Afghan Civil Society and a Comprehensive Peace Process

Aug. 8, 2011, 7:03 p.m.

The Peace Brief,  Afghan Civil Society and a Comprehensive Peace Process, published by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) focuses on how to make the peace process in Afghanistan comprehensive and include Civil Society in the process.  The paper claims that it if civil society is not included that it will create long term problems due to a lack of public ownership and political will.  Four main elements are listed as essential for a comprehensive peace process:  public support, legitimacy, sustainability, and democratic governance.   The current focus on state institutions and negotiations with armed groups only contains one element of a successful peace process. USIP provides the following recommendations to improve the process:

• Afghan civil society could develop a diverse and representative Civil Society Assembly to create an ongoing mechanism and forum for identifying key issues and work with the High Peace Council to represent a broader array of civil society voices.

• The Afghan government could consult with Afghan civil society in the design of a comprehensive peace process, including a Civil Society Assembly.

• The Afghan government and civil society could invest time in training from technical support teams on principled negotiation and mediation processes.

• The international community could initiate robust consultations with a broad range of diverse local civil society leaders to identify the ideal model of public participation in a peace process.

• The international community could support calls for a comprehensive Afghan public peace process and provide financial support, coaching, negotiation training and capacity building measures to all groups in an Afghan peace process.

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