Policy Recommendations

1. It is important to view the peace agreement as a whole and consider how the different provisions interact. If there is ambiguity regarding the autonomous region, its powers, borders and resources, then this will also impact on the effectiveness of security provisions.

2. Although ambiguity will be hard to avoid it should be kept to a minimum and ideally not involve the core deal. In case of an interim agreement, which has ambiguity at its core, the objective should be to keep everything else as clear as possible, including the mechanisms for deciding on status, the steps leading to this, and the ways in which this will be monitored.

3. The capacity of the autonomous region to govern effectively needs to be ensured, through the design of the autonomy arrangement and, if possible, by ensuring third party monitoring of its implementation. This does not simply mean empowering the former armed movement; the development of effective capacity necessitates reforms. Third parties can help encourage and fund this, and it can also be promoted through a more inclusive settlement.

4. Mediators should not simply accept the narrative of homogeneous ethnic groups engaged in conflict, but instead push for greater diversity to be acknowledged, for the process to be broadened and for human rights to be included in the agreement. While it may be necessary to make deals with warlords, and other actors with dubious democratic credential, they should not be empowered more than what is absolutely needed to reach an agreement.