Engaging with Civil Society in Conflict Areas – the role of international organisations


European perspectives in the context of Eastern Partnership
Yerevan, 2010
Roxana Cristescu

  • One of the biggest challenges for the international community when addressing territorial conflicts is the difficulty of developing a meaningful strategy of engagement that under international law would encompass both the principle of territorial integrity and of the right for self-determination of people.

  • Government and state actors have political and legal limitations that restrain them from effectively addressing such conflicts and engaging with all conflict stakeholders. By consequence, the most likely actors to engage with all conflict affected groups are international private diplomacy actors and local civil society organizations. Generally, NGOs can do things that governments cannot, such as “facilitate the development of new and creative ideas, provide a trusted but informal channel of communication, and expand networks of contacts, especially to groups or individuals that governments may be precluded from meeting with because of political or legal concerns” (Martina Fischer, Berghof Foundation)