A critical glance at peace consolidation

Eric Kanalstein 2009 - UN Photo
Eric Kanal­stein 2009 – UN Photo


Germany’s inter­na­tio­nal enga­ge­ment is aimed at the long term estab­lish­ment of peace and secu­ri­ty. Even if it is pos­si­ble to end war, is post-conflict peace con­so­li­da­ti­on sus­tainab­le in the long term? Ger­man deploy­ments in the DRC, Afgha­ni­stan and Mali ser­ve as case stu­dies as to whe­ther political-military deploy­ment actual­ly meets the goal of long term peace and secu­ri­ty and con­tri­bu­te towards a las­ting peace in the country.

To this end, diver­se ethi­cal cri­te­ria were app­lied to the case stu­dies.  The par­ti­cu­lar inte­rests of the par­ti­ci­pa­ting actors are explo­red and the role of the UN in coor­di­na­ting the com­mon good is ques­tio­ned. In accordance with the princip­le of sub­si­dia­ri­ty, not just the respon­si­bi­li­ty of the sta­te is ques­tio­ned but also whe­ther inter­na­tio­nal aid real­ly con­si­ders its­elf sub­si­dia­ry and, in terms of the princip­le of “owners­hip”, whe­ther pla­cing important decisi­ons about the sys­tem of poli­ti­cal par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in local hands is desi­ra­ble. The “opti­on for the weak and poor” is inter­pre­ted in this con­text as the respon­si­bi­li­ty of the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty for the civi­li­an popu­la­ti­on who are stri­ving for poli­ti­cal and eco­no­mic par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on. The requi­re­ment of sus­taina­bi­li­ty for any inter­na­tio­nal inter­ven­ti­on means that they must be plan­ned in terms of not just years but decades.

Germany´s inte­rest in West Afri­ca has signi­fi­cant­ly incre­a­sed sin­ce 2013 and has led to poli­ti­cal upgrading of the regi­on. This is not only due to the Bun­des­wehr mis­si­ons in Mali, which com­men­ced in 2013 and are con­duc­ted wit­hin the EU and UN frame­works, but also due to the incre­a­se in migra­ti­on flows from Afri­ca towards Euro­pe. Alt­hough the Ger­man government has inten­si­fied its deve­lo­ping poli­cy, migra­ti­on poli­cy, and its for­eign and secu­ri­ty poli­cy as well as its acti­vi­ties in the regi­on and has under­pin­ned them pro­gram­ma­ti­cal­ly by means of several stra­te­gy papers, a num­ber of con­flic­ting goals can be iden­ti­fied. The aim of the work­shops are to cri­ti­cal­ly reflect on Germany’s poli­cy towards the West Afri­can regi­on based on a com­pre­hen­si­ve approach. The­se were dis­cus­sed as well as Germany’s posi­ti­on on coope­ra­ti­on wit­hin ECOWAS and the per­cep­ti­ons and expec­ta­ti­ons from the region.


Attempts of libe­ral state­buil­ding by inter­na­tio­nal actors sin­ce the 1990s have not met the requi­red stan­dards. The ana­ly­sis usual­ly points to pro­lon­ged vio­lence, cor­rup­ti­on, cli­en­te­lism; non­func­tio­n­ing insti­tu­ti­ons and government mis­ma­nage­ment are usual­ly ana­ly­zed. The back­ground folio of this ana­ly­sis being the high­ly deve­lo­ped func­tio­n­ing wes­tern libe­ral demo­cra­tic sta­te might be the metho­do­lo­gi­cal­ly fal­se approach as it redu­ces the means and ways to achie­ve essen­ti­al public goods to one (his­to­ri­cal and cul­tu­ral) model. With regard to regi­ons of limi­ted state­hood in West Afri­ca, whe­re cen­tral government aut­ho­ri­ties do not reach out or is only in par­ti­al con­trol, the pro­ject dis­cus­ses func­tio­n­al equi­va­lents such as alter­na­ti­ve or tra­di­tio­nal ways of achie­ving public goods like secu­ri­ty, health, edu­ca­ti­on, infrastructure.


Three work­shops have been organized:


Ber­lin, 25 – 28 May 2018

Dakar/ Sene­gal: 11 – 13 Febru­a­ry 2020                          DSF Work­shop Report_Germany’s West Afri­ca policy

Ber­lin, 17. Okto­ber 2020                                                   Report Inter­na­tio­nal Work­shop Ber­lin 2020



Project Researcher

Sarah Dele­re, M.P.P.

The following studies have arisen from this project:

Project Supervisor

Prof. Dr. Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven