Advancing Global Peacebuilding Frameworks

The Secretary-General’s Sustaining Peace Initiative and World Bank-UN Pathways for Peace Reports represent global policy frameworks that boldly push for fundamental change in the way conflict and violence are addressed and how we build peace. Moreover, the international development agenda has taken bolder steps to integrate peace, security, human rights, justice, and effective governance within its framework through Agenda 2030 and particularly Sustainable Development Goal 16. Together these frameworks call for collective action at international, regional, and national levels toward building peace and preventing violent conflict.

AfP is working with the Stimson Center, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area, the United States Institute of Peace, and the International Peace Institute to advance these major peacebuilding global policy frameworks through creating a leading series of experts and discussions on how to implement them. Below are resources to help learn more about these frameworks and current efforts to implement them.

The Stimson Center, in collaboration with interested governments, civil society groups, businesses, and international organization partners, has initiated Just Security 2020: Advancing the Recommendations of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, a multistakeholder effort to achieve bold yet practical global governance reforms by 2020 — the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. With leadership from Richard Ponzio, Senior Fellow and Program Director, this program has provided thought leadership on the United Nations Sustaining Peace Agenda and other policy frameworks. Learn more about the program here.


Media Content


United Nations Sustaining Peace Initiative

Recognizing that “sustaining peace”, as drawn from the Advisory Group of Experts report, should be broadly understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account, which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development, and emphasizing that sustaining peace is a shared task and responsibility that needs to be fulfilled by the Government and all other national stakeholders, and should flow through all three pillars of the United Nations engagement at all stages of conflict, and in all its dimensions, and needs sustained international attention and assistance.
– United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/262 and Security Council Resolution 2282, Review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture


United Nations Resolutions and Reports

This 2015 report, titled A/69/968 – S/2015/490, represents the first stage review of “the role and positioning of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund and the Peacebuilding Support Office, in addition to the operational entities of the United Nations active in peacebuilding.” This report was one of the original catalyzing factors in conceptualizing the Sustaining Peace Initiative at the United Nations. Read the full report here.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council adopted identical resolutions that focused on sustaining peace “at all stages of conflict and in all its dimensions” and on the imperative to prevent violent conflict. This was largely in response to worrying trends such as the spike in violent conflict worldwide and unparalleled levels of forced displacement.
Read General Assembly Resolution 70/262
Read Security Council Resolution 2282

Building off of the 2016 joint resolutions, the 2018 Secretary-General Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace outlines a coherent framework for managing global conflict. It was prepared in advance of the 2018 General Assembly High-Level Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.
2018 Secretary-General Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, A/72/707–S/2018/43

In April of 2018, the United Nations General Assembly convened a High-Level meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace and debated on how to better integrate these frameworks into the UN system. The General Assembly adopted Resolution 72/276 during the meeting as a follow-up to the recommendations laid out in the Secretary-General’s 2018 report. The Security Council also passed Resolution 2413 that was parallel to the General Assembly Resolution.
Learn more about the High-Level Meeting
General Assembly Resolution 72/276
Security Council Resolution 2413


Expert Analysis and Opinion

Beyond UN 70: Sustaining Momentum for Peacekeeping & Peacebuilding Reform
Emerging U.N. Sustaining Peace Effort – Experts Dialogue
The United Nations’ New “Sustaining Peace” Agenda
The UN’s new “Sustaining Peace” Agenda: A Policy Breakthrough in the Making – Richard Ponzio, Stimson Center

World Bank-United Nations Pathways for Peace Reports

Violent conflicts today are complex and increasingly protracted, involving more non-state groups and regional and international actors. It is estimated that by 2030—the horizon set by the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals—over half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. Information and communications technology, population movements, and climate change are also creating shared risks that must be managed at both national and international levels.

Pathways for Peace is a joint United Nations–World Bank Group study that originates from the conviction that the international community’s attention must urgently be refocused on prevention. A scaled-up system for preventive action would save between US$5 billion and $70 billion per year, which could be reinvested in reducing poverty and improving the wellbeing of populations.
– World Bank – United Nations Pathways for Peace

Download the Pathways for Peace Report

Report Background Papers and Analysis

Several expert contributions were key in developing the Pathways for Peace Report. Their background papers serve as a rich source of education and content for understanding various dimensions of peacebuilding and conflict prevention.

Virginia Comolli outlines how “efforts to prevent or limit conflict should take the impact of criminal activity into account.”
Read the full analysis here

This report outline how “global illicit flows impact local conflict dynamics, what can be done to limit the negative impact of organized crime on violent conflict, and what the implications are for international involvement in conflict-affected states.” Mark Shaw and Tuesday Reitano. (2017). United Nations University.
Read the full analysis here

This background by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces highlights the role of the security sector in preventing armed conflict.
Read the full analysis here

This paper explores the relationship between factors that contribute to the prevention and non-recurrence of violence in society. Authored by Mahony, Chris and Payne, Leigh and Reiter, Andrew G. and Olsen, Tricia D. and Bernal-Bermudez, Laura. (2017). United Nations. World Bank.
Read the full analysis here

This study analyzes when, how, and under what conditions the inclusion of a broad range of actors in peace and political transition processes contributes to the prevention of violence and armed conflict. Authored by Thania Paffenholz, Andreas Hirblinger, Dana Landau, Felix Fritsch, and Constance Dijkstra. (2017). The Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative at Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Read the full analysis here

This study analyzes when, how, and under what conditions the inclusion of a broad range of actors in peace and political transition processes contributes to the prevention of violence and armed conflict. Authored by Karim Bahgat, Gray Barrett, Kendra Dupuy, Scott Gates, Solveig Hillesund, Havard Mokleiv Nygard (Project Leader), Siri Aas Rustad, Havard Strand, Henrik Urdal, Gudrun Østby. (2017). Peace Research Institute Oslo.
Read the full analysis here

This study aims to establish potential opportunities for policy intervention by asking the following question: if we could predict conflict 5-years out, what would separate the predictable failures from the unexpected successes and what would separate the predictable successes from the unexpected failures. Authored by Benjamin C. Crisman, Jacob N. Shapiro, Manu Singh. (2017). Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.
Read the full analysis here

The goal is this report is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and different trade-offs involved in conflict prevention. Authored by Hannes Mueller, IAE (CSIC), MOVE, Barcelona GSE, and CEPR. (2018). International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank.


Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 16

Peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law are important conduits for sustainable development. We are living in a world that is increasingly divided. Some regions enjoy sustained levels of peace, security and prosperity while others fall into seemingly endless cycles of conflict and violence. This is by no means inevitable and must be addressed.

High levels of armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, affecting economic growth and often resulting in long standing grievances among communities that can last for generations. Sexual violence, crime, exploitation and torture are also prevalent where there is conflict or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity. Strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights is key to this process, as is reducing the flow of illicit arms and strengthening the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance. – Sustainable Development Goal Fund, United Nations Development Programme


Background and Introduction to Agenda 2030 and SDG 16

The original outcome document that resulted from a special Heads of State meeting at the United Nations in 2015. This document outlines the need for a new cooperative development agenda that encompasses “People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.”
Read the full outcome here

Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) gives a special focus to peace, justice, and strong institutions. The primary aim of SDG 16 is to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” The link below provides an overview of the goals targets, indcators, and brief progress updates by year.
Access the website here

Making peace a global is crucial for achieving sustainable development. This brief by the United Nations outlines the importance of SDG 16.
Access the brief here


Agenda 2030 and SDG 16 Coalitions and Initiatives

The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies is a coalition of governments, civil society, businesses, and other stakeholders to fulfill the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “that all people should live in peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence.” Their flagship report, The Roadmap outlines guidance to fulfill the Agenda 2030 vision of building peaceful, just and inclusive societies through: “transformative strategies that provide a basis for integrated action and partnerships; catalytic actions to accelerate progress towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies; and enablers that strengthen the foundations for ambitious delivery.”
Read the full report here
Learn more about the Pathfinders here

The Global Alliance is a coordinating platform for UN Member States, the private sector, civil society, and international entities which work together to promote peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
View the announcement and concept of the alliance
Global Alliance Website

In April of 2016, the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) launched the 16+ Forum to discuss and share best practices on efforts to implement SDG 16+ at national, sub-national and regional levels. The forum aims to underscore interlinkages between SDG 16, the wider agenda 2030 Agenda, as well as other UN priorities, such as Sustaining Peace.
View the background report of the SDG 16+ Forum
Visit the SDG 16+ Forum page on the WFUNA website

The SDG 16 Data Initiative is a global consortium of partners that seek to support the tracking of global commitments related to SDG 16.
Learn more about the SDG 16 Data Initiative
View the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2017 Progress Report on SDG 16 Indicators

The Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations that works to ensure that open, inclusive, accountable, effective governance, and peaceful societies are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Learn more about TAP