Advancing the prospects for peace

20 years of civil peacebuilding in the context of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict

Almost two decades after the ceasefire agreement, the official peace process on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group has been unable to reach a peaceful settlement.

In the meantime, civil society groups in the region have sought to advance the prospects for peace at different levels of society outside of political negotiations. This study represents a landmark attempt to collectively reflect on 20 years of civil society-led peacebuilding efforts. The study is divided into three reports, each of which reflects the prevailing opinions from local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society leaders working on peacebuilding projects in one society. Taken together, they paint a picture of how the peacebuilding community itself assesses its role in transforming the conflict, looking back from the present.

International Alert has been engaged in conflict transformation in the South Caucasus since the mid-1990s. In the Nagorny Karabakh conflict context, we have sought to empower different sectors of society to build trust across the divide, explore alternative narratives on the conflict and advocate for peace among policymakers. This study, initiated within the European Partnership for the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (EPNK), supported by the European Union, represents the first step in a new process to facilitate joint research and introduce fresh thinking on the conflict to the affected societies. International Alert has brought together a group of experts from the conflict region for comparative learning from other conflict contexts and to stimulate broad, inclusive debate in their societies based on new ideas and perspectives on transforming the conflict. As a starting point for this comparative work, the group investigated perceptions of peacebuilding efforts among civil society from their own conflict context to date. The results of this work form the basis of this study. (Русский)