By: David Clavijo and Sebastian Jaramillo. 


Conflicts at an international level or local can be caused or influenced by both international and local factors. Likewise, assuming the preexistence of a conflict in an alternate scenario, both international and local efforts can be key to the resolution of said conflict. Furthermore, acting at a local scale, international efforts on the resolution of conflicts become external agents, meanwhile local efforts will be seen as internal advances on the matter.

Taking into account both local and international efforts is crucial when the goal is to reach a sustainably peaceful environment in which both parties can coexist with the least possible negative conflict.

Before further analysis on these efforts and their outcome, we will give introduction to the following two conflicts. We will continuously refer to these conflicts as Conflict A and B respectively: the FARC-Colombia Turmoil and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Beginning at the conflict, we have developed a four-step scale on the process between a Conflict and its Resolution, or as we like to call it, Harmony.

The path towards conflict resolution begins with the efforts that will arise from the parties involved in the conflict, or third parties, which will seek the mitigation of possible negative outcomes. An effort can be seen as the attempt of either an internal or external agent to make the conflict migrate from a troublesome state to a more settled down one, where the scenario lets the involved parties express their interests . Efforts can be as simple as stating opinions openly, or seeking equal grounds; and can be as complicated as the negotiation of a treaty or the approval and constitution of new laws.

Good examples of local efforts for a conflict resolution, could be the initiation of peace talks between the sides or the use of legal mechanisms, such as jurisdictional or legislative powers, to regulate or possibly intervene in the matter. Jurisdictional paths can be seen as legal decisions taken by judges or similar entities to resolve certain issues, while legislative paths can seek the promulgation of laws or decrees that will regulate new or old circumstances. Meanwhile, International efforts in conflict resolution can be seen as external attempts, such as the use of International law to mediate by using mechanisms such as arbitration, which is the use of an unbiased actor that will study the conflict and propose an alternative possible solution to it; and the implementation of Treaties and Conventions that regulate elements such as, but not limited to, Crimes Against Humanity and Humanitarian Law. That said, efforts can be divided into steps that need to be successfully followed for these to have a positive outcome.

First and foremost, after the conflict has been detected, the parties must break down the conflict. This can be translated into separating the needs from the interests  and facts from opinions in order to gain an objective and holistic point of view on the matter. Second, parts must have an open communication; if needed, efforts from third parties can help mitigate possible tensions between the actors involved. In Conflict A, we have seen that these efforts fail because parties involved do not separate what they need from what they want (i.e. during the FARC-Pastrana Government peace talks; a negotiation attempt between the FARC and the government that took place from 1998 to 2002, that tried to finish with the internal Colombian armed conflict, both sides of the conflict sought to satisfy their interests without having a space in which third parties could mediate and possibly  diminish strains).

Third, parties must be willing to negotiate, which means trying to find a balance in order to satisfy the expressed needs and interests seen in step one, as if it were a matter of Quid Pro Quo , but before negotiating there needs to be clarity and transparency on what every party wants or needs. Fourth, negotiation has to lead towards a possible solution that seeks the satisfaction of all the possible requirements the parties might have. If that goal is reached, parties involved will be more likely to keep to their commitment towards the solution, because it will benefit each one of them (e.g. in Conflict A, recent attempts to resolve the turmoil have shown to be more successful thanks to the existence of a space where both local and international efforts can mediate and negotiate as long as their points of view are impartial).

Right after agreeing on a possible solution by striving to make the parties’ intentions align, and before the final stage which we named Harmony, comes a time we seldom hear referred to as Post-Conflict. During this time it is vital that said efforts do not fail on their objectives or lose focus towards them, otherwise the escalation and sustainability of the resolution will be at risk and the previous conflict or even a new one may arise. As Conflict B has shown us, the lack of monitoring and continuously developing efforts has as a consequence that the parties go back to seek only what is best for their interests and not what was negotiated or agreed upon, which can lead to a worse situation than before.

During Post-Conflict, parties involved in the matter have to take action and measures that will solve all possible negative situations the conflict has left behind. It is imperative that both parties keep to their commitment in order to implement actions that go according to a joint plan, avoiding circumstances that can create differences or tip the balance in favor of one or another; such as, when given an armed conflict, there is an unequal distribution of compromise, power or enforceability (e.g. in Chapter 3, Article 2; where we saw the importance of Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and how this impacts society). In Conflict B, both parties seek to gain power over the same territory and population by enforcement and use of weapons, nonetheless there has been an inadequate distribution of land and power that leads to an unbalanced scale that is unable to measure the resolution’s sustainability.

Once the agreed plan of action has been set in motion and Post-Conflict is developing successfully, we can see glimpses of Harmony. Harmony is a state where all the involved parties can work together without having any kind of unsolvable issues or tensions, leading to a continuously developing environment that should only bring improvement. This stage is not a final stop in the conflict resolution process, a lot of work must be done to guarantee the sustainability of this recently-acquired peace. Education is the basis of the infrastructure that will keep Harmony alive, as you saw in the first article of this chapter where we describe not only the importance of formal education (such as schools, or universities) but also informal education (such as the one CISV delivers in each of its activities and programmes).

In order to make this stage become a sustainable peace environment, it is necessary to avoid falling into a continuous loop and return to conflict; thus, Harmony needs to become a Status Quo. To maintain this new Status Quo, the parties previously involved in the conflict must continue to make efforts and work together in order to keep their intentions aligned. In Conflict B, the parties involved have not yet found a middle ground to act upon, making it impossible to even get to a Post-Conflict and then achieve Harmony; while actors in Conflict A are agreeing on important matters that will set the path towards a possible resolution based on objectives that seek to guarantee a sustainable peace environment.


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