Reducing Armed Conflict In Ghana

Reducing Armed Conflict In Ghana

Year(s): 2002 – present.

Location: Ghana.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Peace infrastructure.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of Ghana, the UN Development Programme, and local people and organisations.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: Armed conflict across Ghana has been reduced by the construction and maintenance of a comprehensive peace infrastructure.

Description of Case 

After committing so many resources to ending the armed conflicts and pervasive instability that plagued the Northern Region between 1994 and 2002, the regional government established the Northern Region Peace Advisory Council (NRPAC) in 2003 and tasked it with coordinating the efforts of government and civil society groups (such as the NGO Consortium established in response to the Guinea Fowl War and traditional chieftains such as the Asantehene) as they worked to prevent armed conflict and mediate a peaceful resolution to disputes.[1] NRPAC is formed of 24 members appointed by the regional government. The composition reflects a spectrum of religious groups, political parties, traditional elders, chieftains, representatives of women and youth groups, as well as police and security personnel.[2] In 2006, with assistance from the UN Development Programme, the Ghanaian Ministry of the Interior embarked on a project to expand the peace infrastructure emerging in the Northern Region to the entire country, with peace advisory councils at the district, regional, and national level serving to monitor, prevent, and resolve armed conflicts across Ghana.[3] These councils are supported by Peace Promotion Officers, who are appointed from shortlists drawn up by regional governments, and a Peacebuilding Support Unit within the Ministry of Interior.[4] This framework emerged under the policy umbrella of the National Architecture for Peace in Ghana, but was a painstaking process involving the creation and harmonisation of 212 district peace councils and 10 regional bodies.[5] 2011 represents a major milestone in the construction process, when the National Peace Council Act was approved by the Ghanaian parliament, formalising the growing role of this peace infrastructure in managing armed conflict.[6]

Since its creation, the Ghanaian peace infrastructure has helped resolve the Dagbon crisis, worked to ensure peaceful resolutions to chieftaincy disputes in Upper West Region, and mediated an end to an ongoing low-intensity conflict between the Alavanyo and Nkonya in Volta Region.[7] In addition, the National Peace Council has helped to prevent electoral violence in Ghana, with both the 2008 and 2012 contests representing serious risks of sparking armed conflict. These relatively high-level initiatives are supported by nationwide efforts to strengthen the voices of women and youth campaigning for peace, build the capacity of local people and organisations to manage conflict, and introduce guidelines for political media coverage.[8]

[1] Vincent Verzat. “Infrastructures for Peace: A Grass-roots Way To Do State-Building?” Berghof Handbook Dialogue Series No. 10. (2014) p.4

[2] Rashid Draman, Janet Adama Mohammed, & Peter Woodrow. The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Portfolio of UNDP Ghana: Evaluation Report. (Cambridge, MA: CDA, 2009) p.17

[3] Ulrike Hopp-Nishanka. “Giving Peace an Address? Reflections on the Potential and Challenges of Creating Peace Infrastructures.” In Barbara Unger, Stina Lundström, Katrin Planta, & Beatrix Austin, eds. Peace Infrastructures: Assessing Concept and Practice. (Berlin: Berghof, 2013) p.7

[4] Hopp-Nishanka. “Giving Peace an Address?” p.13

[5] William Awinador-Kanyirige. “Ghana’s National Peace Council.” Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Policy Brief. (2014) p.5

[6] National Peace Council. The National Peace Council Act, 2011. (NPC, 2021) Available at: (Accessed 7/12/2021)

[7] Draman, Mohammed, & Woodrow. The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Portfolio of UNDP Ghana. pp.27-30

[8] Ibid. pp.21-4