The Construction of Local Capacity-building in EU Discourses

Ana Juncos

Local capacity-building has been endorsed by the international community as a way to both increase the effectiveness and the legitimacy of international peacebuilding initiatives by incorporating 'the local' in a more meaningful way into their policies. For instance, the findings in the literature suggest that where communities have been meaningfully involved, conflict prevention and peacebuilding are seen as more legitimate by local actors and tend to yield better and more sustainable results than those that have been imposed by external actors. The European Union (EU) has followed this new orthodoxy by launching programmes like the 'Peacebuilding Partnership' under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). This paper investigates the construction of 'local capacity-building' and 'civil society' as concepts in EU peacebuilding discourses, drawing on both policy documents and interview data. By examining these concepts and the rationale behind this discourse, the paper seeks to better comprehend the ways in which the EU engages with civil society and the 'local' in its peacebuilding interventions.

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