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Negotiating in a Coordination Network of Citizen Peacebuilding Initiatives in the Georgian-Abkhaz Peace Process

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This article analyzes a set of negotiations within a coordination network. These negotiations surrounded the establishment and development of a coordination network of citizen peacebuilding initiatives focused on the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process. The authors reflect on six years of action research working with both local and international organizations and individuals working on citizen peacebuilding initiatives in the Georgian-Abkhaz peace process. Tracing the negotiations from 1999 through 2005, the article first highlights the context in which the coordination network developed to fill a need for joint strategizing amongst peacebuilders working in the region. In this context the locally recognized organic need for coordination drove the development of the network through an elicitive process. The analysis details early negotiations about establishment of the coordination network, which focused on building a culture of coordination by establishing norms of coordination. Subsequent negotiations within revised network structures, and outcomes of the coordination negotiations are then presented. Key factors that enhanced the coordination network are identified: inclusivity and transparency; in-person meetings; absence of a formal organizational structure; autonomy of each organization; focus on integrative agreements; and a culture of coordination. The case highlights the possibilities for long-term peacebuilding work based on relationships of trust and a culture of coordination.


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