Title

A comparative study of Land Negotiation Tables as a participatory approach for land conflict resolution in the post-conflict society of Guatemala

Publication Date

1-1-2003

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

This research paper explores the work of Land Negotiation Tables as an approach in the post-conflict society of Guatemala to deal with the conflicts and the traumas of its population. In Guatemala, the indigenous population in rural areas was affected most by the 36 year long civil war. The root causes behind the conflict, on the forefront the dispute for land, are still not solved. The real challenge for post-conflict societies is to find a process of reconciliation that reaches a larger portion of the population. Pertinent questions this paper aims to answer are: How effective are Land Negotiation Tables as a tool for land conflict resolution in Guatemala, and how might they be improved? To give an answer to these questions the author compares the experiences of different Land Negotiation Tables using qualitative interviews and observations. The objective of this study is to provide a written testimony that contributes to the general tendency in Guatemala to deal with a variety of issues – such as land conflicts – through inter-institutional commissions, in this case the Land Negotiation Tables. The main concern is how is Guatemala’s population able to find a way to live together in a peaceful way, confront or even overcome its past and address the needs of the majority in society. People have to be motivated to participate without fear, finding ways to make their issues heard. State institutions need to learn to work for the people and to take on their functions. Key issues, such as land disputes, have to be addressed in a proper and inclusive manner. The Land Negotiation Tables seem to be the right tool to work on land conflicts and to strengthen the different sectors of society.

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