Peru is still in the midst of a reconciliation process after the bloody civil war that took place among rural indigenous communities during the 1980s. It also faces a resurgence of the armed guerrilla and increased violence due to conflicts resulting from the exploitation and distribution of natural resources.
In 1993, the Ombudsperson Office was established as an autonomous public institution that would defend human rights and promote mediation and conciliation initiatives. In 2008 the government launched a program, in order to lay the groundwork for a Decentralized National System for Prevention and Constructive Conflict Management and Transformation. It was led by the Council of Ministers (PREVCON, www.prevcon.gob.pe), funded by international cooperation; the funds were administered by the UNDP.
The central goal was to institutionalise dialogue and peaceful mechanisms for channelling social demands timely and through democratic institutions. The program developed a decentralised approach for building capacities at regional and local level, involving public sector officers and civil society leaders. In October 2012, its profile and name were once more changed: it is now called the National Office of Dialogue and Sustainability (ONDS).
As conflicts in the country increased, each successive prime minister emphasised different approaches within the Conflict Management Unit with either more focus on dialogue and trust building or more on the use of force and detention of opposition leaders. Government and CSOs had widely varying relationships, ranging from ‘partners' to ‘opponent'. Most observers feel the program helped in the creation of broader capacity building throughout the country, although inconsistencies in government approaches reduced its impact.