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H2020

WOSCAP Report Summary

Project ID: 653866
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WOSCAP (Whole-of-Society Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Context:
The EU’s ability to address contemporary security challenges is both contingent on context-specific and operational challenges in the field, and subject to its own internal political and policy dynamics. Demands for better EU-wide responses to regional and global conflict trends are at the top of Europe’s political agendas, as the costs of dealing with violent conflicts and instability hit home. Frequent criticisms include the reactive/ad hoc nature of interventions and insufficient anticipation of crises and the perceived gap between the EU’s short-term action and its long-term commitment to peacebuilding. Another challenge is derived from an overlap in competences across the institutions. Also, the political dynamics of and amongst Member States impact on the EU’s ability to address global conflict trends. These are challenges inherent to international peacebuilding interventions. The WOSCAP project seeks to focus on practical approaches and tools that can enable the EU to take these challenges into account, to make its interventions more coherent and sustainable.

Approach:
The project will reflect on good practices to identify approaches and tools that can match the EU's potential and opportunities for civilian conflict prevention, as opposed to any blueprint. These include means of engagement between different stakeholder groups; use of innovative tools and methods to facilitate such engagement; strategies that build on local capacities and priorities for conflict prevention; and actions that support capacity enhancement of the EU and its partners in this endeavour. We do this by applying a prescriptive and normative ideal of ‘Whole of Society’. This concept derives from a human security approach, which frames security as emanating from a broad spectrum of threats including physical harms and threats to personal dignity.

Objective: to enhance the capabilities of the EU for implementing conflict prevention and peacebuilding interventions through sustainable, comprehensive and innovative civilian means.

Sub-objectives:
- Review: To assess past and ongoing conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives of the EU and its partners
- Reflect: To create an evidence base of best practices and lessons learned, in order to identify capability gaps in current EU and partner engagements, and elaborate options for change and potential improvements in long-term peacebuilding efforts
- Recommend: To complement and adjust existing capacities, policies, and initiatives for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, through an inclusive policy-practice dialogue and the development of policy recommendations.
- Innovate: To make a significant contribution to civilian conflict prevention and peacebuilding, by identifying future research priorities, and enhancing the potential of ICTs.

Key topics and principles:
The capability assessment is based on three categories of existing EU interventions, namely multi-track diplomacy, security sector reform, and governance reform. This is done through a combination of desk and field research in case countries: Mali, Yemen, Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Honduras.
The catalogue of best practices focus on a number of principles, processes and tools that can operationally support context-specific whole of society peacebuilding interventions. This is addressed through cross-cutting themes: local ownership, gender, multi-stakeholder coherence, civil-military synergies and ICTs.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

From June 2015 until the end of 2016, the WOSCAP project activities focused on evidence-based research, producing a number of research reports on specific countries and key thematic areas. To assess the EU’s past and ongoing conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives, it looked at three types of existing EU interventions, namely multi-track diplomacy, security sector reform, and governance reform. This was done through a combination of desk and field research in case study countries: Mali, Yemen, Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and Honduras. These reports provide the EU institutions involved in peacebuilding, with evidence-based inputs from the research field. It developed a theoretical and methodological framework and conducted methodology workshops with four local case study research teams at the outset, to embed the research in a bottom-up methodology and whole of society approach.
At the same time, several debates with policy experts, practitioners and civil society were held to reflect on key issues like local ownership and civil-military cooperation. Five thematic reports on local ownership, gender, civil-military synergies, multi-stakeholder coherence and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) were produced. Drawing on these reports and discussions, we identified good practices and lessons learned that focus on a number of principles, processes and tools that can operationally support context-specific “Whole of Society” peacebuilding interventions. This ‘catalogue of good practices’ will contribute to scholarly research. The project has made significant progress in identifying future research priorities, and potential of ICTs for peace. Several scoping studies and thematic reports took stock of the state of the art on the clusters and themes, highlighting the importance of inclusivity and civil society. A synoptic report with preliminary comparisons as well as shorter articles have been published. Outreach to EU policymakers, including delegations in the case study countries and representatives in Brussels, has led to an interest in the project’s outputs and revealed their support for the project’s inclusive and bottom-up approach.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected results of the objectives will be:
1) An assessment of past and potential civilian conflict prevention and peacebuilding capabilities of the EU, validated and supported by stakeholder engagement and a community of practice.
Some of the expected impacts of this are:
- enhancement of the EU capabilities by providing a grounded understanding of its interventions and performance
- contribution to addressing context-specific challenges in the case study countries
- contribution to an increased accountability of EU interventions towards local populations
- enhancement of the EU's potential for delivering sustainable results
- establishment of the Community of Practice, connecting practitioners and policy makers.

2) A tailored set of recommendations on what policy priorities and ICTs are needed for effective civilian conflict prevention, enhanced by policy engagement and an international dissemination strategy.
Some of the expected impacts of this are:
- contribution to improving coherence and policy development of EU and Member States
- raising awareness and mobilisation around conflict challenges and potential solutions in key categories of EU intervention: mediation, security sector reform and governance reforms.
- providing benefit to scientific research from improved state of the art knowledge about the aforementioned topics.
- innovation based on empirical research into the use of ICT for conflict prevention.

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