In Violence Reduction Subsector Review & Evidence Evaluation, authors Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik and Emily Myers, through the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium, seek to identify where peacebuilding programs have “directly correlated to reduced levels of violence” in order to design more targeted programs that directly impact violence and its causes. This is especially relevant because as of the report’s publication, levels of global violent conflict are at a 25-year high, with 402 current violent conflicts and warfare “bleeding more and more from the battlefield into the domestic space.” Traditional peacebuilding methods are not adequate to address national, subnational, or ethnic conflicts, which are far more common than international conflicts.
The report is broken into four parts: 1) an introduction of the problem and explanation of definitions; 2) an extrapolation of how peacebuilding theory currently works and how it needs to change in response to modern warfare; 3) an outline of the authors’ Theories of Change (pages 8-10 have tables outlining these Theories of Change and pages 11-18 cover them in more detail); and 4) a conclusion with recommendations for peacebuilding and -keeping parties to strengthen their programs’ potential to directly decrease violence.
Some of the more interesting observations are as follows:
- Approach 2 states that if individuals at substantial risk of contributing to violence are provided with peaceful alternatives, then they will be less likely to resort to violence and this cumulative behavior will reduce overall levels of violence;
- Approach 1.3 states that if communities have greater economic stability there will be less competition and therefore less violence;
- Approach 2.1 states that if people feel they can influence government decision-making, they will not feel compelled to use violence to change government policy or practice; and
- Approach 2.2 states that if people perceive the government to be meeting their basic needs and providing security they will be less likely to see violence as necessary.