Sustaining peace in the Solomons: civil society consulted

3:09 pm on 6 August 2019

Civil society groups are meeting in Solomon Islands this week to strengthen their ability to sustain peace.

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls.

Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls. Photo: Twitter / Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls

Church leaders as well as peace networks led by women and young people are being consulted by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict.

Its chair, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, said even though it had been 16 years since the end of the crisis in the Solomons, rioting after this year's election showed there was no room for complacency.

"In sustaining peace how do we support civil society, who are clear stakeholders in peace building... to look at what might be some of the indicators that result in, for example the riots that took place after the elections this year and how to continue to sustain the peace," she said.

"The lack of conflict or the lack of violence does not mean that it's always going to be peaceful."

Empowering civil society to maintain peace would lead to "a redesigning of the peace table", Ms Bhagwan Rolls said, to one that was gender inclusive.

"We're going to shift the narrative. It's no longer that you expect to call one or two women to the table and consult with them one or two days before an official meeting," she said.

"As civil society peace builders, we will be able to bring information from our different networks and say to government counterparts and those that are interested including UN agencies, 'come to a new table where we can talk about inclusive peace and security in our countries and for our region'."