From Power Struggles to Sustainable Peace

Understanding Political Settlements

Until recently, the term “political settlement” has been used almost interchangeably with “peace agreement”. But it has broader implications: political settlements span the continuum from negotiated peace agreements to long-term historical development -- in the latter sense approaching the concept of a social contract. Generally speaking, every political regime that is not in the midst of an all-out civil war over its basic parameters is based on some kind of settlement. The adoption of a political settlement lens could therefore bridge conceptual differences between the approaches and endeavours of peacebuilding and statebuilding.

Commissioned by the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, this publication provides an overview of key definitions, components and concepts of political settlements, based on existing literature. It also examines the potential impact of donor activities on political settlements and highlights possible implications for donor engagement and support.

English