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Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
© UN/Logan Abassi
Children and UN-Peacekeeper pull together

"We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights."

In larger Freedom, Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, 2005

Today, more than 1.5 billion people live in fragile or conflict-affected states and regions, where extreme poverty is the norm. People fear for their means of existence, whereas violence and crime are on the rise. By 2018, half of the world's poorest people will be living in fragile states; by 2030, the OECD estimates that their number will reach two thirds. Progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) has been much slower in fragile states than in other developing countries. Out of the seven countries that are unlikely to meet a single MDG, six are considered fragile. The combination of political violence and organized crime – including illegal traffic in arms, drugs and human beings – pose a threat to global security and together with refugee movements and migration patterns, constitute a major challenge for the international donor community.

Preventing conflict, promoting peace

Ensuring peace and human security and strengthening framework conditions and institutions in partner countries are among the goals of Austrian Development Cooperation.  They are enshrined in the Austrian Development Cooperation Act (DCA) and "human security, human rights and rule of law" is one of the three priority themes defined in the Three-Year Programme on Austrian Development Policy 2013–2015.

Priority themes are stipulated in the ADC policy guideline "Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention" (2006/2009) and the handbook for the implementation of the policy guideline "Handbuch Friedenssicherung und Konfliktprävention" (2011, Handbook on Conflict Prevention and Securing Peace, available in German only).

Austrian Development Cooperation promotes a culture of conflict prevention that enables the early identification of tensions, the correct assessment of one's own role in conflict situations, and timely, appropriate measures for conflict transformation and peaceful solutions. The cycles of political and criminal violence are to be broken by conflict prevention and peace building measures, taking into account the interaction between ensuring peace and poverty reduction and the challenges prevalent in fragile and conflict-prone states and regions. Austria is committed to a positive vision of peace that not only seeks to remove both direct and structural violence, but also to address the root causes of conflict, violence and fragility which, although they are not the same, can exist concurrently.

Austria advocates a whole-of-government approach for strengthening conflict prevention, crisis management, peace building and state building. (Strategic Guideline "Security and Development in Austrian Development Policy" 2011)

  • This approach is promoted for instance in a project that aims to strengthen peace and human security through capacity building in the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS).

Austria stands for a coherent, coordinated and complementary approach in fragile states (3C approach), including governmental and civil society organizations. (Vienna 3C appeal)

The overarching goal is attaining comprehensive human security through viable local capacities and institutions, in this way facilitating peace and development for the population in the partner country/region.

Specific priorities of Austrian Development Cooperation

  • Working in fragile and conflict affected countries and regions with the objective of preventing conflict escalation and strengthening strengthening peace building efforts (Conflict Sensitivity)
  • Supporting regional, sub-regional and local civil society organizations that contribute towards the securing of peace, conflict prevention, and conflict transformation (African Union, Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa IGAD, and civil society organizations).
  • Supporting and promoting the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, the strengthening of their participation in organizational and decision-making processes, as well as gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. ADC cooperates with international and local civil society organizations and at the same time supports relevant governmental-level programs in partner countries in order to implement UNSC Res 1325. Austria adopted a National Action Plan (NAP) on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2007 (revised in 2012).
  • Strengthening fragile and conflict affected states and coping capacities in fragile situations by building up effective, legitimate and resilient government institutions, stable democratic processes and constructive and violence free approaches to conflict resolution. ADC uses the OECD DAC "Principles for international engagement in fragile states and situations" as well as the "New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States" as guidance documents shaping its engagement.
  • Effective and democratically legitimized and controlled security systems from important preconditions for the prevention and solution of conflicts. Austrian Development Cooperation therefore concentrates its efforts in the areas of rule of law, justice and transitional justice after crises and conflicts as well as capacity building in the areas of police, the penal system, and human rights.

Austrian Development Cooperation cooperates with international organizations such as the OECD/INCAF, the United Nations, the European Union and the international donor community. In this way, and by participating in inter-ministerial working groups, ADC takes care to respect and implement internationally and nationally agreed principles and agreements.

Further Information