people protesting on a pride parade with colorful balloons.
Pride Month celebrates achievements and takes a stand for LGBTIQ+ rights, yet backlash intensifies worldwide. | Image: Ano Tome via Unsplash

Backlash Against LGBTIQ+ Rights in Peacebuilding: Raising Awareness During Pride Month

June is celebrated as pride month worldwide. It highlights the achievements that have been made regarding the rights of people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions, or sex characteristics. It also raises awareness about ongoing structural discrimination, inequality and violence. In peacebuilding contexts, individuals with diverse SOGIESC encounter severe backlash from anti-feminist actors aiming at the reversal of achievements as well as resistance from those trying to maintain the status quo.


Roundabout in Nakpanduri neighbouring the region of Bawku
Staying local or expanding? The Bawku conflict could be exploited to spread terrorism and violent extremism. | Image: Hugues via flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Small Sparks, Big Flames: Why Resolving Local Conflicts Matters for Wider Security – The Case of Bawku Conflict in Ghana.

In the Sahel region, terrorist groups have exploited existing local conflicts to expand their activities and reach. In recent years, countries especially in coastal West Africa, have experienced terrorist activities in their territories. While Ghana has been resilient against terrorist attacks on its soil, the country continues to grapple with enduring ethnic conflicts, among them the Mamprusi and Kusai conflict in Bawku. In this blog post I argue that the Bawku conflict has persisted over an extensive period, and if left unresolved, could potentially open the door for extremist exploitation and infiltration, signaling a troubling extension of Sahel terrorist activities.


desolate landscape with trees and grey sky. A sign warns of nuclear contamination. With added logo “Socio-ecological Transformation Conflicts”
The exploitation of Ukraine's resources by external actors has caused environmental damage extending far into the future. | Foto: Oleksandra Bardash via Unplash

A Green Recovery for Ukraine: How to Avoid the Trap of Green Colonialism?

The environment is not a silent victim in Russia’s war against Ukraine; the long-term threats for the people of Ukraine are already visible. The environmental dimension of the war has been documented from early on. In this respect, the war is a model for future military conflicts. President Zelenskyy emphasized in his peace plan that green reconstruction is an essential element for a just and sustainable future. Green reconstruction, as every reconstruction, needs international support and local engagement. In this blog post, we identify the conditions that must be met to ensure that local groups are empowered and new international dependencies are avoided.


Internally displaced people in Shire, Tigray, April 2021
Internally displaced people in Shire, Tigray, April 2021. | Foto: User Rastakwere via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed

Potentially Vital AU Meeting on Tigray Leaves Communities of Interest in the Dark

Politics, violence, and secrecy have held back progress in post-war Tigray. This highlights not just the need to directly address security issues. It also emphasises the importance of improving transparency and giving marginalised stakeholders adequate information about current developments in the peace process.


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, leader of the initiative | Photo: GovernmentZA via flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

An African Peace Initiative in the Russia-Ukraine War?

A team of seven African presidents led an initiative in mid-June 2023 to attempt to make peace in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. For most observers, this intervention raised interesting questions: How can states from a continent ravaged by wars and conflicts have the courage, credibility, and conviction to intervene in a European conflict? Moreover, how can countries without power and leverage intervene in a conflict in which other more powerful actors have failed? What did they expect to achieve from this intervention?  This article suggests that the African team sought to invoke the dire economic consequences occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa to exert moral leverage on the disputing parties to end the war. Combined with the desperate economic situation,  the African leaders found strength in their neutrality to make a case for a peaceful approach to a conflict that has had global ramifications. The initiative did not seek to mediate the conflict; rather, it was a modest diplomatic plea for peace in the face of a deteriorating situation.


Man standing on a stage in front of an audience. The Wall behind him reads “The Global Security Initiative: Chinas proposal for So...”
A Chinese blueprint for security: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang presents the Global Security Initiative at the Lanting Forum on February 21st, 2023 | Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | Andy Wong

China’s new Global Security Initiative: a rising power spreads its wings

On 21st February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released its concept for a “Global Security Initiative”, a white paper outlining the country’s proposed solution to challenges across traditional and non-traditional security issues. While the content mostly amounts to a restatement of long-standing principles and pooling of existing activities under a new label, its packaging as a “global initiative” should be seen as a statement of intent, claiming a much greater role in international politics. The sketched Chinese security agenda differs significantly from that of Western powers in both its principles and practices, making this field a new arena of competition between both sides.


DR Congo flag in a village.
The protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo demonstrate that regional military initiatives are no panacea for multi-level security challenges. | Photo: Fiston Wasanga/CIFOR-ICRAF via flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Regional Solutions to Regional Problems? Protests in the DRC Highlight the Challenges of Regional Military Peace Operations

Just three months since the first deployment of military contingents, the East African Force in the Democratic Republic of Congo has become heavily contested by Congolese activists and parts of the Congolese population. The protests, which took place in Kinshasa, Goma and Bukavu, powerfully demonstrate that regional military initiatives are no panacea for multi-level security challenges but may in fact run the risk of intensify existing challenges and conflict dynamics.


Mural of woman and man in black and white with wavy shapes.
Feminist approaches support a rethinking of power relations. | Photo: Asimina Nteliou via pixabay

Feminist Research Perspectives in Peace and Conflict Studies and Consultancy Work

Feminist approaches in peace and conflict studies have been neglected for a long time – but they are currently on the rise. Interestingly, a similar trend may be observed in the practice of peacebuilding. While researchers and consultants base their approaches on similar reflections, their challenges with regard to the implementation of feminist approaches are not quite the same. In this discussion, Samantha Ruppel, feminist researcher at the PRIF, and Alena Sander, a feminist freelance consultant, discuss these differences, and emphasize common goals and opportunities of the feminist approach in peace research and practice.


Three ballot drums in a polling station in Serrekunda, Gambia, Nov. 30, 2016, on the eve of the presidential elections. | Photo: Jerome Delay | Picture Alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The AU as Peacebuilder in The Gambia: Why pragmatic Peacebuilding is good, but not enough

The African Union’s (AU) peacebuilding efforts in The Gambia reflect the organization’s growing responsibility in this field. From 2018 to 2020, the AU deployed the African Union Technical Support Team to The Gambia (AUTSTG). Drawing on interviews and document and media analyses in 2020/2021, this PRIF Spotlight examines this novel mode of engagement and points out an emerging dilemma: The AUTSTG was successful as a technical and pragmatic intervention. However, this only came at the expense of supporting long-term political processes and thus undermined the AU‘s holistic peacebuilding policy.