Peacebuilding sets out to do three cardinal things: to resolve conflicts that already exist, to find ways to prevent new ones in the future and to manage what cannot be fully resolved. 1 To achieve these goals, Ramsbotham et al. 2 contend that peacebuilding must be:

Multilevel: Analysis and resolution must embrace all layers of conflict: interpersonal, intra-personal, inter-group (families, neighbourhoods, affiliations), international, regional and global, and the complex interplays between them.

Multidisciplinary: In order to learn how to address complex conflict systems adequately, peacebuilding must draw on many disciplines, including: development studies, politics, international relations, strategic studies, and individual and social psychology.

Analytic and normative: The foundation of the study of conflict must involve a systematic analysis and interpretation of the ‘statistics of deadly quarrels’, but this must be combined from the outset with the normative aim of learning how better thereby to transform actually or potentially violent conflict into non-violent actions of social, political and other forms of change.

Theoretical and practical: Peacebuilding must be constituted by a constant mutual interplay between theory and practice. Only when theoretical understanding and practical experience of what works and what does not work are connected can properly informed experience develop.