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Erin McCandless


‘Forging Resilient Social Contracts: Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace’ is an 11-country research and policy dialogue project that aims to revitalise the social contract amidst conflict and fragility and to advance policy and practice for preventing violent conflict and for achieving and sustaining peace. The comparative findings provide evidence and insight into what drives social contracts that are inclusive and resilient, and how they manifest and adapt in different contexts, transcending what are often unsustainable, ephemeral elite bargains into more inclusive ones, with durable arrangements for achieving and sustaining peace. The project involves international scholars, policy advisers and authors from the countries examined: Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Yemen and Zimbabwe. The project activities reported on here took place from 2016-mid 2018 and include case research in these countries, a series of policy and scholarly dialogues1 and this summary. Future project work could include policy papers on critical themes emerging from the research, knowledge products featuring the case studies, and a social contract assessment tool. The project gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Oslo Governance Centre (OGC), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Berlin and New York, the Julian J. Studley Fund of the Graduate Program of International Affairs at The New School in New York, in this work. This Summary Findings Report introduces the project context, the project’s research framing, and findings from nine of the 11 case studies.2 Numerous validation workshops and policy dialogues in the case study countries and elsewhere inform the findings. Policy recommendations for national and international policymakers are shared. These findings and recommendations provide a basis for deepened future research and related policy and project activity.


United Nations Development Programme


Oslo, Norway

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Summary Findings: A Research and Policy Dialogue Project


Peace and Conflict Studies | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences



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Forging Resilient Social Contracts: A Pathway to Preventing Violent Conflict and Sustaining Peace