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

Wrong (or Missing) Parties at the Table

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If negotiations are to be successful, the right people must be involved. This means that all of the interested and affected parties must be represented and that the people doing the negotiating really do represent (and are trusted by) the people whom they are supposed to represent. If a party is left out of the negotiation process (either on purpose or by accident), they are likely to be angry--even if the settlement is one they might have agreed to had they had a part in developing it. While they may accept the agreement anyway, often the excluded party will try to reverse the decision or block its implementation because their concerns were not adequately considered.

Similarly, if the person at the table is not accepted by his or her constituents as a legitimate representative, the constituents are likely to argue that their interests were not adequately represented, and they may try to block implementation of the agreement as well. For this reason, it is very important that the people at the table really do represent who they say they represent, and that they take care to consult with their constituents as the process unfolds to keep them appraised of the proceedings and to make sure their concerns are adequately dealt with.


Links to Examples of This Problem:

Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe -- United Nations Secretariat fails to consult with member states...
This is a good example of problems that ensue when parties are excluded from decision-making processes.
Clem McCarthy -- Conflict Resolution In Northern Ireland: Reconciling Form and Substance
This anecdote compares two different negotiations one with the "right" parties and one without them.
William Maley -- Peacemaking Diplomacy: United Nations Good Offices in Afghanistan
Part of the problem in Afghanistan, Maley asserts, is that one major party--the Mujahideen--were excluded from the Geneva Accords, which led to continued civil war.


Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

Conflict Mapping

Identifying and Involving all Potential Disputants

Getting People to the Table


Links to Related Problems:

Failing to Identify All of the Affected People or Groups

Inadequate Information Gathering

Excluded Parties

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