Good Friday deal has enduring global peace legacy, study shows

 
Twenty years after the Belfast agreement was signed, new research identifies an enduring legacy. 
 
Fresh analysis of the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland has revealed its lasting impact on subsequent peace deals worldwide.
 
Key elements of the settlement between Nationalists, Republicans and Unionists and the Irish and British governments – agreed in Belfast 20 years ago – have been instrumental in other peace negotiations, the study reveals. 
 
Researchers say the Good Friday principle that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ has become a common feature of many peace negotiations.
 
Such an approach was used in negotiations in South Africa, Bosnia and after the NI Peace Process, in Sudan and Colombia and is now framing the UK’s relationship with the Brexit process.
 
Researchers have developed an online resource to assess the influence of the historic agreement signed on 10 April 1998, which reached a settlement after decades of political conflict in Northern Ireland.
 
Researchers assessed its significance, in Northern Ireland and beyond using a new online tool that charts the progress of peace agreements since the end of the Cold War.
 
The database – called PA-X, a Peace Agreement Access Tool – records more than 140 peace processes, which have produced in excess of 1500 agreements aimed at resolving conflicts. 
 
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh analysed 33 individual settlements reached between 1990 and 2015 as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.
 
They compared the texts with other peace agreements to examine the way that the Good Friday Agreement had influenced the texts. 
 
Central principles highlighted by the researchers include ‘parity of esteem’ – a reference to the protection of human rights – which was first used in the Good Friday Agreement was later used in three agreements in the Philippines. 
 
The team found that referendums to decide whether the peace agreement will be implemented – similar to the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998 – have been used for 13 peace agreements since 1990. 
 
Christine Bell, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Global Justice Academy, said: 
“We were really surprised to see from our research the way that the Agreement had influenced other similar texts, and where the agreement had had unusual features. 
 
“We often focus on how the Agreement played out in Northern Ireland, but in fact it has made an important contribution to the development of peace deals globally, which we can now use our data to trace over time.”  
 
The resource charting the influence of the Good Friday Agreement, produced by the Political Settlements Research Programme can be accessed at: https://nipeaceagreements.wordpress.com
 
The PA-X, a Peace Agreement Access Tool, can be accessed at www.peaceagreements.org
 
The resource is part of the Political Settlements Research Programme. Further information can be accessed at: www.politicalsettlements.org.

Comments policy

All comments posted on the site via Disqus are automatically published. Additionally comments are sent to moderators for checking and removal if necessary. We encourage open debate and real time commenting on the website. The Centre on Constitutional Change cannot be held responsible for any content posted by users. Any complaints about comments on the site should be sent to info@centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk

Latest blogs

  • 19th February 2019

    Over the course of the UK’s preparations for withdrawing from the EU, the issue of the UK’s own internal market has emerged as an issue of concern, and one that has the potentially significant consequences for devolution. Dr Jo Hunt of Cardiff University examines the implications.

  • 12th February 2019

    CCC Fellow Professor Daniel Wincott of Cardiff University examines how Brexit processes have already reshaped territorial politics in the UK and changed its territorial constitution.

  • 7th February 2019

    The future of agriculture policy across the United Kingdom after Brexit is uncertain and risky, according to a new paper by Professor Michael Keating of the Centre on Constitutional Change. Reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy over recent years have shifted the emphasis from farming to the broader concept of rural policy. As member states have gained more discretion in applying policy, the nations of the UK have also diverged, according to local conditions and preferences.

  • 4th February 2019

    In our latest report for the "Repatriation of Competences: Implications for Devolution" project, Professor Nicola McEwen and Dr Alexandra Remond examine how, in the longer term, Brexit poses significant risks for the climate and energy ambitions of the devolved nations. These include the loss of European Structural and Investment Funds targeted at climate and low carbon energy policies, from which the devolved territories have benefited disproportionately. European Investment Bank loan funding, which has financed high risk renewables projects, especially in Scotland, may also no longer be as accessible, while future access to research and innovation funding remains uncertain. The removal of the EU policy framework, which has incentivised the low carbon ambitions of the devolved nations may also result in lost opportunities.

  • 1st February 2019

    The outcome of the various Commons votes this week left certain only that the Government would either secure an amended deal and put it to a meaningful vote on Wednesday 13 February, or in the overwhelmingly likely absence of this make a further statement that day and table another amendable motion for the following day, the Groundhog Day that may lead to a ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ for one side or the other. Richard Parry assesses the further two-week pause in parliamentary action on Brexit

Read More Posts