Research-based Policy Paper Track III Dialogues in Ukraine ... no dialogues at Track III in Ukraine

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Transcript of Research-based Policy Paper Track III Dialogues in Ukraine ... no dialogues at Track III in Ukraine

  • Research-based Policy Paper Track III Dialogues in Ukraine: Major Patt erns and Resulti ng Risks


    Tati ana Kyselova, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Studies, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

    Julia v. Dobeneck, Center for Peace Mediati on, European University Viadrina


    Authors: Tatiana Kyselova, Julia von Dobeneck

    Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Studies Kyiv-Mohyla Academy 2 Skovorody vul., Kyiv 04070, Ukraine

    Center for Peace Mediation · European University Viadrina Große Scharrnstraße 59, 15230 Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

    The authors thank all interviewees and participants in the Expert Round Tables on 10 March 2016 in Frankfurt/Oder and on 20 May 2017 in Kiev for their participation and valu- able input as well as Lars Kirchhoff and Anne Isabel Kraus for their feedback on this paper.

    The project is supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation. Tatiana Kyselovas‘ research was funded by the EU Seventh Framework programme for research and innovation under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 609402 - 2020 researchers: Train to Move (T2M).

    Design: Carsten Filor,

    © Center for Peace Mediation 2017

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    Executive Summary

    The overall aim of the research project “Challenges to Dialogue in Ukraine”1 (2016- 2017) was to explore and explain the cur- rent challenges of dialogues at Track III in Ukraine. Empirical data from 40 in-depth interviews and three focus groups revealed the following six patterns and possible risks if the patterns are continued:

    1) Different dialogue concepts and an overuse of the term “dialogue“ risk to un- dermine its value and add complexity to an already blurred definition of dialogue as a means of conflict transformation.

    2) Not many facilitated dialogues are taking place and of those few, most focus on tech- nical issues while existential dialogues re- main rare.

    3) Facilitated dialogues are concentrated in the Eastern part of the government-con- trolled territories, leading to further socie- tal polarization.

    4) Focus on mainstream political views in dialogues may cause further exclusion of people who do not support political main- stream ideas (“the other Ukrainians”).

    5) In contrast, women are overrepresented at Track III dialogues while lacking influence on decision-making.

    6) These patterns are underpinned by poorly coordinated short-term interven- tions, low conflict expertise of imple- menters and funders, little connection of dialogue supply to local facilitation needs, a lack of cross-fertilization of socie- tal tracks, as well as minimal post-dialogue support – all together labeled “parachut- ing” approaches – leading to low impact.

    We assume that although some patterns observed are worrying and the associated risks substantial, the societal costs of having no dialogues at Track III in Ukraine would be even higher.

    1 This is a project of the research group of Tatiana Kyselova (Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in EU Studies/ Kyiv-Mohyla Academy), Lars Kirchhoff, Anne Isabel Kraus and Julia von Doben- eck (Center for Peace Mediation). In 2016 and 2017, Tatiana Kyselova con- ducted three focus groups and 40 semi- structured in-depth interviews with Ukrainian and international dialogue facilitators, dialogue participants and individuals from organizations such as the OSCE and the United Nations and international donor organizations acti- ve in Ukraine. The research also inclu- ded the analysis of Internet sources and policy documents. For further informa- tion on the research project, please see: expert-round-table.html. For informa- tion on the methodology and detailed research findings, please see the Rese- arch Report http://www.peacemediati-

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    1. Introduction

    The aim of this paper is to transfer the find- ings of the research project “Challenges to Dialogue in Ukraine” (2016-2017) to dia- logue experts and actors including donor institutions and policy makers based or en- gaged in Ukraine in order to help them make informed decisions on implementation strate- gies and process design of dialogues.

    Our research starting point was the obser- vation that efforts to conduct dialogue ad- dressing the current societal and political crisis in Ukraine2 encounter considerable challenges, sometimes insurmountable. As far as the authors know, this project is the first attempt at a scientific exami- nation of Track III dialogue approaches in Ukraine. The research relies on qualita- tive methodology and diagnoses the ge- neral patterns, possible reasons and risks if these patterns are continued, but does not allow for precise estimation about the scale or quantitative characteristics of the identified patterns. Nor does it assess the identified patterns against the background of a normative approach to facilitated dia- logue, its methods, or the measurement of its societal impact.

    Definition of Dialogue: There are no glo- bal standard definitions for dialogue as a means of conflict management or con- flict transformation, although the term is widely used by practitioners referring to different elements or concepts of dialogue and different methodical approaches.3

    This pre-existing conceptual unclarity is mirrored in Ukraine, where the interview- ees of this study have a rather intuitive yet clear understanding about what can and what cannot (see pattern 1) be termed di- alogue in the sense of means for conflict transformation. Thus, interviewees refer- red (directly or indirectly) to dialogues as specially prepared meetings between people or groups of people facilitated by a third party with the aim of building mu- tual trust and/or making a joint decision (hereinafter “facilitated dialogues”).

    2 For the context of the conflict, see Research Report http://www.peace html

    3 N. Ropers, “From Resolution to Trans- formation: The Role of Dialogue Pro- jects,” in: Berghof Handbook, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Con- flict Management, 2004; available at: fileadmin/redaktion/Publications/ Handbook/Articles/ropers_handbook. pdf. T. Paffenholz, “Dialogues in Peace and Mediation Processes,” in: Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative Report, 2016; available at: http://www.inclu- TI-National-Dialogues-12-pager.pdf. A. Feller / K. Ryan, “Definition, Necessity, and Nansen: Efficacy of Dialogue in Pe- acebuilding,” 29(4) Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 2012. OSCE Reference Guide “Mediation and Dialogue Facilitation in the OSCE”; available at: http://www. load=true.

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    The interviewees in this study4 said that dialogue has become a buzzword and the number of dialogue projects in Ukraine is very high compared to other conflict loca- tions (a phenomenon termed “dialogue profanation” by one interviewee).

    Many one-time events such as debates, film-discussions, live libraries, conflict ana- lysis meetings, and strategic communica- tion events organized by various actors in Ukraine are called “dialogues,” but in the opinion of the interviewees these are not true dialogues because they aim neither at mutual trust-building, nor at decision mak- ing and problem-solving.

    There also are many projects whose titles contain the word “dialogue” but focus on public awareness about peace and tole- rance, student exchanges, intercultural school and university curriculum, peace journalism, culture of political decision- making and other issues that generally promote a culture of dialogue and peace- building in Ukraine, but do not result in actual meetings around a table. In a similar vein, many dialogue projects are focused on capacity building without a clear under- standing that training does not automati- cally translate into facilitated dialogues (see also pattern 6). Although these are valuable peace-building activities, inter- viewees in this study suggested distinguishing them from facilitated dialogues.

    Possible reasons for the proliferation of dialogue projects (not fulfilling the inter- viewees’ criteria of facilitated dialogues): Inflow of international peace-building orga-

    nizations and, subsequently, a crowded field of actors Increased funding opportunities under

    the umbrella of peace-building and recon- ciliation Low expertise in conflict resolution on the

    part of donors as well as local implemen- ters (see pattern 6), and subsequently low awareness regarding conceptual issues Local implementers applying for and using funds with the preliminary aim to main- tain their own organization, not necessa- rily aiming at facilitating dialogue (“grant- eating”) Hesitance to invest substantial efforts and resources into preparation and facilitation of dialogues

    The lack of clarity regarding dialogue con- cepts and the consequences of this vague- ness encouraged Uk