Understanding Peacebuilding as Essentially Local

Cedric de Coning


On a recent visit to Mogadishu I was again confronted with the tension between local ownership and international self-interest. On the one hand was the Somali President, who wanted to assert his sovereign authority and lead the peace process according to his vision for Somalia. On the other hand, there was a powerful but diverse international community that has the resources necessary to enhance peace, though such resources were accompanied by a set of ideas concerning what the Somali President should be doing. Officially everyone claimed to support the Federal Government of Somalia, but in reality each outside nation and organisation is engaged in Somalia for its own strategic political, security and economic needs and interests.