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Navigating inclusion in peace processes

Research, data, and analysis on political settlements by the Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP) has been applied in a variety of ways across multiple contexts.

PSRP felt photography

Societal impact

Making political settlements and peace processes more inclusive and effective is one of PSRP’s key goals. PSRP works with peacebuilders and communities affected by conflict in a variety of ways, including through active on-the-ground support through its partners, as well as through its advisory and tech development work.

Supporting active peace processes

Through its partner Conciliation Resources (CR), PSRP has supported the peace process between the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Government of Ethiopia. CR has supported peace negotiations between the two sides for the past seven years, helping the parties reach a peace deal in 2018. Earlier in 2019, CR provided logistical support to a critical ONLF conference which marked the group’s first step in its transition from an armed actor to a political party. The conference, which was attended by over 400 people, brought together representatives of the Somali regional government, federal and regional-level political parties, a range of traditional elders, and civil society groups including youth groups and women’s organisations. Learn more about Conciliation Resources’ support to this peace process.

Advising peacemakers

PSRP has advised stakeholders of the Colombian peace process on legal matters which helped overcome a strategic stalemate during the negotiations, achieving an important milestone in the peace process. Two major national newspapers in Columbia (El Espectador and El Tiempo) cited PSRP research in support of an agreement and the research was referenced during an interview conducted with the main political magazine (Semana). PSRP was also referenced by the Colombian peace mediator when presenting the peace agreement to the Colombian constitutional court. Professor Louise Mallinder of Phase I partner Transitional Justice Institute submitted an amicus brief based on PSRP data to the Colombian courts, where the operation of the jurisdiction with reference to amnesty is being challenged. The case is now awaiting judgement.

Advancing peace through technology

PSRP hosts the nascent Edinburgh PeaceTech initiative, a multidisciplinary effort to develop data tools and applications contributing to peace. Edinburgh PeaceTech seeks to connect data with active support to peace processes using new interactive technology and platforms. For example, the initiative is developing a mobile app with UN Women, the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative, and Monash University that offers insights into how peace deals have previously made provision for women. Another output is a series of infographics that lets negotiators see at a glance how power-sharing agreements have evolved worldwide. Edinburgh PeaceTech brings together experts in informatics, art and design, political science, and law, as well as from tech companies and NGOs – most notably Beyond BordersLearn more about how we’re advancing peace through technology.

Responding to emerging global crises

As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps around the globe, PSRP is working to understand the Covid-19-peace-conflict nexus. We are tracking the results of the UN ceasefires call; researching the impact of Covid-19 and related response policies on peace processes and armed conflict; researching intergovernmental responses to Covid-19 in the Global South; and curating the Covid-19 Resource Hub, a suite of resources addressing the pandemic from the perspective of conflict-affected regions.

 

Policy engagement

PSRP researchers regularly provide data and analysis to contribute to evidence-based policy making. PSRP’s PA-X Peace Agreements Database offers policy makers and practitioners a rich resource to quickly access peace agreement provisions. This data can be used to compare and contrast the outcomes of a diverse range of peace agreement negotiations. This analysis can yield important lessons learned and policy points that can usefully inform policy-making.

Examples of PSRP’s policy engagement include:

UK conflict policy

PSRP has provided substantive input to UK conflict policy, for example through their engagement on sequencing of peace agreements and constitutional processes. PSRP research also shaped the themes on conflict-resolution processes and fair power structures, informing DFID’s ‘Building Stability’ Framework, and the DFID/ODI-hosted Wilton Park Conference on Re-thinking Conflict, State building and Fragility.The UK government’s new Stabilisation Guide explains its approach to stabilisation (protect, promote, prepare) and refers to the PSRP in the context of political bargaining and political settlements in (post-)conflict countries. The guide highlights Bell and Pospisil’s work on formalised political unsettlement, as well as PSRP papers on politicalmilitary, and economic power-sharing, and business and peace agreements.

Women, Peace and Security agenda

A PSRP recommendation was featured in the 15-year review of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which fed into the new 2015 UNSC Resolution on Women, Peace and Security. Following this recommendation, the German Government provided $5 million to support training and policy advice to women in Middle East peace processes over the next five years.

PSRP data also informed the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 annual report on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1325 and 2122. The report sets out the continued importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and calls for the UN and its member states to strengthen efforts towards implementation. The report cites data from the PSRP’s PA-X Peace Agreements Database on inclusion of gender references in peace agreements, which shows that between 1990 and 2018, only 353 of 1,789 agreements (19.7 per cent) included provisions addressing women, girls or gender. Finally, PSRP has co-produced a short video with UN Women explaining seven tactics for women to influence stalled peace processes.

Other multilateral policies

PSRP data from the PA-X Gender Peace Agreements Database and the Covid-19 Ceasefires Tracker informed the OECD’s States of Fragility 2020, which examines the dramatic impact of Covid-19 on the global state of fragility and sets out a policy agenda at a critical turning point. The report also refers to Untangling Conflict: Local Peace Agreements in Contemporary Armed Violence by Jan Pospisil, Laura Wise, and Christine Bell.

Other PSRP work has informed the World Bank’s World Development Report 2017. In addition, Professor Bell’s work, including her research on ‘formalised political unsettlements’ with Jan Pospisil, has been cited in the influential 2018 joint World Bank-United Nations Pathways for Peace study.

The Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) gave confidential advice to an international organisation on the use of transitional funding mechanisms. ASPR’s advice drew on the PA-X peace agreement database and publications about multi-donor trust funds to analyse when and how such funds had been set up, and where funds had addressed similar conditions in other countries.

 

Academic impact

PSRP publishes data on peace agreementsvisualisations, project reports, and a range of written academic outputs such as journal articles and monographs. This research provides other scholars conceptual and empirical stepping stones to study issues around political settlements, peace, and conflict across various disciplines, including gender studies, history, international relations, law, political science, socio-legal studies.

PSRP’s academic impact is reflected by the increasing amount of references to PSRP research in data features, journal articles, reports, and official documents

Academic output Citation details
The Minsk Agreements – more than “scraps of paper”?, 2019, by Cindy Wittke, East European Politics, 35:3, 264-690

Wittke builds on Christine Bell and Jan Pospisil’s concept of formalised political unsettlement to explain why the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Agreements remain relevant despite their flawed implementation. She argues that the agreements provide platforms to contest and redefine political power and legitimacy, creating an environment of formalised political unsettlement. The agreements’ relevance today can thus best be explained by their function as frameworks for negotiation, rather than the success or failure of the agreements’ implementation.

Towards inclusive peace: Analysing gender-sensitive peace agreements 2000-2016 2019, by Jacqui
True and Yolanda
Riveros-Morales, International Political Science Review, 40:1,
23-40
True and Riveros-Morales use PA-X Women data to statistically analyse which factors explain the presence of gender provisions in 98 peace agreements. They find that three factors increase the likelihood of gender provision inclusion when they occur simultaneously: (1) women’s participation in peace processes, (2) women’s representation in parliament, and (3) women’s civil society pressure. This article provides tangible evidence for practitioners seeking to improve peace agreements’ gender-sensitivity and inclusiveness.
The known knowns and known unknowns in
data on women, peace
and security
, 2019, by Robert Nagel, Paper 19/2019 in
LSE Women, Peace
and Security Working
Paper Series
Nagel surveys available data and research relevant to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, stating that PA-X ‘offers the best opportunity to systematically examine […] the role and effect of gendering peace agreements’ (p. 13). Nagel also cites Bell’s 2015 PSRP report about power-sharing and the inclusion of women in peace negotiations published by UN Women. Finally, the report offers best practice advice on collecting and interpreting quantitative data.
The internationalization of security sector gender reforms in post-conflict countries, 2019, by
L. Huber and S. Karim
Huber and Karim draw on the Women and Peace Agreements Database (PA-X Women), among other datasets, to study which factors determine whether security sector reforms (SSR) are gender balanced by examining post-conflict countries in the 1989 – 2012 period. Their study finds that UN multidimensional peacekeeping operations (PKOs) have a significant positive impact on gender balancing, even moure so than female political representation or gendered peace agreements. This study underscores the impact PKOs can have on gender balancing in SSR, while raising questions about the sustainability of SSR gender balancing once PKOs exit.
The Minsk Agreements – more than “scraps of paper”?, 2019, by
C. Wittke
Wittke builds on Christine Bell and Jan Pospisil’s concept of formalised political unsettlement to explain why the 2014 and 2015 Minsk Agreements remain relevant despite their flawed implementation. She argues that the agreements provide platforms to contest and redefine political power and legitimacy, creating an environment of formalised political unsettlement. The agreements’ relevance today can thus best be explained by their function as frameworks for negotiation, rather than the success or failure of the agreements’ implementation.
Towards inclusive peace: Analysing gender-sensitive peace agreements 2000-2016, 2019, by J. True and Y. Riveros-Morales True and Riveros-Morales use PA-X Women data to statistically analyse which factors explain the presence of gender provisions in 98 peace agreements. They find that three factors increase the likelihood of gender provision inclusion when they occur simultaneously: (1) women’s participation in peace processes, (2) women’s representation in parliament, and (3) women’s civil society pressure. This article provides tangible evidence for practitioners seeking to improve peace agreements’ gender-sensitivity and inclusiveness.
What prevents peace? Women and peacebuilding in Bosnia and Nepal, 2019, by M. Berry and T. Rana

 

 

 

Berry and Rana cite Christine Bell and Sanja Badanjak’s 2018 article introducing the Peace Agreements Database (PA-X) in their study of obstacles to peace in women’s lives after war. Based on interviews with women in Bosnia and Nepal, they identify five key barriers to women’s enjoyment of peace in their daily lives: (1) economic insecurity, (2) competing narratives of the origins and victims of conflict, (3) hierarchies among victims, (4) continued violence and trauma, and (5) displacement and disruption of lives. The article highlights ways in which women seek to overcome these barriers, including by creating women-only spaces for reconciliation.
Peace processes of the 1990s: A report for the Varieties of Peace
Research Program,
2018, by V. Johansson
Johansson analyses civil wars and their related peace processes in the 1990s based on the PA-X database and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s (UCDP) outputs. Johansson provides an overview of 103 internal armed of conflicts of the 1990s, including the parties involved, and information on when and how they ended. He finds that provisions on ceasefires, development, and rebel inclusion were the three most common provisions in the 696 civil war peace agreements under review.
Toward inclusive peace: Mapping gender-sensitive peace agreements 2000-2016, 2018, by K. Lee-Koo and J. True Lee-Koo and True’s report is based on the same research as True and Riveros-Morales’ aforementioned journal article. Based on their analysis of agreements from PA-X Women, Lee-Koo and True recommend actors to: ‘1. Support women’s participation in all areas of the peace process: elite peace processes, national parliaments, and women’s civil society. 2. Support the inclusion of gender provisions across all areas and in all agreements during the peace process’ (p. 6).
What has happened to gender provisions in
peace agreements?
,
2019, by Agathe Christien, Georgetown Institute
for Women, Peace and Security blog
Agathe Christien uses PA-X Peace Agreements Database data to investigate a recent dip in peace agreement provisions for women. Christien identifies several possible reasons for the regression and makes recommendations for moving forward to ensure women’s inclusion.
The authors argue that the effect of ceasefires is driven both by certain underlying logics and by the provisions they contain. The authors build on the PA-X database to capture the provisions included within all written civil war ceasefires between 1990 and 2019.
Youth-led peace: The role of youth in peace processes‘, 2021, by Asli Ozcelik, Yulia Nesterova, Graeme Young and Alex Maxwell at the University
of Glasgow
A new research report on the role of youth in peace processes from the University of Glasgow cites the PA-X Spotlight Report, ‘Local peace processes: Opportunities and challenges for women’s engagement‘ by PSRP and UN Women.