4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

"Civil peace services and a nonviolent peace force as alternatives to military defence"

Minutes of the workshop

"Constructive conflict management", "European Parliament", "Alexander Langer", "reconciliation", "shortage of resources". These are some of the key words came out from the introduction made by Prof. Alberto L'Abate at the workshop on Civil Peace Services, held during the European Social Forum, the last 8 November in Florence.

The workshop, organized by Associazione per la Pace, Centro Studi Difesa Civile (CSDC) and the European Network of Civil Peace Services aimed, in the words of the conductor Alessandro Rossi, "at reinforcing the network of individuals and organizations who are trying to increase spaces for nonviolent conflict management, in a process that goes from research to training and from local to international intervention, in an effort to achieve also an institutional space".

At the workshop were represented most of the Italian civil peace services (Beretti Bianchi, IFOR-Italy; Rete di Lilliput and others) and the universitary world (e.g. a lot of participants in university courses on peace and cooperation), but there were few international representatives.

Starting from paradigmatic case of Kossovo, L'Abate summarized the weaknesses of the peace movement, that was discussed again and completed in the following debate, in which have been involved the participants.

Summarizing, the main limits tackled until now by who is fighting for civil intervention in conflicts have been identified in:


the shortage of resources to pass from the analysis of the situation (The Kossovo campaign has been on the field to prevent the armed conflict since 1992!) to an effective intervention;


in the lack of sufficient coordination to influence on the istitutional level;


in a still poor efficacy of the communication, to much marked by negative accent.

In the debate came out also signs of hope and some ways for a possible common work. First of all throught the international coordination to improve the organisation of the civil society which intervene in a constructive way in the conflict. The conductors of the workshop illustred the following experiences:

  1. European Network of Civil Peace Services, the european coordination of "civil peace services", which keep alive the exchange of experiences of grassroot civil intervention and the relating training, and which aims to a common project in Ciprus for next year;

  2. European Platform for Conflict Prevention and Transformation, a big european platform which assemble almost 200 organizations and aims also, thanks to a strong academic weight, to influence european policies in the matter;

  3. Nonviolent Peaceforce, launched on 1999 on the occasion of the Mondial Appeal for Peace (hundred of organizations posed the goal to make war an obsolete instrument by the end of XXI century) aims at organize, independently from public funds, a civil service for intervention in conflicts; the official birth at international level of the organization will be at the end of this month in India, and Italy will be represented by Prof. Francesco Tullio (honorary president of CSDC) and by a delegate of the organization "Berretti Bianchi".

Secondly, has been depicted the fights inside the European institutions for Civil Peace Services and for a coherent EU policy for the prevention of armed conflicts (for which, now, the European Commission has own offices).

Finally, the italian network "towards Civil Peace Services" has fixed for next March a conference to create officially the italian forum for civil peace services.

On this appointment the participants in the workshop practised in work groups and produced three hypothesis of "press release". We have to end with a sentence drawn from one of these:

" An alternative to war it's possible! Each of us can do something".

Edited by Alessandro Rossi Rome 20.11.2002


CENTRO STUDI DIFESA CIVILE - Segreteria RM C/o Associazione per la Pace uff. naz. Via Salaria 89, 00198 RM Tel. 06/8419672 pacedifesa-roma@mediazioni.org 




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