts, and where they would offer more generalisable experiences and analysis. The FAR program has demonstrated that resilience is indeed a useful addition to the peacebuilding approach with the potential to inform peacebuilding practice in ways that help prevent the onset and re-emergence of conflict and foster sustainable peace. Resilience strongly enhances the conflict prevention agenda and presents an added value to the efforts of the international community. While an assessment of resilience aims at influencing action and policy towards sustainable peace at all levels in the long term, the FAR program has demonstrated that assessing resilience is also an empowering peacebuilding exercise in and of itself as it mobilizes in-country stakeholders to take collective action towards transformative peace. This holds great potential both in terms of prevention and cost-effectiveness and should therefore be considered by donors in all peacebuilding, state-building, humanitarian aid and development initiatives. Apart from its inherent potential in conflict transformation, the resilience approach presents the opportunity of greater collaboration among practitioners, donors and policymakers working in various fields of international development.
Timor-Leste Pilot Case: Previous developmental and peacebuilding programming in Timor-Leste, focused almost exclusively on conflict-drivers and obstacles to durable peace. CEPAD also noted that there is a proliferation of international actors who are active in Timor-Leste, and that many Timorese express growing apathy toward these actors, their goals and their narrow focus on the risks and drivers of conflict and state fragility. The positive language of the resilience platform and approach within FAR, was seen to stimulate new energy and encouraged the population to share information and become more engaged with the consultations. It was noted that in the long term, FAR may encourage more critical reflection and participation in international interventions. The CEPAD team reflected on the enthusiastic participation in FAR at the community-level, despite risks of ‘dialogue fatigue’ in some of these areas. However, they also reflected that the organization of community-level consultations did produce some anomalies in participation. For example, they were mindful that private sector participation was limited in the consultations, and the team noted that it was less easy to engage this segment of society in a targeted way. In some districts of Timor-Leste, youth and women were more active than in others and the team speculated that this was to some extent dependent on the uneven engagement of these stakeholders by international actors and NGOs.
Uptake of Findings: In Timor-Leste, the FAR recommended enhancement of the effectiveness of civic engagement by adopting a resilience approach, which draws on the findings of the assessment. The proposal includes recommendations for building on traditional Timorese culture and drawing on the Catholic Church in the implementation of civic education programs - both of which came out strongly as elements of resilience for peace in the assessment. The proposal posits civic education as a conduit for more synergistic and mutually accountable relations between the state and society. This issue is at the very heart of the post-independence challenge in Timor-Leste, as the country seeks to build its national unity from within instead of by reference to an external occupying force.
More detailed information can be found at: http://www.interpeace.org/programme/far/