The idea has gained ground in recent years that, as conflicts in the countries of the Great Lakes Region are strongly interlinked, regional approaches are necessary to resolve them. This interest in regional dimensions of conflict and peacebuilding also gains currency in other parts of the world. Attention to regional approaches is reflected in the efforts of international organisations and donors to promote civil society peacebuilding. They assume that regional cooperation and exchange between civil society organisations contribute to peace, and provide an alternative to single-country interventions or regional diplomatic initiatives. This paper explores how such assumptions work out in practice. Experiences in the Great Lakes Region show that local and international organisations have difficulty in analysing the regional character of conflict and arriving at collaborative regional strategies. Moreover, local civil society organisations are deeply embedded in the politics of regional conflict. Consequently, the shift to regional peacebuilding approaches remains more theoretical than practical. This paper suggests that international supporting organisations need to adjust their ambitions in regional peacebuilding, but nonetheless have roles in fostering regional identification among civil society organisations.