The de facto ending of the contra war in Nicaragua1 in 1987, the formal Peace Agreement in El Salvador in 1992, and the Peace Accords in Guatemala in 1996 were significant events in the inception of what I call the post-Cold War ‘Peace Turn’. This was the moment when peace and peacebuilding became part of the agenda of Western governments and international agencies. El Salvador was one of the first countries to engage in a formal UN-brokered peace agreement, and the experience was one of a number of Cold War peace settlements that influenced the UN secretary-general’s announcement of a UN ‘Agenda for Peace’ in 1992. A supplementary paper in 19952 noted that since the late 1980s, the UN had helped parties in conflict to implement post-conflict settlements, and cited Namibia, Angola, El Salvador, Cambodia and Mozambique as examples of successful operations. The document developed the idea of post-conflict peacebuilding as a further aspect of the Agenda for Peace. ‘Building Peace’ became a major enterprise of the international community, intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations. It was rarely recognized that there could be a fundamental tension between the ‘Peace Turn’ and the global ‘Neoliberal Turn’ with which it coincided.3


Regional Perspective Peace Accord Peace Process Truth Commission Truth Telling 
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© Jenny Pearce 2016

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