Investment in Peacebuilding

 

Paul van Tongeren

Executive Director of the European Centre for Conflict Prevention

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003


This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A: We invest now a lot in wars, but the investment in peacebuilding is extremely low. I think we from the conflict resolution and peacebuilding communities have to make it more clear to a broader audience, to the media, and to politicians that a lot of our activities work, that they have effect. It is very complex and we can't guarantee anything. When you give $100,000 to build a school in a remote area, you can't see that in five years 20% more of the people are literate. When you build a hospital for another $100,000 you can't say that thousands of people will not die or the average age will grow. You can't say when you give me $100,000 for a region with a conflict that there will be peace. It is more complicated, many factors.

Q: But at the same time, you should say...

A: You should say that many more investments in this should be done. There are a lot of different factors. Sometimes the conflict will escalate, and you can prove that sometimes when different instruments at the same moment were used, the situation became more moderate and calmed down. So that has to happen, and is a pity that it is easier to get money, or to make war, or when a disaster happens to have money to feed the people, to give the refugees tents and so on, that is easy; but to prevent the escalation, and to invest more in instruments for de-escalation, that is extremely difficult.