Owning the process: Public participation in peacemaking
Publication date: 
Accord issue: 

Who participates in a peace process – and how and when – are crucial to its success.

Drawing on the rest of the publication, Catherine Barnes argues that moving beyond the elite pact-making model of negotiations that involves only combatant sides by instead including broader public participation is not only moral but pragmatic. 

Several authors indicate that a peace agreement marks the beginning of a process, not its end. The challenges of implementation are frequently under-rated.

Catherine Barnes

Defining three basic models – representative participation, consultative mechanisms and direct participation – the article reviews the different ways civil society groups have demanded and secured a role in their country’s peace processes.

These mechanisms and initiatives helped define and broaden the peace agreements, foster a sense of public ownership and support for the processes and strengthen a democratic culture through cooperation and consensus building.