4 May 2022

Fostering constructive relations

Approaches to trust-building in peacebuilding interventions

The international community is currently facing a dilemma: although building trust between representatives of state institutions and the population is one of the fundamental components of cooperation between donors and recipient countries of support services in the security sector, we are observing worldwide that trust in state institutions fades. Confidence-building initiatives between citizens and, for example, the police and the military obviously do not always contribute to improvement. Therefore, basic assumptions about the role of trust and how trust-building works in conflict societies must be questioned.


Viktoria Budde, Karoline Eickhoff


In this research report, the authors analyse established assumptions of the international community on the role of trust between state and social actors and contrast them with scientific findings. They uncover which assumptions are actually scientifically sound and which should be re-examined. Finally, gaps in knowledge are revealed that researchers should address in the future if trust-building is to be based on even more sound scientific pillars. This research report is the result of a research cooperation between the IFSH and the Berghof Foundation.

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