Introducing the PA-X Local Peace Agreements Database

The Political Settlements Research Programme is proud to announce the launch of its new PA-X sub-database of local peace agreements: PA-X Local.   

PA-X Local is the first open-access database of written local peace agreements from across a global set of conflict-affected contexts. The local peace agreements included are publicly available written agreements between locally-based and other actors, which address local conflict-generating grievances only within a part of the wider conflict-affected area. PA-X Local offers a glimpse into the processes and outcomes of local peacemaking, including information on how it relates to any national peace process. 

This database lists all agreements included on the main PA-X Peace Agreements Database that deal in some way with local issues, in cases of local negotiation practices that are on the margins of wider conflict, or in cases of local/communal violent conflict. Agreements are collected from 1990 to the end of 2019, with global coverage, but PSRP will publicly release monthly by region from March to June 2020. The collection is not exhaustive of all local negotiation practices, since it only brings together accessible documents which are written, formally agreed, and publicly available. Often informal and unwritten agreements are also used in these types of peace processes. 

This interactive map displays all local peace agreements signed in Libya, Syria and Yemen that are included in the newPA-X sub-database of local peace agreements in the Middle East and North Africa. The map includes key information about each agreement as well as a link to detailed coding. It allows the visualisation of peace and its geographic distribution in those three conflict-affected countries.

Over the past few years, PSRP has engaged with the emerging research agenda interested in local peacemaking, and the connections between peace processes at multiple levels of politics, which laid the conceptual groundwork for this database. This work by researchers at Edinburgh Law School, at the University of Edinburgh, included the sourcing, translating, and coding of a selection of written local peace agreements. For more information about how researchers selected and processed the agreements that they were able to access, see ‘About PA-X. PSRP are hugely grateful to all those involved in local peace processes who have sent in texts of local peace agreements for inclusion in the database. 

The first version of PA-X Local launched today features 133 agreements from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), particularly from Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Over the next few months, PSRP will add at least 150 further agreements from Asia, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. The features of PA-X Local include: 

  • Information about the peace process that led to the signing of the agreement 
  • Analysis of potential links to national-level peace processes 
  • Name and geographical referencing of the conflict area
  • Categorisation of peace agreement participant types, including mediators 
  • Coding of four new categories of substantive issues addressed by agreements: use of rituals 
  • and prayer; acknowledgement of grievances; references to cattle rustling or livestock theft; and, removal of social cover.  

All agreements on PA-X Local are included in Version 3 of the main PA-X database launched in January 2020 and are therefore coded for an additional 225 substantive categories ranging from provisions on power sharing, to human rights, and the security sector. Due to the availability and accessibility of some peace agreement texts compared others, in some contexts there may be more peace agreements on PA-X Local relating to certain actors or areas of the conflict. This does not in any way suggest that there is a hierarchy of agreements or that PSRP have made such an assessment of importance – PA-X Local only includes agreements that researchers were able to access, and they do not make any changes to the original texts or terminology used in texts. We encourage anyone who thinks we have missed agreements to get in touch with the programme team at politicalsettlements@ed.ac.uk   

Like the main database, PA-X Local is open to all, including mediators and parties in conflict, civic actors, and social science researchers. There are numerous potential applications for this data in peacemaking practice, policy-making, and research. This new data could enable, for example: 

  • Analysis of patterns in local peacemaking over time 
  • Comparative studies of local peace processes within or across countries 
  • Examinations of the link between local, regional, and national-level peace processes 
  • Better understanding of practices of highly localised actors and their influence on wider conflict dynamics 
  • Case study research to draw out ‘lessons learned’ for local peacemaking practice Learning and teaching on local peacemaking  

As part of PSRP’s Local Peace Processes research stream, led by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, PSRP has held two ‘Joint Analysis Workshopsthat brought together leading researchers, peacebuilders, mediators, and representatives from intergovernmental bodies to reflect on local peace processes and local peace agreements. A report of findings from these workshops will be published with the British Academy in 2020. An initial PSRP publication by Laura Wise, Robert Forster, and Christine Bell on the opportunities and challenges for women’s engagement in local peace processes is now open access and free to download. 

If you would like to be notified about the release of additional local agreements from Asia, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, feel free to sign up for our programme emails at https://www.politicalsettlements.org/subscribe/ 

PA-X Local has been developed, designed, and coded by: Christine Bell, Sanja Badanjak, Juline Beaujouan, Margherita Distrotti, Tim Epple, Robert Forster, Robert Wilson, and Laura Wise.   

Search PA-X Local now.