Civil Society and Conflict Transformation in Abkhazia, Israel/Palestine, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria and Western Sahara

The paper describes and analyses the role of civil society in five conflict cases – Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, Western Sahara and Israel/Palestine. It evaluates the relative effectiveness of civil society organisations (CSOs) and assesses the potential and limits of CSO involvement in conflicts. In particular it concentrates on civil society activities in the fields of peace training and education, including formal and non-formal education, as well as research and media work. The research also identifies the obstacles that local third sector is faced with, examining experiences and lessons learned. The study then presents critical assessments of local CSO contributions to conflict transformation and concludes with a set of suggestions for local and mid-level civil society actors involved in these five conflict cases and beyond. This paper is an overview study, to provide ideas and documentation to the more detailed empirical research carried out in the context of the MICROCON Work Package ‘Conflict in the European Neighbourhood’.

Paper produced in the context of the MICROCON project (Work Package 11, "Conflict in the European Neighbourhood"), funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Research Programme.

Brighton, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, November 2008, 84 p. (MICROCON Policy Working Paper ; 3)
Publication date: 

1. Introduction
2. Civil society in democracy and peace
2.2 Civil society in conflict and peace
2.2.1 Peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-settlement reconciliation
2.2.2 Goals and functions of civil society in conflicts and peace
2.3 NGOs as CSOs in conflict transformation
2.3.1 Value added and activities
2.3.2 Limitations of Civil Society Organisations
3. Civil society in five conflict cases: An overview
3.1 CSO involvement in the Georgia/Abkhazia conflict
3.2 CSO involvement in the Azerbaijan/Nagorno-Karabakh/Armenia conflict
3.3 CSO involvement in the Moldova/Transnistria conflict
3.4 CSO involvement in the Western Sahara conflict
3.5 CSO involvement in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
4. Conclusions and recommendations
List of CSOs

Research area