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Aggravating conflicts or paving the way to peace? The role and impact of ceasefire agreements in relation to peace processes and comprehensive peace accords

Research project This project is concerned with analysing ceasefire agreements in relation to peace processes and comprehensive peace accords.

More specifically, the purpose is (1) to analyse why some ceasefire agreements lead to comprehensive peace accords while others do not, and (2) to further advance and refine a theoretical framework aiming at analysing ceasefire agreements in relation to peace processes developed in my doctoral dissertation.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period

2015-01-01 2019-12-31

Funding

The Swedish Research Council

Research subject

Peace and conflict studies

Project description

Ceasefire agreements are often assumed to create momentum in peace processes and to pave the way to a peaceful solution to violent conflicts. At the same time, it has also been suggested that ceasefires can have a negative impact on peace processes and aggravate conflicts. Thus, while research repeatedly underscores the importance of ceasefire agreements in peace processes the results have been ambiguous. To contribute to increase the knowledge of war-to-peace transitions, in this project I focus on studying two central aspects of peace processes: (i) linkages between interim ceasefire agreements and subsequent comprehensive peace accords, and (ii) the impact of ceasefire agreements on the dynamics of prolonged or stalled peace processes. What is the impact of ceasefire agreements on subsequent comprehensive peace accords? Under what conditions do ceasefires contribute to either generate or overcome conflicts? What similarities and differences can be identified between empirical cases that can increase our knowledge about ceasefire agreements in relation to peace processes and comprehensive peace accords?

The project uses a comparative approach and is divided into two parts: a comprehensive analysis of a larger number of cases aimed at systematically analysing linkages between interim ceasefire agreements and comprehensive peace accords; and three in-depth case study analyses of ceasefires in Burma, the Philippines (Mindanao), and Papua New Guinea (Bougainville).

The research will continue 2015-2019 and be conducted at the Department of Political Science, Umeå University and at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, US.

The project contributes to filling a major research gap and is expected to advance the knowledge on the nature and impact of agreements in transitions from war to peace and the sequencing of initiatives in peace processes. The results will also be of interest for practitioners engaged in finding peaceful solutions to violent conflicts.