Policy Briefs

Commentary on conflict-related political issues and events, with a focus on policy recommendations for political decision-makers, opinion-formers and influential civil society actors.


Improving Community Safety in Contested Spaces: A Handbook for Syrian Civil Society Actors (English)

The handbook is designed to help civil society actors in contested spaces and conflict settings provide safety for their communities. It outlines the key principles of the community safety approach and provides practical guidance on how to identify security challenges and how to implement strategies to counter them. The handbook was originally developed for civil society actors in Syria, but it can also be used in other contexts. The handbook is currently also available in Arabic.

Keywords: Community Safety, handbook, conflict analysis, security providers, arms proliferation, casualties, shelling, local service delivery, armed groups, action planning, community engagement

Mapping of Local Governance in Yemeni Governorates

This mapping outlines the situation faced by the population in all 22 governorates of Yemen. We see this as a working draft and welcome any additions, corrections, or comments you might have. The mapping highlights the economic activities and resources that remain available and introduces the local administration and the situation of the local council in each governorate. It explores the extent to which different institutions of local authority — local councils, executive offices, and governors’ offices — continue to perform their mandates, and provides an overview of the availability of basic services, especially in the health, education, and water and sanitation sectors. The mapping is based on the review and analysis of documents, statistics, and official reports by Yemeni and international organizations, published studies and research, and interviews with local leaders in the governorates.

Keywords: Yemen, local governance, Abyan, Aden, Amran, Al-Baydha, Capital City of Sana’a, Al-Dhalea, Dhamar, Hadhramout, Hajjah, Al-Hodeidah, Ibb, Al-Jawf, Lahj, Al-Mahra, Al-Mahweet, Marib, Raymah, Sa’adah, Sana’a, Shabwah, Socotra, Taiz

Berghof Glossar zu Konflikttransformation und Friedensförderung. 20 Essays zu Theorie und Praxis

Das Berghof Glossar zur Konflikttransformation und Friedensförderung stellt die wichtigsten Grundprinzipien und -ansätze unserer Arbeit vor, in der wir Menschen und Konfliktparteien auf der ganzen Welt bei ihren Bestrebungen begleiten, eine friedlichere Zukunft zu schaffen.

Constitution Making in Contexts of Conflict: Paying Attention to Process

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Carl sets the background of his study as such: Behind the headlines of reformed and new constitutions lie complex and dynamic processes with prominent and less prominent actors and initiatives, all taking place in same space and time as the ongoing crisis and conflicts. When successful, their actions add up to processes of constitution building that represent a new and purposeful dynamic of accommodation and assertion of a new law-based order. This transformative change emerges out of the counter-current of powerful and self-perpetuating economic, political and social systems of conflict. Within this background, Carl addresses questions like: what do we know about how such change processes happen, and what can we learn from those deliberate, planned and implemented projects, initiatives and interventions? He sets out a series of framing issues and concepts.

Keywords: Constitution making, Constitution building, process, peacemaking, mediated peace negotiations

From Armed Intra-State Conflict to a Functioning Constitutional Order. Reconciling Principles of...

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Töpperwien focuses on third party interventions in the field of mediation and constitution building in conflict contexts. Based on different practitioner-oriented literature, she looks at the different processes and sub-processes around the nexus to analyse the theories of change and the resulting intervention strategies that focus on the transition from armed intra-state conflict to a functioning constitutional order. She identifies the perceived similarities and differences, tensions and complementarities in respect to applied principles that can be encountered.

Keywords: Third-party interventions, mediators, constitution building, constitutional order, intervention strategies, intra-state conflict

The Imperative of Constitutionalizing Peace Agreements

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Nathan seeks to contribute to an understanding of the relationship between comprehensive peace agreements (CPAs) and post-conflict constitutions (PCCs). He defines a PCC as a new or revised constitution enacted as part of efforts to end a violent intra-state conflict and prevent its recurrence. This definition focuses on the purpose and not the timing of the constitutional reform. It encompasses constitutional reform that precedes, follows or takes the place of a CPA in an intended transition from intra-state conflict to sustainable peace. On this background, Nathan addresses three questions: How do conflict parties see the substantive and legal relationship between CPAs and PCCs when they are negotiating a settlement to end armed conflict? Why do the parties to a CPA frequently wish to constitutionalize their negotiated settlement in whole or in part? And what is the substantive and legal relationship between CPAs and PCCs after constitutional reform has taken place?

Keywords: Comprehensive Peace Agreements, Post-Conflict Constitutions, intra-state conflict, constitutional reform

Interactions Between Peacemaking and Constitution-Making Processes in Burundi. A Stabilising or a...

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Nindorera analyses the regional mediation process of the Arusha Accords in Burundi. The process, first chaired by president of Tanzania Nyerere and then by Nelson Mandela, lasted for over two years and led to very comprehensive and detailed peace agreements. The following constitutional reforms, to a large extent, directly implemented provisions from the Arusha Accords after another complicated negotiations process which required further mediation by South Africa. Supremacy of either the Arusha agreement or the constitution was not specified which led to further conflicts. While the process has managed to end the civil war, it lacks legitimacy and it has not led to democratic governance. The case furthermore allows the analysis of ethnicity in peace processes, the impact of different mediation styles, the role of power sharing agreements, and the transformation of rebel groups into political parties.

Keywords: Burundi, Arusha Accords, ethnicity, civil war, power sharing agreements, mediation, rebel groups, political parties

Les Interactions Entre le Processus de Paix et l'Elaboration Constitutionnelle au Burundi. Facteur...

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Cette étude sur les interactions entre le processus de paix burundais et le(s) processus d’élaboration de(s) la constitution(s) qui a (ont) suivi s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un projet plus vaste portant sur diverses études de cas similaires où des conflits à dimension politicoidentitaire ont conduit à des négociations de paix menées sous médiation internationale, qui ont abouti par la suite à des processus de réforme et/ou de changement constitutionnel. Au Burundi, la dimension politico-ethnique du conflit a été mise en exergue par les acteurs du conflit lors des pourparlers de paix d’Arusha. Le conflit armé étant notamment motivé par des revendications de réformes institutionnelles d’importance, il en a résulté une double dynamique interdépendante. Des négociations de paix engagées sous une médiation africaine ont tout d’abord amorcé une importante réflexion, suivie de la conception d’une ébauche de modèle de constitution.

Keywords: Burundi, Accord de paix d’Arusha, élaboration de la constitution, conflit armé

Peace Accords and the Constitution in a Fragile Democracy. The case of Guatemala

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Sarti and Álvarez jointly examine the Guatemalan Peace Accords of 1996, which put an end to the 36-year long civil war that was characterized by a high civilian death rate and widespread commitment of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The content of and the process leading to the Peace Accords are analysed in relation to the constitution of 1986, which effected the transition from military rule to a democratic state, and the failed implementation process of the constitutional reforms envisioned in the Peace Accords. The analysis thus explores the interplay of the two separate yet partially overlapping transition processes (from military rule to democracy and from war to peace), the question of constitutionalizing peace agreements, and issues around shifting power balances between agreement and implementation, civil society involvement, and the use of referenda.

Keywords: Guatemala, Guatemalan Peace Accords 1996, war crimes, crimes against humanity, military rule, constitutional reform, transition processes

Acuerdos de Paz y Constitución en una Democracia Frágil. El Caso de Guatemala

Towards Sustainable Peace: The Nexus of Peacemaking and Constitution Building

Aunque instituciones y expertos/as han resaltado la importancia de analizar la influencia de la construcción de constituciones en los procesos de paz poco se ha publicado sobre este tema en Guatemala. El caso de Guatemala amerita un especial análisis, dado el tiempo que transcurrió entre el retorno a la democracia y elaboración de la Constitución vigente, y la negociación, firma e implementación de los procesos de paz: La Constitución actual entró en vigor en 1985 y el Acuerdo de Paz se firmó 11 años después, en diciembre de 1996.

Keywords: Guatemala, Acuerdo Final de Paz Firme y Duradera, construcción de constituciones, procesos de paz, retorno a la democracia, elaboración de la Constitución