FEATURE | 25 Nov 2020

Incremental inclusivity in peace processes

New research insights

Our study shows how peace processes benefit from inclusivity when the timing is right.


 

Placeholder A young woman reads the official informational flyer of the Peace Caravan in Gao, Mali. August, 2013. UN Photo : MINUSMA/Marco Dormino (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Our recent study “Incremental inclusivity: A recipe for effective peace processes?” shows how peace processes benefit from inclusivity when the timing is right. Supported by an analysis of recent peace and ceasefire agreements in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mali and Myanmar, Véronique Dudouet, Senior Advisor, and Andreas Schädel, Advisor at the Berghof Foundation, present a comprehensive research report and policy brief with recommendations on the timing, sequencing and modalities of the inclusion of non-signatory armed groups and civil society actors in peace processes.

“Inclusivity has always been at the core of the Berghof Foundation’s mediation and negotiation support work. While there is growing consensus that the inclusion of various constituencies and interests in conflict resolution processes is a crucial factor in building sustainable peace, there is still a great deal of confusion and disagreement on the right timing and sequencing of their inclusion. We tackled that question in our research.” explains Dudouet, co-author of the study.

Over the course of the past two years and together with partners in the four case study countries, Dudouet and Schädel looked into questions of when and how non-signatory armed groups and civil society representatives should be included as part of a broader political settlement and how external mediators can incentivise incremental inclusivity without complicating negotiations or jeopardising the chances of concluding an agreement. Their new findings complement the knowledge on how to design and implement genuinely inclusive yet effective peace processes and they will be presented at upcoming policy events in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mali and Myanmar.

The study formulates a number of recommendations for international actors to support effective inclusion in various stages of peace processes.

Among other things, the study finds that external mediators and peace(building) support agencies should invest in capacity-building support to sectorial civil society groups and social movements in order to increase their ability to articulate their own claims for inclusion. Furthermore, the study recommends to support spaces for information-sharing between negotiating parties and other political and societal actors in order to foster trust and legitimacy in the process and its outcome while refraining from imposing ‘red lines’ or limiting the government’s freedom to engage with ‘hard to reach’ or ‘radical’ non-state armed groups.

 

Inclusivity has always been at the core of the Berghof Foundation’s mediation and negotiation support work...Véronique Dudouet, Report co-author

Next to the comprehensive research project, also check out the policy brief (available in Burmese, English, French and Spanish; translations to Dari and Pashto will be made available soon) directed at policymakers and peacebuilding organisations.


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Florian Lüdtke
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