Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative
Publication date: 
REPORT (12 p.) - IPTI
Anne Zachariassen, Nicholas RossThania Paffenholz, Farraw Hawana
Inclusive dialogues are an important process of formal as well as non-formal negotiations and discussions often used to overcome conflict of a national scope and chart the future direction of a country on a consensual basis. Though inclusive dialogues are among the oldest forms of decision-making, only recently have diverse dialogue formats ranging from the community level to national peace and transition processes been conceptualized as varieties of a single phenomenon.

This report provides an overview of National Dialogues, as well as other types of non-formal dialogues, including high-level problem-solving workshops (track one.5), consultations and civil society dialogues (track two), and people-to-people dialogues and local community relations meetings (track three). It looks at the purposes of these dialogues, the actors involved, as well as the constraining and enabling factors that make different types of dialogues effective in reaching and sustaining agreements.

In this report, formal and non-formal dialogues are distinguished from each other in the following way. Formal dialogues refer to track one processes, such as National Dialogues, which are often established to facilitate formal negotiations that aim to produce a concrete outcome or agreement, for example on a new constitution, a transitional government, or political reform recommendations. In contrast, non-formal dialogues do not involve formal negotiations, and may not necessarily aim to produce a concrete negotiated outcome or final agreement.

This report is structured in two parts. The first part focuses on formal National Dialogues, while the second part considers non-formal types of dialogues. It builds on the insights and evidence generated by two large multi-year, qualitative, comparative research projects comprised of a series of in-depth case studies of peace and political transition processes: the “Civil Society and Peacebuilding” project and the “Broadening Participation in Peace Negotiations” project.