Covid-19 effects on peace and conflict dynamics – Implications for the EU conflict prevention capacities

Webinar · 27.05.2021 15:00 - 16:30

Thursday 27 May 2021, at 15.00 – 16.30 EEST

The repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic in conflict-affected and fragile contexts have concerned experts and scholars since the beginning of the global crisis. Experts have warned that the pandemic would not only worsen humanitarian crises but that it would also be weaponised by conflict parties, whilst some have hoped that the crisis would catalyse de-escalation of violent dynamics. This webinar takes stock of the accumulated knowledge on the effects of Covid-19 on peace and conflict dynamics one year into the pandemic and discusses the need for conflict prevention and peacebuilding during the pandemic recovery. In this regard, it focuses on the EU and its renewed structures and instruments aimed at supporting development, peace and security in its external action. What should international actors, such as the European Union, expect from the pandemic’s implications for peace and how prepared are they to ameliorate the risks?

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Opening words

Mika Aaltola

Director, FIIA

Dr Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA. Dr Aaltola is also a Professor of International Relations at Tallinn University, Estonia, and holds the rank of docent at Tampere University. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Sciences Po (CERI), and Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. His areas of expertise include the US global role, dynamics of power politics, and Finnish foreign policy. His latest published monograph is "Democratic Vulnerability and Autocratic Meddling – The 'Thucydidean Brink' in Regressive Geopolitical Competition" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2021).


Katariina Mustasilta

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, FIIA

Dr Katariina Mustasilta is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at FIIA. She is part of the Institute’s European Union research programme and her research focuses on political violence and conflict trends and the EU’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining FIIA, Dr Mustasilta worked at the EUISS, where she covered conflict research relevant to the EU’s integrated approach to conflicts and crises. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Government Department at the University of Essex. Her PhD thesis focused on the role of traditional governance in sub-Saharan African countries’ internal conflicts.

Patricia Justino

Senior Research Fellow, UNU-Wider

Professor Patricia Justino is Senior Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER and a Professorial Fellow (on leave) at the Institute of Development Studies in the UK. She is a development economist working on the relationship between political violence, institutional transformation, governance and development outcomes. She has led several research programmes, including the EU-funded MICROCON programme (2007-2012). Her research has been published in the Journal of Development Economics, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, World Development and the World Bank Economic Review, among others. She has advised several international organisations, including DFID, FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UN Women and the World Bank, and is the co-founder and co-director of the Households in Conflict Network. She holds a MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Economics from the University of London. She has held visiting positions at Harvard University (2007-09) and the European University Institute (2017), among others.

Alexei Jones

Senior Policy Officer, ECDPM

Dr Alexei Jones is an international affairs and development policy expert with extensive experience in policy research and analysis and in-depth knowledge of the global and European development and financing for development agenda. Since 2017, he is a Senior Policy Officer at the European Centre for Development Policy management (ECDPM) where he leads the work on European development policy and practice, including the EU’s external financing instruments, the programming of EU aid, as well as the EU and member states working together. Before joining ECDPM, Alexei worked as an independent consultant and as policy officer at the European Commission. He has a strong track record of advising EU institutions, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders on development policy formulation, institutional processes and strategic negotiations. Alexei Jones is part-time University Lecturer at the Institute of Political Science. Alexei has an academic background in international law, development economics and politics. He holds a PhD in Public International Law and Development Studies from the University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis (France).

Bernardo Venturi

Associate Fellow, IAI

Dr Bernardo Venturi is Associate Fellow at IAI, where he focuses on Africa, civilian crisis management, EU external relations, peacebuilding and development. He is also Director and Co-Founder of the Agency for Peacebuilding (AP). He has 15 years of experience as a scholar and a practitioner, publishing extensively on peacebuilding, security, Africa affairs and European Union foreign policy. He consults for international organisations and NGOs and he lectures in several MA courses and international training programmes. Dr Venturi obtained his PhD in 2009 from the University of Bologna, where he also held a post-doctoral research fellowship. Periods of study and research led him to the Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, to the Moldova State University, to the Oslo’s Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Norway, to the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and to the Sussex University in the UK. Among his past positions, he also contributed to the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) serving as Steering Committee member and he was a Lecturer for five years at the Marist College, Florence Branch Campus.


Juha Jokela

Programme Director, FIIA

Dr Juha Jokela is the Programme Director of the European Union research programme at FIIA. His current research interests include political implications of Brexit, and differentiated integration in EU’s external relations. Dr Jokela’s previous projects and publications include EU’s sanctions policy, political and security developments in the Arctic, EU’s role in the G20, Europeanization of foreign policy, and Finland’s EU policy. Previously he has worked at the EUISS as a Senior Associated Analyst and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Advisor at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Research Fellow and Director of the Network for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. Dr Jokela holds a PhD from the University of Bristol (UK).