Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs convened a research workshop and research-policy dialogue on Sustainable Peace, which was held in Monrovia, Liberia on 17-19 November 2018. The workshop was jointly organised by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, where Dr Kovacs is the head of research, and the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation – University of Liberia.
The question of how to build and sustain peace after violent conflict remains a central question for academics and policy makers alike. The last couple of decades has generated several important research findings that has greatly informed our knowledge on this topic. In policy circles, the focus on sustaining peace has been addressed in different reports, resolutions and agendas. Some of the most influential agenda-setting actions came with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, the conclusion of the review of the peacebuilding architecture carried out by the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) in 2015 and the two UN resolutions on Sustaining Peace that were subsequently adopted. Common to these were the focus on board-based inclusivity and the need to go beyond short-term responses and prioritise efforts of long-term peacebuilding and conflict prevention. This theme is also of critical relevance to the work of Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) and its local partners in Liberia, where FBA is directly involved in the implementation of Sweden’s bilateral development cooperation strategy in the country. Through capacity building, technical advice and other forms of assistance, FBA is supporting Liberian government agencies and civil society organizations in their work on security sector reform, rule of law in public administration and contributing to a more inclusive national peace and reconciliation process, with particular attention to the youth.
However, we have yet to build the bridge between this emerging and fast growing body of scholarly work, new policy directions, and actual practice on the ground. With this objective in mind, the FBA hosted a three-day workshop in Monrovia, Liberia, bringing together scholars and practitioners working on the topic of sustainable peace. The first two days of the workshop was dedicated to presentations of ongoing research with the aim of ensuring high quality publications through constructive feed-back from peers in closed sessions. The third day of the workshop was dedicated to the Research-Policy Dialogue which brings the researchers together with local and international policymakers in order to engage in a dialogue on research findings and its implications for policy making. Hence, the event will be an opportunity for participating researchers to both receive valuable academic feedback and exchange views with relevant policy makers and practitioners in the field. Visit here for the agenda for the research-policy dialogue.