New ESRC follow-on grant for 'Conflict Resolution in Moldova'

Posted on Thursday 28th June 2012

 

Professor Stefan Wolff has won a grant under the ESRC Follow-on Scheme to
enable him to continue his mediation support work in the Transnistria
conflict in Moldova. Based on his academic and practical engagement with
this conflict over the past decade, he will conduct follow-on activities in
relation to two related questions currently examined by policy makers:

1. What are the options for a settlement of the Transnistrian conflict?

Activities under this question are designed to develop a comprehensive set
of options for a settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. This will rely on
a significant body of existing empirical data on conflict settlements
collected as part of two preceding research projects that underpin this
follow-on grant application. There will be an initial round of consultations
with these stakeholders to ‘update’ information on their settlement
preferences to inform the preparation and presentation of the comprehensive
set of options available, of how individual options relate to each other and
what implications and/or requirements exist in relation to adopting
particular options in a settlement. The purpose of this is to broaden the
existing empirical knowledge and understanding among the 5+2, in particular
among the immediate conflict parties, and get them to move away from their
currently entrenched focus on ‘labels’ (e.g., unitary state vs.
confederation) and focus on individual issues that need to be resolved as a
way of building towards a comprehensive settlement.

2. How can relevant international organisations (and other third-party
actors) contribute to a conclusive negotiation process and implementation of
a settlement?

Activities under this question are designed to work with the OSCE and EU, as
well as with the German and British governments, to contribute to their
efforts at mediating and implementing a sustainable settlement. This will
again rely on a significant body of existing empirical data on how IOs have
contributed to negotiations (or failed to do so) collected as part of two
preceding research projects that underpin this follow-on grant application.
Previous work has established solid contacts with key interlocutors who will
be consulted again early on to gather their perceptions of the causes of the
lack of progress in negotiations and develop options for them how to
reinvigorate this process and bring it to a successful conclusion, including
their role in subsequent settlement implementation. In particular for the EU
an important dimension of the proposed follow-on activities is developing a
strategic and long-term view of its engagement with Moldova and Transnistria
and the mainstreaming of the ‘conflict dimension’ in all its programme and
project activities in this respect. Existing contacts, in the delegation in
Moldova and in Brussels, as well as with key interlocutors in the British
and German governments and embassies in the country will facilitate this
engagement.

Activities in the project will include a series of stakeholder consultations
in Chisinau, Tiraspol, Vienna, Brussels, Dublin, Berlin, and London. On the
one hand, this will assist with updating data on stakeholders’ preferences
and perceptions vis-à-vis the conflict settlement process that will
contribute to shaping the two options papers to be produced in the second
set of activities. On the other hand, these stakeholder consultations will
serve as an initial opportunity to exchange knowledge with non-academic
users of research to identify specific needs and interests of the
stakeholder community in relation to the two options papers to be produced
in answer to the project questions.

Following this stakeholder consultation exercise, two sets of materials will
be developed:

  1. A comprehensive set of options for a settlement of the Transnistrian
    conflict, detailing comparative advantages and disadvantages of different
    options, their institutional design, implications of necessary changes to
    the current status quo, and likely conditions under which these options can
    bring sustainable peace.
  2. A set of options for the OSCE and EU, as well as the German and
    British governments, for their efforts to contribute to mediating and
    implementing a sustainable settlement, detailing how impasses may be
    overcome, which tools mediators can use to move conflict parties towards a
    sustainable compromise, what measures can be taken to involve broader
    publics and civil society organisations in the settlement process, and how
    they can assist in the implementation of a settlement, including by offering
    implementation guarantees and incentives to the parties with a view to
    achieving sustainable peace. These options will be discussed with the main
    mediators, particularly Ireland in its capacity as Chairman-in-Office of the
    OSCE in 2012 and the European Union External Action Service, in order to
    feed into the settlement process.

    For further information on Professor Wolff's work on conflict resolution in
    Moldova, see:
    http://www.stefanwolff.com/projects/conflict-resolution-in-moldova.