One year on, has conflict paused for the pandemic?

One year after the UN Secretary General called for a global ceasefire in the face of the novel cornavirus, has conflict paused for the pandemic? A new PSRP report launched today tracks ceasefires declared during Covid-19 and analyses what this means for the wider peace process landscape.

On 23 March 2020, the UN Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres called for an immediate global ceasefire, to help tackle the threat of Covid-19 rather than compound the risk to those in fragile and conflict-affected areas. In response to this call, multiple states, international, regional, and local organisations declared their support for a global ceasefire. The Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP) has been tracking ceasefires declared during Covid-19 with the ‘Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19’ digital tracking tool. Our data shows that since March 2020, conflict parties have declared 25 ceasefires across 17 countries.

To coincide with the one-year anniversary of the global ceasefire call, PSRP has launched a new report: Pandemic Pauses: Understanding Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19. The report draws on data from the ‘Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19’ tracker to analyse how ceasefires have unfolded throughout the pandemic, and to consider how the pandemic has affected moves towards ceasefires and peace processes.

In Part I, we provide data on what types of ceasefires conflict parties have declared since March 2020, and the extent to which these ceasefires have held. In Part II, we put forward key analytical and practical concerns for understanding these ceasefires and considering what, if anything, ceasefires during the pandemic mean for wider peace processes. In Part III, we conclude that, although the Covid-19 pandemic has not been a ‘game-changer’ for ceasefire and peace process trajectories, it is now a crucial part of the context in which peace processes must take place. We make recommendations for how ceasefires, and peacemaking more generally, can be better supported during global health emergencies.

The report was written by a team of researchers at the Political Settlements Research Programme: Laura Wise, Sanja Badanjak, Christine Bell, and Fiona Knäussel, and draws on data from the ‘Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19’ tracker.

Read the full report now: Pandemic Pauses: Understanding Ceasefires in a Time of Covid-19.

For more analysis on the nexus between conflict and Covid-19, visit our Covid-19 resource hub.

Image: A. Amhimmid Mohamed Alamami, second from left, head of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces delegation, and Ahmed Ali Abushahma, head of the Government of National Accord military delegation, shake hands next to U.N. Libya envoy Stephanie Williams, center, on Oct. 23 in Geneva. (Violaine Martin/Un Photo Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)