The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) supports efforts to resolve conflicts around the world. CSO provides tailored support to U.S. diplomats engaged in peace processes and complex political negotiations, shapes U.S. strategies for diplomatic engagement, and fosters adherence to peace agreements and ceasefires.
Supporting Peace Negotiations
CSO provides expert strategic and technical support to U.S. officials at every stage of negotiations, from strategic planning to implementation. It houses the Department’s Negotiations Support Unit (NSU), a team of subject matter experts with years of experience as practitioners on peace processes, complex political negotiations, peace agreement implementation, and long-term reconciliation. NSU members have deep experience working with governments, non-state parties, civil society, and multilateral organizations.
Drawing upon the NSU’s subject matter expertise, CSO advises on the process and substance of peace negotiations and supports negotiations on all tracks (I, II, and III). CSO has advised on U.S. negotiations efforts in dozens of countries, including working with the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa on the northern Ethiopia peace process, advising the U.S. special envoy for Yemen on strategies to promote more effective and inclusive negotiations in Yemen, and assisting the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum in its engagements on political talks in Sudan.
CSO works to advance inclusion in peace negotiations, as research demonstrates that more inclusive negotiations lead to more durable agreements. CSO also maintains a Negotiations Support Network to engage with international experts and practitioners focused on peace process support and conflict resolution.
Utilizing Technology for Conflict Monitoring
CSO designs and implements programs that use geospatial tools, new data feeds, innovative data collection methods, and advanced analytics platforms to provide critical information to policymakers on a range of issues, including atrocity early warning, atrocity documentation, and civilian conflict monitoring. CSO brings these capabilities to high-priority or intractable conflict and stabilization situations that require more dedicated attention, resources, and infrastructure than is typically available through routine analytic products. For instance, CSO manages the Conflict Observatory program, which documents Russia’s war crimes and other atrocities in Ukraine. CSO also partners with international organizations to build their analytic capacity.
Supporting Peace Agreement Implementation
CSO supports the implementation of peace agreements, improving their likelihood of success. For example, one of CSO’s implementing partners – the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies – monitors and advances Colombia’s 2016 Peace Accord implementation. The program connects more than 200 civil society groups with Colombian government agencies and helps maintain momentum for the implementation of priority Peace Accord provisions. An independent evaluation in 2021 found that CSO’s program successfully informed local understanding of challenges to Peace Accord implementation and led to greater implementation overall, with 89 percent of government leaders surveyed agreeing that the program’s data allowed them to make decisions that improved implementation.Page Break