OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Action Forcing Mechanisms/Deadlines/Compliance Guarantees

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Deadlines and compliance guarantees are two ways to assure that agreements made in negotiation or mediation will be carried out. If an agreement is open-ended; for example, if it specifies that one party will pay the other a certain amount of money but does not say when, then the person who owes the money can delay paying indefinitely. If there are no complacence guarantees--if nothing happens if they do not pay then they are likely not to pay even if there is a deadline. Thus, to be effective, all agreements should specify who is to do what when, and what will happen if they do not.

If possible, it helps to have mediators who are in a position to enforce agreements. If the mediator is a powerful party, such as the UN or the United States, the disputants are likely to be more reluctant to violate the agreement when the agreement states that sanctions will be used to force compliance. Another approach is to write the agreement so that it is self-enforcing. Each party will be required to fulfill part of its obligation before the other party fulfills theirs.

Deadlines can also be helpful during negotiations, or to get negotiations going in the first place. In labor-management negotiations in the U.S., discussions usually don't even start, or at least don't get serious, until a contract is about to expire and a strike deadline looms. During mediation it is also useful to have deadlines. If a mediator sets a deadline by which time an agreement must be reached, the parties may work harder than if there is no time limit to the process.

 

Links to Examples:

Jeffery Rubin -- The Timing of Ripeness and the Ripeness of Timing
This essay on the concept of ripeness points out how deadlines can be used as a threat to induce immediate action.
A Conversation On Peacemaking With Jimmy Carter  
One of the lessons Carter draws from his peacemaking experience is the importance of deadlines in encouraging settlement.
Alexander George -- The General Theory and Logic of Coercive Diplomacy
This article discusses the use of deadlines in coercive diplomacy.

Links to Related Approaches:

Identifying Ripe Times for Negotiation

Mediation

Principled Negotiation

 

Links to Related Problems:

Strategic Delays

Refusal to Negotiate

Poor Timing


Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu