This collaborative research project (IPS for short) aims to examine the conditions for inclusive political settlements following protracted armed conflicts. A specific focus is placed on previously armed power contenders who have become state actors. The project aims to inform national and international policymakers of effective practices to enhance participation, representation and responsiveness in post-war state-building. It is carried out in cooperation with partner institutions in Colombia (project coordinators), El Salvador, South Africa, South Sudan, Aceh/Indonesia and Nepal.
Many armed opposition groups and international peacebuilding agencies alike place the notions of inclusivity and participation at the heart of their agenda. Our aim is to critically examine to what extent these claims are adequately reflected in negotiation and decision-making processes after intra-state armed conflict. We also seek to assess whether such processes translate into actual and sustainable practices in post-war political (re-)settlements, governance and state-building. Based on participatory and empirical field research in six post-war contexts, we are deriving comparative lessons learned, which will be disseminated in the form of research and policy reports in Spring 2015. We have also held several national and regional expert workshops targeting various policy audiences, including former conflict protagonists turned power holders as well as international peacebuilding agencies.
2013 – 2015
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”.
“Inclusive political settlements” aims to:
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.
The project is coordinated by the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular/Programa Por La Paz (CINEP/PPP) Bogotá, (Colombia), while the Berghof Foundation manages the research activities.
Our local partners are:
The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), based in Ottawa (Canada).
These two national policy discussion events in Kathmandu (Nepal) and Banda Aceh (Indonesia) and a regional forum in Jakarta (Indonesia) served as a platform for presenting and discussing some key research and policy lessons learnt. Specific focus was on findings from case studies on Nepal and Aceh and identifying practical implications (and pitfalls) for policy-makers, civil society, mediators and peacebuilding/development agencies supporting inclusive peace processes and democratic transitions in Asia
A regional policy workshop at the World Bank’s headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya) provided a platform for presenting and discussing some key research and practical lessons. Specific focus was directed towards exploring case study findings from South Africa and South Sudan and identifying some practical implications (and pitfalls) to supporting inclusive peace processes and democratic transitions in East Africa.
These events brought together former insurgent leaders from Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Ecuador to discuss with Colombian institutions and the general public some lessons learnt from past peace processes. A specific emphasis was placed on the issues of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), security guarantees and political participation.
This conference brought together representatives of all partner institutes contributing to the collaborative research project “Avoiding conflict relapse through inclusive political settlements and state-building after intra-state war”. The aims were to present and discuss preliminary empirical findings from field research in six countries (Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, South Sudan, Nepal and Aceh/Indonesia) and to jointly identify initial comparative findings for research and policy.
The new project “Avoiding conflict relapse through inclusive political settlements and state-building after intra-state war” (2013-2015), funded by the IDRC (Canada) and jointly led by the Berghof Foundation and CINEP (Colombia), was officially launched in Bogota mid-June 2013. Both international partners and advisory committee members were present at the event. The project’s primary objective is to enhance researchers’ capacities in the Global South to support inclusive political settlements and state-building processes by engaging in collaborative empirical research with local partners and former conflict stakeholders in Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, South Sudan, Nepal and Aceh/Indonesia.
For additional publications from the past two projects on which this one builds, see Completed Projects.