Wednesday, 11 February 2015 00:00

The Models of Sovereignty in the South Caucasus

Over the last five to six years we have witnessed dramatic changes in the international security environment – changes that have directly influenced developments in the South Caucasus. Among the most significant changes are the world economic crisis, the Arab awakening, and the turbulence and civil wars all over North Africa and the Middle East. There is also a growing number of secessionist movements, indeed even in the prosperous parts of Europe: Scotland and the Flemish region will hold referenda on independence from Great Britain and Belgium, respectively; separatist trends are under way in Catalonia and in the Basque country in Spain, as well as in Quebec in Canada. Great Britain is debating abandonment of its EU membership. It is not by chance that we are also witnessing the appearance of several internationally recognized sovereign states, even though they are either essentially failed states or very weak. There is also a group of state entities that can be considered as conflict-ridden exceptions. Among them are the semi-recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In many ways these developments are related to the issue of state sovereignty.
These study group notes are a compilation of the presentations and discussions of the 8th Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group workshop. The workshop was designed to test the boundaries of conflict resolution. Under the title “What Kind of Sovereignty? Examining Alternative Models of Governance in the South Caucasus”, it aimed at exploring the definition of terms and concepts surrounding governance, and to determine whether their application cannot be allocated among conflicting actors, or better yet, put in common.
This paper examines the nature of sovereignty in the South Caucasus and offers alternative interpretations of sovereignty which may prove useful in conflict mitigation.
Published in Policy Papers