Networking

Pax Christi International increases the capacity and effectiveness of the movement and global network. Frequent continental and regional gatherings play a key role in facilitating consultations and exchanges among Pax Christi Member Organisations around the world.

Simultaneously, along with economic globalisation, we are witnessing what we call a “globalisation from below,” which is a crucial feature when “networking from below” for justice and peace.

Technological advances, such as the internet, allow international networks of people’s movements and solidarity organisations to exchange information on issues and organise international advocacy campaigns in conjunction with many other multilateral players.

Cooperative globalisation, rather than globalisation built on competition, is part and parcel of any networking for justice and peace. Networks will stimulate cooperation without neglecting the autonomy and self-determination of individual groups.

 

Expansion of Players

The community of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has seen an enormous expansion, with the growth of NGOs, coalitions, campaigns and networks, both at the national and international level.

A healthy working relationship between the states and NGOs in an atmosphere of mutual respect and in joint coalitions and global networks is the only alternative in order to make progress on issues such as peace building and reconciliation in a globalised world.

 

Partnership and Collaboration

Almost all of our peace campaigning and networking is done in partnership with other groups. Sometimes it is relevant and appropriate that Pax Christi International acts on its own; however, increasingly, in order to be more effective, networking and collaboration, especially at the request of like-minded diplomats, is the only alternative.

We see collaboration as an essential part of peace building work and are pleased to play a facilitating role where we can. We operate in conjunction with peace organisations and peace networks on all continents.

We work with Churches to develop ecumenical thinking on reconciliation, dialogue, peace and justice, and with other Christian peace organisations to widen the profile of justice and peace issues of Churches in general.

Through networking, Pax Christi International also seeks to have a transforming influence, making religion an unequivocal force for peace and justice. It is Catholic in origin and tradition, and firmly committed to cooperation with other religious traditions and with all who share its values, principles and objectives.

We are linked with other agencies worldwide, sharing experiences and resources and working together on joint projects whenever possible.

The different networks and coalitions or campaigns, should have an impact not only on the international level, for instance at the United Nations or with the European Union, but should also be effective at the local, regional, and national levels.

In many cases, decision making begins from below, or from the national level. That is why many of Pax Christi’s Member Organisations actively participate in local and national networks for peace.

 

Networking from Below

Networking for peace must include peace building from below, especially, but not exclusively, in conflict zones and in potential conflict areas. NGOs do recognise “local ownership” as essential for breaking cycles of violence.

Local networks and initiatives have the advantage of direct access to affected populations, knowledge of the local languages and conditions, and the ability to gain people’s trust, for example: women’s groups, inter-faith initiatives, local businesses striving for job creation, or the use of radio to counter disinformation or provide a forum for debate. Local strength and resilience should be supported.

Establishing groups committed to human rights, justice, indigenous self-determination, or sustainable development is not sufficient if these groups lack engagement with political structures. Community-based organisations and coalitions together with local governments need strategies to bridge gaps in responsibility and accountability.

This can be done by identifying a consensus on needs, tasks, roles, and establishing forums and networks where government representatives and the community can listen to each other.

A more integrated “up and down” approach is needed to bring all stakeholders – men, women, elders, youth, traditional and official leadership, religious representatives, and the government together for an integrated impact and change.

Networking for peace is a very demanding but essential way forward to effectively contributing towards peace, justice, and reconciliation through globalised solidarity.