Intra-state armed conflicts reflect deep structural patterns of (real or perceived) societal exclusion. Power contenders start to question the legitimacy of governing authorities and their monopoly over the use of force. Collective mobilisation to violent rebellion often results from shared grievances among marginalised social and political actors demanding greater participation in political governance and socioeconomic development. Effective and sustainable peace processes thus require new political settlements that (re-)establish legitimate and accountable governance based on participatory state-society relations.
International peacebuilding and development agencies have thus rightly placed inclusion and participation at the heart of their peace settlement and state-building support agendas. This project seeks to “unpack” and analyse these concepts in a critical and systematic manner.
Although primarily designed as a research endeavour, this project intends to be highly practice- and policy-oriented. Not only do we investigate the subject matter of inclusivity, we also strive to practice it by conducting participatory research with local institutional partners and – where possible and relevant – by engaging (previously) excluded and marginalised actors as “insider experts”.
Aims & Outcomes
“Inclusive political settlements” aims to:
- Systematically define and analyse the dimensions of and criteria for inclusive political settlement and state-building,
- Investigate the conditions under which inclusive negotiation and decision-making processes after civil war lead to inclusive governance outcomes,
- Examine the specific role of former power contenders throughout these transitions – from exclusion to inclusion to potentially becoming inclusive actors themselves,
- Examine the impact of inclusivity in terms of enhancing (or impeding?) legitimacy, accountability, effectiveness, empowerment, stability and trust-building in peace/state-building processes.
The project’s written outputs include various background papers and case study reports, along with several comparative and policy publications, written by researchers from our partner institutions, by external experts and by the research coordination team at the Berghof Foundation.
Various policy dissemination events (international conferences, regional workshops and national seminars) were held in late 2014 and early 2015 to transfer the findings into practical lessons of how to internally build and externally support inclusive institutions, policies and state-society relations.
Academically, we also hope to contribute to scholarly debate on peace processes, state-building, democratisation, power-sharing and post-war governance.
The project fosters national stakeholders’ capacities to conduct inclusive governance. It does so by providing context-sensitive analysis and by feeding back policy recommendations to key multipliers in state institutions (including former power contenders), informal governance structures and civil society organisations. It also identifies best practices and lessons learnt for international agencies involved in mediation and post-war assistance for peace/state-building processes.
The case studies under investigation are Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, South Sudan, Aceh/Indonesia and Nepal.