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Abstract

The increased number of peacemaking actors during the past twenty years is accompanied by an increased amount of peacemaking, but also a low success rate. This article focuses on recent emerging conflicts. It finds that peacemaking is prevalent, but is often not coordinated with regard to choice of tools (mediation, arbitration, etc.), or the agenda or the issues of the talks. This lack of coordination has for many years been recognized as detrimental and may partly explain the low success rate. The article suggests that policymakers need to have a long-term strategy to address the coordination problem, part of which is to limit the number of peacemakers in a given conflict. In practice this may involve giving a larger role to regional organisations, and considering a pre-determined division of labour. A second implication is not to let initial failures discourage further peacemaking as peacemaking is a process, not an event. However, efforts to improve coordination should not crowd out the fact of the general inaction on the part of the international community in responding to the large majority of emerging conflicts. This may in fact be a bigger problem than the over-attention suffered by a few cases.

 

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