Solutions to Violent Conflict

Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Resurrection Politics and Banning the Bomb

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 at 10:39 am

Maryann Cusimano Love

The nuclear weapons ban is the latest example of resurrection politics. Peace advocates, scientists, and churches have been trying to ban the bomb for over 70 years, with few successes. Resurrection politics takes issues thought previously “dead on arrival” and raises them up, bringing them to life on the international agenda. Today 122 countries are on record in favor of the UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons; 53 countries signed on the first day the treaty was open for signatures, and already 3 countries have quickly ratified the ban. The Holy See was the first to ratify the treaty, and many Catholic majority countries led the effort, including Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Austria, and Costa Rica.

Resurrection politics succeeded in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the International Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions, the Jubilee movement for international debt relief to poor countries, and international efforts against human trafficking. Read the rest of this entry »

The Holy See’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 at 10:39 am

Gerard Powers

The Vatican has long supported nuclear arms reduction and is seeking to build on the disarmament momentum generated by the United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons. The Holy See’s efforts, like those of other pro-ban states, might seem quixotic given the countervailing policies of the nuclear weapons states. But as Rose Gottemoeller, NATO’s deputy secretary general, has said, “I think there is a huge moral impact of the Vatican on issues that relate to nuclear weapons deterrence and the disarmament agenda overall.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Security without Nuclear Weapons

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 at 10:39 am

David Cortright

Critics of the UN treaty banning the bomb argue that nuclear weapons have helped to prevent World War III and are essential for international security. A world without nuclear weapons, they say, would be a world of greater war and military aggression. As I explain below, however, the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons envisioned in a nuclear ban would help to make the world more secure not less.

The contention that nuclear weapons have kept the peace between the great powers since World War II is simplistic and unprovable. Russia and the United States are certainly more wary of confronting each other because of nuclear weapons, but this is not the only consideration preventing a conflagration. Europe was once the cauldron of world war, but over the decades it has become a politically and economically integrated community of states at peace with one another, notwithstanding Brexit and other tensions. Read the rest of this entry »

A Barometer of Peace Implementation in Colombia

In Peace Accords on October 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

David Cortright and Laurel Stone

Working at the nexus of practice and research, the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) program has established by way of empirical evidence the world’s largest collection of implementation data on peace agreements. The PAM database tracks the implementation status of 34 comprehensive peace accords (CPAs) negotiated since 1989 and assesses the status of 51 distinct provisions year-by-year for ten years in quantitative and qualitative form. This resource allows PAM researchers to identify empirical patterns and investigate systemic dynamics and processes comparatively within and across cases.

Over the past 18 months the Kroc Institute has established a new program in Colombia, the Barometer Initiative, to apply the PAM methodology to the challenge of contemporaneous monitoring of the Colombia Peace Accord. The Barometer Initiative examines the degree of implementation in 558 specific stipulations in the accord, which are then grouped into 18 themes and 74 subthemes. The PAM coding process employs a four-point ordinal scale: 0 for not initiated, 1 for minimal implementation, 2 for intermediate implementation, and 3 for full implementation. Scores are developed for each stipulation and are then aggregated to provide a percentage scoring of implementation for themes and subthemes and for the accord as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »

Implementation Progress in the Colombian Final Accord

In Peace Accords on October 11, 2017 at 10:59 am

Madhav Joshi and Jason Quinn

The Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) project tracks the implementation of 34 comprehensive peace agreements signed in civil wars since 1989. Less than one-third of these agreements contain review mechanisms providing an overall assessment of implementation. Most of these review mechanisms were retrospective and thus provided no immediate feedback or opportunity to improve implementation. To address this peacebuilding gap, the PAM project proposed an innovative methodology of contemporaneous holistic review of the Colombian Final Accord that was formally adopted by the negotiating parties and included in the agreement. The methodology codifies the 300-page peace agreement into 558 actionable items clustered under 74 subthemes and 18 Themes. Under the terms of the Colombia peace accord, the Kroc Institute is responsible for providing an assessment methodology and issuing reports on the status of implementation of the accord through its Colombia Barometer Initiative. Below is a summary of the highlights from our preliminary assessment of implementation. Read the rest of this entry »

Monitoring the Progress of Human Rights in the Colombia Peace Process

In Peace Accords on October 11, 2017 at 10:54 am

Borja Paladini Adell and Carolina Naranjo

With much more development than in other peace accords, the Colombian Final Agreement includes a series of transversal and differential aspirations, principles and criteria of an equitable character that reflect a human rights-based approach to the process of building peace. The inclusion of these transversal themes is one of the most distinctive and innovative features of the Colombian agreement. Evaluating the implementation of these themes is fundamental to understanding the fulfillment of the political commitments in the agreement and assessing the overall quality of the peace process.

The transversal themes of the accord direct parties to develop affirmative and equitable actions towards a set of populations and territories that have been marginalized and more affected by the armed conflict. Based on the logic of participatory elaboration and implementation of public policies, this approach considers people not as mere objects and beneficiaries of policies (or of a peace agreement as an expression of public policy), but as active subjects of rights. They have agency and the ability to demand certain benefits and behaviors from the State and their fellow citizens within the framework of the guarantee and enforceability of their rights and duties. This approach recognizes, accepts and promotes the role of rights holders as key actors in the design, implementation, and evaluation of these policies, so that the means used are consistent with the intended purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

The UN, the EU, the U.S.: The Triumph of ‘Team Work’

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Clara Portela is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe.

When the Iran nuclear deal was signed, it was celebrated as a diplomatic success, especially for the United States. Media reports focused on the image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry negotiating the deal. However, closer inspection reveals that it was not exclusively U.S. action that was responsible for the success. In the absence of the contributions made by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), the dispute over the Iranian nuclear file would not have been resolved. The process that led to the much-applauded agreement involved a complex interaction of three international actors in an example of felicitous ‘team-work’.

The EU took the lead in negotiating with Tehran and worked to engage Washington in the diplomatic process, after the U.S. administration had long ruled out direct contacts with Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Should Support, Not Disrupt, the Iran Deal

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm


Kelsey Davenport is Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.

Donald Trump faces a tough array of foreign policy challenges, but noticeably absent from that list is the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. If Trump plays his cards right, he can keep Iran’s nuclear program off the table for the duration of his presidency. But that will require supporting, not disrupting, the highly-effective multilateral nuclear agreement the United States and its partners reached with Iran in 2015.

Before following through on threats to tear up the agreement or renegotiate it, Trump should review the Iran deal’s scorecard for the past 18 months. Read the rest of this entry »

The Leverage Embedded in the Iran Deal

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

George Lopez is the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Since the election of Donald Trump, members of the arms control community have argued that the new administration must keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] based on the unprecedented compliance of the Iranians in fulfilling each part of their pledge to denuclearize. Those touting the success and benefits of the agreement note that the United Nations Security Council endorsed the JCPOA by approving Security Council Resolution (SCR) 2231 (January 2016), following certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] that Iran was in full compliance with the provisions of the agreement.

Unfortunately, in an Administration that eschews facts and is committed to implementing policy via swift proclamations and executive orders, the prima facie case for preserving the agreement because it works carries little weight. Read the rest of this entry »