This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum

From Civil Strife to Civil Society

Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Peace-building and Reconciliation



Date :







Organized by:



In Cooperation with:



5 February 2004


UN House

U Thant International Conference Hall (3F)

5-53-70, Jingumae,

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan


Delegation of the European Commission in Japan

United Nations University


United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


From Civil Strife to Civil Society

Post-conflict Reconstruction, Peace-building and Reconciliation


In 2001 the United Nations University and the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan started a series of major international conferences on political and social issues that are of particular relevance to the UN, the EU and Japan. The overriding theme of these conferences is the importance of strengthening international cooperation and peace by bringing together politicians, scholars, media figures and major NGO representatives to engage in a frank and forward looking discussion of pressing global challenges. Public outreach and debate are an integral part of these conferences.

The fourth conference in the annual 'EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum' series will be devoted to the theme "Post-conflict Reconstruction, Peace-building and Reconciliation". This conference will address and discuss the efforts of the international community to strengthen the social fabric and rebuild the physical and institutional infrastructure of countries or regions after the end of civil conflicts and wars.

The last two years saw the active involvement of the UN and the EU as well as of a number of governments and NGOs in peace making and reconstruction processes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Western Africa, the Balkans, East Timor and many other regions.

These experiences have taught us that enormous human security challenges persist even after the fighting has ended.



Peace and Security


The breakdown of the economy creates conditions of endemic poverty and the collapse of the legal order, in turn leading to traumatic abuses. In societies torn by long and deep conflict economic, political and social relations are ruptured and in need of urgent repair. Previously existing divisions within society are hardened and human insecurities are exacerbated. Violently divided societies are cursed by institutional breakdown: weak or non-existent political institutions; weak or non-existent civil society institutions; and limited government legitimacy and authority.


The infrastructure of development and education


Once violence ends, the challenge remains to re-create a sense of identity and solidarity among communities that have experienced political, economic and socio-cultural breakdown. While it is possible to impose a sense of order from outside, the sense of community has to grow from within. But this involves balancing claims for justice, truth and accountability with the need for peace and stability.

Trafficking in human beings, illicit trade of arms and drugs as well as terrorism combine to make institutional repair and infrastructural reconstruction more difficult. As seen in Iraq, the problems of setting up police forces and maintaining order and security have to be solved before peace-building and reconstruction can begin. Reopening schools and organizing proper education and training is an absolute priority in these situations. In such post-conflict situations, the sustainability of institution-building is dependent on addressing, through reconciliation and healing processes, the initial causes of the conflict and its divisive consequences.



Democracy, reconciliation and justice


Without legitimate government, warlords and despots fight over resources, territory and influence. The appeal of nationalist or religious identities, being the most convenient common denominators and 'trusted' sources of pride and power, can re-ignite fear and retaliation among ethnic or religious groups in multi-communal states. Developing plural democratic processes is therefore a huge challenge.

The conference will focus upon the role of education, peace-building, reconciliation, democratic governance and development in post-conflict societies. It involves stakeholders from within such societies, in addition to major international actors including the UN, the EU and Japan. In addition, the conference will give a voice to civil society and media actors, in line with the important roles that they play in peace-building.


















17:00 - 19:00



Welcome Remarks, Opening Session


Session 1

Peace and security


Session 2

The infrastructure of development and education


Lunch Break


Session 3

Democracy, reconciliation and justice