A group of Sri Lankan Muslim girls talk as they stand at the sea front in Colombo, during a period of cautious peace at the end of the country's civil war. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The passage of the dual resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace two years ago indicated a commitment by member states to building and sustaining peace. Sustaining peace, according to the resolutions, should be broadly understood as “a goal and a process to build a common vision of society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account.” Central to the goal of sustaining peace is the recognition that in order for peacebuilding to be effective, it must be locally owned and informed through people-centered approaches.

The proven impact of inclusive processes on long-lasting peace is considerable. Establishing close partnerships with local actors allows for a better understanding of key concerns and needs. Rather than more traditional approaches that impose peacebuilding plans and strategies from the outside, a main focus in sustaining peace is to strengthen the capacities of national and local actors in the design and implementation of plans and activities, with the aim of including all populations within a society.

However, nearly two years later, questions remain as to whether discussions on sustaining peace are reaching beyond UN headquarters, and above all, how this new term resonates with local peacebuilders. In order to gauge the views on sustaining peace by those most impacted by conflict, the International Peace Institute (IPI) and Peace Direct (PD) developed an informal, qualitative survey in May 2017, and shared it with local peacebuilders and peacebuilding organizations. This informal, qualitative survey received approximately 40 responses from peacebuilders from Bangladesh, India (Kashmir), Nepal, and Sri Lanka in Asia, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Yemen in the Middle East, Colombia in Latin America, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more