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Conflict Resolution Program

  • The Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program works in countries around the world to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts to build transformative and sustainable peace. Above, a boy stands in the damaged city of Homs, Syria, September 2013. (Photo: ART production/Shutterstock.com)

Our Goal

The Carter Center works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflicts to build transformative and sustainable peace.

Where We Work

The Center has conflict resolution efforts underway in:

  • Syria, where we support research and dialogue to identify options to prevent further violence and to remedy structural barriers to economic recovery, refugee return, and reconstruction. We research, analyse, and document conflict using open-information sources to better inform peacebuilding efforts
  • Israel-Palestine, where we work with Palestinian and Israeli partners to promote a resolution to the conflict based on international law, human rights – particularly equal rights – and dignity for all.
  • Mali, where we serve as the Independent Observer of the 2015 peace agreement, reporting on the progress of the implementation of the agreement. We also advance local communities’ ability to mitigate conflict, reduce violence, and create conditions for health interventions in difficult-to-access zones.
  • Sudan, where we develop local capacity to mitigate and resolve conflict in areas of the country most impacted by neglected tropical diseases and continue to explore other contributions during challenging times of political transition.

Conflict Prevention and Transformation

Intrastate violence is the most common form of conflict today, with non-state actors – often backed by outsiders who share their interests – playing an increasingly prominent role. This presents difficult new challenges in managing and responding to those conflicts. The Center works toward an inclusive, holistic approach to peacebuilding – one that addresses various dimensions of the conflict – based on the belief that sustainable peace depends on engaging with everyone affected by the decisions made by the people at the peace table. Its gender-conscious approach includes constructive change initiatives that go beyond the resolution of conflicts, reaffirming the importance of women’s participation and involvement at all levels of the peace and security agenda and the development of local solutions to global problems.

Election Violence Mitigation

The Carter Center, along with Cure Violence Global and Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative, is working to mitigate violence that could erupt in some U.S. communities in the days before and after the November election.

The project team uses data to determine communities at higher risk for election violence and then works with grassroots organizations in those areas to disseminate messages supporting a peaceful electoral transition, provide training and other resources to prevent violence, and help build local coalitions of influencers from across the political spectrum to support a peaceful political transition and push back against violence.

It is working directly with a handful of communities and also reaching out to interfaith networks and community leaders across the U.S. to encourage them to develop their own antiviolence efforts and to share with them training materials and messaging.

Independent Observer Mandate

As the official Independent Observer of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, emanating from the Algiers Process, The Carter Center is responsible for evaluating and reporting on implementation of the 78 individual commitments within the agreement, identifying any hindrances, outlining responsibilities, and recommending steps to advance implementation. Since it began work in January 2018, the Independent Observer team has participated in nearly all negotiations or activities related to the implementation of the agreement; conducted frequent visits to northern and central Mali; participated in more than 600 meetings with various stakeholders; and published regular reports on the status of implementation.

Peace-Health Nexus

Conflict and disease often go hand in hand, particularly in remote, underdeveloped areas. The Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program promotes a community-based approach to conflict mitigation and resilience-building to both reduce violence and increase access to regions in dire need of basic health services. By providing the tools and the platform for dialogue between health workers and local communities, the Center aims to create conditions that would allow people to get the health services and treatment they need.

Tech for Peace

The Conflict Resolution Program is home to one of the most comprehensive efforts to monitor, map, and analyze the Syrian conflict, maintaining a near real-time, auto-updating map of areas of control. It reports weekly developments in frontline activity and community-level violence and responds to requests for information and analysis from partner institutions. As the Syrian conflict moves into a new phase, historical information on the conflict has become highly sought-after as stakeholders look at long-term trends. The Center’s reports support operational planning by international and Syrian demining organizations as well as Syrian civil society working to mitigate the consequences of years of explosive weapons contamination.

Results and Impact

  • The Mali Independent Observer mission has made 66 recommendations for advancing the implementation of the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation. Its impartial reporting helps guide national and international stakeholders. The Center's role as the Independent Observer was recognized by the U.N. Security Council in resolutions 2391 (December 2017), 2423 (June 2018), 2480 (June 2019), and 2531 (June 2020).
  • At the peace-health nexus in Mali, the Center is advancing local communities’ ability to reduce violence and create conditions for health interventions in difficult-to-access zones, especially important for the Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program. The Center is doing similar work in some of Sudan’s conflict-affected communities, including South Darfur, which also face the burden of disease.
  • The Center’s research and consultations to unpack the web of sanctions imposed on Syria and to look for ways to float the possibility of sanctions adjustment in exchange for positive actions by the Syrian government has started to gain traction among Syrian and international community stakeholders. Guided by well-informed dialogue and robust research and analysis, the Center has published a number of sanctions-related paper here.
  • The Center’s Syria Conflict Mapping effort has provided timely analysis of on-the-ground fighting to conflict resolution and humanitarian stakeholders since 2012. The project publishes periodic updates on areas of control, non-state armed group networks, and key dynamics, and provides thought leadership on the intersection of peace, data, and technology.
  • The Center is partnering with The Elders to support Israeli and Palestinian civil society leaders and activists working on human rights, particularly equal rights and self-determination. The Center and The Elders have virtually convened four rounds of dialogue with Israelis and Palestinians from Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel.
  • Through its Preventing Violent Extremism Project, the Center emerged as a trusted advisor to faith-based and community leaders from North Africa, Europe, and North America working to prevent youth in their communities from joining violent extremist organizations. It provided training and helped amplify the voices of these leaders, who developed and launched over 60 projects, including media initiatives, religious outreach, and youth engagement.
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