Peacebuilding can be described as ‘measures that reduce the risk of a lapse or relapse into conflict by addressing both the causes and consequences of conflict’ (UNICEF, June 2012). Peacebuilding is more than just an absence of violence, it actively aims to prevent the breakdown of peaceful situations through creating an environment that is equitable, just, inclusive and resilient. Peacebuilding can also be used interchangeably with social cohesion and other terms.
Recent analyses (Britto, 2012 and UNICEF, 2011) have highlighted synergies in peacebuilding and ECD. Peacebuilding that promotes resilience and inclusive communities and supports care-givers can benefit young children, who are particularly vulnerable in conflicts and emergencies. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2010 around two million children were killed, six million mutilated and a further one million orphaned by conflicts (Connolly and Hayden 2007). ECD can also help to promote drivers for peace, including individual neurological and psychological traits such as the ability to empathise and self-regulation (Shanker, 2012), as well as inclusive social structures that encourage equality and well-being (Friendly and Lero, 2002).
The ARNEC Working Group on ECD and Peacebuilding
The ARNEC ECD and PB working group is hosted by ARNEC and coordinated by UNICEF EAPRO and Plan. The working group brings together experts, policy makers and practitioners to explore and promote the added value of ECD on peacebuilding/social cohesion activities and, reciprocally, the added value of peacebuilding/social cohesion on ECD interventions. The group provides a specific focus on ECD and peacebuilding in the Asia Pacific region.