Overview

International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN) since its foundation on 8th of August 1994 works in the field of professional Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. Its main activities may refer to following Directions:

  • Assisting Peace Process through mediation, facilitation, negotiation and dialogue,
  • Developing Peace Education for non-violent conflict resolution, gender equality, tolerance and diversity,
  • Creating the GeoPeaceData of Georgia for Opening access to Peace Agreements (PA).
  • Participating in Peacebuilding through networking for conflict prevention.

How do we define different terms we are working with?

What is a Conflict?

Conflict is a major paradigm for all fields of contemporary social studies… Its definition is a challenge for academics. Its incarnation is often a tragedy comparable to black plague for millions of people worldwide.
The conflict is a clash between two or more parties (sides) over interests, perceptions be they real or imaginary. All conflict situations are unique in the way that they include particular individual subjects in other words sides of the conflict.
Conflict peaceful resolution may include different settlement processes: negotiation, facilitation, mediation, fact-finding, arbitration, and court.

What is a Frozen Conflict?

‘Frozen conflict’ has lately become a widely used expression, the meaning of which has not yet been sufficiently defined or uniformly understood. Some considerations may be offered regarding the understanding of frozen conflicts based on the Abkhazia case, along with some tentative criteria of how to ‘unfreeze’ them.

‘Freezing’ is a characteristic relevant to a dynamics of conflict, characterized by a high level of inertia, when whatever efforts are done, nothing is likely to change. In frozen conflicts we usually see that: (a) the parties to conflict fail to promote negotiation while evincing distrust to external mediation, (a) both sides demonstrate sustainability despite hardships, (b) communication level between the parties is insignificant, (c) confidence level between the parties is extremely low and does not have a tendency to rise, (d) there is a fragile neither- war-nor-peace situation in which (e) negotiations are periodically renewed but decisions are not achieved, and (f) public opinion on both sides is dominated by radicals while unfeasibility of military solution is also realized.

Thus, we see that ‘freezing’ more pertains to a stagnation stage in the development of protracted conflicts, after more or less intensive mediation and/or transformation efforts have proved unable to open any visible prospects ahead. A conflict cannot freeze at sharp turning points or ongoing hostilities, and even if a situation resembling freezing appears at a high-intensity stage of its development, then only shortly. Real freezing happens when high-intensity stage is usually already past, and a kind of fragile stability is reached causing outsiders to interpret it as a post-conflict stage/situation, and refer to the past-yet-renewable high-intensity stage as a conflict proper.

‘Movers’ and ‘Freezers’ of conflict

In a plethora of factors influencing the entire process of conflict development, there are factors that foster dynamism and feedback, even at the expense of destabilization (‘movers’), and those that foster self-isolation, distrust, caution, non-doing, protraction (‘freezers’), even as it evaporates the prospect of settlement.

In special cases one and the same factor may appear as freezer or mover, and freezer/mover status of a factor can mutate with conflict development. Freezing of a conflict takes place when the impact of freezers much exceeds (dominates over) the impact of movers. Let us focus on freezer/mover impact at a frozen stage of the conflict.

Movers are usually linked with realized interests and, very often, perceived internal threats; on the external side these are any-track diplomacy efforts, international obligations of the states, trade needs and obligations, regional economic and transportation projects, especially those involving disputed territories, etc.

Freezers are the sides’ expressed positions and, often, perceived external threats underlying them, as well as intrinsic interests of political elite(s), nationalistic and conspiracy mindsets, high level of distrust and the relevant enemy, rigidity of the perceived dispute issue, popularity of radical/militant stands, etc. Freezers are elusive as they appear like pseudo-stabilizers, not only in conflict resolution field, but in many other areas freezing is often mistaken for stabilization.

Unexpected changes to the conflict environment – say, power vacuum, coup, or any major change in power structure – may break up the frozen stage catastrophically.

Sources:

  1. George Khutsishvili Ph.D. (Ed.), Tinatin Asatiani, Dali Berekashvili Ph.D, Rusudan Mshvidobadze Ph.D, George Nizharadze Ph.D. How to Resolve Conflicts, Edition I, 2000, Tbilisi, Georgia, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN).
  2. George Nizharadze et al., Conflicts, 2010, Tbilisi, Georgia, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN).
  3. George Khutsishvili, Ph.D. (Ed.), Understanding Conflict. A collection of works, 1998, “Nekeri”, Tbilisi, Georgia, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN), pp. 7
  4. George Khutsishvili Ph.D. et al. Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding, 2015, Tbilisi, Georgia, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN), pp 57.
  5. George Khutsishvili, Ph.D. How to Resolve Conflicts (1991–2005) Book I, 2016, Tbilisi, Georgia, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN). pp. 31.
  6. WHAT FREEZES AND WHAT UNFREEZES CONFLICTS? (The Case of the Georgian-Abkhaz Dispute) By Dr. George Khutsishvili, P.h.D., Director, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN), Tbilisi, Georgia, International Conference in Bad Honnef, Germany 2002.
  7. George Khutsishvili How to Resolve Conflicts (1994-2002), Book IV, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation, Tbilisi, 2017.
  8. George Khutsishvili How to Resolve Conflicts (2003-2013), Book V, International Center on Conflict and Negotiation, Tbilisi, 2017.

კონფლიქტებისა და მოლაპარაკების საერთაშორისო კვლევითი ცენტრი

International Center on Conflict and Negotiation

Международный Центр по Конфликтам и Переговорам

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