Countries undergoing a political transition provide political actors with an important opportunity to expand political participation, enhance service delivery, build peace, and foster inclusion. Though democratic structures and inclusive institutions are critical for sustainable peace, research shows that the process of democratization does not decrease the propensity for violence. Instead, it introduces new challenges and may even exacerbate conflict.
In response to this challenge, IRI developed Beyond Political Transitions: Promoting Peaceful Democratic Openings Through Strategic Foresight. This new resource uses the “strategic foresight” process to help democracy, human rights and governance practitioners, civil society, and conflict prevention specialists project potential peaceful, democratic pathways the country could take and develop strategies for using advocacy, protest, dialogue, or negotiations to push their countries toward these trajectories.
Employing the toolkit, users conduct a series of “strategic foresight” exercises – including conflict analysis, spoiler identification, and scenario planning – to identify potential conflict triggers and develop strategies to respond to those triggers so they can best develop strategies to shape a more peaceful and democratic political transition. When applying this toolkit, users should engage a wide cross-section of democratic actors involved in activism during moments of political transition, supporting them as they push for a peaceful and democratic political order.
IRI trialed an earlier version of this toolkit in Colombia, Guinea, and Sudan in April, May, and August of 2022. For more information on IRI’s activities applying the toolkit to promote a peaceful political transition in Colombia in the wake of the historic 2016 peace deal, watch the following video:Top