Peace in Somaliland: An Indigenous Approach to State-building

Rebuilding a country after conflict is about far more than repairing damaged buildings and re-establishing public institutions. Fundamentally, it is about rebuilding relationships at all levels, restoring the people’s trust and confidence in governance systems and the rule of law, and providing the population with greater hope for the future. These processes are all critical to the consolidation of peace and security in fragile post-conflict situations. When they are neglected, the threat of conflict re-emerging is very real. In this sense, state-building and peace-building are potentially contradictory processes – the former requiring the consolidation of governmental authority, the latter involving its moderation through compromise and consensus. The challenge for both national and international peacemakers is to situate reconciliation firmly within the context of state-building, while employing state-building as a platform for the development of mutual trust and lasting reconciliation. In the Somali region, neither of these processes can be possible without the broad and inclusive engagement of the Somali people. In January 2007, Interpeace and its Somali partner organisations began a study of peace initiatives in the Somali region as part of Phase II of the Dialogue for Peace Programme. The study complements the “conflict mapping” exercise undertaken in partnership with the World Bank in Phase I of the programme. The overall aim of the study was to enhance current approaches to and capacities for reconciliation and the consolidation of peace - both in the Somali region and in other contexts – by studying and drawing lessons from local, regional and national peace initiatives in the Somali region since 1991. This report forms part of the final series of five publications presenting the findings of the peace mapping study – both as a record for those involved, and as a formal presentation of findings and recommendations to the national and regional authorities, the broader Somali community, and international policy makers.