International NGO Peacebuilding - How INGOs Facilitate Nepal’s Transition to Peace
Abstract: The end of the Cold War altered the international landscape. New insecurities, vast humanitarian crises, extended normative frameworks, and increased funding incited established and new international NGOs to expand their engagement in peace processes. In Nepal a failed democratization process during the 1990s regressed into a decade-long internal armed conflict. Today Nepal is undergoing a transition to peace and democracy. In Nepal many international NGOs are active in these processes to build peace, support development and human rights, and to aid democratization. The aim of this study is to elucidate INGO peacebuilding by exploring INGO peacebuilding practices and discourse in Nepal’s transition to peace process. Practitioners from eight international NGOs and one INGO association were interviewed in Kathmandu, Nepal: AED, Asia Foundation, the Carter Center, CEDPA, International Alert, Peace Brigades International, Search for Common Ground, United Mission to Nepal, and the Association of INGOs in Nepal. This study verifies previous research findings that underline NGOs as facilitating actors that are able to bring different perspectives, knowledge and expertise from other conflict contexts, and as flexible actors that seek to communicate and adapt their efforts in accordance with local conditions and needs. INGO peacebuilding is constrained by short-term funding. Many times peace program funders expect short-term evaluations in accordance with development and service delivery frameworks. INGOs are interdependent actors, they are professional organizations and many INGOs compete over funds, and most INGOs are constrained by local and international political realities and conditions. Despite these constraints, this study demonstrates that INGO peacebuilding primarily builds on an inclusion and local needs discourse, and that INGO peacebuilding practices entail facilitating and building formal and informal spaces for trustful interaction and dialogue by bridging multi-track efforts to assist the peace process in Nepal.
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