PSRP Director Prof Christine Bell is quoted in a recent piece by UN Insider on the growing support for global ceasefires during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UN Insider article introduces the call from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for countries to lay down their weapons in the face of Covid-19, and refers to PSRP research on ceasefires and the relationship between armed conflict and crisis.
The article cites an original opinion piece by Christine Bell, COVID-19 and Violent Conflict: Responding to Predictable Unpredictability, which offers baseline understandings for designing the most effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in conflict-affected regions. From UN Insider:
Picking up the threads of the UN chief’s appeal, Bell added: “We know from experience that the relationship between armed conflict and crisis is complicated and leads to unpredictable results. If this unpredictability is, however, itself predictable — a “known unknown” — can a “smart” response be put in place?” Our ongoing research at the Political Settlements Research Programme suggests that the following 11 baseline understandings are likely to be key in designing the most effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in conflict-affected regions:
1. Implementing technical solutions is always political, and “conflict lenses” are needed to anticipate the effectiveness of any response.
2. Mid-level peacebuilders have unique capacities to bridge and build trust between the state and local communities.
3. Flexible aid may be needed that can bypass the State in contentious areas.
4. Crisis management can have “peace dividends”.
5. Conflict parties often seek to make military and political gains, under cover of crisis response.
6. State and non-State armed actor capacities for mobilization, and their political and military calculations, will be different.
7. COVID-19 may pose unique logistical challenges to current peace processes.
8. Diplomacy and peacekeeping may become “absent”.
9. Emergency legislation is a response with conflict-dangers.
10. Elections are also peculiarly at threat, with specific conflict consequences.
11. A lack of international legal confidence.
Read the article in full on the UN Insider website.
For more information, read PSRP research on ceasefires:
When and how are ceasefires negotiated, and what are their critical elements? The Spotlight reviews core elements included in the 267 ceasefire agreements signed between 1990 and 2015 listed on the PA-X Peace Agreements Database.
Gender Mainstreaming in Ceasefires: Comparative Data and Examples
When and how have ceasefire agreements in armed conflict addressed women? Why should ceasefires include gender-specific provisions? Finally, what are the potential strategies for including women in ceasefire monitoring and implementation modalities?
Humanitarian Assistance and Gender Perspectives in Peace Agreements
When and how do peace processes provide for humanitarian assistance? Do peace agreements that provide for humanitarian assistance adopt a gender perspective?