The Red Crystal is the symbol of innovation for the humanitarian sector, but it also needs to be seen under new dimensions, playing with creativity and vision towards new institutions and humanitarian approaches with local people.
Not even a war-end declaration is enough for building peace, although it seems to be the best and stronger effort of Diplomacy and negotiation, what is really needed is a complete reform of local structures and the role of foreign actors on the field. The global impact of current conflicts that derived on crises as migration or new challenges as climate change impact, makes of the peace-keeping process a must for mainstreaming within all actors and institutions that constitutes the “fabric” of a society even during a conflict.
In addition, the own cultural negative impact that no respect to IHL or war in cities creates around the citizens. Sadly they get used to “fight” instead of “coexists” without learning on how to live together under common values and goals.
The challenge becomes worse when there is a history of confrontation and mutual regrets. In the case of Israel-Palestine its clear that even a war-end declaration would not be enough to rebuild communities that through decades have feed their lives with hate and mutual rejection. For achieving the goal of a truly peacekeeping process it’s a must to begin during the conflict not only afterwards. Its possible. Many Israelis have expressed their complains about Palestine occupation and a never-ending conflict that is creating long-lasting impact on terms of integration and sense of negotiation and dialogue. Is precisely through local leaders that is possible to build new structures and a new message. Taking into account that in current times the task of building peace is not just about regional or local interests but a matter of global codes and goals.
United Nations holds the main role on peace operations, however, under an in-depth institutional crisis is not being able to face with effectiveness current level of indiscriminate violent acts, violation of IHL and war in cities. Making of peace-keeping a truly challenge and not a basic element that sustains minimum standards of stability and guarantees for civilians. Is it here where the role of local institutions -although with international support- become key to boost a culture on peace that starts during the conflict. Indeed, cohesion is a shield that will boost a new holistic stage of force and integration. With the support from humanitarian institutions its possible and its feasible to achieve a better understanding of their role as active civilians rather than an exclusively permanent state of defense within vulnerability and with the sense of being vulnerable that undermines it s capacity to build structures and advocate for their rights. Definitely it will not stop the threat of war but it will boost new codes of behaviour in which the people may feel empowered and with an active role on building peace.
Innovation for institutions based in conflict areas -and nearby areas- become essential and is a must to work with local actors to be on a permanent state of building a peace-keeping process and not just a protection role that makes them get stuck and weak. Peace its not only an after-war-process on conflict resolutions made by external actors, but a skilful work of Diplomacy and Mediation within institutions able to work with local people and organisations, building resilience through the most important external actor in conflict areas: the humanitarian aid sector.
In a world in which war in cities it’s the “new normal” the humanitarian sector becomes the only actor that is welcome and the one that could merge with local structures and build peace though establishing a culture on integration and religion tolerance. Currently ICRC in Syria maintains “essential water, waste management an energy infrastructure for 18.5 million people” Peter Maurer, which means literally: being a pillar of authority much more than delivering humanitarian aid. It becomes a truly axis, not just an assistant. This is definitely a new reality that demands innovative dimensions of what means humanitarian aid, a truly re-definition of the concept as it´s moving fast and is overwhelmed by new challenges as climate change, migration and the own type of conflicts (chemical, technological, etc.)
The idea of a Peacekeeping process as just coexistence after war is it just an optical illusion if we are not able to see beyond with vision and strong institutional reforms and engagement with local actors. The humanitarian sector is the one that is most needed, forced by the circumstances, its neutrality goals and strategic position in the field. Indeed, a stage of no rules for war and extremely vulnerable conditions for civilians makes of humanitarian organisations the axis of transformation that would deliver minimum standards of stability and guarantees to civilians.
*”Empowering the humanitarian sector by building bridges citizens-institutions”
* “Humanitarian sector: a Super institution that is losing global effectiveness”
* Adapting IHL to new challenges or just “dead letter”