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7 recommendations for the future of PeaceTraining in Europe

The European peace training scene faces several challenges, gaps and needs identified in the scope of the Peacetraining.eu research and analysis. This list of recommendations provides expert advice for tackling burning issues and enhancing the overall landscape.

To improve cooperation, quality and meeting the needs of the field, the PeaceTraining.eu project has identified areas for room for improvement for European peace training stakeholders. Our baseline research has shown that there are several challenges and gaps in the European training scene in terms of overall issues of coherence and standards as well as matters around curricula thematics and methods. Based on this research, we recommend seven points of action for the future of Peace Training in Europe and beyond.

Coherence – Mutual Understanding, Exchange and Coordination

  • The creation and strengthening of existing multi-sectoral spaces for networking and workshops etc. to review core concepts and competencies within CPPB, fostering mutual understanding and exchange between non-state training providers and EU / state level stakeholders in Europe.
  • Related to the above the creation of cross-sectoral platforms for exchange on best practice and training needs. This includes learning from the other’s experiences in and outside of Europe, including leading institutions for peace training for civilian crisis management from EU Member States, as well as experienced training centres like United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Ghana. Learning from other sectors and disciplines includes for example the peace education and private sector or civilian CSDP training learning from Scandinavia police pre-deployment training.
  • Build stronger connections and experience sharing between trainers through virtual platforms and networking events, for example building a formalized Community of Practice.
  • The strengthening of civilian training bodies and organisations of EU Member States.

Knowledge Management and Resource Materials

  • Creating or strengthening organisational mechanisms and procedures for knowledge management, identification, collection and recording of good training practice, methods and materials, such as case studies as well as challenging and maybe unsuccessful experiences. This especially accounts for training organizers hiring external trainers and experts.
  • Sharing resource material (e.g. trainer handbooks). To that end, PeaceTraining.eu will create a web-platform inter alia featuring a library of training materials and relevant literature.
  • Increased transparency on training, curricula content and learning objectives, by all stakeholders, including an informative web-presence e.g. of ESDC and its training guidelines. All course websites should offer clear information on their training approach, curricula framework and details about course programmes, especially learning objectives and level.
Common Standards
  • The development of shared standards for quality and evaluation beyond ENTRi and ESDC, potentially the creation of an alliance of CPPB training providers or a network for non-state training organisations. A model could be the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), which is a civil society platform of NGOs and think tanks, committed to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict.
  • An agreement on shared standards on course levels in certain sectors, building on each other. With standardised course levels, advanced and specialised training can be developed building upon the material from introductory programmes rather than replicating it. The Bologna System of Bachelor and Master (ECTS points) could serve as a reference.
Training Structure and Approach
  • An increased offer of sequenced training, meaning a phased approach to training, where participants are trained – apply / gain field experience – trained – apply / gain field experience – trained etc. The police in Norway, preparing their peace mission personnel is an example.
  • The organisation of de-briefing and post-deployment workshops with ‘returnees’ to share best practices and lessons identified, which can be included in future training.
Curricula Content and Learning Objectives
  • Offer more curricula on conflict and violence prevention, for example on the strengthening of infrastructures for peace (IfP) or the move from early warning to early action.
  • Additional curricula on non-mainstream and / or innovative forms and approaches to CPPB, such as environmental peacebuilding, sports and games for peace, conflict sensitive reporting and journalism, urban conflict and violence prevention.
  • The provision of more content and skill training and tips on self-care and stress management.
  • A shift of focus to specific, practical skills, for example increased training on ‘how to’ implement locally owned peace project or ‘how to’ practically achieve the protection of civilians or human rights. Often less time should be dedicated to input of new knowledge, but rather train and test the practical implementation of it – thus less lectures more group exercises and role plays.
  • A review of content regarding conflict and cultural sensitivity, gender mainstreaming, trauma awareness and local / indigenous practices of CPPB.
Methods
  • Basing methods of delivery on adult learning and peace education theory (Lederach, Fras & Schweitzer, 2016, Krewer & Uhlmann, 2015 etc.) to ensure that methods foster agency and ownership as well as build upon and use expertise and previous experience of the participants.
  • Ensuring that selected methods link in with the learning objectives and prompt higher-order learning processes, for example in the repeated application and testing of newly acquired competencies (skills and knowledge).
  • Trainers and evaluators can begin to record and share their experiences with particular methods and make the analysis available to other trainers and course organizers, hence all can build upon best practices and lessons identified.
  • Ensuring that methods are selected, prepared and implemented, applying a conflict, culture, gender, trauma sensitive approach and sensitivity to diverse learning styles.
Verification and Assessment of Skills
  • Courses should certify competencies and not only participation, for example by in / out tests.
  • The development of a unified accreditation and certification system, or at least voluntary references and guidelines, for all programmes regardless the type of training provider. Research and Research-based Training Development
  • Enhanced and increasingly used research and systems for training needs assessment (see tips for needs assessment in below).
  • More research on methods of delivery in peace training, analyzing which methods convey knowledge and skills most effectively for CPPB work and how non-mainstream methods can be used to train skills. Especially, more research is needed on effectiveness, advantages, costs and disadvantages of e-learning methods in peace training.

Reference: Wolter S., Tunney E., (2017). A Guide to Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Training in Europe: Insights on Training Design and Methods D3.5, p.41