The Carter Center works to build sustainable peace in emerging democracies and to prevent and resolve conflicts.
The Center has conflict resolution efforts underway in:
Program staff and interns monitor world events and armed conflicts to better understand the histories, underlying causes, primary actors, disputed issues, and dynamics on the ground, as well as efforts being made to resolve these disputes. The Center intervenes when no current avenues for mediation exist or if value can be added to existing efforts. It must be invited by the major adversaries and see indications that they are truly interested in resolving the conflict. Conflict Resolution Program staff pave the way through ground-level contacts, and President Carter may travel to the region in question and remain in close touch with key leaders. In addition to high-level interventions, The Carter Center may work with local communities on specific conflict issues.
An end to fighting does not always mean a conflict has been completely resolved. The process that leads to a peace agreement represents the beginning of an even longer process of peace implementation and post-conflict reconciliation. All parties must be held accountable for implementing agreements in good faith. Even after a peace agreement is implemented, a conflict's root causes may longer and continue to fester, sometimes even reigniting the conflict. The Center seeks ways to ease tensions, identify and build consensus around shared goals, strengthen the rule of law, and bring justice to victims. For example, a successful Carter Center project in Liberia has strengthened peace by providing greater awareness of, and access to, the nation's justice system, especially in rural areas.
While direct negotiation to resolve armed conflict is the program's major focus, it also emphasizes preventing conflict. A series of minor crises can signal or contribute to deteriorating societal and political stability. In such situations, parties in dispute may approach the Center as a neutral third party to facilitate dialogue that can keep tensions from erupting into violent conflict. The Carter Center's conflict monitoring also helps alert Carter Center staff to nascent crises.
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The Carter Center has become a trusted broker for peace, serving as an alternative channel for dialogue and negotiation until official diplomacy can take place.