Limiting Violence and Intimidation - For Practitioners - Peacemaking and Peacekeeping Strategies

Heidi Burgess


Peacemaking and Peacekeeping Strategies

In the 1992 document An Agenda for Peace, the UN Secretary General at the time, Boutros-Boutros Ghali described three essential peace processes in addition to preventive diplomacy: peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding. Peacemaking and peacekeeping, both discussed here, involve processes designed to stop violence and prevent it from re-starting. Peacebuilding is longer-term, more systemic process, also designed to prevent violence from re-igniting, by mending relationships and remedying the underlying causes of the violence and conflict in the first place. This is dealt with in a separate peacebuilding section.


Peacemaking encompasses a variety of processes designed to end violence. Some involve negotiation of one or more types of peace agreements:

  • Cessation-of-hostility or ceasefire agreements,
  • Pre-negotiation agreements which focus on the procedural issues surrounding the larger negotiation process
  • Preliminary or interim agreements which are a first step towards more comprehensive settlements,
  • Framework Agreements, which agreeupon the prinicples and framework upon which the more comprehensive agreement will be negotiated,
  • Comprehensive Agreements, which address the substance of all of the major issues in dispute, and lastly
  • Implementation Agreements which elaborate on the details of the Comprehenive or Framework Agreements to specify exactly who is going to do what, when, and how.

Peacemaking can also entail mediation, arbitration, or judicial settlement, or even the imposition of economic, social, or political sanctions or military intervention. (The UN calls military intervention "peace enforcement," not peacemaking, but many scholars and practitioners consider that to be a subcategory of peacemaking practice). Volumes can and have been written about good practices for each of these strategies, but some particularly useful tools for each are presented below as starting points for thought and discussion.

Selected Resources of Interest

  • Peace Agreement Negotiation
    • The Peace Agreement Drafters Handbook put out by the Public International Law and Policy Group is one of the most comprehensive practical handbooks available for peace agreement negotiators, this handbook is designed to provide practical guidance to diplomats and lawyers involved in the negotiation and drafting of peace treaties and similar international agreements.
    • The Conciliation Resources 's Accord Peace Agreement Index is an excellent online resource for comparative analysis of the technical solutions reached on a large range of conflict issues dealt with in peace negotiations. Peace agreements of all types are indexed on hundreds of terms covering substantive issues, types of agreements, negotiating procedures, and the like.
    • Working with Groups of Friends.This handbook is one in a series of practice-oriented handbooks published by the U.S. Institute of Peace. This one focuses on groups of external actors--both governmental (Track I) and nongovernmental (Track II) that can form support groups for mediators in peace agreement negotiations. According to the author, these groups--most commonly called "groups of friends," are becoming increasingly common and important to the peace negotiation process in many, though certainly not all, instances.
    • Timing Mediation Initiatives A second of the U.S. Institute of Peace's practice-oriented handbooks is on the timing of mediation initiatives--identifying and creating what author William Zartman calls "ripeness." When a conflict has reached a stage of hurting stalemate--when both sides are significantly hurting the other, but neither side can win unilaterally, the time is relatively "ripe" (or ready) for peace negotiations. This handbook describes how to recognize such propitious times, and how to create them if they do not yet exist.
    • Shorter descriptions of the same concepts, also written by William Zartman are available on Beyond Intractability:Ripeness and Ripeness Promoting Strategies
  • Negotiation and Mediation of Cease Fire Agreements
    • Ceasefire Agreements This is part of the Peace Agreement Drafters Handbook. It provides both a detailed chapter on drafting cease fire agreements (detailing elements that are needed in all such agreements (identification and definition of prohibited acts, separation of forces, and verification, supervision, and monitoring of the ceasefire), recommendations about how these elements can be negotiated, and suggested agreement languge. The handbook also contains a model ceasefire template.
    • Ceasefire This overview article describes what ceasefire agreements are, and how they relate to other agreements that, together, stop violence and end wars. The article explains that even when all the sides want the fighting to cease, negotiating the terms of the ceasefire can be exceedingly difficult, as is moving from the ceasefire stage to the permanent settlement negotiations and comprehensive peace agreements.
    • "Ceasefire negotiations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo"This article explores efforts to achieve a cessation of hostilities between the Mayi-mayi (sometimes Mai-mai) local militia fighters and the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma) in the context of the implementation of the Lusaka Accord. It also explores the impact of tensions between track one and track two players have had on that effort.
    • A Leap into Uncharted WatersThis article examines IRA ceasefires, subsequent negotiations, and negotiation failures, analyzing what worked and what didn't in efforts to end the Northern Ireland "Troubles."
    • Chapter 5, "The Dayton Agreement in Bosnia: Durable Cease Gire, Permanent Negotiation" in Peace versus Justice: Negotiating Backward and Forward, edited by I. William Zartman, Viktor Aleksandrovich Kremeniuk is an insiders' look at how the final Dayton Agreement was negotiated, when other cease fire negotiations have failed. While most cease fire negotiations are "backward looking," the author explains, this agreement was forward looking. However, it had enough backward-looking provisions in it that it "froze the conflict in place," cementing the cease fire, at least, but prevent further progress, especially in Bosnia. Some, but not all of the chapter is available online at
  • Negotiation and Mediation of Preenegotiation and Framework Agreements
  • Negotiation and Mediation of Comprehensive and Implementation Agreements
  • Imposition of Sanctions
  • Military Intervention
    • Military Intervention Strategies Many peace scholars and advocates reject the notion of military intervention as unethical as well, but in this introductory essay on the topic suggests that there are both effective and ethical uses of military intervention for peace.
    • The Responsibility to Protect This is the 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty that begins to lay out the concepts of responsibility to protect, as well as responsibilities to prevent, react, and rebuild.
    • Counterterrorism in African Failed States: Challenges and Potential Solutions Combatting terrorism in failing and failed states is one of the most challenging problems facing both military and civilian peacemakers. This study discusses potential solutions to the challenges such interventions face.