Democracy is asked to do more than just provide representation: in many instances it is expected to be the vehicle for ensuring that social needs are met and human security is guaranteed.

This report is a synthesis of the regional workshop ‘Towards Liberating Democracy: Devolution of Power Matters’, held in Bangkok on 16–17 February 2007. The workshop drew on experiences from Aceh, Mindanao, West Papua and southern Thailand to address the nexus between democracy, conflict and human security.

Devolution of power can be an important means of securing peace because, if done in a meaningful way, it empowers people to set their own priorities and decide how their own human-security needs can be met. If different groups feel that they have a genuine stake in government and the political system, scope then exists for ‘positive’ peace, by which is meant ‘peace with development and human security’, not just an absence of conflict.

Although each of the examples is different, the report identifies a number of common threads that provide a basis for genuine power devolution leading to human security


Publication date
04 October 2007
Number of pages
978-91-85724-21-5 (Print)



Overview: project concept

The workshop

Defining the concepts: lessons learnt

Addressing structural strains and the ethnic and religious dimensions of conflict

West Papua

Some common elements

Prospects of devolution and decentralization of power to achieve ‘positive peace’ in conflict-prone societies

Strategies to prevent, alleviate and resolve conflicts

Concluding remarks: ways forward


Annex 1. Programme

Annex 2. Biographical details   

Annex 3. List of participants

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Towards Liberating Democracy: Devolution of Power Matters

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