Parliaments and Conflict Prevention Resolution

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Introduction for the UNDP/IPU Study Group Meeting 20-22 July 2005
Randi Davis Parliamentary Development Advisor
Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP

UNDP and Governance
• Democratic Governance
– 45% of programme resources versus 22% for poverty and 16% for crisis prevention/recovery, etc. – 132 out of 139 Country Offices (95%)

• Parliamentary development
– 1996: 5 projects; 2005: 51 projects
Africa 26 Arab States 7 AsiaPacific 10 Europe & the CIS 4 Latin America 4 Total 51

• Electoral systems and processes (40 projects) • Democratic dialogue and constitutional reform (49 projects)

Why We Are Here
• Parliaments are critical to the long-term democratic development of a nation

• Legitimate, functioning parliaments serve as national, long-term conflict prevention mechanisms • Current conflict prevention and recovery strategies do not sufficiently take the above into account

• What comes after the election:
– – – – Hyped expectations Too little too late – more than just government Imbalanced support to executive and civil society Insufficient consideration to long-term development needs of parliament or its role in peace-building and recovery; undue focus on legislative responsibilities

• Peace negotiations/settlements lack sufficient consideration of long-term implications for development of parliamentary democracy
– Power sharing agreements such as awarding of seats to end conflict, adoption of bicameralism, political party laws, etc.

• National dialogue and reconciliation processes that bypass parliaments
– Creation of new institutions to deal with dialogue and reconciliation – Parliaments not given space to discuss issues relating to conflict (e.g., Uganda) – Taboo to discuss root causes of conflict (e.g., Rwanda)

Studies on Parliaments in Conflict/Post-conflict
1. 2. Document and learn from experiences, both positive and negative Identify, in a coherent manner, the roles parliaments can and should play in the context of conflict and post-conflict situations Document the obstacles preventing parliaments from playing these roles Generate recommendations and findings to guide local stakeholders and the international community so as to enhance parliament’s roles in conflict prevention and recovery – with a view to fostering enduring peace and democratic governance



Thematic Initiatives:
- Reconciliation Handbook (IPU/IDEA) - Parliamentary Immunities (IPU) - Gender/Conflict/ Parl. (UNDP)

International Conference: Parliaments in Conflict Brussels 2006 Partners’ Programmes:

Global Study Group Meeting Geneva 20-22 July 2005

- WBI/CPA study groups & Wilton Park Conf.

AFRICA Regional Paper

ARAB REGION Regional Paper

ASIA-PACIFIC Regional Paper

EUROPE/CIS Regional Paper

LATIN AMERICA Regional Paper

Roundtable: June '05, Nairobi

Roundtable: June '05, Beirut

Roundtable: June '05 , Colombo

Roundtable: May '05, Sofia

Roundtable: July '05, Antigua

Burundi Liberia, Rwanda Sierra Leone Somalia Zimbabwe
(WSP International)

Iraq Lebanon Sudan Yemen (UNDP POGAR)

Bangladesh Cambodia Indonesia Philipp., Sri Lanka Thailand, Timor (UNDP BRC)

Georgia, Kosovo Macedonia, Moldova Serbia, Ukraine
(Centre for Liberal Strategies)

Argentina Bolivia El Salvador Guatemala, Peru (UNDP RBLAC)

Case studies

Case studies

Case studies

Case studies

Case studies

Scope of Case Studies
• Basic assumptions about democracy/participation and parliaments:
– Conflict is natural and democracy is the peaceful management of conflict – A legitimate, effective and functioning parliament ensures that naturally emerging conflict does not degenerate into conflict

• Wide definition of conflict to include social and economic conflict/crisis on a national scale – that could potentially lead to violent conflict • Recognition of the circular nature of conflict; nevertheless, need to influence the conflict prevention and recovery community and furnish specific recommendations

Objectives of This Meeting
1. 2.
i. ii.

First opportunity to share learning across regions Generate recommendations and findings on two levels:
The role parliaments can play in conflict and post-conflict situations What external actors (e.g., donors, regional parliamentary forums, etc.) should do to: a) Ensure that international conflict prevention and recovery efforts strengthen parliaments’ long-term role in democratic governance and do not undermine it b) Ensure that parliaments are supported to play an active role in conflict prevention, resolution and recovery


Move beyond a discussion on power sharing arrangements, electoral design and constitutional reform to a broader range of issues

Issues: Prevention/Resolution
• Parliamentary engagement in conflict resolution:
– Is parliament involved? – Is such involvement individualized or institutionalized? – Do external actors engage parliaments in their efforts?

• Regional or international parliamentary associations’ role in conflict prevention/resolution • Parliaments law-making and budget oversight functions as a means to address causes of social tension or socio-economic exclusion • Parliamentary tools of public hearings, investigations, etc. to address matters of national concern • Parliamentarians and political parties as messengers of peace and resolution – to what extent are they engaged? • Electoral, political, and constitutional reforms – what is parliament’s role?

Issues: Negotiations & Settlements
• Parliaments’ roles in negotiations and settlements:
– Are they involved in decisions which shape them? – As individuals or parliaments, institutionally? – How does the international community involve them?

• Impact of settlement on long-term functioning of parliament • Who decides sequencing of transitional processes (e.g., electoral law, constitutional commissions, elections, etc.) • Appropriate role for legislative bodies during times of transitional leadership. Are they a vehicle for popular participation? Do they have oversight roles? Who takes the leadership, and under what conditions?

Issues: Post-conflict Recovery
• Parliaments’ roles in:
– – – – National reconciliation, transitional justice, truth seeking Ensuring independence of the judiciary Security sector oversight Enacting legislation to address recovery: laws on refugee reintegration, land reform, inheritance, DDR, etc.

• Political party development and the rights and roles of opposition parties; issue of immunities and freedom of speech • Parliamentary capacity building – is it sufficient and timely? Does it address the structural deficits (e.g., rules, immunities, etc.) Are confidence building and power sharing measures in place? (e.g., Mozambique) • Parliament’s role in pro-poor development? Does parliament have a say in international aid and debt matters? • Parliament and civil society – in competition or collaboration? • Parliament as ‘pressure valve’ – a forum for politicizing conflict rather that permitting it to degenerate into violence