Functional Cooperation in Peacebuilding
Functional Cooperation – what is it?
Funcional cooperation are communications of partners in the field of sustainable development who are at risk of being violently conflictual adversaries.
Communications are understood as in Luhmann’s systems theory, in which they are found to be the matter of social systems or sectors. They are supposed to differ from conflict-mitigating measures but may be included in as far as they are accepted within the field of sustainable development. A classic example is environmental conservation; health, agriculture, demographic planning, trade, production, taxation, human rights, gender equality, climate change, globalisation may all be others.
Those partners are either
- not (fully) aware of their potential for violent conflict, or
- not capable of stopping it from escalating, or else
- they are in the post-conflict peacebuilding phase trying to reconcile.
The three groups of adversaries are treated seperately in the literature and praxis. Functional Cooperation seeks to deconstruct their differences in its treatment as units of analysis.
- how does it work?
Take, for instance, transboundary parks, which have a global network (www.nature.org) with an emphasis on beligerant neighbours: Kenia and Tansania, South Africa and Zimbabwe, … In Asia transboundary parks are less publicised, Malaysia and Indonesia in Borneo, Malaysia and the Philippeans in the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea. Traditional conflict resolution mechanisms are even less researched. – How does Indonesia as a national unit sustain itself for so long?
Transboundary parks have the potential to create a demilitarised, good-governed buffer zone in situations such as India and China, and Kashmir.
- does it work?
- who makes it work?