Inclusive Agreement Implementation

The failure to implement negotiated peace agreements and the frequent collapse of elite deals have drawn the attention of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to how to better facilitate successful implementation and to increase societal inclusion in implementation processes.

Research has begun to explore the modalities, conditions, and effects of the inclusion of a broader range of societal and political actors, alongside powerful military and political elites, in negotiations and political settlements. Yet, the role of inclusion during implementation has received little attention, particularly in terms of the transitional institutions required to enable broad-based participation in implementation processes; the conditions required for civil society and non-armed actors to effectively participate in transitions; and the implications this broader inclusion may have for the implementation and even more so for the outcomes of transition processes, i.e. for the polities and societies they create.

Research objective

The Inclusive Agreement Implementation Research Project investigates the following central questions:

  • Through which modalities can societal and political groups who do not exert coercive and veto power over a peace or political transition process participate in the implementation of agreements?
  • What enables or constrains the ability of these actors to impact the implementation process?
  • What implications do different types of participation have for the prospects of successful implementation, and how can the impact of inclusion be understood and conceptualised?


The exploratory study undertook a combination of overlapping and interdependent research steps, based on qualitative methods. First, it developed a comprehensive analytical framework, drawing on the research literature as well as a screening of 32 empirical case studies on inclusion in peace and transition processes from the Broadening Participation project dataset. Second, the study applied a qualitative comparative approach to 11 country cases to investigate the effects of a set of features of implementation mechanisms on the ability of civil society and non-armed actors to participate in and influence implementation processes. Third, a concise case study on inclusion in the implementation phase of the Mindanao peace process in the Philippines investigated all the parameters entailed in the comprehensive analytical framework. Fourth, the analysed data and preliminary patterns identified were discussed at an expert workshop and contrasted with other research findings, leading to further data analysis and interpretation.

Key Findings

  • Peace processes are elements of political transitions that take place over decades. Formal track-one peace negotiations and agreement implementation make up just part of the space where the transition takes place.
  • Peace agreements are frequently only partially implemented – if at all – and implementation processes are often drawn out over much longer periods of time than originally envisaged.
  • The classical linear understanding of negotiations followed by implementation is misleading as reality is less straightforward: implementation often entails an ongoing re-negotiation of agreements through a mixture of formal and – very often – informal negotiation spaces.
  • Implementation broadens the scope of opportunity for inclusion. Greater inclusion is incorporated into implementation processes through provisions in agreements, selection procedures and selection criteria of implementation bodies and mechanisms, as well as informal arrangements and mobilisation.
  • Common implementation mechanisms and sectors include: constitutional and legislative reform mechanisms; interim and power-sharing governments; peacebuilding and reconciliation programmes; monitoring mechanisms; security sector reform; economic, land, and social reforms; and electoral reforms and elections.
  • The level of inclusion varies according to sectors and implementation mechanisms, and the level of inclusion is not necessarily commensurate with the effectiveness of inclusion, as included actors often cannot influence implementation.
  • The inclusion modalities all continue to exist during implementation, though their relevance and distribution changes. In particular, the notion of the negotiation table needs to be re-defined during implementation.
  • Inclusion is extremely important for implementation. Inclusion features in most implementation mechanisms and provides the opportunity to overcome blockages and delays in the process, and build and sustain momentum.
  • Inclusive implementation processes can create the preconditions and set precedents for pathways to inclusive societies and polities.
  • However, inclusive processes do not automatically guarantee inclusive outcomes, notably because inclusion by representation does not necessarily translate into voice and influence, and there is a significant degree of resistance to inclusion.
  • In particular inclusion is often regulated, co-opted, or restricted by gatekeepers (mainly key political, military, and sometimes other elites). Gatekeepers have the ability to manipulate change over time during implementation and do so in different ways that often slow down, hinder, or block pathways to peaceful and inclusive outcomes.

List of case studies

  1. Afghanistan Bonn process 2001–2005
  2. Burundi peace negotiations and implementation1996–2013
  3. Guatemala peace process 1989–19
  4. Kenya post-election violence 2008–2013
  5. Liberia peace agreement and implementation 2003–2011
  6. Nepal peace agreement and constitution-making 2005–2012
  7. Northern Ireland Belfast(Good Friday) and St. Andrews agreements 1998–2006
  8. Philippines Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process 2010–2016
  9. Solomon Islands Townsville Peace Agreement and constitution-making 2000–2014
  10. South Africa political transition 1990–1997
  11. Tajikistan peace negotiations and implementation1993–2000


In November 2018, IPTI and the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre convened a workshop of scholars, policymakers, and civil society practitioners to review the objectives, research plan, and findings.

The final study provides policy-relevant empirical insights on effective implementation and the roles various actors play in effective implementation, as well as on the conditions that are necessary to enable the inclusive implementation of peace and political transition processes.

The issue brief summarises the main findings of the project with a particular focus on the policy implications of the research results.


Implementing Peace Agreements: From Inclusive Processes to Inclusive Outcomes?

This report summarises the findings of a research project on the implementation of peace agreements. It explores how civil society and non-armed actors can participate in and influence peace agreement implementation and if inclusive processes lead to inclusive outcomes.

June 2020|Thania Paffenholz, Alexander Bramble,

Briefing Note,

Implementing Peace Agreements: From Inclusive Processes to Inclusive Outcomes?_BN

This briefing note summarises the findings of the Inclusive Peace Agreement Implementation research project. It explores how civil society and non-armed actors can participate in and influence peace agreement implementation and if inclusive processes lead to inclusive outcomes.

June 2020|Thania Paffenholz, Alexander Bramble,