Linking peace, stability and development: Engaging new global actors in the debate

Conference report

From 3-5 December 2014, over 50 participants took part in a joint Saferworld-Wilton Park conference on peace, stability and development. The conference provided a rare opportunity for stakeholders from conflict-affected states, emerging global powers and traditional development actors to share experiences, perspectives and ideas for greater cooperation in support of peace, stability and development. As well as debating a broad range of topics, participants discussed the role and impact on rising powers of engaging in three contexts: India in Afghanistan, China in South Sudan and Turkey in Somalia.

This briefing captures those discussions, including:

  • while recognising that there are commonalities in how different emerging powers engage with conflict-affected states, there are also important differences, and so it is important to steer clear from developing a generic model of rising powers engagement
  • the approaches and emphasis both of established development actors and rising powers; several voices called for genuine partnerships, with whichever actor engaging - emerging or traditional - to include input from stakeholders in conflict-affected states
  • how both rising and established international development actors should seek to foster a lasting 'positive peace' that goes beyond the mere absence of violence ('negative peace'), by addressing the root causes of conflict, and adopting conflict-sensitive approaches in development and incorporate interventions to avoid aggravating conflict
  • how the range of transnational threats are beyond the control of any one actor, so emerging powers and traditional development actors must better understand the impact of their engagement on issues such as financial flows and the affect on conflict-affected states.

The rise of new global actors should be viewed as an opportunity for enhancing international engagement to promote peace and stability. Although there are many challenges confronting the international system, there are also grounds for optimism about its capacity to encourage more effective partnerships between traditional and rising powers when it comes to engaging in conflict-affected states.

The conference and this briefing do not seek to draw conclusions or recommendations, but provide a valuable opportunity to get discussions going between a diverse range of voices.

Read Linking peace, stability and development.

“Despite ... different views, most participants recognised that increased multilateralism is a reality and called for improved coordination between traditional and new development actors.”