Pathways to Peace in the Horn of Africa: What Role for the US?

By
Horn of Africa Steering Committee

It is time for the U.S. government to make conflict resolution and building peace its number one priority in the Horn of Africa. More than any other factor, armed conflict undermines progress on a variety of fronts. Successful peacebuilding could provide the key to unlock other seemingly intractable regional situations, contribute to ending open conflict while stabilizing post-war scenarios, and preventing future conflict. It could also ensure good governance, stabilize partnerships against terrorism, and address development, poverty reduction, and economic recovery. Although there are significant barriers, peacebuilding work has a good historical track record. Negotiated settlements are proving increasingly effective at bringing even messy civil wars to an end, and new research demonstrates that even long-standing enemies can understand their interdependence and need to cooperate through a basic sequence of rapprochement.

The U.S. should therefore adopt a multi-dimensional peacebuilding strategy in the region that incorporates the following:

1. Listens to a variety of local, non-state voices.
2. Improves its own understanding of localized and regionalized conflict dynamics in the Horn.
3. Facilitates the establishment of regional forums for dialogue about peace and security challenges at both Track 1 and Track 2 levels.
4. Provides political and financial support for peacebuilding initiatives, from mediation and negotiation training for local stakeholders to trust building and the creation of collaborative capacities among key leaders within the Horn.

This publication is the second of two documents in a new series on the Horn of Africa. The first titled, Horn of Africa: Webs of Conflict and Pathways to Peace, is a conflict mapping exercise that delves into the interconnections of conflict in the region and suggests a comprehensive regional framework to bring about sustainable peace.

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Experts & Staff

  • Steve McDonald // Senior Advisor, Africa Program and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity
  • Aly Lyons // Program Associate