Daring to differ? Strategies of inclusion in peacemaking

Strategies of inclusion in international peacemaking policy

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Hirblinger and Landau (2020) - Daring to differ

Strategies of inclusion in international peacemaking policy
Following the discussion of the rationales for inclusion in peacemaking theory, this section examines how these correspond with strategies of inclusion on the international policy level. To this end, we asked how different framings of inclusion are manifested in key UN documents, representing the contemporary corpus of UN policy principles, standards and guidance on mediation, which we take to be indicative of an international trend towards inclusive peacemaking.
The documents are either guidance material produced by the UN Mediation Support Unit (MSU) and its partners, or

Security Dialogue 51(4)
form part of the UN’s normative framework on mediation, which includes statements and reports by the UN Secretary-General (UNSG), and resolutions by the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the UN General Assembly (UNGA). We take these documents to be in a co-constitutive relationship with peacemaking practice they are partly aspirational, written to guide future peacemaking efforts by the UN and its partners, and partly reflective of existing practice, as they are informed by lessons learned in past peacemaking efforts. With the aim of exploring this relationship between the policy level and the practice of peacemaking, we also conducted interviews with mediation professionals, whom we asked about their practices of fostering inclusion in peace processes, and their reflections on the purposes) of inclusion in peacemaking.
Our content analysis was guided by two questions which referent objects of inclusion do the policy documents identify, and for what purpose?
In a first step, we descriptively coded the identified objects of inclusion. Inmost cases, these are specific actor types, such as women, youth or civil society, while sometimes reference is made to territorial or social dimensions, such as regions, marginalized groups or minorities. Against the backdrop of the literature discussed above, we inferred that references to the object of inclusion can be grouped according to at least three main categories of framings. Open references, such as to stakeholders, communities or citizens, which are ambiguous in meaning and provide room for interpretation. Closed references, such as to women or youth, refer to an actor group that is identifiable according to relatively clear criteria. Finally, relational references, such as to powerful or marginalized actors, derive their meaning from being situated in a specific sociopolitical context. Of course, it can be argued that all terms are ultimately relational, as they form part of a system of signification in which no single signifier can independently convey meaning. However, the division into categories of framings serves to illustrate that these correspond with the three rationales for inclusion identified in the preceding section, which variously shape the view on the included.
These framings also ultimately determine the degree to which international peacemaking efforts can contribute to an agonistic peace.
A bird’s-eye view on the body of documents reveals a pattern in the distribution of framings of inclusion, with considerable variation between guidance documents and the normative framework. For example, UNSC resolutions predominantly use closed formulations that fix actor identities, with references to women making up the majority of these, while mediation guidance relies more on open and relational terminology. Reports by the UNSG use both relational and open terminology, but are dominated by closed terms, which are used at least once in every report. The use of relational terminology is strongest in UN mediation guidance, where almost a third of all mentions of inclusion use a relational framing, occurring in two-thirds of all documents. The relevance of these findings lies in the different practical purposes of these documents. While the normative framework, and in particular UNSC resolutions, are in principle binding documents, mediation guidance notes are suggestive, rather than authoritative, and reflect UN best practice.

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