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Peacebuilding Fund News

Oct
01
2013

PBF has finalized a short Guidance Note on conflict analysis aimed specifically at partners at country level preparing for PBF support. The Note makes it clear that the PBF strongly encourages the UN System on the ground and partner Governments to undertake a joint conflict analysis as a foundational step for developing proposals for PBF funds. The Guidance Note provides a brief and user-friendly explanation of why conflict analysis is important for PBF support, its major content and methodological considerations, how it should be used for PBF support, what assistance PBSO can provide in this regard, and a list of possible analysis tools. The Note highlights the importance of integrating gender analysis into a conflict analysis. The PBF Guidance will also be attached to the UNDP’s forthcoming Conflict-Related Development Analysis Manual, as a practical module on using conflict analysis.

pdf Download PBF Knowledge Management/ Guidance Note on Conflict Analysis
Oct
01
2013

In 2009 PBF approved a $20 million Peacebuilding Priority Plan package of support to Eastern DRC. In September 2013 an independent evaluation of PBF support was completed, finding that: the PBF support was strongly aligned to the International Strategy for Support to Security and Stability (ISSS) in the Eastern DRC and the Government’s own strategy (STAREC); that PBF support had a significant financial catalytic effect for the ISSSS; that most projects were relevant to the peacebuilding needs; that just over half the projects achieved their immediate objectives, with others having weak effects. Nonetheless, overall, the projects were not able to have a significant effect on peace in Eastern Congo, partly due to a perceived deficiency of political will by the national authorities, a lack of local-level political processes, and weak ownership of the stabilisation process by both the Government and the UN. It was also felt that the PBF portfolio of projects mostly focused on immediate conflict triggers rather than on deeper causes.

Aug
14
2013

Meet Martha Oberly.
Martha Oberly in front of Amadou's shop

Martha, 52, resides in the market town of Salayea, in Lofa County, Liberia. She runs a small grain and flour shop on a piece of land she owns on the main street. Several years back, a “stranger” (non-community member) named Amadou Dialo moved to town. He became romantically involved with one of Martha’s relatives, and made an impression on Martha as a good businessman and potential neighbor. After several discussions, Martha agreed to allow Amadou to build a shop on her land, in a prime commercial location, next door to her own shop. She says they talked about how long she would let him stay there, but believes the discussions had not been concluded. Meanwhile, Amadou commenced building his shop, ending up with a sturdy bright blue building. He ended his relationship with Martha’s relative during the construction, but he and his new girlfriend worked in the completed shop selling drinks and snacks.

In mid-2011, Amadou passed away suddenly. Martha says the discussion regarding his tenancy on her land had not been concluded at the time of his death, although he was not paying rent at the time.

However, Amadou’s girlfriend, Oretha Gbehgbeh, 26, tells a different story. She believed that Martha and Amadou had a clear agreement that Martha would let Amadou use the land rent-free for 25 years, and that she, as Amadou’s effective wife and heir, should be able to stay in the shop. (Oretha and Amadou had lived together, and many considered them married, even if not formally.) Martha disputed this, and demanded that Oretha get out of the shop and off the land.

The dispute escalated; the two disputants stopped speaking to each other. Martha took the case to the local district commissioner and the local court, but they were unable to solve the case to the satisfaction of both disputants because of lack of written records. As is common inLiberia, there is no legal record of Oretha’s status as Amadou’s heir; of any agreement between Martha and Amadou; or of Martha’s title to the land (though the entire community agrees that the land belongs to her).

The local magistrate had, however, been trained by the Liberia Land Commission’s new Land Coordination Centre (LCC) in Lofa County in land dispute mediation. He was aware that Oretha and Martha are both well-known townspeople, and that this bitter disagreement between next-door businesspeople was affecting the community. He thus recognized this case as one better suited to mediation than to judicial processes, and referred the case to the Land Coordination Centre. LCC staff spent three months working on the case. They did background investigations, interviewed the disputants, neighbours and local elders, and finally convinced the disputants to allow their case to be mediated by the local elders.

After lengthy discussions, the elders supported by LCC staff assisted the disputants to find a solution that was acceptable to both parties. Oretha wanted to stay in the house for three years, and Martha initially only agreed to one. Finally the mediation process arrived at a satisfactory compromise: Oretha would retain the shop rent-free for 18 months, with a promise to return it to Martha in good condition at the end and a promise to make no more palava (dispute) over the premises or the land.

In June 2013, LCC staff prepared a written Memorandum of Understanding for the signatures of both parties, witnessed by the elders and LCC case intake officer, listing the undertakings of both parties. Each party keeps a copy and the LCC keeps a copy on file. The LCC will check up from time to time to ensure the agreement is being honoured.

The elders and the LCC feel the solution is good because it ends the community unpleasantness, and it respects the effort and time Amadou and his girlfriend put into building the shop. In addition, the elders believe that the compromise will keep Amadou’s spirit from being angry or vengeful at Martha or at the community. Oretha feels the solution is good as it gives her a return on the investment she and Amadou had made, and recognises her rights as the effective widow of Amadou.

Martha feels the solution is good because it brings peace to her neighbourhood. “By myself, I would have said no” to the compromise, she said. “But the elders did not force it on me. They suggested it. From my heart, I am satisfied with the solution. The land palava is solved forever.”

***
 
Excerpt of signed MoU:

I, Oretha Gbehgbeh, party of the first part, do hereby commit myself as follows: that I will turn over the house we built on Martha Oberly’s land by November 30, 2014. That I will turn over the house in living condition. That I will not build any other house on the land. That after signing this agreement I will not make palava for Martha Oberly again for this land/house.

I, Martha Oberly, party of the second part, do hereby commit myself as follows: To allow Oretha Gbehgbeh to live in the house/shop built on my land for one and a half years, beginning May 1, 2013 to November 30, 2014. That while/during this period the house belongs to Oretha Gbigbi. That Oretha will not pay rent for the property during this time. That after signing this agreement, I will not make palava with Oretha for this house/land business.
 
[The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund provided funding through UN-Habitat for the Liberia Land Commission to establish an alternate dispute resolution system for land disputes. Land disputes are seen as both a cause and an effect of Liberia’s 1989-2003 civil conflict, and their peaceful resolution is a key part of peacebuilding and reconciliation. Liberia’s courts are overloaded and often not suitable for solving community or family land disputes. With UN-PBF funding and UN-Habitat technical support, the Land Commission has established pilot Land Coordination Centres (LCCs) in five counties in 2013 to provide coordination and training services for land disputes. LCC staff train and support local community members and officials in solving land disputes, usually by mediation. From Jan-Jun 2013, the new LCCs received 147 cases and have already solved 17 of them.]

Jul
26
2013

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Jul
18
2013

Peacebuilding Support Office in partnership with ACCORD – African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, convened the first Peacebuilding Fund Global Workshop since its creation in 2006. ASG Cheng-Hopkins delivered the opening statement which brought together government officials, civil society and UN staff from 10 countries receiving PBF support. The workshop discussed how to improve the effectiveness of PBF support to peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict or political crisis situations, how to organize Joint Steering Committees and how to target peacebuilding programs. The workshop rolled-out the recently updated PBF Application Guidelines.The Summary Note of the Workshop can be found here. pdf Download PBF Global Workshop 2013 - Summary Note

Jun
01
2013

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Mar
01
2013

The PBF has issued ToRs for its upcoming 2013 review. This will be the second review following one undertaken by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS) in 2007. The review team will focus on the global strategy and approach of the Fund and will look at a number of issues including: the PBF’s strategic positioning globally and within countries, the effectiveness of the PBF business model and how it can be improved, the quality of the country-level peacebuilding strategies, the synergies between the PBF and the PBC, and the collaboration of the Fund with the UN system, among other issues. The ToRs are now being consulted with the main stakeholders inside and outside the UN system; a first discussion with donors of the Fund has already taken place on 24 January. The review will be undertaken in the second half of 2013 and a report is expected in the first quarter of 2014.

Mar
01
2013

A $6 million project to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Ministry of Interior through the establishment of a unified information platform was approved by the Joint Steering Committee. This platform aims to enhance criminal investigation capacities and supports mechanisms for the prevention of youth and gender violence. The first phase of this project has been approved and will be jointly implemented by UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNODC and UN Women. All activities will complement the work of the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Mar
01
2013

PBF’s Immediate Response Facility funding for a joint UNICEF – WFP DDR project carried out in cooperation with Ministry of Youth with focus on “Reintegration of youth associated with armed forces and vulnerable youth” was successfully completed last month. This joint project, with a budget of $2.9 million, resulted in the reintegration of 1,989 boys and girls between 16 and 22 years, associated with armed forces as well as vulnerable youth benefitting from social, economic and emotional support reintegration measures, vocational training and income generation activities. The project’s positive peacebuilding impact was to help reduce the engagement in violent and criminal acts which were perceived by the Guinean society as a significant risk to the stability of the country. This project, with strong national ownership, resulted in a request to UNICEF and PBSO to finance a second phase to consolidate the results achieved and provide a close follow-up to the targeted youth.

Mar
01
2013

In collaboration with UNDP and funding from the PBF, Interpeace brought together representatives from the Western region to create a ‘Regional Dialogue Group’ to discuss and validate previously identified dynamics of the endemic violence afflicting the region. Priority action points identified by the participants included better regulation of land ownership, tackling the feeling of injustice, pacifying political competition, making the local elite more accountable, strengthening state institutions and dealing with the negative legacies of the 2002 and 2011 crises. Read more: http://www.interpeace.org/2011-08-08-15-19-20/latest-news/395-cote-d-ivoire-a-space-for-dialogue.

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