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Powers of persuasion: Incentives, sanctions and conditionality in peacemaking

Faced with the problem of how to respond to the challenges of intra-state armed conflict, international policymakers often turn to incentives, sanctions and conditionality in the hope that these tools can alter the conflict dynamics and influence the protagonists' behaviour.

But do such policy instruments underpin or undermine peace processes? How can they constructively influence conflict parties' engagement in peacemaking initiatives?

Accord 19 draws on case studies worldwide, including Darfur, Northern Ireland, Israel-Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, northern Uganda, Georgia-Abkhazia, Cote d'Ivoire and Papua New Guinea–Bougainville. The studies suggest that while these instruments have in some cases helped tip the balance towards settlement, in many others they been ineffective, incoherent or subsumed into the dynamics of the conflict.

The editors of this thematic issue of Accord conclude that for such instruments to be effective, support for sustainable peace must be prioritised and strategies crafted to help achieve it. This in turn requires strategic coherence among external actors. Rather than externalising the focus of the negotiation process, policy instruments must be responsive to the conflict parties' motivations, support pre-existing dynamics for conflict resolution, and help create momentum in the resolution process.

The project also produced a policy brief, a concept paper and workshop report

This issue of Accord was edited by Aaron Griffiths and Catherine Barnes.