The EUs approaches to civil society in peacebuilding: concepts, instruments and practice
Antunes, Isabel Sofia : Lopes
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This work explores how the EU engages Civil Society (CS) in its policies in a peacebuilding context. To what extent the EU engages Civil Society (CS) in its policies in a peacebuilding context? In this work I affirm that CS is recognized by the EU as a key partner and an actor of change for EU polices on the stabilization and sustainability of peace. I start by analyzing the academic debate on CS and peacebuilding. Then, I make use of the theoretical perspective of the School of Conflict Transformation to describe a more inclusive approach of peacebuilding, where CS has a fundamental role in the stabilization of “war-torn societies” and in post-conflicts. Following that, I analyze the EU strategies and practices of engaging/supporting CS in a peacebuilding context. I underline my work with a particular focus on the Instrument for Stability (IfS) and the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Using the categories of peacebuilding literature, I identify the roles of CS assigned to it by the EU such as: monitoring, advocacy and protection. I affirm that the EU perceives the need for a “flourishing CS”. However the lack of coordination between its policies and instruments is the main obstacle to success and needs to be improved.