The Civil Peace Service (CPS) has proven a successful new instrument for civil society based peacebuilding within the framework of German development
cooperation. The core task of the CPS is the placement of peace experts. In an
external evaluation of the development phase of the Service, the CPS has been
called a successful policy initiative based on governmental and nongovernmental
The vision of the players united in the CPS is a “positive peace” that is closely linked
to the concept of “justice.” Positive peace does not only imply the absence of physical
violence but also the creation and strengthening of participatory and inclusive
structures which allow the long-term prevention of the eruption of physical violence.
The goal of the CPS is to influence, by nonviolent means, the form and dynamics of a
given conflict in such a way that violence is prevented, ended, or at least reduced
(“working on conflict”). This applies to all three phases of a conflict: prior to the eruption
of violence, during the violence, and after its end (post-conflict activities). This is
where the CPS differs from general conflict-sensitive development cooperation, with
the latter making an important contribution towards eliminating the structural causes
of violent conflict (“working in conflict”).
The CPS always works with local partners in its projects in order to identify opportunities
for fostering peace which exist in civil society and to strengthen local forces for
nonviolent conflict settlement. It also seeks to bring influence to bear on violent
actors. With a view to ensuring that projects are sustainable, the employment and
support of local peace experts is another important component of CPS projects,
alongside the placement of expatriate personnel. This is why staff cost generally
accounts for the largest portion of the project cost.