The end of the Cold War era brought with it great violence and turmoil. Since 1990 there have been over 125 armed wars, millions of civilian deaths, as well as devastation and ruin for some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. The majority of these conflicts happen within states, not between them, creating new challenges and aggravating persistant problems.
While more peace agreements have been reached since the end of the Cold War than in the previous two centuries combined, they remain fragile. Half fail within five years of being signed. Amidst a heightened global effort for peace, there remain widespread deficiencies in knowledge and understanding of how sustainable peace is achieved. To address these challenges, a long-term process is needed that lays the foundation for peaceful and stable development.
International Alert was one of the first international NGOs devoted to building peace. Our founders were proactive in identifying gross human rights violations and they understood that the best way to protect the rights of all citizens would be to identify and prevent the situations that led to human rights abuses in the first place. To this end, the new organisation focused on addressing internal conflicts, creating systems for early warning of violent conflict and establishing field programmes to support local efforts for peace.
Today Alert has grown to be one of the world’s leading peacebuilding NGOs. We work in over 20 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on 20 years of experience in a wide range of conflict environments and peace processes. Our advice on peacebuilding is taken seriously by governments and international organisations. These achievements have been made possible by countless staff and partners who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of those who are most affected by violent conflict.
- Author(s):International Alert
- Date:June 2006