What makes peace negotiations fair? The purpose of this project is to take a point of departure in different philosophical understandings of fairness to unpack how they are understood and practiced by practitioners in peacemaking. Our ambition is to establish firm foundations for more coherent debates on ethical problems and solutions in peace negotiations and peace mediation.
Introducing the ethics of peace negotiations and mediation as a field of systematic research and debate, the project is divided into four complementary research components:
- an overview of the field, setting the agenda through a book project and journal special section,
- a set of case studies of normative controversies,
- expert consultations on ethical principles for negotiations, and
- philosophical analyses of justice in peace negotiations and mediation.
The project is run by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and involves partnerships with:
- Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Ghana
- Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia
- Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and the NUPI-led Efficiency of Peace Operations Network (EPON)
The project is led by Henrik Syse (PRIO), in close collaboration with Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO) and coordinator Julie M. Hansen (PRIO). It consists of a strong research team of 15 philosophers and social scientists, as well as a group of leading international peace negotiation experts.
The project had an online kick-off meeting 23 October 2020. Here, the theoretical and methodological backdrop was presented, and the project members engaged in discussions on ethical dilemmas in peace negotiations. Afterwards, Henrik Syse and Kristoffer Lidén conducted a literature review that will be presented in the lead article of a journal forum. A preliminary agreement of collaboration on this forum has been made with a leading international journal in the field of international ethics.
Through spring 2021, a series of meetings were held with the researchers involved in the case studies of the project on normative controversies in peace negotiations. The project held a workshop on 9-10 September 2021 (in hybrid format) where these studies were presented and discussed. Revised versions will go through peer review by the end of 2021 and published as "case briefs" by early 2022. These briefs will eventually be part of the project?s book publication.
The next phase of the project consists in consultations with the project's expert group. This was planned to take place in a workshop in spring/summer 2021. Due to the pandemic, these plans were revised and a series of online expert interviews has been prepared instead. Findings from the interviews will be presented in a draft guidance document on ethics in peace negotiations that will be presented in an expert workshop in 2022.
We have entered a collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Mediation Support Unit on the development of this guidance document. Moreover, a collaboration with Jørgen Jensehaugen (PRIO) has been established regarding the exploration of the responsibility of peace mediators for the process and outcome of negotiations. In addition, Lea Matthaei, an MA student at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society will participate in the expert interviews and write her MA thesis on this basis.
Introducing the ethics of peace negotiations and mediation as a field of systematic research and debate, this project is divided into four complementary research components: (1) an overview of the field, setting the agenda through a book project and journal special section, (2) a set of case studies of normative controversies, (3) expert consultations on ethical principles for negotiations, and (4) philosophical analyses of justice in peace negotiations and mediation.
Aiming at influencing public debate and negotiation practices as well as research and education, the project is designed to have an immediate as well as a longer-term impact. The immediate impact is guaranteed by the participation of central actors in international peace mediation - scholars as well as practitioners - who will be involved in workshops on the ethical dimension in their work. This expert group will also be challenged to formulate ethical guidance for peace negotiations - as an invitation to reflect on ethical problems and dilemmas rather than as a ‘rulebook’ for negotiations. The longer-term impact will be achieved through a variety of targeted outputs - ranging from scholarly articles to podcasts and a book directed at a broader audience.
The project is led by Henrik Syse, Research professor at PRIO, and mobilizes a strong research team of philosophers and social scientists as well as a group of leading international peace negotiation experts. PRIO is joined by three partner institutions of high quality and outreach: The Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana; the Department of Politics and International Relations at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia; and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).