Partnering to make peace: The effect of joint African and non-African mediation efforts’

This article systematically examines the varying effectiveness of African and non-African third parties in mediating civil wars in Africa. Drawing on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, supplemented with unique data on mediation efforts, which together cover all mediation efforts in civil wars in Africa between 1960 and 2012, this article presents quantitative evidence supporting the effectiveness of African third parties. Compared to non-African third parties, African third parties are far more likely to conclude peace agreements and these peace agreements are more likely to be durable. Most effective, however, are mixed mediation efforts in which there is coordination between African and non-African third parties, but in which African third parties take the lead. The phrase, ‘African solutions to African challenges’ should thus be understood as a division of labour and responsibilities, rather than an excuse for non-African third parties to ignore Africa’s problems or African third parties acting on their own.

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Inclusion in Peacekeeping

There is an international norm of inclusion in peace processes and political settlements. This is recent. Twenty years ago, the participation of unarmed political parties, civil society actors and women, was only a moral principle and an aspiration, disputed by political elites and questioned by conflict mediators. Today it has become a norm of international political practice, in the sense that people in conflict-affected countries demand inclusion, the international sponsors of peace processes seek it, and protagonists in conflicts tactically call upon it, occasionally to good effect. Inclusion is not law. It is still contested, but its challengers are in retreat. This paper examines what has occurred.

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Review of Katri Merikallio and Tapani Ruokanen, The Mediator: A biography of Martti Ahtisaari

For the international mediator, it’s not his war: he is neither tainted by the crimes nor related to the victims. But his conscience is also on the table, and he may believe in peace not as an exercise in political calculus, but as a humanitarian necessity. He doesn’t choose the parties or the dispute, and his control is limited to skill in handling the agenda, and moral suasion.

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South Sudan: The price of ‘peace’

Seven journalists have been killed in South Sudan in 2015. Independent newspapers are closed down. Humanitarian agencies feed millions of South Sudanese people – even after peace is signed. Government spending on health and education remains near zero.

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South Sudan: A peace deal is signed

The UN Security Council threatens sanctions on South Sudan’s leaders if they don’t sign a deal before the end of August 2015. The mediators draw up a ‘compromise peace agreement’ and both leaders sign, reluctantly. The agreement is a share-out of top jobs. The people must wait for democracy, justice, disarmament and development.

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South Sudan: Negotiations for peace…and democracy and human rights?

The mediators remain stuck in a model of peacemaking that includes only the leaders of the warring parties. Between December 2013 and August 2015, there are eight summit meetings, usually in Addis Ababa, and near-continuous peace talks. But the mediators never once go to meet the South Sudanese people. Civil society’s views aren’t taken seriously.

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South Sudan: The Price of Peace…Talks

History shows that the Sudanese and South Sudanese only reach peace agreements when the budget is increasing. Every political leader goes to the peace table expecting to depart with more than the amount he arrived with. The problem facing the mediators was that South Sudan’s budget is shrinking rapidly.

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