The Peacemaking-Peacebuilding-Development Nexus: Marrying South Africa's Peace Diplomacy and Development Agenda

By Mabera, Faith | Strategic Review for Southern Africa, November 2016 | Go to article overview

The Peacemaking-Peacebuilding-Development Nexus: Marrying South Africa's Peace Diplomacy and Development Agenda


Mabera, Faith, Strategic Review for Southern Africa


Abstract

South Africa has often been lauded as an influential and pivotal actor in peace and security affairs on the evolving African peace and security architecture. The centrality of Africa in South Africa's foreign policy has driven its exercise of peace diplomacy in a significant number of conflicts in Africa; where its mode of engagement has ranged from mediation to peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction and development assistance. Concomitant to its peace actor profile, South Africa's repertoire as an emerging development partner also forms a large part of its African agenda. The embedding of sustainable peace as a goal in the post-2015 development agenda and the enduring relevance of the security-development nexus continue to exert profound influence on the parameters and conduct of South Africa's foreign policy and its pointedly Afro-centric agenda. This article argues for greater integration and harmonisation between South Africa's peace diplomacy and its development partnership agenda through the formulation of a peacebuilding and stabilisation strategy.

1. Introduction

South Africa conflates its profile as an emerging African development partner with its multi-faceted identity as champion of the African agenda, bridge-builder and emerging middle power. In a bid to rationalise and give coherence to its developmental partnership agenda, in 2011 the government put in place plans to establish the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) which is yet to become operational. In light of this, the objectives, principles and mechanisms of South Africa's development partnership agenda have been the subject of rigorous analysis, especially with regard to discourses around aid effectiveness and sustainable development (Besharati 2013; Lucey and O'Riordan 2014). Borrowing from findings of research on South Africa's development initiatives, this article seeks to link its peace and security development interventions with its diplomatic activities in the context of an integrated approach to peacemaking, peacebuilding and development. The discussion is informed by a number of salient international trends in development cooperation namely: the emphasis on peace-building-development nexus in the pursuit of sustainable development; the uptake of trilateral development cooperation as an attractive modality in the implementation of development cooperation; policy coherence as a key requirement for development effectiveness; and the inclusion of peace as a goal in the post-2015 development agenda.

2. Towards an integration of peace, security and development: Where peace diplomacy meets diplomacy of development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the new global development framework for development adopted in September 2015, affirmed peace as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. Goal 16 emphasises "the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies" through upholding the rule of law, improving access to justice and the establishment of accountable institutions, among other targets (UN 2015).

The essence of embedding peace as a goal within the sustainable development agenda has been aimed at renewed emphasis on positive peace, reinforced by an integrated approach to peacemaking, peacebuilding and development. The concept of positive peace is informed by conflict transformation, entailing changes in the personal, relational, structural and cultural dynamics of conflict in order to foster sustainable peace (Lederach 2003). Parallel to this discourse is a growing recognition by development stakeholders of the centrality of not only aid effectiveness but also development effectiveness as a key component of successful and sustainable development partnerships.

Peace and stability on the one hand and development on the other are mutually impacting concepts: peace and stability are prerequisites for sustainable development while vicious cycles of intractable conflicts and fragility have regressive impact on development initiatives (Saferworld 2014: 3). …

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