Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn
This chapter examines the increasing use of decentralization as a tool of conflict resolution. Starting from the point that there has been an increase of intrastate conflicts in the post-Cold War era, it highlights how different forms of decentralization have been used in order to bring warring parties together, provide autonomy for certain groups and ensure a fair distribution of resources. While the logic behind using decentralization as a conflict resolution tool might seem obvious, it is not without its challenges. In particular, evidence from numerous case studies suggests that decentralization mainly works if connected to other forms of power sharing such as grand coalitions and minority veto rights. In addition, decentralization might lay the foundation for further calls for autonomy and ultimately might lead some groups to declare independence and secede. Yet, as the chapter points out, often there are no viable alternatives to decentralization in violent intrastate conflict.
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