Making Bread From Broken Eggs: A Basic Recipe for Conflict Resolution Using Earned Sovereignty


Questions of state sovereignty are the cause of many conflicts today. The theory of earned sovereignty is an evolving concept. A review of recent practice in southern Sudan, Bougainville, and Aceh shows that the core elements of earned sovereignty offer a three-part roadmap for conflict resolution beginning with shared sovereignty, continuing through institution building, and ending at a determination of final status. Other parts of the theory called, “optional elements,” are tools stakeholders in a conflict situation may use in order to move from one core element to another until a final status solution is obtained. Though the optional elements of phased sovereignty, conditional sovereignty, and constrained sovereignty are parts of earned sovereignty they need not always be used. In-depth analysis of the peace agreements in southern Sudan, Bougainville, and Aceh show that, while the core elements are implemented throughout, the optional elements are used to varying degrees and in some instances not at all.


International Law

Date of this Version

February 2007