Democratic Peacebuilding and its Alternatives: A New Approach for Sustainable Peace?

Richard J. Ponzio

in Democratic Peacebuilding

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594955
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725562 | DOI:
Democratic Peacebuilding and its Alternatives: A New Approach for Sustainable Peace?

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Chapter 5 critiques the weaknesses of the mainstream democratic reconstruction model (DRM) for international peacebuilding, as well as alternatives such as institutionalization before liberalization (IBL) and the light footprint (LF). Though each has its merits, the DRM has proven too complex to implement, politically insensitive, and too costly to be sustained. IBL risks aiding authoritarian elements and fails to acknowledge the limited staying power of international actors, and the LF commits insufficient international staff and financial resources for developing indigenous capacities. Learning from Afghanistan and the interventions discussed in Chapter 2, a new “democratic peacebuilding” approach is needed to address these shortcomings in responding to violent crises. It is guided by three intertwined principles that inform a comprehensive strategy: (a) assessing preexisting local conceptions of authority and the degree to which they diverge from democratic legal authority; (b) putting locals in leadership roles and invest seriously in local human and institutional capacity from the outset and over the long-term; and (c) favoring multilateral approaches through the UN that ensure political neutrality, technical competence, cultural sensitivity, and long-term burden-sharing.

Keywords: democratic reconstruction model; liberalization before institutionalization; light footprint; democratic peacebuilding; democratization

Chapter.  12270 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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