Negotiation Support for Resistance and Liberation Movements

This project offers negotiation training and process support to resistance and liberation movements (RLMs) in transition. Its objective is to improve conditions for political solutions to violent conflict by enhancing the negotiation capacities of these widely overlooked conflict actors. A network of RLMs was created to provide space to share experiences, reflect negotiation strategies and enhance capacities to enter into effective and meaningful negotiations.

Within this network, we offer policy advice and practical process support, including tailor-made support to participating groups. Annual workshops combine thematic and methodological inputs and provide space for actors from similar movements to share and mutually learn. Practical, hands-on tools aimed to assist the movements’ strategy-making processes are jointly developed with the participants and include self-reflective studies, strategic frameworks and policy reports on issues crucial to the negotiation and transformation processes. 


2009 – 2015

Conflict Setting

Engagement with non-state armed groups (NSAG) or resistance and liberation movements (RLM) - often the adversaries to state actors - is vital to end violence and achieve sustainable peace. Although they are major actors in contemporary ethnopolitical conflicts, an ongoing policy of isolation and containment still makes it difficult for these actors to explore alternative options to violent conflicts. Cognisant of RLMs’ significance for conflict transformation, we provide space to enhance their capacities and skills in effective negotiation. We work specifically with “resistance and liberation movements”, movements that pursue political aspirations, enjoy the support of their constituency, are formally organised and express their readiness to respect International Humanitarian Law.


Some of the key issues RLMs repeatedly bring up concern negotiation skills and strategies. Our seminars therefore focus on questions such as how best to prepare and improve negotiation capacities, how to create frameworks involving reluctant states, how to establish and uphold circumstances conducive to negotiations (trust-building, communication, safety and security, safety nets, etc.) and how to tackle critical negotiation topics such as security transition processes, public participation and inclusivity, power sharing and transitional justice.
By offering policy advice and practical process support to a network of RLMs, we address these questions along with numerous other negotiation-related issues selected by the groups themselves. As such, our approach is guided by the notion of ownership.

The project pursues four specific objectives:

  • Tailor-made support: Individual groups are assisted in the strategy-development process for their specific negotiations (e.g. negotiation simulation, designing negotiation roadmaps, devising communication policies, etc.),
  • Peer-advice: The RLM network is consolidated into a pool of experts offering advice to similar movements: those, who have successfully undergone the transition process advise those who are currently still in or yet to enter the process of transformation,
  • Learning: Space is provided for self-reflection and exchange on a variety of topics, including security management, negotiation process designs, international humanitarian law, national dialogue and lessons learned from failed negotiations,
  • Policy advice: Outcomes of participatory research and practical findings are transferred into general recommendations for policymakers.

Aims & Outcomes

This project’s overall objective is to support efforts to transform violent conflicts by enhancing resistance and liberation movements’ negotiation capacities.

To this end, we have conducted five meetings on negotiations for our network members since 2010. In addition, we have provided targeted support to network members through tailor-made trainings on topics such as national dialogue, communication and policy strategy. In the course of the project, RLM representatives wrote eleven self-reflective studies, while another six policy reports and briefs were published.


Negotiation support for resistance and liberation movements is offered cross-regionally.


Local partners: Approximately 15 resistance and liberation movements (RLM) constitute the network at the core of this project.

In addition, numerous renowned experts, practitioners and academics in fields such as international mediation, negotiation and international law have shared their experience and knowledge with the RLMs.

Annual Negotiation Meetings

Six meetings on negotiation have taken place from 2009 to 2014, covering the following issues and topics:

  • Designing Effective Communication Strategies (2014),
  • Failed Negotiations and National Dialogue (2013),
  • Security Arrangements before, during and after Negotiations (2012),
  • National Dialogue and Land Rights (2011),
  • International Law and Peace Negotiations (October 2010),
  • Effective Negotiations Design and Processes (March 2010).

Tailor-made support

In addition to the annual RLM network negotiation meetings, several bilateral consultations and strategy meetings were conducted on topics such as National Dialogues, effective negotiation design and engagement policy with state and the international community.

Tools for Strategy-Making

  • Common Space Initiative: National Dialogue Process Tool. 2011. PDF >

Related Publications

Research Reports, Meeting Reports, Policy Briefs

  • Hans J. Giessmann: Fundamentalism, Extremism, Terrorism: Commonalities, Differences and Policy Implications. In: Bruce A. Arrigo & Heather Y. Bersot (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of International Crime and Justice Studies. 2013. London: Routledge, pp. 516-538.
  • Véronique Dudouet, Hans J. Giessmann & Katrin Planta: From Combatants to Peacebuilders. A Case for Inclusive, Participatory and Holistic Security Transitions. 2012. Policy Report . Hardcopy >
  • Véronique Dudouet: Anti-Terrorism Legislation and Prospects for Conflict Transformation. 2011. Policy Brief No. 2. PDF >
  • Véronique Dudouet & Sophie Haspeslagh: Mediating Peace with Proscribed Armed Groups: A Policy Workshop Report on the Implications of European Union (EU) Counter-Terrorism Legislation for Mediation and Support for Peace Processes. 2011. Berlin and London, Berghof Peace Support and Conciliation Resources. PDF >
  • Oliver Wils & Véronique Dudouet: Peace Mediation and Listed Terrorist Organizations: Challenges for Peacebuilding. 2010. USIP. PDF >
  • Véronique Dudouet: From War to Politics: Resistance/Liberation Movements in Transition. 2009. Report No. 17. Hardcopy >
  • Véronique Dudouet: Negotiating Conflict Settlements. Lessons Learnt and Challenges: Roundtable Meeting Report 7-9 March 2008, Schwanenwerder, Berlin, Germany. 2008. Hardcopy >
  • All publications from the Transitions Series  >