Local ownership has become a basic tenet of post-conflict peacebuilding strategies sponsored by the International Community. However, research on peacebuilding underlines a gap between policy discourse and actual practice. This paper illustrates the challenges and opportunities posed by the promotion of local ownership by assessing the case of Sierra Leone. This West African country is often labelled as one of the most successful peacebuilding interventions thus far. However, by analysing the interaction between insiders and outsiders during the initial post-conflict phase (1996-2007), this paper concludes that stakeholders perceived differently the meaning and policies associated with the concept of local ownership. In this regard, the country’s peacebuilding “success story” should be nuanced in light of the shortcomings and challenges identified. The Sierra Leonean case study provides us with an opportunity to revisit and reflect on the contradictions and limitations of the liberal peacebuilding project with a view to work towards sustainable peace and development.

Author Bio(s)

Dr Oscar Mateos is GLOBALCODES Main Researcher. He is an Associate Lecturer of International Relations at Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations, Ramon Llull University in Barcelona (Spain). He holds a PhD in International Relations from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (2012). He was visiting professor at the University of Sierra Leone (Fourah Bay College) between 2006 and 2008 and Visiting researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) in 2008. He is also a member of the Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) Board and an Associate researcher at the Barcelona International Affairs Center (CIDOB). He is currently the Delegate of the Ramon Llull University Rector for the Agenda 2030-SDGs goals.

Dr Andreu Solà-Martín is a GLOBAL CODES researcher and associate lecturer of International Relations at the Faculty of Communications and International Relations, Universitat Blanquerna. Andreu holds a PhD in Conflict Resolution, Department of Peace Studies (University of Bradford). He taught at the University of Bradford, Birmingham University, the University of Manchester and the Open University of Catalonia. He has a number of publications on the peace process in Western Sahara and peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In addition, he has extensive experience as election consultant in Africa. In 2018, Andreu published a book with Cornell University on the triggers of election violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. .


Sierra Leone, Peace, Local Ownership, Peacebuilding, Security, Development, Africa, International Community







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