The idea of peace infrastructure is to develop mechanisms for cooperation among all relevant stakeholders, including the government, by promoting cooperative problem-solving and institutionalising a response mechanism to violent conflict. The understanding that a dialogue process and its underlying cooperative structure are mutually enhancing is not new; the novel focus here is on the structure – the organisation, connection and interaction – of cooperative mechanisms. While other concepts emphasise synergistic collaboration between peacebuilding interventions, the focus here is on building the structural capacities of the conflict parties and stakeholders. Changing the “hearts and minds” of conflict parties is not enough: organisational and structural capacities are required to achieve conflict transformation.
The aim of this article is to investigate the promise and potential as well as the challenges of peace infrastructures. It will conceptualise peace infrastructure and highlight some open questions. The following section defines the term, explores its conceptual background, and offers a taxonomy of its possible elements and forms. In the third section, the concept is discussed with a view to establishing its potential for managing, settling and transforming conflicts. The fourth section will, based on practical experiences, point to some challenges and open questions. The fifth section will conclude and suggest steps for developing the concept further.