Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development

Building peace

Our mission is to contribute to peace, security and development. We work internationally to prevent and manage conflicts and to help rebuild war-torn societies. No conflict is like the other and they rarely follow a predictable pattern. One way to illustrate a conflict is to use a curve, where the peak symbolizes the most violent period of the conflict.

Scroll down and follow the line to read some examples about how we work with conflicts.

Scroll down to read some examples about how we work with conflicts.

Dialogue in place of conflict

When an armed struggle is about to break out in a country or region, it is important that prominent people such as high-ranking politicians or influential leaders meet on neutral ground. By engaging in dialogue and trying to understand one another, a political solution can sometimes come about and violent conflict be avoided.

Help from a mediator

In some cases the assistance of a mediator is needed, who can help the parties to a conflict approach one another. Sometimes a dialogue process is more suitable, where the moderator works in stages, gradually getting the different factions to get to know and understand opposing feelings and attitudes. We offer tailor-made training programmes in dialogue and mediation. For the past ten years we have trained UN personnel who are making important contributions around the world.

A peace operation begins

In some cases, international organizations like the UN and the EU, in consultation with the conflict parties, can decide to initiate a peace operation. In a peace operation, civilian experts, such as legal and political advisers, work side by side with the military and in cooperation with humanitarian aid organizations. Good coordination is essential between these actors who must consistently focus on and consider the needs of the civilian population. We accordingly support research on peace operations and organize trainings to prepare the various types of actors.

What’s happening on the ground?

During a conflict it is difficult to know exactly what is going on. We train civilian experts and deploy them to former war zones or to places of existing conflict. Many experts work as observers and political advisers, responsible for monitoring and reporting on the development of hostilities and advising on how things can be managed. Their work helps the international community to better understand, monitor and manage conflict.

Lasting peace

Conflict affects women, men, girls and boys in different ways. To achieve a lasting peace the needs of the whole population must be taken into account. Important knowledge is shared by gathering together researchers from various parts of the world who meet and exchange ideas with practitioners — for example on women's participation in peace operations, or on how girls and women can be better protected against sexual violence.

Life after conflict

In the aftermath of a war numerous weapons are still in circulation. Many civilians are former members of different armed groups. When hostilities end, the armed factions clearly must surrender their weapons and those who fought need to be rehabilitated and adapted to a new civilian life and a regular job. After a conflict there might be mistrust and tension between neighbours who fought on opposing sides. It is therefore important that the entire population is involved in a course of reconciliation, to prevent a recurrence of conflict.

Rebuilding societies

In post-conflict societies it is vital that the state and its institutions are rebuilt. The citizen must feel safe in daily life — for instance, when needing help from the police, when crossing a border, buying land, paying taxes or just going for a walk. This concerns the basic rights and responsibilities of the individual and his or hers relationship to the state and the corresponding obligation of the state to act democratically and transparently in guaranteeing the rights of the citizen – it is a matter of mutual trust.

FBA’s vision

We work to prevent conflicts from escalating and to hinder the curve from rising to a violent level. Our vision is that potential conflicts can be resolved without violence through dialogue rather than resorting to the use of weapons. We strive to give people who have lived, or are living, in conflict-torn places the chance to live in peace and security. Safe environments are conducive to the growth of democracy and the reduction of poverty. Our work will be a continuing contribution to international development and the improvement of the lives of people living in conditions of poverty and repression.

Learn more about how we do it in How we work.

Folke Bernadotte Academy – instead of arms