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Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 1/2021

Pandemic Cleavages, Covid-19 and the South Sudanese Peace Process

Roughly 15 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, it now becomes possible to analyse the impact the pandemic shock had on peace processes globally and assess its mid- and long-term consequences. This briefing investigates the case study of South Sudan, where the pandemic correlated with a significant upsurge in violence at the sub-national level. The briefing follows up on an expert perception survey on the impact of Covid-19 on peace processes, conducted by the Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP) in May 2020. The survey generated 18 responses from South Sudan on 20 questions related to the impact of the pandemic. This briefing further incorporates findings from a population perception survey by the Institute of Social Policy and Research from November 2020 and a series of expert interviews with stakeholders and observers of the South Sudanese peace process conducted in Juba from March to May 2021 ...

HDP Nexus in Africa - Policy Brief GIZ in Kooperation mit ASPR, June 2021 by Jan Pospisil, Augustin Nicolescou

The HDP Nexus in the Context of Peace Operations in Sub-Saharan Africa

Since its development following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDP or Triple Nexus) approach promises pathways towards greater coherence and joint approaches to addressing the complex needs in fragile and conflict-prone contexts. Implementation remains a work in progress, with numerous different initiatives implemented in different ways around the world. The interrelation of the HDP Nexus with peacekeeping operations in Sub-Sharan Africa is vital to address the humanitarian, development, peace, and security challenges that can be found across contexts in various configurations. ...

Policy Brief 5/2020


This 31st October marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of landmark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women and Peace and Security (WPS), the first resolution forming what is now known as the WPS agenda. The WPS agenda, like most facets of international normative frameworks, is constrained by the politics and whims of the United Nations Security Council’s Permanent Five members (Russia, China, the US, the UK and France). The draft texts of the two most recent WPS resolutions - UNSCR 2467 and 2493 - were amended in response to objections from key members of the Permanent Five. In this brief, we consider the repercussions of specific language having been excluded from UNSCR 2467 and 2493 and implication of this on the United Nations Security Council’s capacity to act as warden of the WPS agenda. 

Policy Brief 04/2020


Under the radar of international press coverage, South Sudan has experienced an upsurge in armed violence since March 2020. While not yet threatening the newly formed revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, the new fighting in various parts of the country has the potential to severely hamper the already fragile transitional process the country is currently undertaking. In our latest policy brief, Christopher Oringa from the Institute of Peace, Development and Security Studies at the University of Juba analyses and contextualises the recent developments.

Policy Brief 03/2020


The Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) conducted an online survey on the impact of Covid-19 and related policy-responses in the fields of peacebuilding and peacekeeping. We were interested in the broad strokes: how is the crisis impacting the wider peacebuilding realm and what trends are respondents concerned about? 127 people from 48 countries answered the questionnaire, all of them alumni of ASPR professional training courses.

Policy Brief 02/2020

In Iraq corona virus is just one other crisis

The world is focused on preventing the spread of the corona virus, and for good reason. The crisis is hitting us hard in Europe and might hit even harder in places much less well prepared. Fragile countries haunted by conflict and fragmentation will have even less ability to focus on this new health crisis, as they often have to deal with multiple challenging dynamics at once.

Policy Brief 01/2020

“Don’t take this away from us again” Citizen perceptions of peace in South Sudan

The parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) made an important breakthrough in February 2020, paving the way for the establishment of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU). This followed more than nine months of postponements and strategic delays. Days before the 22 February deadline to form the R-TGoNU, the government and opposition group signatories of the R-ARCSS agreed to revert from 32 states to the former 10 states and three “special administrative areas” in Abyei, Greater Pibor and Ruweng.

Policy Brief 02/2019


Even after the withdrawal of the controversial „extradition law“, protests in Hong Kong show no sign of dying down. These conflicts are ultimately rooted in fundamental flaws in Hong Kong’s governance, which fuel popular discontent and anti-Chinese sentiment. If the „one country, two systems“ model is to be saved, political reforms and new conflict mitigation measures are urgently needed.

Policy Brief 01/2019

The korean peace process: Using a rare opportunity

After the breakdown of the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, the Korean peace process seems stalled. Beyond the highly publicised negotiations between the US and North Korea, however, relations between both Korean states and other regional actors are marked by a new dynamic that offers a rare chance for lasting rapprochement. This background, and how external actors can help the process along, is detailed in our latest Policy Brief.

Policy Brief 04/2018

China's emergence as apeacebuilding actor

Due to the enormous volume of Chinese investments now being poured into conflict-prone regions, China seems poised to gain a significant stake in ongoing peace processes and other settlement efforts. Taken together with expanding peacekeeping and conflict mediation activities, and based on a normative framework that is quite different from liberal notions, we may be seeing the emergence of a distinct Chinese model of peacebuilding.

Policy Brief 03/2018


2018 has been marked by a rapidly changing landscape in the field of nonproliferation efforts, driven primarily by a series of US moves in dealing with Iran and North Korea, the two most important test cases for the viability of global and regional nonproliferation regimes.

Policy Brief 02/2018

Building states while building peace?

The claim that (re)building states is the best way to build peace dominated the peacebuilding debate in the first two decades after the end of the Cold War. However, empirical assessments on how the peacebuilding-statebuilding-nexus plays out in the empirical reality of peace processes are rare.

Policy Brief 01/2018

Introducing the aspr research agenda

In recent years, the environment and context for international actors engaging in violent conflict have changed considerably. The ASPR research agenda aims to take account of these changes and to focus on understanding possible consequences and shaping outcomes.