Social Contract-building for Peace: Dissonant Duello of Subnational Social Contracts in Cyprus

Executive Summary The protracted conflict in Cyprus produced two competing governance structures that nurtured their own competing and ethnocentric subnational social contracts for almost five decades. Competing loyalties of the two communities and their dependence on their subnational social contracts undermines the peacemaking efforts’ capacity to design a unifying and resilient social contract that goes beyond ethnocentrism under a federal blueprint. Ethnocentrist social contracts and institutional arrangements have evolved and become entrenched through the peace process, creating strong structures of inclusion and exclusion. The over-dependence of the peace process on high-level negotiations and their failure to effectively address the core conflict drivers, coupled with institutional discrimination of rival governance structures, have not created a conducive environment for broadening and deepening social cohesion across the communities. The case of Cyprus illustrates the importance and interconnectedness of the three drivers of resilient social contract making in reconciling the two rival subnational social contracts in pursuit of a sustainable peace settlement,


Avoiding Peace Pitfalls in Yemen: Prospects for Developing a Resilient Social Contract

Executive Summary This paper provides an analysis of findings from the case of Yemen, as part of an 11-country research and dialogue project that examines what drives a resilient national social contract in countries affected by conflict, fragility or unresolved political settlements. Yemen’s multidimensional civil war and proxy war manifested immediately after the highly celebrated National Dialogue Conference (NDC) that was brokered by the Gulf States and the international community. Despite the thoughtful approach and inclusive process, it was not sufficient to build enduring peace. Different regional groups and political elites in Yemen, including some who have politicised their grievances, deepened divisions, proving that a power grab, and not a resilient social contract, is their priority. In failing to reach a nationally driven and locally based political settlement, Yemen exemplifies the risk of not addressing fundamental grievances that make it even more difficult to achieve a more permanent, resilient social contract and that might even conflict. This paper


South Sudan: The Quest for a Resilient Social Contract

Executive Summary Since achieving its hard-won independence, South Sudan has become a theatre of violent conflict and human misery and one of the most fragile countries in the world. Examining this crisis and prospects for achieving and sustaining peace through the lens of social contract, this article argues that the way the ruling elites managed the transition to statehood, including the constitution-making process, has produced a social contract that has failed to address and instead accentuated the core conflict issues that contributed, among other factors, to the eruption of civil war in 2013. Although the 2015 Peace Agreement provides an opportunity for the people of South Sudan to forge the much-needed social contract, its revitalisation by new agreements recently signed in Khartoum during July 2018 that maintain status quo and reward those with guns will be a recipe for another cycle of violence that may drag the country to the trajectory of a Hobbesian state.


Peacemaking as a Struggle Over the Social Contract: Challenges and Opportunities of the New Peace Agreement in Colombia

Executive Summary After more than 50 years of conflict, the Colombian Government and the leftist group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement in November 2016. The agreement—and the negotiations leading up to the final document—created an opportunity for addressing historical inequalities in the Colombian political system and its socio-economic structures. However, Colombian society remains deeply divided, as is common during processes of political settlement. Some of the aspirations of the peace agreement may be too ambitious and generate expectations that exceed the capacities of existing state institutions. In addition, opposition by political and social actors has been significant. At the same time, Colombia has made more progress on the state- and peace-building front than many other countries with a similar conflict background. This paper argues that the unfinished business of building a comprehensive, inclusive and ultimately resilient social contract in Colombia explains many of these tensions, which are examined through the lens of three


Forging A Resilient Social Contract In South Africa: States and Societies Sustaining Peace in the Post-Apartheid Era

Abstract Since the transition to democracy began in the early 1990s, the South African political settlement has ushered into policy a progressive framework for the realisation of socio-economic rights, enshrined by the Constitution. However, this political settlement has failed to translate into an economic and social settlement that would see access to livelihood strategies and equitable access to service delivery improve in a manner that addresses historical grievances. As a result, these core issues of conflict underlying South Africa’s transition render a fragile social contract – vulnerable to divisions of stark inequality along race, class and gender lines. Tracing these two core conflict issues through historical and current analysis, this paper argues that the interaction of the political settlement and the ability of institutions to deliver services effectively has negatively affected state-society relations and the legitimacy of the reconciliation agenda meant to support inter-group cohesion.  Download Working Paper Recent Country Studies


Elite vs. Everyday Social Contract in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From Two Social Contracts to One

Executive Summary The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina – but it also solidified antagonistic political identities leading to the creation of two social contracts: an ‘elite social contract’ involving primarily political elites of the main ethnic groups and an ‘everyday social contract’ involving ordinary citizens trying to manage a complex social and economic environment. The first social contract is hegemonic, although alternative, non-nationalist views are slowly emerging. Grassroots groups, the surviving remnants of inter-ethnic coexistence, the integrating pull of market forces and the presence of a large diaspora all constitute resources for the creation of a national resilient social contract.  Download Working Paper Recent Country Studies View All


The Elusive ‘New Nepal’: Democratisation, Ethnic Politics and Social Contract-making in a Plural Society

Executive Summary Nepal’s decade-long process from 2005 to 2015 of ending its civil war through a comprehensive peace agreement, constitution-making and overall democratisation of the state portend a ‘New Nepal’ social contract to upend centuries of exclusive rule and a hierarchically ranked society. This paper considers how the newfound social contract has been forged and the ways in which a sustainable contract remain elusive. While agreements have been reached and the state restructured, underlying economic and social transformation will be much more difficult to achieve. The paper evaluates Nepal as a deeply plural society in transition from a caste-based monarchy to democracy with analysis of efforts to strengthen institutions, build greater trust within society and address longstanding inequalities. A truly ‘New Nepal’ will require deep-seated economic and social transformation, and whether the hard-won social contract will be resilient over time remains to be seen. Download Working Paper Recent Country Studies


Forging A Resilient National Social Contract: The Case of Zimbabwe

Executive Summary This paper provides an analysis of findings from a Zimbabwe case study of an 11-country research and dialogue project that examines what drives a resilient national social contract in countries affected by conflict, fragility or with unresolved political settlements. It examines the value of three proposed ‘drivers’ of a resilient national social contract, and their intersections, and how this contributes to peace. The paper argues that Zimbabwe’s attempts at political settlement have failed to address core issues driving conflict emanating from the colonial rule. They have also failed to provide an inclusive basis for a nationally owned social contract. International actors have played a part in this, by among other things supporting agreements and processes that compromise the forging of robust institutions, limit ability to address CCIs and deliver services. The paper concludes by suggesting critical pathways towards this end, including transforming Zimbabwe’s deep state and related institutions, harnessing Zimbabwe’s resilience capacities and strengthening social cohesion.