Opportunities for Violent Conflict Prevention - How We Use Them

Published in Interview
Monday, 21 February 2022 10:39

Zaal Anjaparidze, International Center for Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN), South Caucasus Dialogue Program Coordinator

Georgia is one of the vivid examples of violent conflicts of various kinds and origins. After the restoration of independence, conflicts, including violent ones, have become an attribute of our recent history and have cost the country enormous, including human losses.
However, there are still unanswered questions. In particular, what conclusions did the state and society draw from this, and how correct were these conclusions? What was done to prevent conflict during the peace period? Were all resources used, including civil society resources and the experience of civil peace activists?
The development of effective tools for conflict prevention (prevention) and their constant updating is important, as evidenced even by the crisis in Ukraine, which is developing in a very dangerous way before our eyes. The question of whether it was possible to prevent escalation remains open.
The examples of both Ukraine and Georgia show that the escalation of violent conflicts, even after a temporary truce or ceasefire, is not uncommon.
Repetitive cycles of violence can be broken by addressing the root causes of the conflict and taking into account state-building factors. There is an expectation for our government in this regard to achieve good governance, the rule of law, inclusive decision-making and the protection of human rights and thus contribute to a constructive resolution of conflicts.
This is what creates "resilience" and "pliability" to conflict along with other components. Prevention of violent conflicts therefore aims to resolve social and political conflicts peacefully. Promoting peaceful, just, and inclusive societies is one way of doing this.
The problem starts there and then when the temptation to resolve conflicts by force arises, ignoring the above factors. Unfortunately, we can find many examples of this in Georgia, which have had tragic consequences for the country and the society, with the effect of long-term negative impact.
In general, violent conflicts are seen as an expression of tension and incompatibility between different, interdependent parties regarding their needs, interests, and values.
It is necessary to study, discuss, and reconcile the historical context of the conflict, at least because conflict resolution efforts can always be interpreted "at the right time" to remind different stakeholders (ethnic, religious, etc.) of some painful episodes in their history and other sensitive aspects for artificial cultivation of conflict.
Consequently, dealing with a painful past, no matter how long and difficult, is an essential component to creating the environment needed for conflict prevention, transformation of the existing conflict, and long-term peace.
In this regard, within the framework of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) South Caucasus Dialogue, ICCN seeks to involve young people in the process of analyzing the conflicts in Georgia in the historical context. As is well known, young people are characterized by a new vision of how to assess conflicts and resolve them, which may differ in individual components from the visions of the older generation, or effectively complement them. In particular, the research of the Ilia University History Student Club was supported: "The instrumentalization of history and its role in the process of emergence and perpetuation of conflicts in Georgia." The ICCN believes that this approach promotes greater access for young people to a space for peace dialogue and advocacy for conflict prevention initiatives. This promotes meaningful involvement of the youth in the peace process.
Sincere and thorough analysis of the history of the conflict with the participation of all stakeholders is not intended to justify or rehabilitate one or all of the parties to the conflict. It explores the cause-and-effect relationships of the conflict with the involvement of all, directly or indirectly, stakeholders and contributes to the transformation of the conflict.
Solid peace can only be achieved through the tireless labor of all.

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