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Pioneering peace pathways

Initiating peace processes is hard to do – and not easy to document or analyse. Formative dialogue initiatives are largely informal, opaque and secret. The reality of peace processes is messy and ‘phases’ criss-cross one another. Armed actors talk and fight at the same time. Negotiations stop, start and mutate over many years. ‘Early’ peacemaking is invariably ‘too late’, as violence and repression are embedded in societies and political systems. These challenges all collide in an era of tense and toxic geopolitics, proxy violence, ‘nested conflicts’ and information warfare.


This Accord edition explores early and pre-formal peacemaking in three areas:

  • Setting the scene – key trends and developments in contemporary peacemaking

  • Perspectives on peacemaking practice – insights on ways to initiate and sustain peacemaking

  • Testing new approaches and ideas – emerging strategies and innovations to navigate complexity and advance conflict prevention, resolution and management


In this short video, Accord 29 Editor, Cate Buchanan, speaks to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation about the key themes in this publication. 




Conciliation Resources is grateful to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for support for the Accord Pathways to Peace Talks project. Opinions expressed by all contributors are their own. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Conciliation Resources.

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Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) is a Japanese private foundation established in 1986 to enhance international cooperation. SPF has set its focus on five priority goals from a mid- to long-term perspective: (1) further strengthening the Japan–U.S. relationship, (2) expanding Japan's presence in Asia, (3) enhancing understanding of and relationships with countries in the Middle East, (4) establishing ocean governance, and (5) empowering women to achieve gender equality in society. 

Issue editor

Cate Buchanan

Cate Buchanan is the Specialist Editor of Accord 29 including co-authoring an article with Sebastian Kratzer, ‘The dynamics and challenges of funding peace – perspectives from peacemaking practitioners.’ Cate is a mediation and inclusive process design specialist who works for the UN Special Envoy’s Office-Yemen as a Senior Adviser and in consultancy and retainer roles for the UN Mediation Support Unit (UN MSU), Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Dialogue Advisory Group, Conciliation Resources,