"Local Peace Committees can be biggest contributor to peace during crises"
Kathmandu -- Local Peace Committee (LPC) officials from three conflict-sensitive districts have stressed the need for building capacity for LPCS so as to make them able to resolve local level tensions. During closing session of a three-day workshop for LPC officials from Dhanusha, Banke and Kailali in Lalitpur on 24 May, the LPC officials said LPCs were better placed to deal with local conflicts because of unique composition of such mechanisms.
The workshop was the first joint initiative of the Ministry and UNDP specifically focused on capacity building of Local Peace Committees’ coordinators, members and office secretaries.
LPCs, which draw their members from political parties, civil society and representatives of victims, are district level mechanisms created after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2006 to resolve local level conflicts peacefully.
“The LPC composition itself is a fusion of activism and professionalism. When there is crisis, political representatives may try to follow their own political line but other professionals in the committee will stop them from promoting violence,” said LPC Coordinator of Banke Mr. Bhola Mahat.
The workshop for 21 Local Peace Committee (LPC) officials, seven each from Dhanusha, Banke and Kailali districts was jointly organized by Conflict Prevention Program (CPP) of the UNDP and Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) at Godavari Village Resort from May 22 to 24.
Other enthused members of the LPCs were hopeful that empowered LPCs will be the biggest contributors to peace during times of crises. The workshop which was part of UNDP’s Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue project helped the participants to acquire a better understanding of their role as peace makers in their districts while imparting new dialogue and facilitation skills.
The LPC Coordinator of Kailali Mr. Bir Bahadur Jethara said that equipping the LPC officials with certain tools and skills would help the LPCs function systematically and maintain uniformity in working styles.
Peace Committee officials also explored areas where they can initiate dialogue processes to resolve immediate crises in their respective districts, address root causes of underlying conflict, and help the society set common development agenda for future. Participants formulated a plan to enhance their capacity to address local issues.
Addressing the closing session of the workshop, MoPR Joint secretary Ms. Laxmi Kumari Basnet lauded the role of LPC members who are working as volunteers in promoting peace at the local level. She stressed the need for UNDP-MOPR collaboration in carrying out activities aimed at capacity building of local peace committees.
Joint Secretary Basnet said that sharing of experience was an important aspect of learning because all the LPCs have their unique experiences provided by distinct geography, culture and local context.
Head of UNDP’s Peacebuilding and Recovery Unit Mr. Dennis Curry said that the program organized exclusively for the LPC has strengthened UNDP-MoPR collaboration. He highlighted the role of LPCs in mitigating tension when issues of federalism and identity are debated at the local level—especially in run up to the elections. He also expressed commitment to continue support to local level initiatives aimed at promoting peace.
LPC Coordinator of Dhanusha Mr. Parmeshwor Shah suggested the MoPR and UNDP to carry out capacity building programs for all the 75 LPCs as well as remaining members of the LPCs in Dhanusha, Banke and Kailali.