It is crucial for us to figure out and deal with the underlying causes of the conflict in post-conflict regions. This does not just involve dealing with the past in a critical fashion. The structures that must provide peace and democracy and that must make reconstruction feasible must also be called into question.
That is why PAX tries to combine processes of peacebuilding with processes of state building. Eventually, democratisation and legitimate and accountable governance have to prevent the outbreak of new cycles of violence.
In many regions we try to include local and regional governments in our peace work, for example in South Sudan (setting up and training councils at village level) and in Iraq (where we work in the north with Provincial Councils and District Councils and are involved in setting up local peace committees that can dialogue with local government). Often we function as bridge builders between civil society and local and regional governments.
We also contribute to the discussions on decentralisation in the different regions, in relation to conflict and peacebuilding. PAX is also actively involved, together with the VNG and other international partners in the organization of the UCLG Peace Prize, which was first awarded in 2016. The UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) represents and defends the interests of local governments worldwide. The prize is awarded to successful local peace initiatives undertaken by the local government. It also tries to generate international public attention for the role local governments can play in peacebuilding. For more information on the UCLG Peace Prize take a look at the UCLG Peace Prize website, the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize Finals and the UCLG Peace Prize 2016 - Local government initiatives for peace. In November 2019 the UCLG Peace Prize will be awarded for the second time, taking place during the UCLG World Congress in Durban, South Africa. See for more information: Local peace initiatives at the UCLG World Congress, 2019.