Armed non-state actors (ANSAs) often act as important security-providers in conflict environments but are typically excluded from long-term strategies for peace. To succeed, pragmatic routes to peace should consider how to incorporate ANSAs into longer term frameworks for peace.
Between 1989 and 2018, more than 1,900 ceasefires and related follow-up arrangements were reported in the media, across more than a hundred intra-state armed conflicts around the globe. This graphic provides an overview of these ceasefires regarding their distribution over time and across five continents. To find out more, read the new CSS Analyses in Security Policy, ‘Ceasefires in Intra-state Peace Processes’, here.
Resolving local conflicts between non-state armed groups, or between communities, is key to reducing violence against civilians. The United Nations is often involved in supporting local peace processes and seems to enhance the prospects for local conflict resolution. One major obstacle to a successful local peace process, however, is that local conflicts are often integrated into higher-level, national or transnational conflicts. A holistic approach to peacemaking is therefore necessary, which could allow peace to trickle down from the transnational or national level to the local, ultimately reducing violence against civilians.
The use of force by United Nations peacekeepers has always been contentious. As far back as 1956, the then-Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld warned that resorting to force in situations other than self-defense risked compromising the UN’s impartiality, and making peacekeepers a party to the very conflicts the UN was trying to defuse through political engagement.
Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.
Ongoing efforts to professionalize the field of mediation have focused upon the collection of lessons learned and good practice to better inform mediation strategies. My recently published study on “Peace Agreement Provisions and the Durability of Peace” seeks to contribute to this effort by analyzing quantitative research on the empirical relationship between the content of civil war peace agreements and the subsequent duration of peace. In my experience, this is an area of direct practical relevance to mediators, who can and do influence the design of peace agreements through introducing options from comparative cases, making bridging proposals or even occasionally drafting texts.