In order for parties to a conflict to achieve lasting peace and closure, the decisions made on the path to resolution must be implemented and complied with. Stabilising requires restoring a sense of safety and trust between parties to conflict so that they comply with what they agreed and are able to move on with their lives. Achieving compliance and stability can be challenging, however, as parties are not always equally satisfied with the outcome of the resolution process and issues may resurface during the execution of the agreement or decision.
A resolution that is implemented without careful consideration of compliance is unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term. Stabilising the relationship between parties who have just emerged from a conflict prevents new disagreements from arising by making transparent what the parties can expect from each other in the future. Agreements that both parties commit to and feel motivated to comply with – whether out of a desire for specific outcomes, a commitment to fairness, a sense of duty, or a fear of sanctions – are essential to this.
Parties are less likely to comply with an agreement in the long-term if they feel that the outcome of a resolution process was imposed on them rather than negotiated, or if they feel that the resolution process itself was unfair. Resolution processes that are participatory, treat participants with dignity and respect, and involve a neutral and trustworthy authority are most likely to be experienced as fair.
Written settlements, contracts, or judgments help stabilise agreements by making their terms transparent to the parties involved, but are often expensive to obtain. Informal compliance mechanisms, such as reciprocity, offer a less costly way of incentivising parties to fulfill their obligations.