The PA-X Peace Agreements Database: Reflections on documenting the practice of peacemaking


Abstract: Since its first release in the form of the PA-X Peace Agreements Database, the initial project undertaken by the University of Edinburgh’s Political Settlements Research Programme has seen four more data releases. Multiple data and visualisation projects stemmed from PA-X. The article provides an update to the initial introduction to the PA-X data and discusses the key lessons learned from the processes of data collection, analysis, and visualisation.

This assessment is undertaken in two key areas: first, with regard to the process of “building” a dataset and database; second, with regard to the substantive findings and trends gleaned from the PA-X data on peace agreements and peace processes. The place and impact of this database in the context of peace and conflict studies are also assessed. Data resources pertaining to this field of inquiry are explored, with the focus on the ways in which the PA-X data can be used in conjunction with other datasets on peace and conflict.

Finally, the future development of PA-X is addressed. It is argued that keeping up with the direction of the research literature in the field requires that the data on peace processes and peace agreement are better disaggregated, in terms of actors and groups signing deals, and in terms of spatial and temporal coverage of the signed peace deals.

This paper was published in Pathways to Peace and Security, 2(61), 2021.