Irit Back’s book
From Sudan to South Sudan: IGAD and the Role of Regional Mediation in Africa comprehensively analyses the full achievements, shortcomings, and implications of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) mediation efforts in Sudan and South Sudan. IGAD’s active mediation was a primary force behind the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the south and the north that eventually resulted in South Sudan’s declaration of independence in 2011. The euphoria of this historic achievement was, however, almost immediately overshadowed by internal strife, which has, since 2013, escalated to a large-scale conflict in the new-born nation that demanded IGAD’s renewed mediation efforts.
The book offers readers new insights and perspectives to apply when seeking to develop a more balanced understanding of Africa’s contemporary conflicts and the efforts to resolve them. More specifically, the book will also help readers to better comprehend the potential role of regional mediation in East Africa, a region with a turbulent history in the post-Cold War era.
Clans and Democratization, Charlotte Hille investigates clan societies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania and Chechnya. She explores and compares the values of clans with those in Western democratic states, while focusing at conflict resolution and democratization. Based on theory and practice, this book provides tools to facilitate democratic state building in clan-based societies.
Group Politics in UN Multilateralism provides a new perspective on diplomacy and negotiations at the United Nations. Very few states ‘act individually’ at the UN; instead they often work within groups such as the Africa Group, the European Union or the Arab League. States use groups to put forward principled positions in an attempt to influence a wider audience and thus legitimize desired outcomes. Yet the volume also shows that groups are not static: new groups emerge in multilateral negotiations on issues such as climate, security and human rights. At any given moment, UN multilateralism is shaped by long-standing group dynamics as well as shifting, ad-hoc groupings. These intergroup dynamics are key to understanding diplomatic practice at the UN.
This article assesses the impact of ‘group politics’ in the particularly contentious debates of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly regarding gender equality and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The article identifies those groups that have been most active in the debates, and then analyses how and why they have shaped debates and norms in this area, how they interact with each other, and whether groups help to facilitate consensus or foster polarization in debates. The article examines the extent to which these groups are cohesive, and identifies the norms that each group puts forward in debates (through statements and resolutions). It then assesses and explains their impact on outcomes, the creation of shared norms and the potential for collective action. It further explores the implications of increasing cross-regional group activity in the Human Rights Council.