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Issue Paper 3: Rising powers and conflict


Issue Paper 3 broadens the scope of the debate by considering the perspectives of rising powers on issues of conflict and peacebuilding. It examines the perspectives of five increasingly important countries that have not signed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States – Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey. Case studies of these five countries consider how their policy perspectives and experiences of engaging in conflict-affected contexts might shape their responses to the peace and security aspects of the post-2015 debate. For example: how would Brazil view the suggestion to address key drivers of conflict in the new global development framework? Would Turkey agree that development and security are interdependent? What could China’s views on state sovereignty mean for its approach to peace and security issues?

In posing such questions, the paper identifies both opportunities and challenges to engaging these countries in dialogue about the place of peacebuilding in the post-2015 framework. Key points raised in issue paper 3 are that:

  • Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey have growing influence in international peace, security and development debates – and play a pivotal role in shaping the views of other nations.  Engaging them in policy dialogue on the peace and security dimensions of the post-2015 debate should be an immediate priority.
  • In different ways – both from one another and from traditional powers – these five rising powers are increasingly engaged in conflict-affected states. However, because of this, they may well be especially willing to take into account the views of these countries on peace and security issues in the post-2015 debate.
  • The five countries examined have a growing interest both in stability per se and in being perceived as responsibly contributing to international peace and security.  The key to agreement on peace and security aspects of the post-2015 framework may depend on cultivating the shared recognition that promoting sustainable peace is in the interest of all states. 
  • At once both donors and developing countries, Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey each face their own domestic challenges from internal conflict or insecurity. They are likely to view the post-2015 framework as something that may well be applied to their own domestic contexts – and to resist commitments that are perceived to strengthen norms of external interference in sovereign affairs or to prescribe particular models of governance or conflict management. If the post-2015 framework can articulate a shared, depoliticised vision for upstream conflict prevention that in no way supports norms of external interference, this could satisfy a range of the different interests at play. 

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Date: November 2012
Publisher: Saferworld
Language: English
Region: All
Country: UN, Other

The nature of the rising powers challenges development thinking and the discourse of the MDGs