Avoiding Conflict Relapse Through Inclusive Political Settlements

States that have successfully exited violence and embarked on a process of development have often started with strong political settlements, or elite pacts. These sometimes take the form of peace agreements, or electoral coalitions. Other times, they are simply informal understandings between elites about political rules and the division of economic spoils. Political settlements are, by definition, primarily about elites. They depend on elite relationships, and only address the needs of broader populations as a secondary measure.

Existing evidence shows that the failure to focus on political settlements can increase the risk of peace agreements failing, power-sharing arrangements being contested, and states relapsing into conflict. It is clear that political settlements matter, but we are only beginning to understand the shape of political settlements that do or do not endure.

This project will assess how inclusive processes and outcomes can strengthen political settlements. In doing so, it will address the needs of broader populations beyond the elite. The project will examine how inclusive political settlements can reverse structural inequalities that negatively impact state-society relationships, particularly for the most marginalized, after armed conflict. It will ask important questions, including: How can inclusive political settlements contribute to more enduring and equitable peace and prosperity for non-elite populations? Researchers will examine six case studies spanning Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

This work will help deepen and expand a research network of analysts and experts from countries with ongoing or recent intra-state war experience and proven records of political and security transitions. The research team will identify best practices and lessons learned for providing international support to political settlements after intra-state war, inclusive governance, and state-building. Finally, they will also provide policy advice to help improve national and international support to create more inclusive political settlements.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, February 15, 2013

End Date

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


24 months

IDRC Officer

Gottsbacher, Markus

Total funding

CA$ 667,600


Colombia, South America, Far East Asia, Indonesia, Nepal, Sudan, El Salvador, North and Central America, South Africa, North of Sahara, South of Sahara, Central Asia, South Asia


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Dr. Luis Guillermo Guerrero Guevara


Fundacion Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular CINEP

Institution Country


Institution Website