First described by peace researcher, Johan Gultung, in 1982, these three major approaches to peace outlined below are now well known. The three strategies for peace are not meant to function separately or in a particular order. Strategies can be applied proactively, to prevent violence occurring or reactively to reduce the likelihood of violence reoccurring. Each strategy on its own cannot really be effective in creating peace without the application of the other strategies.
Peacekeeping is often the most urgent and immediate of all peace strategies as the primary aim is to intervene in actual violence and prevent further violence occurring. Peacekeeping strategies deal directly with the actors involved with violence. Peacekeeping approaches are often ‘dissociative’ – aimed at keeping opponents apart from each other by the use of direct interposition, ‘buffer zones’, or ‘peace zones’ but can also include monitoring and observation and protective accompaniment of threatened activists. Establishing a level of physical safety is the primary goal. Often peacekeeping will aim to create the pre-conditions necessary to allow peacemaking or peacebuilding work to occur or continue.
Johan Galtung warns that peacekeeping can be effective when used in situations of ‘horizontal violence’ (between parties of relatively equal power) but can serve to maintain the status quo when used in situations of ‘vertical violence’. Approaches such as protective accompaniment or observer teams may be more suitable when violence is between parties of unequal power.
Peacemaking is primarily concerned with the search for a negotiated settlement between the parties. Peacemaking activities include bringing the parties together in dialogue about a possible resolution to the conflict. Typical peacemaking activities include mediation, conflict resolution workshops and dialog meetings at various levels. There are a wide variety of negotiated, third-party or facilitated
approaches. The application of the law would be seen as a peacemaking approach. Focus is on the parties interests and positions in a conflict and the aim is to shift parties onto the path of positive and nonviolent conflict resolution.
Peacebuilding is seen as a strategy aimed at changing the underlying conditions which allowed or caused the conflict or violence to occur in the first place. It focuses on longer-term change at the attitudinal –social level and changing the structural cause of the violence. Peacebuilding generally has a long-term perspective and includes a huge range of activities and approaches aimed at reducing fear, prejudice and mistrust, humanizing former opponents and building positive relationships. This is often done via mutual social, sport or cultural activities or working on shared concerns. Peacebuilding works to develop a ‘peace–culture’ where nonviolent methods of dealing with conflict are well socialised and prominent. Psycho/social healing processes such as debriefing, ongoing emotional support for traumatized people, reconciliation processes and ensuring justice is seen to be done is crucial peacebuilding activities after periods of violence.
On a social/economic level, peacebuilding works towards the meeting of basic needs by establishing just and equitable economic and political systems.