Local Ownership and Liberal Peacebuilding: From Rhetoric to Practice? Sierra Leone as a Case Study

This paper was presented during the last European Conference on African Studies, that took place in Uppsala (Sweden) between June 15th and 18th 2011. The paper highlights the main issues that later were dealt on in my PhD dissertation. Here, there is just an abstract. You can find the whole paper in the following link: http://www.nai.uu.se/ecas-4/panels/1-20/panel-3/Oscar-Mateos.pdf

“Local ownership” has become probably one the most relevant mantras in post-conflict peacebuilding interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasingly, local ownership is seen as a critical aspect to ensure the sustainability and the legitimacy of peacebuilding reforms. Rhetorically, “local ownership” has to do with the degree of control that locals have in the design and implementation of post-conflict peacebuilding reforms. In practice, however, “local ownership” hides several contradictions and tensions that pose important challenges and dilemmas to post-conflict peacebuilding. By analyzing the case of Sierra Leone, the paper pretends to deal with three different issues. First of all, we want to discuss why “local ownership” has become such a relevant concept. Secondly, to analyse the different meanings, perceptions and problems that are underlying in the concept itself. Finally, the paper will discuss if it is possible to go beyond rhetoric and to put in practice any kind of “local ownership” in a country as Sierra Leone. All in all, the paper wants to contribute to a better understanding of how international and domestic political forces interact in post-conflict situations and what relationship between the two is most likely to be conducive to the goal of sustainable peace.


Este paper fue presentado durante la última Conferencia Europea de Estudios Africanos, que tuvo lugar en Uppsala (Suecia) entre el 15 y el 18 de junio de 2011. El artículo destaca las principales cuestiones que fueron más tarde abordadas en mi tesis doctoral. Esto es sólo un resumen. Puede encontrarse el documento completo en el siguiente enlace: http://www.nai.uu.se/ecas-4/panels/1-20/panel-3/Oscar-Mateos.pdf