Project and Document Summary

‘Forging Resilient Social Contracts: Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace’ is an 11-country research and policy dialogue project that aims to revitalise the social contract amidst conflict and fragility and to advance policy and practice for preventing violent conflict and for achieving and sustaining peace. The comparative findings provide evidence and insight into what drives social contracts that are inclusive and resilient, and how they manifest and adapt in different contexts, transcending what are often unsustainable, ephemeral elite bargains into more inclusive ones, with durable arrangements for achieving and sustaining peace.

The project involves international scholars, policy advisers and authors from the countries examined: Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Yemen and Zimbabwe. The project activities took place from 2016 to mid 2018 and include case research in these countries, a series of policy and scholarly dialogues and this summary.

This Full Report (with Cases) introduces the project context, the project’s research framing, and findings from nine of the 11 case studies. Numerous validation workshops and policy dialogues in the case study countries and elsewhere inform the findings. Policy recommendations for national and international policymakers are shared. These findings and recommendations are providing a basis for deepened research and related project activity.

The project gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Oslo Governance Centre (OGC), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Berlin and New York, the Julian J. Studley Fund of the Graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School in New York, in this work.

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