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Peace Agreements and Their Failures

Factors Affecting the Process, plus Negotiation Checklist

Page Index   to top
  • Introduction
  • Why Difficult to Attain
  • Sanctions Often Detrimental
  • Factors In Talks
  • Principles of Peace
  • Factors In Breakdown
  • How to Keep the Peace
  • Negotiation Strategies
  • Negotiation Checklist
  • References
    _ _________________
  • For links to related pages, see: Checklists and Paradigms In Planning

  • Introduction    return to index

    This page will concentrate on the ideas and problems behind peace agreements where two or more parties to a conflict agree to compromise.

    Many of the points made below are self evident or are known by anyone involved in attempts to end conflict. However, it may be helpful to once in a while reiterate these basic ideas and to provide a point by point schedule for thinking about the process. Where the point is unique, I have attempted to reference the source. If I have failed to do this in any particular case, please notify me.

    The actual form or wording of peace or truce protocols can be found in the References section here.


  • Why A Truce or A Peace Agreement Is So Difficult To Attain
        return to index

    War or conflict is often used to solve internal problems
    War or conflict may be used as a diversionary tactic to galvanize a people, garner support, obtain internal or external help needed for other purposes, obscure defects in the society or the leadership, or to resolve other social problems.

    Main factors causing the renewal or continuation of the conflict after agreement
    How can a peace agreement be made between sides where one side is powerful and wants neither peace, power sharing, nor to lose any control? In these cases, one side will use every agreement to consolidate power, rule through manipulation of governmental power or through shadow government, continue the conflict in other ways, turn against weaker segments of the population, deny humanitarian aid through bureaucracy and misinformation, bring allies in to continue the conflict, and through delaying tactics, among others, hold up further agreement on points crucial to the peace. (1)

    Pitfalls in achieving peace - Do not underestimate their power

    We all say that we want peace, but:
    ◊ We want more than we need just to prove that we are right.
    ◊ Defense of own position blinds each side to seeing the issues from the other's perspective.
    ◊ Further, no attempt is made to understand the position of the other side and where, when and why that position came into being.
    ◊ It is automatically felt that the opposing side is demanding too much.
    ◊ Self restraint is difficult and may be seen as a sign of weakness. We therefore feel the need to respond in kind to any infringement of the peace agreement, a truce or ceasefire.
    ◊ In the heat of the moment, things are said or done which would not occur at any other time.
    ◊ Beliefs of what is right, fair, just, (and of course egos) must be protected .
    ◊ We can not allow the other a just peace because of what they have done. or for any number of other reasons.
    ◊ We are not ready to give more than we receive, or to appear to be doing so.
    ◊ We cannot let the other side feel that they have won.
    ◊ An apology is demanded but not reciprocated. Movement forward in the peace process is often blocked by the unspoken demand for an apology. There are many forms and we must be able to recognize them when they come.
    ◊ A defensive stance and/or offensive capability must be maintained. We operate through fear or justifiable vigilance of what the other side will or could do, often tipping the balance toward mistakes leading to renewed conflict.
    ◊ Channels of communication are often closed on the assumption that we are right and the other side wrong.
    ◊ In our bargaining, we do not want to include others who may take something away from us or decrease our power even if their absence may cause a breakdown of negotiations, ceasefire, or peace in the future.

    Some Problems Implementing the Negotiation Process
    ◊ Attempts to derail or scuttle the talks are often based on spurious accusations.
    ◊ Other matters are often allowed to take precedence over the peace process .
    ◊ The peace process may be given to those who are not fully capable of creating an atmosphere conducive to compromise and agreement, or do not have the background to negotiate.
    ◊ There are lapses in communication within and between those who must make the decisions.
    ◊ There is insufficient investment in the negotiation process in terms of time, funding, scheduling, and finalization , among others.
    ◊ Arbitration is provided but one or both sides will not listen to it, or the arbiters are sidelined and not given the opportunity to act in their capacity.
    ◊ Crucial points are left unsettled or unstated leaving an unstable situation .
    ◊ There is a refusal to let each side make its own type of order which is beneficial to them and may create a more stable situation.
    ◊ Many points of contention are left unresolved.
    ◊ A sense of intrigue, of side deals, of secret alliances leads to an atmosphere of mistrust.
    ◊ Provocation is allowed to end the talks before there is final resolution.
    ◊ Specific demands are set as a basis for continuation or resumption of talks which are unrealistic given the current state of the conflict (i.e., that one of the sides lay down its arms before the talks).
    ◊ There are demands for surrender of one of the sides instead of a mutually agreed upon settlement.
    ◊ There is a failure to fully implement previous ceasefires or other agreements, and talks are stalled or prevented from taking place instead of attempting to reach new agreements which will provide new guidelines based on reasons for the failure to comply.
    ◊ Internal quarrels of one side or the other are allowed to create an impedance of the process.
    ◊ There is a refusal of one of the sides to de-escalate aggressive action.
    For example of a number of the above, see (12)


    return to index

    Sanctions - Are There Other Alternatives?
    Sanctions usually do not provide the desired change. Instead, heavy sanctions force alliances, innovations, and a hardening of resolve creating an atmosphere within which the aberrant action is only reinforced, making the attainment or maintenance of peace impossible. However, sanctions when properly applied, given the specific situation, can produce positive change.

    It is seldom that anyone can be shoved into a corner from which there is no way out other than concession. Sanctions which cause the other side to search for alternatives (new suppliers, new alliances, greater self sufficiency) is usually detrimental to a peace.


    Factors Bringing Warring Factions Together Other Than Desire For Peace
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    In many cases, at least one of the sides is not really interested in obtaining peace even though this is the avowed purpose for the talks. There are many reasons for this, only a few of which will be mentioned:

    Very important: Even if a ceasefire or peace is achieved, these forces are still present and must be provided for or contained to prevent a renewal of conflict.

    Factors bringing the parties together other than the true desire for a cessation of hostilities:

    By the warring parties themselves:
    1. Foreign aid has been promised if the parties achieve any breakthroughs
    2. To reduce regional and international pressure to make a peace for any number of reasons
    3. Internal political gain which can not be achieved militarily at any specific juncture
    4. Not to be seen as unwilling to seek peace
    5. Gain time for re-supply, production, garnering of additional support, coalescence of forces, and dealing with other internal problems
    6. Receive humanitarian support in the interim
    7. Power play by individuals or groups involved
    8. Gain wider recognition of position and justification for it
    9. Fulfillment of any number of physical, psychological, or philosophical reasons. This can include overarching religious, ethnic or philosophical beliefs relating to subjugation, expansion, destruction, removal or fulfillment of destiny by one or more of the combatants.
    10. As basis for continued or promised aid from outside sources following their own interest in the continuation of the conflict
    11. Existence of high unemployment which would otherwise be a destabilizing factor
    12. Search for national solidarity giving support to ruling power base
    13. Aggrandizement of leaders
    14. As a basis for the acquisition of goods and land
    15. Peace or truce in order to gain a foothold for a different type of conquest or attainment of goals

    Outside pressure to cease aggression from any number of directions
    1. Unwanted buildup of refugees in neighboring countries
    2. Need for resources, internationally or by neighbors, which are being cut off or drained
    3. Loss of personnel by NGOs involved in humanitarian efforts in the region
    4. Self proclaimed decisions by other national or international bodies to stabilize the region for various political, social or economic reasons
    5. True altruistic desires for peace by the regional or international community
    6. Destabilization of the region through overflow of conflict across borders, refugee or humanitarian problems, arms flow/acquisition/buildup

    Reasons for continuing the conflict coming from the outside (neighboring political entities or international):
    1. Destabilization in the region which will promote nationalistic or economic agendas in surrounding political entities
    2. Provision of weapons or other materials thereby gaining a future ally
    3. Shifting the balance of power in the region
    4. Outlet economically for overproduction or under consumption at home
    5. Continuation as a stabilizing force politically and socially if the refugee and expatriate population of one of the parties to the conflict are a significant part of the population
    6 Shifting of the balance of power through alliance with a powerful combatant even though currently engaged in its own internal problems


    Basic Principles of Peace
    return to index

    Principle 1: There is no peace without some compromise (except in the case of unconditional surrender which is not treated here).
    Principle 2: Peace must answer most of the positive trade-offs of conflict - aid from allies, employment for those involved, profits from war industry, plunder, glory and sacrifice for martyrdom.
    Principle 3: Peace must pay dividends (2). If it does not, a state of conflict is often seen as a more fruitful alternative.
    Principle 4: Peace must address most of the basic reasons which are a causative factor in a state of war, or which have lead to instability.
    Principle 5: There is no peace without a willing partner.
    Principle 6: A peace does not necessarily involve future interaction but interaction can shore up a fragile peace.
    Principle 7: A peace must be supported and constantly reinforced by third parties even if only nominally.
    Principle 8: The longer the truce or ceasefire, the more difficult it is to enter into a peace because the interim states become a stable way of life.
    Principle 9: A peace is stronger according to the number of different levels of the societies involved. A peace must be felt throughout the different levels of a society or a group (see elaboration in 'Involvement' title below).
    Principle 10: Cooperation and communication at different levels must be available and active. The more channels that are open (economic, cultural, social, help) the greater the stability of the peace.
    Principle 11: Peace must be seen as just by all parties.
    Principle 12: Much of a peace is based on what each of the combatants is willing to give to the other (see the title 'Reparations' below).
    See details and examples of many of the principles (3)

    Different segments of the society should be involved in and operate during the negotiation process. The more segments involved, the more stable the resulting peace - a single thread will not hold two pieces of a fabric together.
    There must be allowance for a change of heart by those segments of a population creating tension, and their incorporation into the process - during the negotiation if possible but certainly after.
    Involvement in the welfare of the other side will often lead to a more lasting and stable peace. (4)

    Reparations for injustices perpetrated should be made. While these can never make up for the loss, it will provide a basis for reducing hostilities.
    The deeper down the reparations go from total societal, to individual groups, families, and the individual, the greater the healing process.
    Reparations or attempts at reparation can be made in many forms - not just financial.
    Reparations are often symbolic but carry significant power.
    Reparations should be structured so as to help in the production of sustainability at all levels.
    There should be institutions and rules in place agreed upon by both side for the administering, distribution and accountability of the reparations package.


    Factors Causing the Breakdown of A Ceasefire or Peace Agreement
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    Peace agreements breakdown when:
    The true causes of the conflict have not been addressed.
    There has been no real agreement on crucial parts of the settlement.
    A true understanding has not been reached.
    Major parts of the agreement have been left undefined or insufficiently detailed resulting in major blocks toward implementation.
    One or both of the parties feel unduly threatened.
    There is no vested interest at different levels for a continuation of the peace.
    Minority groups have not been considered or made a part of the settlement and push for recognition or for retaliation.
    The agreement is perceived as unfair by one or all parties to the agreement.
    There is a need to justify actions to supporting partners or elements outside the agreement.
    There is continual infringement regardless of good intentions due to misunderstanding of the terms or due to totally unrealistic terms impossible to fulfill given the reality of the situation.
    There is continual infringement on the agreement by splinter factions.
    An individual or a group decides that the peace is an obstacle to the fulfillment of their overall plans or their destiny.
    There is insufficient motivation for maintaining the peace coming from within the parties themselves or lack of support and aid, oversight, monitoring, peacekeeping operations by the parties themselves or third parties.
    There is little progress towards integration of activity (economic, social, educational) at different levels.
    There is lack of an agreed upon timetable with the capability to enforce it.
    One of the parties feels denigrated by the peace, or by those involved in the creation or maintenance of the peace, or there is a perceived inequity in the agreement itself.
    There is a buildup of weapons and tension due to general conditions in the region and an otherwise small incident triggers renewed conflict.
    Power sharing is not representative of all groups involved.
    For specifics on a number of points above, see references (1) Sudan and (5) Chad

    How To Keep The Peace Together
       return to index

    If the framework is good, even protagonists who do not want peace can be brought into the process.

    Base for any agreement
    1. Signing of an understanding and a promise to adhere to a peace and to abstain from any direct, or indirect action or provide support to others which will lead to a breaking of the peace or the spirit of the peace
    2. Agreed upon schedule of rules and penalties for infringement and the capability of monitoring and enforcement both local and international if appropriate
    3. Agreement not to use sanctions, undercover agents, etc. to force internal changes
    4. Agreement to abide by international conventions with respect to human rights, humanitarian principles, international rule of law
    5. Decision on a principle of compromise and detailed method of handling potential threats to the peace or to security
    6. Attempt at understanding the position of the other side (this is perhaps the most difficult to attain)

    Basic provisions
    1. Significant delineation of points of contention causing the conflict in the first place
    In other words, if a border is significant, there has been exacting agreement as to where the border is, or there is an active process ongoing for determination, which is agreed upon by the parties
    2. Realistic and executable provisions with agreed upon details as to how provisions will be carried out
    3. Degrees of leniency which will not cause every small infraction to be a reason for breaking the peace

    Supportive of peace
    1. Fostering of a sense of adherence to the spirit of the peace or ceasefire
    2. Significant continuing exchange at different levels which act as a binding force to keep the peace relevant to persons, or the society, at all levels
    3. Integration processes which will also help in the integration of the opposing sides
    4. Significant external pressure to conform to or maintain the peace
    5. Development and sharing of mutual goals which are attainable, have the support of all parties, and the expertise to fulfill
    6. Open communication capabilities after the agreement, particularly at the top levels. This does not have to be used very often but the capability must be present to resolve misunderstandings, to warn of potential infringement, decide on methods to use to reduce damage, to present a united front to the outside, and to avoid unfavorable fallout
    7. Development of the means of self policing to provide for lapses in security and to minimize damage
    8. Significant rewards for the peace and for its continuation provided both internally and by the international community and NGOs
    9. Mutual front against an external threat as a very strong binding force - the threat can be economic, political, social, military, etc.

    Internal adjustments
    1. Provision for redeployment of those involved in former conflict
    2. Internal cooperation of significant internal factions and inclusion of actions supportive of the peace within each side
    3. Development of economies which will lead toward redevelopment, development and reconstruction
    4. Education toward peace and not conflict (6)
    5. Involvement in the use of aid from outside including management, distribution, and the format and type of aid received

    1. Commission made up of members of all parties to take care of any misunderstands, provide for interim solutions within the agreement and prepare for future negotiations made up of some of best people (a future peace may depend on it)
    2. Detailing of all potential conflict flash points or disagreement and the capability given the commission to handle problems (problems which existed before the conflict will not resolve themselves)
    3. Periodic reports to both sides about the conditions of the peace and the problems resolved or still to be resolved
    4. Apparatus to maintain the provisions of the peace and where there is the potential for volatility, the capability to set up fact finding missions and if necessary to intervene or reconvene talks
    Included here is apparatus to hear grievances with the interim power to provide solutions which are open to scrutiny by both sides .

    1. Sufficient monitoring by neutrals which will insure compliance with the terms of the peace
    2. Internal watchdog and monitoring procedures and enforcement capabilities within each of the parties to agreement
    3. Cooperative monitoring by the parties themselves
    4. Containment of internal disruptions to avoid the possibility of infringement of the spirit and letter of the peace

    Non-compliance or misunderstandings
    1. Cutting communication or preparing for conflict will often bring conflict
    2. Agreed upon set of rules of compliance and built-in buffers including ways of defusing a build up of tension
    3. Agreed upon methods of verification of fulfillment of all provisions within the agreement
    4. A neutral court together with a court of appeals to adjudicate any breach or lapse in fulfillment

    1. Development of joint projects in all areas and levels
    2. Special development of grass level interaction
    3. Exchanges of persons and materials
    4. Cooperation in internal processes of other side and international arenas
    5. Participation by parties in provision of help in each other's development
    6. Mutual assistance in provision of needed resources in areas such as trade, skill development, and reconstruction
    7. Agreement to allow access, safeguard and not impede humanitarian or other legal third party access to all parties to the conflict



    General Strategies For Negotiations
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  • Each side wants to be secure during the talks and after, obtain redress for any grievances, have points of contention settled, know exactly what the two sides need to do on each point ratified, have assurances that the other side will keep their part of the agreement, be protected against infringement, be capable of responding or have assurance of backup should the peace breakdown, redress for any infringement by the other, some maneuverability in performing agreement based on various possible blocks to compliance, availability of outside help in fulfilling agreement, and most importantly to come out looking like a winner.

    During the arbitration
  • Agree not to attack or provoke attack
  • Do not make threats when there is no intention of carrying them out
  • Agree to abide by international law while in arbitration and even if it breaks down
  • Give up on points which are not really important but may be important to the other side
  • Very important - Be willing to listen
  • Allow the other to feel that he has been heard fully
  • Do not give the other additional fuel for continuing the conflict which often happens when unguarded words are exchanged in rebuttal or in justification

    Roles of host and outside parties

  • Most of the talks should be accomplished, supported, provided for and detailed by those hosting and moderating the talks. The parties are there to hopefully shake hands and end the conflict - the rest must be done by third parties - the host, experts, the supporting powers, the regional or international community, NGOs, and contracting bodies


  • Excessive or unrealistic demands made with the view to compromise are in themselves forces toward hardening of lines
  • Demands should be realistic from the point of view of position and resources of the other side
  • Demands should be made which will increase the stability of both sides
  • Demands must be seen as just
  • The fewer the demands, the easier the negotiation process


  • When a compromise is made, it must be real and seen by the other side as being such
  • Compromise must be justified as seen by both sides
  • Never compromise where realistically it will lead to further conflict or instability
  • Never compromise with the intent of negating it in the future
  • Never make a compromise which is not met by a compromise on the other side which may lead to a feeling of an unjust agreement promoting further tension
  • Neither side should see compromise by the other as a victory, but as a justification for their own compromise. Some form of victory must be seen by both sides


  • Apologies can take many forms and may not even appear outwardly as an apology. However, in any given situation this may be an unrealistic request of the parties.
  • Apologize where there are really grounds for apology
  • Being overly apologetic can be seen as a tactic and will not lead to understanding and forgiveness. But apologies where warranted go a long way toward easing the way toward peace

    Checklist Preceding and During Negotiations
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    Some of these may not be able to be attained before the talks begin but should be agreed upon early on. The degree to which these are not accomplished threatens the stability of any agreement reached.

    Basic Guiding Principles
    ☐ Building of trust between the parties to the talks (often limited), but most importantly, between the parties and the hosts, and the negotiators
    ☐ Development of a base of understandings and interaction for the talks to build on, and an atmosphere for truce or peace
    ☐ Talks guided by a critical analysis of the root causes of the conflict (3)

    The biggest hurdle has been overcome - getting the sides to agree to talk. But there are some problems with that:

    What Must Be Provided by Host and Supportive Third Parties
    ☐ Adequate protection and general security to provide a safe environment for the talks and for each of the participants
    ☐ Protocol for the sessions and preparation of each side with agreement as to major procedures
    ☐ Adequate and equal accommodations taking into account religious, cultural parameters of each side
    ☐ Provision for the medical, dietary, and other needs of each member of the parties to the negotiation, the negotiators and staff members
    ☐ Provision of all apparatus needed for presentation, safekeeping, storage, of documents and other materials to be used
    ☐ Support staff well versed in the possible problems to be encountered and in maintenance of the talks
    ☐ Provision of all forms and documents needed in a timely manner
    ☐ Translated (if necessary) copies of all documents presented
    ☐ Copies of all decisions and supporting documentation
    ☐ Provision of up-to-date research on each question under discussion
    ☐ Neutral technical advisors on the major issues to be considered
    ☐ Expert advisement to insure that each side is fully aware of the intricacies and possible complications of the basic points to be reached
    ☐ Transcription of all discussion, presentations, evidence provided
    ☐ Translation staff present during the talks if and where translations are needed
    ☐ Updating of participants as to the support, concerns and demands of third parties involved in facilitating the peace or ceasefire
    ☐ Communications facilities available for all sides
    ☐ Facilities to provide up-to-date, complete information related to each point discussed
    ☐ All up-to-date information which will be needed to provide a working solution (this will include exact maps if land is in dispute, natural resources, water resources, etc.)

    ☐ Special effort to be sure that all sides in the conflict are represented
    ☐ Top negotiators sit across the table from each other
    ☐ The setting for the talks is neutral (usually in a neutral country)
    ☐ The financial and resource support are sufficient for each of the sides for the duration of the talks

    Setting the tone
    ☐ Neutral and highly secure venue for the talks
    ☐ A schedule for face-to-face as well as other types of communication between the sides during the sessions
    ☐ Personal relationship building between negotiators is important (2)
    ☐ Provision of personal support and presence (if possible) by the neutral host's or country's leadership (7)
    ☐ Provision if possible of arbitrators who have been successful or have been personally involved in successful peace or truce agreements in the past, and are neutral relative to the parties involved (8)
    ☐ Assisted (if necessary) intermingling of the sides to the talks in an informal atmosphere
    ☐ Joint media events in which the public is informed of progress, understandings, etc.

    What Must Be Obtained From the Parties
    ☐ A preliminary listing by each side of demands including an indication of make or break points (may not be able to get this)
    ☐ A statement of the reasons by each side for the conflict and their separate grievances (9)
    ☐ Major negotiators, their background, replacements, schedules of availability
    ☐ Sufficient backup of high level personnel (if needed) provided
    ☐ An indication of any limitations on the powers of the negotiators to reach an agreement and sign

    Prior Agreements Made By Each Side Before Talks Begin
    ☐ Agreement by all sides that the arbitrators will act as mediators and not just hosts
    ☐ An agreed upon list of all the areas to be covered plus additional items which may be added to the agenda with the agreement of each side
    ☐ Agreement to adhere to the protocols of the meetings
    ☐ An agreement to adhere to a schedule of meetings and communications
    ☐ Agreement in spirit as to the potential monitoring and sanction schedule to be applied should an agreement be reached
    ☐ Schedule for the arbitration process agreed upon by both sides
    ☐ A temporary cease fire has been arranged during the arbitration and valid monitoring, a set of rules and engagement parameters should the ceasefire be broken

    Protocol for meetings
    ☐ Protocols establishing dates, times
    ☐ Detailing of members to talks, ranks, personal agendas, and provision for substitute members should need arise
    ☐ Provisions for format of the meetings and decorum to be observed
    ☐ Lists of members to be present at each meeting
    ☐ Arrangement for sub-meetings on specific issues to form proposals for full diplomatic approval

    ☐ Provision of neutral and experienced arbitrators with no vested interest
    ☐ Arbitrators who have the expertise, the time, and the willingness to do a thorough and complete job. Small points left undecided or forgotten, or not agreed upon may be the basis for refusal to complete the peace, or for future breakdown
    ☐ Agreement by all sides as to the arbitrators
    ☐ Arbitrators given full support in terms of staff, remuneration, and equipment needed to perform their task

    To Be Carried out Before and During the Talks
    ☐ Identification of the factors leading towards instability in all camps and cooperative ways to accommodate and reduce instability must also be a part of the process
    ☐ All reasons for the conflict as presented by each side with documentation provided
    ☐ Proposed settlements demanded by each side provided with flexibility or possible substitution when disagreement arises
    ☐ There should not be any unilateral actions without consensus of internal factions of the different sides in order to reduce internal power struggles and misunderstandings which could threaten the peace process
    ☐ International and regional maneuvering should be open and not done in secrecy by any of the parties to the agreement which may lead to distrust and the development of counteractions
    ☐ Changes in host, venue and timing of the peace conference should be prefaced with explanations and prior notice to all parties involved
    ☐ A shift away from international to regional support must be fully weighed by all sides to the peace due to the potential loss of support, resources, expertise and power of the international community which may be crucial to the peace
    ☐ All measures taken to insure that major or powerful subgroups will not be marginalized
    ☐ Rules and detailed methods for handling all major problems will be discussed and signed
    ☐ Agreements on different individual sub-segments of agreements and understandings should be solidified and signed during the progress of the conference with the understanding that should the overall talks breakdown, these parts of the agreement will still be effective (if at all) to the degree applicable given the new situation
    ☐ Expert detailing of any partial agreement to be presented to the negotiating teams as a whole. This will entail detailed descriptions of the agreed upon item including (depending on the type and content of the agreement) exact maps, scheduling and dates, ways to arbitrate disputes, what each part of the agreement means to each side, how division will take place together with target dates, how to be implemented, formulas for resolving problems, transfers, logistics, personnel needed to accomplish, cooperative committees or bodies to be created to implement and maintain the agreement, who provides what, term of monitoring and by whom (preferably a neutral outside body with sufficient power or backup to pressure for compliance), provision for follow-up discussions, interaction needed to accomplish, sanctions or redresses for noncompliance, spirit in which this particular part of the agreement was made, any tradeoffs

    Prior Arrangements For Potential Post-Agreement Actions (to be agreed upon by all sides to the agreement)
    ☐ Modes of inter-communication and the financing for it must be a part of any agreement
    ☐ Provision for media coverage of separate stages and final agreement
    ☐ Provision for the support needed to enforce the agreements
    ☐ Provision for the monitoring necessary to ensure compliance
    ☐ Provision for the series of checks and balances which will be needed to fulfill the letter and spirit of the agreement
    ☐ Provision for the promises made by third parties either for support, material, security
    ☐ Provision for any third party security needed to enforce and maintain the peace
    ☐ Complete detailing of the apparatus for stabilizing the conflict
    ☐ Provisions for the accommodation of any religious, social, humanitarian needs of all parties to the agreement

    What Should Happen After the Agreement
    ☐ No unilateral actions without consensus
    ☐ Open dealings to allay any suspicion of wrongdoing, the existence of side deals, arbitrators not impartial
    ☐ Search for internal consensus involving all parties affected for steps taken
    ☐ Cooperative development of any apparatus or understanding which will provide ways of moving forward in fulfillment of the spirit of the agreement and will determine how problems will be handled
    ☐ Special effort made to include any groups potentially marginalized by the agreement
    ☐ Immediate clarification of any unexpected shifts in policy, decisions, or partnerships

    On Background Support To Be Provided After Agreement Reached
    ☐ Clarity as to the type and amount of support to be given by third parties including other nations, the UN and relevant NGOs once the agreement is reached
    ☐ Apparatus created for the decision making processes involved, distribution, oversight and follow through until objectives are accomplished
    ☐ Delineation of the types and amount of post agreement monitoring and the types of sanctions for noncompliance
    ☐ Sanctions appropriate to the type and extent of any dereliction in fulfillment

    The Role of Aid (10)
    ☐ Role of exchange of help from the opposing side cannot be underestimated in the peace process
    ☐ Aid from other nations is crucial as a reward for the peace
    ☐ Aid from outside is critical for humanitarian assistance, infrastructure building, development of local enhancement processes, rehabilitation of economic institutions, agriculture and small business development, developing cash producing industries, and vocational training among others
    ☐ Aid from the nation(s) or parties providing the venue for the talks, or monitoring the peace is important as a part of trust building

    Aid by third parties (governmental or NGOs) must: (10)
    ☐ Not create a dependency on outside funds
    ☐ Not follow a model of development which caused the crisis
    ☐ Be willing to allow parties to implement development programs themselves to redress problems
    ☐ Not allow assessment missions to raise expectations which cannot be initiated
    ☐ Not work with some communities and not others, or work only where access is easy thereby causing divisions and assistance inequality
    ☐ Work through and with local communities and fully integrate local initiatives
    ☐ Provide the tools and support for rebuilding relationships damaged by the conflict as a vital ingredient in moving forward into negotiations (11)
    ☐ Restore services through projects delivering tangible and physical evidence of their reward for peace (11)

    Courses given by outside or local agencies to a broad spectrum of individuals at the local and the leadership level before and during the talks, as well as after an agreement:
    ☐ Negotiation, and peace building
    ☐ Solidarity and advocacy actions
    ☐ Providing for coherent coordination of international aid on the national and regional level, and for local management of the assistance
    ☐ Nation building and the development of self sustaining industry, agriculture, water management, etc.
    ☐ Communication, information dispersal, and support for internal cooperative networks
    ☐ Training for vocational and skills development (10)
    ☐ Rehabilitation and re-integration of former combatants into the developing infrastructure (10)
    ☐ Development of forums involving local leaders, peace groups within the warring factions, interaction between members of opposing sides

    Provision for the role of women
    ☐ Forums or conferences of women leaders hosted by neutral governments and NGOs can be crucial to forming, uniting and supporting processes leading to truce or peace agreements. See (11)


    References: Critiques and lessons learned, organizations working for peace, peace agreements & protocol databases
    return to index


    (1) The Slow Collapse of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for South Sudan
    (2) The Oslo Peace Process - Lessons Learned Gershon Baskin IPCRI December 8, 2002
    (3) Why peace agreements often fail to end civil wars
    (4) Case Study of Solomon Islands Peace and Conflict-related Development Analysis
    (5) Frustrations of Regional Peacekeeping: The OAU in Chad, 1977-1982 Sam G. Amoo, The Carter Center
    (6) Sudan: A future without War?
    (7) From Burnham to Buin 1997 two rounds of talks in New Zealand broke the deadlock after five failed peace agreements and two failed ceasefires in the Bougainville conflict.
    (8) The Bougainville Conflict
    (9) Negotiations and Resolving Conflicts: An Overview prepared by Professor E. Wertheim
    (10) Aid as an instrument for peace a civil society perspective by Julia Eagles.
    (11) Aid as an instrument for peace a civil society perspective by Julia Eagles.
    (12) Chandrika - LTTE Talks: 1994/95 The Failed Peace Process - the Reasons Rajan Sriskandarajah 15 November 1995 on Tamilnation.org


  • Reconciliation and Resources An International Service for Conflict Transformation Conciliation Resources (CR) provides practical and sustained support to people and groups in areas of armed conflict or potential violence.
  • U.S. Institute of Peace - PeaceWatch Online Archives and Newsletter
  • The Initiative For Inclusive Security"The Initiative for Inclusive Security advocates for the full participation of all stakeholders, especially women, in peace processes. Creating sustainable peace is achieved best by a diverse, citizen-driven approach. Of the many sectors of society currently excluded from peace processes, none is larger—or more critical to success—than women. Since 1999, Inclusive Security has connected more than 400 women experts with over 3,000 policy shapers to collaborate on fresh, workable solutions to long-standing conflicts across the globe." Major Themes: Conflict Prevention, Peace Negotiations, Post-Conflict, Reconstruction
  • The Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) The Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) is a global pro bono law firm that provides free legal assistance to developing states and sub-state entities involved in conflicts.
  • Public International Law and Policy Group Major Topics:Peace Building, International Justice, Post Conflict Politial Development. "global pro bono law firm providing free legal assistance to developing states and sub-state entities involved in conflicts. To facilitate the utilization of this legal assistance, PILPG also provides policy formulation advice and training on matters related to conflict resolution. To date, PILPG has advised over a dozen countries on the legal aspects of peace negotiations and constitution-drafting, and over fifteen countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa concerning fundamental questions of public international law. PILPG was nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. PILPG promotes the utilization of international law as an alternative to violent conflict or other destabilizing means for resolving international disputes. To accomplish this objective, PILPG provides legal counsel to states during peace negotiations, advises on the creation and operation of tribunals for the prosecution of war crimes, assists states with drafting constitutions, runs negotiation simulations, publishes field reports concerning ongoing or potential conflicts, and convenes expert roundtables to identify points of conflict and potential solutions."
  • The Center for Humanitarian DialogueWorking to improve the local response to armed conflict. "...The HD Centre facilitates dialogue on challenging humanitarian issues and between warring parties to resolve conflict. High-level, low-key dialogue among the principal actors, and stakeholders through operational projects improves opportunities for peaceful conflict resolution as well as enhancing our policy work on current and future peacemaking."

    Related Newsletters

  • Peace Negotiations Watch "...a weekly electronic compilation of articles about various disputes around the world." sponsored by Public International Law & Policy Group Listserv and archive online

    Lists of Organizations Involved in Conflict Reduction and Mediation

  • International Guide to NGO Activities in Conflict Prevention and Resolution December 1996 Gives a listing and description of programs worldwide - a project of the Conflict Resolution Program and International Negotiation. Presented by the Carter Center Network
  • Carter Center Peace Programs A Peace Organization Making Peace Around the World.
  • CR Info The Conflict Resolution Information Source "CRInfo is a free, online clearinghouse, indexing more than 25,000 peace- and conflict resolution-related Web pages, books, articles, audiovisual materials, organizational profiles, events, and current news articles" Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado
  • The New National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States by Susan E. Rice February 2003
  • Background Paper Mediation and Human Rights "The purpose of this paper has been to identify an array of human rights issues and approaches comprising a human rights agenda that is much broader than has traditionally been recognized. The mediator must choose the best ways to raise and include human rights in a mediation process whose overall goal is to end the conflict, prevent further rights violations and lay the groundwork for sustainable peace and human development."


    Databases of Peace Agreements & Protocols   return to index

  • United States Institute of Peace Peace Agreements Digital Collection. part of the Margarita S. Studemeister Digital Library in International Conflict Management, strives to contain the full text of agreements signed by the major contending parties ending inter- and intra-state conflicts world wide since 1989. Includes Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Middle East
  • Unicore - International Conflict Research Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia

    Maintaining the Peace in Other Areas - marriage, gang warfare

  • Maintaining the Peace Art Lieberman Excellent basic rules to living together during the divorce process.
  • The Tookie Protocol For Peace Inner City Protocol for Peace Between Gangs, A Local Street Peace Initiative by Stanley Tookie Williams

    General Discussion

  • Negotiations and Resolving Conflicts: An Overview prepared by Professor E. Wertheim, College of Business Administration, Northeastern University Modes of response, components of negotiation, bargaining and best alternatives, an in-depth look at the process and skills needed, techniques to use in successful negotiation, types of negotiators. "The key to successful negotiation is to shift the situation to a "win-win" even if it looks like a "win-lose" situation. Almost all negotiation have at least some elements of win-win. Successful negotiations often depend on finding the win-win aspects in any situation. Only shift to a win-lose mode if all else fails."
  • Why peace agreements often fail to end civil wars News article briefly stating some of the major reasons for failed peace accords brokered by third parties.
  • The New National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States by Susan E. Rice February 2003
  • Negotiations and Resolving Conflicts: An Overview prepared by Professor E. Wertheim, College of Business Administration, Northeastern University


  • Meeting Protocol

    Examples of failed, problematic agreements with occasional success, critiques, lessons learned

    Solomon Islands

  • Case Study of Solomon Islands Peace and Conflict-related Development Analysis McGovern, Kieren and Bernard Choulai, UNDP Human Development Report 2005
  • The Bougainville ConflictA lecture delivered to cadets at the Australian Defense Force Academy in September 1999. Rory Ewins Gives a brief history of Bougainville and its connections to Papua New Guinea and the conflict between them up to and through the New Zealand hosted truce in 1997-8.
  • Following 15 June Inauguration of Bougainville's Autonomous Government, United Nations Mandate Fully Implemented, Security Council Told 06/07/2005 (1)
  • Aid as an instrument for peace a civil society perspective by Julia Eagles. Details the part that aid both outside governmental and NGOs played in the success of the peace process. "Bougainville is the first conflict in the Pacific to move towards a political resolution through a process of conciliation, negotiation and compromise, and local and regional aid agencies in their various forms have played a role in this process."
  • good links for ceasefires and peace agreements(3)
  • From Burnham to Buin 1997 two rounds of talks in New Zealand broke the deadlock after five failed peace agreements and two failed ceasefires in the Bougainville conflict.


  • UN Nepal Information Platform United Nations Agencies Guiding Principles


  • Sudan: A future without War? IRIN Web Special on the prospects of peace in Sudan.
    Basic Principles Stated:
    Security arrangements
    Self determination
    Rule of law
    Wealth sharing
    Inclusion of different groups, not just representation in the peace settlement
    Identification by inhabitants with other areas
    Rehabilitation program
    Rebuilding of the economic and humanitarian infrastructure
    Education to living with peace and not war
    Reduction or solution to the problem of marginalization by segments of the society or of the country as a whole
    Continued support and facilitation by outside interests in the peace process
  • The Slow Collapse of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for South SudanPosted by: Eric Reeves on Sep 24, 2005 - 08:37 PM Describes the forces and reasons behind the deterioration of the peace and sharing of wealth agreed upon leading to a continuation of the genocide in Darfur, the inability of help to reach the southern region from the outside, and a trend toward renewed conflict in the region. Sudan Tribute - Latest Documents and Latest Reports Also see Khartoum Triumphant: Managing the Costs of Genocide in Darfur; The international community has failed to prevent, and gives no promise of punishing, the ultimate crime By Eric Reeves

    Sri Lanka government and the LTTE

  • Chandrika - LTTE Talks: 1994/95 The Failed Peace Process - the Reasons . Rajan Sriskandarajah 15 November 1995 on Tamilnation.org

    Middle East

  • The Oslo Peace Process - Lessons Learned Gershon Baskin IPCRI December 8, 2002 "...lessons to be learned from the failed peace process and what must be done in order to help assure success in the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution process" Dr. Gershon Baskin is the Founder and Co-Director of IPCRI - Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information
    The Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed on September 13, 1993
    Points are given here without the details.
    Lesson Learned: In protracted conflicts it is not sufficient to only detail the beginning of the process; it is important, and perhaps essential to reach agreement on at least the principles of longer-term final or permanent status issues.
    Lesson Learned: Dates are Holy!
    Lesson Learned: Protracted conflicts in which there is little or no trust and confidence require external mechanisms for verification of implementation of the agreements, external mechanisms for insuring compliance and external mechanisms for external dispute resolution.
    Lesson Learned: Maps are important!
    Lesson Learned: Agreements must be as explicit as possible.
    Lesson Learned: Political violence cannot be tolerated.
    Lesson Learned: The public must be involved and informed
    Lesson learned: Better agreements are reached when the negotiators on both sides decide to share information, data, ideas and proposals
    Lesson learned: Democracy and democratic institution building is essential
    Lesson Learned: Peace must pay - peace must have a constituency
    Lesson Learned: Mediators must be ready and prepared to play bridging roles when required.
    Lesson learned: Cooperation between former enemies requires assistance
    Lesson Learned: Peace processes must be "civilized" - the role of the military must be reduced.
    Lesson Learned: Personal relationship building is important
    Lesson Learned: Ongoing contact between leaders is essential
    Lessons learned: Peace processes must also take place from the bottom-up.

  • Comment on Gershon Baskin's paper MideastWeb - Middle East Web Log by Moderator 12/21/02
  • The Peace Process is Dead, Long Live the Peace Process Ami Isseroff January 17, 2003 "The Oslo peace process failed because it conflicted with the national goals of each side, and the actions taken by both sides reflected those goals. These goals would have to be changed if the peace process was to have any hope of success, but the will to change, and mechanism for changing the goals was lacking. A small group of people on either side genuinely wanted the agreements to succeed and saw the future "peace" in the same way. The rest of the people, including the leadership, saw the agreements either as betrayal of the cause, or as a means to wage war by other (diplomatic) means. They defined "peace" as victory over the other side."


  • Frustrations of Regional Peacekeeping: The OAU in Chad, 1977-1982 Sam G. Amoo, The Carter Center. See in particular Chapter 'VI. Evaluation and Lessons' which highlights the basis for failure in bringing peace to Chad. Below is a delineation of the main points.
  • Success of any regional peacekeeping, peace enforcement depends heavily on physical capacity and resources of mediating body

    1. There was a defective concept and process of mediation in that no formula was developed which contained a definition of the problem and the interests of the disputants under a common notion of justice.
    2. No exchange of proposals, concessions, and agreements containing such a formula.
    3. Calls for ceasefire, demilitarization of the capital and free and fair elections unrealistic because there was no basis for agreement.
    4. No comprehension by mediating body of the deep-rooted sources of conflict - group identity, security, recognition, autonomy, dignity and fear of group extinction by one side and refusal to ever again submit to rule of other.
    5. Failure to find a solution relevant to the region's type of conflict (communal ethnic) and instead imposing solutions including Euro-centric constitution, and an electoral race in a bid for national unity. "...ingenuous peace strategies that will guarantee life, limb, property, and identity must by formulated. Unity should not be absolute; nor should sovereignty be sacred. Feasible peace strategies may encompass administrative decentralization, autonomy, federalism, and separation."
    6. Inefficient peacekeeping violated norms and requirement of peacekeeping leading to institutional frustration and regional disillusionment.
    7. Mandates for peacekeeping including disarmament, organization of an army, and guaranteeing security were too broad, ambitious and unrealistic in a country where ceasefires had never held and functional interaction of the country had never been attained.
    8. Peacekeeping operations were plagued by vague and loose terms of reference and operating procedures including the role and functions of peacekeeping force, and a lack of understanding of the neutrality of the peacekeeping force.
    9. Mandate for peacekeeping was non-specific and unrealistic and all parties to conflict did not consent to it or cooperate with it. The peacekeeping force had limited military capacity and in keeping with the principle of non-use of force threatened the security of the mission.
    10. Lack of cooperation within the body authorizing the peacekeeping mission (regional union), ideological differences, differing motivations for involvement and non-impartiality undermined the mission's "unity of purpose, impartiality, credibility and, ultimately, capability".
    11. Operations were beyond the financial capabilities of the regional union. Members had to support their own troops, and uncertain funding affected efficiency and effectiveness of the mission.
    12. The peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts of the regional union should have been complemented with peace servicing which was non-existent (outlay of resources and expertise to effectively help in humanitarian assistance, rebuilding, monitoring, development of sustainability, among other badly needed interventions.

    "A vital asset of a mediator is reputation based on the perception of impartiality or at least trust, leverage, respect and moral credibility. In addition to such ideal resources for third-party intervention, the search for a peaceful resolution to a conflict by a regional organization must be informed by substantive (systemic) principles which would govern various situations of conflict. For the current spate of intrastate conflicts, such principles may include self-determination, basic human needs of identity and recognition, popular choice and decision-making through open and fair referenda and elections, popular participation in governance, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The development of such universal principles in the African regional system is in its infancy."


  • Somalia's Uncertain Future Report drafted by Dr. Michael A. Weinstein 10 January 2006, PINR Power and Interest News
  • Aden Declaration Somalia Aden Declaration is good for Somalia's peace quest, but lacks basics to unite warring groups.. By Mohamud Uluso, former Cabinet Minister and Governor Central Bank of Somalia, Hiiraan Online.
  • Aden Declaration Somalia Failed to address central issues causing initial split: The location of the seat of government, deployment of peacekeeping forces, and little framework for solution.

    The sudden new agreement in January '06 with the mediation of the President of Yemen as a part of the Sanaa Forum leaves questions unanswered while resolving a number of diplomatic issues.
    1. Unilateral actions by one group (Jowhar) worsened situation including governmental appointments, military recruitment, joining international body and signing agreements, initiation of development projects and aid disbursement.
    2. Unilateral actions without consensus.
    3. International and regional maneuvers in secrecy by one of the parties after the agreement causing suspicion that agreement may in fact be merely a cover.
    4. Sudden agreement by heads of warring factions without consensus within each group.
    5. Sudden changing of peace talk hosts and power base away from international to regional.
    6. Marginalization of powerful subgroups.
    7. No clear apparatus for stabilizing conflict.
    8. No clear lines or rules as to how major problems will be handled.


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