Peace and Diplomacy

Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement

The Centre aims to contribute to fresh developments building on the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. Our perspective is that the peace process must continue to be a sign of hope in the wider international context. Values, ethos, aspirations, and respect for human rights are central to the Good Friday Agreement. Relationships are more important than constitutional forms. Day-to-day ‘lived life’ is more important than abstract ideas. How do we safeguard the vision behind the Good Friday Agreement in changing political circumstances?

Does 21st century peacebuilding depend on local civil society engagement, with external influences set to one side, or can the regional context make it easier to resolve individual conflicts?  Based on our experience on this island, our perspective is that engagement with the major trends of our time can help us discern a way forward at local level and vice-versa. 

On this island we have learned also that some or all of the following principles ought to shape the pursuit of political solutions through dialogue: 

  • the need to understand the historical background to any conflict; 
  • the relevance to conflict resolution of the wider political context; 
  • the inevitable co-existence of different narratives, including perspectives that are different to our own;
  • the need to develop long-term frameworks of engagement, inclusive of the key parties; 
  • economic solidarity among the actors; 
  • the detailed exploration of possible next steps or confidence-building measures short of definitive solutions.