Civil Peace Service: Promoting dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution in the Bolivian lowlands
Title: Civil Peace Service: Promoting civil conflict transformation and intercultural dialogue in the Bolivian lowlands
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2012 to 2022
The rapid societal, political and economic changes taking place in Bolivia are creating major challenges for the country. The legacy of the colonial period, the government’s development model that is primarily based on the exploitation of natural resources, and insufficiently fulfilled promises of citizen participation are leading to conflicts that are having an impact on the environment and also on marginalised and disadvantaged population groups.
Disadvantaged population groups are involved in political and societal decision-making. Environmental and resource-related conflicts are resolved non-violently and local regulations are developed in a participatory manner.
The Civil Peace Service (CPS) provides project funds and works with international and local experts and with local partner organisations. The programme supports people in the Bolivian lowlands in their efforts to promote dialogue, human rights and peace. Conflict sensitivity and impartiality are crucially important. The activities focus on changing people’s attitudes, behaviours and relationships, which all have an influence on structures and institutions and on the culture of conflict in Bolivian society.
- The indigenous population and smallholder farmers, who until now have been excluded from political decision-making, are being involved in local policy decisions. For example, the municipal council of San Ignacio de Velasco asked CPS and two of its partner organisations to facilitate the drafting of a new municipal constitution with the involvement of all population groups. The resulting document strengthens the position of the Chiquitanos, the indigenous majority group in the municipality. It has now been submitted to the Constitutional Court for approval.
- The CPS Dialogue School has provided training to over 200 representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), state bodies and educational institutions in recent years. These in turn are now initiating dialogue-based projects in their own working environments. An adapted version of this Dialogue School has been piloted at the State Administrative School of Bolivia. This institution intends to establish dialogue training as a permanent component of its work.
- Organisations and actors involved in dialogue promotion and civil conflict resolution have come together to form a learning community. Participants improve their expertise and methodological knowledge in both face-to-face training measures and e-learning programmes.
- The Chiquitano Forest Conservation Foundation (FCBC) has held round tables and information events in a number of municipalities addressing the protection and resource-friendly management of the unique ecosystem in the Chiquitania region.
- The ‘Radio Viajera’ outreach broadcasts of the NGO IRFA report on local frictions in a conflict-sensitive manner. They reach an audience of around 800,000 people, primarily in rural areas of the Bolivian lowlands.
- The fundamental research on resource conflicts being carried out at Nur University, a partner organisation, enables other partner organisations of CPS to conduct their activities in a more well-founded and targeted manner.