Inclusive Peace & Transition Initiative
Research Project - National Dialogues

Ⓒ Nepalese lawmakers celebrate after the final constitution process at Constitution Assembly hall in Kathmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, 16 September 2015. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

From Togo (2006) to Yemen (2013–2014), National Dialogues are increasingly regarded as a promising avenue for managing political crises and transitions. National Dialogues provide an inclusive, broad, participatory official negotiation framework, which can resolve political crises and lead countries into political transitions. With mandates that include political reform, constitution-making, and peacebuilding, National Dialogues are convened to address issues of national concern, typically longstanding causes of conflict that have been brought to the fore by political protest or armed insurrection. 




Building on the Broadening Participation research, this project aimed to advance the emerging debate on National Dialogues by providing a comparative, mainly qualitative, analysis based on 17 processes in 12 countries in pursuit of two primary goals:

1. Expanding and substantiating existing knowledge by analyzing the role of National Dialogues in political transitions to assess their common characteristics.

2. Analyzing the factors that have enabled or constrained National Dialogues to reach agreements and to achieve sustainable outcomes after an agreement is concluded and implemented.

Key findings

  • National Dialogues have been used as an instrument to resolve political crises and pave the way for political transitions and sustainable peace
  • While most National Dialogues reached an agreement, only half of these agreements were implemented
  • National Dialogues have often been used by national elites as a tool to gain or reclaim political legitimacy, which has limited their potential for transformative change
  • When National Dialogues resulted in sustainable transitions, there was generally a favorable consensus among elites
  • Procedures for preparing, conducting, and implementing National Dialogues play a decisive role in whether processes are perceived as representative and legitimate
  • In the short term, and most notably in cases of mass protests, National Dialogues have been able to reduce violence by transferring grievances from the streets into formalized processes


Video Brief - Key Findings on National Dialogues

In this two-minute animated video brief, discover the key findings from our report "What Makes or Breaks National Dialogues?"

Watch Video

What Makes or Breaks National Dialogues?

This new report is the result of a two-year research project analyzing 17 cases of National Dialogues held between 1990 and 2014


What Makes or Breaks National Dialogues?

IPTI - April 2017

This Briefing Note presents key findings of the National Dialogues research project, which aims to contribute to a better understanding of common features of National Dialogues, as well as the factors and conditions that have affected National Dialogues


Case studies