Peace as governance? Critical challenges to power-sharing peace deals: Lessons for policymakers

Working paper


Sriram, C. L. 2009. Peace as governance? Critical challenges to power-sharing peace deals: Lessons for policymakers. University of East London.
AuthorsSriram, C. L.
TypeWorking paper
Abstract

This policy paper seeks to offer insights for policymakers
regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the use of
power-sharing in peace processes. It is based upon
close studies in three countries with protracted armed
conflicts and peace processes—Sri Lanka, Sudan, and
Colombia—as well as comparative analysis of nearly
thirty peace processes involving power-sharing elements
since the end of the Cold War. Power-sharing should
be understood as a broad strategy, comprising not only
power-sharing as traditionally understood, involving
political power-sharing, but also other governance
incentives commonly offered to induce armed groups
to negotiate peace agreements, and to implement
peace agreements, such as resource-sharing, inclusion
in security structures, and territorial autonomy. Close
examination demonstrates that while these incentives
often have appeal for armed groups, this appeal is often
overrated, and may frequently generate institutional
arrangements and political dynamics that are unstable in
the medium to long term. A re-evaluation of this strategy
is sorely needed, as it is commonly deployed relatively
uncritically, and power-sharing and similar incentives
can often reify existing cleavages in societies, increasing
rather than decreasing the risk of conflict. Specifically,
power-sharing may import or embed social divisions that
have the potential to become conflictual in new, weak,
or dysfunctional institutions of governance that are not
prepared to manage them.

KeywordsSri Lanka; Sudan; Colombia; Power-sharing; peace processes; peacebuilding; conflict resoulution
Year2009
PublisherUniversity of East London
Publication dates
PrintJun 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Nov 2010
SeriesCentre on Human Rights in Conflict Policy Paper No.3
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Anyone
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