International peace- and statebuilding is seen as one of the key features of global security in the 21st century. However, successful peacebuilding is mitigated by the fact that the exit from conflict has been shown to be fragile and reversible. Sustainable peace which allows populations in conflict affected societies to rebuild their lives, and external assistance to withdraw, remains an elusive goal.
Part of the definition of sustainable peace is that it should be built from within and enable local populations to regain control over their own physical and material security. Thus local ownership is critical as a normative ideal for peace operations and as a way of making them more effective. It is also linked to the desire of both local and international actors to bring about an end to conflict, instability and thus the need for external intervention. How should ownership be built into international peace operations in order to provide a satisfactory exit from conflict for both local and external actors? While the claim for local ownership is turning more and more into a political mantra the concept remains poorly defined, and indeed operationally problematic.Read more