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One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Securing Nairobi's poor neighbourhoods policy considerations for enhancing community participation

19 Jun 2017 02:28:30 GMT

Kenya has grappled with extensive crime and insecurity, ranging from armed robberies, carjacking and street crime, to politically-motivated, ethnically-organised violence, resource conflicts and terror attacks that affect both rural and urban areas. Poor urban neighbourhoods have in particular continued to face serious challenges of crime and insecurity.
As is the case in a number of countries in Africa, public policing in Kenya has not succeeded in complete assertion of state monopoly on violence. Poor infrastructure, inadequate financial resources and deficiency in security personnel numbers are among the key factors that limit state capacity to police the entire terrain of the country.
This policy brief suggests a policy trajectory that draws lessons from the assessment of  community-led security mechanisms in Mlango Kubwa in Mathare sub-county and Kawangware, in Dagoretti North sub-county of Nairobi. In an age when policing and security provision has seen the emergence of a range of hybrid measures and joint ventures between the state security agencies and civilians, a fresh policy look at security governance from the lessons at the community level is important.

Mitigating electoral conflict in Kenya’s 2017 General Election

19 Jun 2017 01:52:59 GMT

On 8 August 2017 Kenya is expected to conduct a general election in which new representatives at the county and national levels will be elected. This election is likely to be one of the most competitive at the local level yet.
This policy brief analyses the challenge of ensuring peaceful 2017 general election in Kenya and makes recommendations to mitigate the risks posed by the polls. It does this through an examination of the 2017 electoral landscape through the lenses of political and socio economic context. Further, it examines the institutions that will handle 2017 elections and the extent to which they are suited to delivering a peaceful and credible election.

In addition, it assesses the degree to which previous efforts to address the challenge of electoral violence in Kenya, especially those employed in 2013, have contributed to mitigating and resolving violent conflicts. Finally, the brief offers policy recommendations for the various stakeholders towards a credible and peaceful election in 2017.

Explaining South African xenophobia

16 Jun 2017 03:14:35 GMT

After widespread violence in 2008 and 2015, South Africa is now clearly one of most hostile destinations in the world for African migrants. Existing research on the determinants of South African xenophobia has focused on developing and advancing theories, with little attention paid to testing which theories, if any, actually account for mass xenophobia.
By combining individual-level Afrobarometer survey items with municipal-level census indicators, this paper produces a rich, quantitative data set of numerous factors that have been proposed as determinants of South African xenophobia. The results of multilevel regression analyses show support for the explanations of poverty, relative deprivation, frustration with government, and social mobilization, with mixed evidence for resource competition. Taken together, the results point toward a mechanism of scapegoating, where frustrations and hopelessness produce aggression that is targeted at African immigrants

Reducing conflicts around water points

13 Jun 2017 02:56:46 GMT


SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL works in the region of Kidal, in northern Mali, since 2015 to improve agro-pastoral activities through the implementation of WaSH activities. Underlying the rehabilitation of water points is the aim to reduce conflicts between different types of users: breeders and their herds and local populations for domestic uses.

The team worked to identify the good practices that had been implemented in the first phase of this project funded by OFDA, between June 2015 and September 2016. This case study provides insight on these good practices, the lessons learned as well as recommendations for future projects.

Afghanistan’s cross-border trade with Pakistan and Iran and the responsibility for conflict-sensitive employment

09 Jun 2017 12:58:03 GMT

Border areas are sites of intensive interaction between states and inter-regional business. Political tensions and armed conflicts have a particularlystrong impact on trade flows. In fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS), where states have limited power and where the enforcement of laws, rules and
regulations is weak, irregular economies tend to thrive along borders, where state officials often deal with border formalities in arbitrary ways.
This Working Paper focuses on transporters, i. e. hauliers, as important actors in the border areas between Afghanistan and its neighbours Pakistan and Iran. The transport sector is sensitive to market fluctuations and a volatile business environment, reacting strongly with increasing or declining employment. This study addresses the question of how haulage companies and workers operate in an insecure environment as found in the border areas of FCAS and identifies strategies for conflict-sensitive employment. Based on the analysis of academic studies, bilateral treaties and their implementation, media reports and interviews with owners and managers of haulage companies and small hauliers, drivers and labourers, this Working Paper presents the particularities of formal and informal trade in the border areas of Afghanistan.
A major finding is that states, large companies, small transporters and workers greatly differ in their perceptions of violent conflict, which range from views of alarming insecurity to regarding it as negligible. Moreover, businessmen tend to perceive corrupt practices by state officials and the police as a source of
more uncertainty than acts by non-state armed groups. A third insight is that Pakistan and Iran consider cross-border trade with Afghanistan a minor issue
as both states are pursuing particular interests in the larger region. Pakistan’s tense relationship with India and Iran’s struggle with Western sanctions
inform the trade strategies of these countries, while Afghanistan is a marginal player in these power struggles. Some conflict-sensitive employment strategies, such as employing drivers and assistants according to cultural criteria to facilitate safe passage through areas under the control of various power holders and affected by violent conflict are adopted by cross-border haulage companies out of self-interest. The paper presents additional strategies that major companies can use.

South–South peacebuilding: lessons and insights from Turkey and South Africa’s support to fragile states

31 Mar 2017 04:14:43 GMT

Emerging actors, such as providers of South–South cooperation (SSC), are increasingly playing a role in peacebuilding, particularly in fragile states and conflict-affected areas. While there is much discussion on the role of emerging donors in sustainable development, there is little empirical evidence on their contribution to peacebuilding and state building. Joint research by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) analysed the features of South African and Turkish assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia respectively, to unpack what sets these emerging economies apart from Western powers operating in similar environments.

This paper compares the peacebuilding approaches of South Africa and Turkey and attempts to assess their effectiveness in relation to the approaches of traditional donors. Evidence from the two case studies shows that, while operating under different paradigms, principles and drivers, Southern providers not only bring substantive support to fragile states but also get different types of results and responses from host countries. While it is still difficult to discern a clear ‘Southern peacebuilding model’, emerging economies play an important role in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and accountable institutions, in their region and internationally.

Post Amnesty Conflict Management Framework in the Niger Delta

09 Feb 2017 02:48:18 GMT

The general aim of the research project, The Post Amnesty Conflict Management Framework in the Niger Delta, was to ascertain how the implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) which had been introduced by the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua-led administration in 2009 was perceived by the people of the Niger Delta, and to what extent it had contributed to creating lasting conditions for peace and stability in the region.

The following policy recommendations derive directly from the findings of the research:

  • government at all levels should urgently and singe-mindedly address the issues of electricity, portable water, healthcare, as well as water and road transportation networks, among others, in the Niger Delta. Some communities that were direct victims of the militancy and the state's initial military response should be rebuilt so that their inhabitants are denied any reason to continue feeling bitter against the state and the oil companies
  • concerted efforts should be made by Government to rejuvenate local economies, as a means of increasing opportunities for economic recovery and income generation in the Niger Delta. This could be done through development of large–scale agricultural (e. g. oil palm and rice) and fishing projects into which the youths could be deployed
  • it is important to devise and deploy detailed reintegration schemes that do not focus only on ex-militants but also incorporate the wider communities. In particular, attention should be paid to the needs of the women ex-militants as well as to the psychological needs of mothers whose sons and daughters are now alienated from the communities because they had become militants
  • in order to deny opportunities to those who depend on illegal oil bunkering for resources to bring arms into the region, the Federal government should, as a matter of highest priority, enlist the upport of the international community to put in place a system for tracking oil stolen from Nigeria through ts origin. This will help to address the issue of illegal oil bunkering and crude theft
  • government and relevant stakeholders need to pay attention to the vulnerabilities, the potential as well as the rights of youths, by assisting them to live productive lives, to counter the effect of paying out money to people who are not productively engaged


Listening to women and girls diplaced to urban Afghanistan

20 Dec 2016 03:55:49 GMT

Growing numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) live  in  informal  settlements  in  major  Afghan  urban  centres. Compared with other Afghans they are more likely to be non-literate, to have lower rates of school enrolment, to live in larger households (but with lower household  incomes),  to  be  unemployed  and  to  be  highly food insecure.

There is insufficient understanding of and response to the needs of youth, and particularly vulnerable females, displaced to urban areas.  This report presents findings of research in three informal settlements in Jalalabad, Kabul and Kandahar which was commissioned by the Norwegian  Refugee  Council  and  researched  by  The  Liaison  Office  (TLO),  an  Afghan  non-governmental  organisation.

The   study   confirmed   earlier   findings   about   the impacts  for  IDPs  of  living  in  poor  urban  settlements,  characterised by inadequate and crowded accommodation,   insufficient   water   and   sanitation facilities,  extreme  food  insecurity  and  inability  to  get education or employment.

The  findings  of  the  research  break  new  ground, confounding   the   common   assumption   that   urban   women and girls should be more able – in a supposedly more secure and progressive urban environment with a  concentration  of  service  providers  –  to  access  services and employment and social opportunities than prior to their displacement.

This   research   found   the   opposite,   showing   that  displacement    places    women    and    children    at    disproportionate  risk,  living  with  fewer  freedoms  and  opportunities  than  those  they  enjoyed  in  their  natal  villages  or  when  living  in  Pakistan  or  Iran.  Evidence  gathered shows that displaced females face significant enhanced    gendered    constraints    to    accessing    education,   health   and   employment   opportunities.   They  have  lost  freedoms,  social  capital  and  networks  they  may  have  previously  enjoyed.  The  controlling  tendencies of their male kin, and their propensity to violence, are enhanced by their own desperation.

Lebanon poised at the brink

19 Dec 2016 02:37:13 GMT

Gravely affected by the Syrian crisis, Lebanon has remained relatively stable against all odds – despite the influx of some 1.5 million Syrian refugees and an internal political crisis involving supporters of oppos- ing Syrian factions. Lebanon’s resilience can be explained by the high opportunity cost of state breakdown for domestic, regional and interna- tional political actors. Moreover, international economic assistance, d iaspora remittances and informal networks established by refugees help to prevent outr ight economic breakdown. However, stability re- mains extremely precarious. P rimary tipping points include (1) an IS strategy to spread the conflict to Lebanon , with consequent disintegra- tion of the army along sectarian lines, (2) democratic decline and peo- p le ’ s dissatisfaction, (3) Hizbullah’s domestic ambitions and Israeli fears over the group’s growing military powers and (4) the potential that frustration between refugees and host communities may erupt into recurrent violence. The slow economic and sanita ry decline in the country (5), however, is considered the biggest challenge.

National action plan. Women, peace and security 2015-2018

16 Dec 2016 06:05:22 GMT

The adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000 was a groundbreaking event. The resolution recognised the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, the need to protect women from violence during conflicts, and the vital importance of women’s participation and the protection of women’s rights for international peace and security. Since 2000, the Security Council has adopted a further six resolutions on women, peace and security. Resolutions adopted by the Security Council are binding on all UN members.The Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security are intended to bridge the gap between theory and practice in this field. The present Action Plan is a tool to help Norway contribute to these efforts. The resolutions establish norms and make recommendations on how to integrate a gender perspective into peace and security efforts. The starting point is that ensuring women’s participation and taking the experience of women into account are of crucial importance in preventing and dealing with conflict, in providing effective protection for women, and for establishing peace processes that result in sustainable peace. The resolutions point to the need to incorporate a gender perspective into international operations, so that the security needs of both men and women are taken into account. They also recognise that humanitarian efforts must address the needs of both women and men in conflict situations. Four of the resolutions deal with sexual violence and recommend ways of preventing and combating such violence. This is the Norwegian authorities’ third national plan on women, peace and security, and represents an important step forward in Norway’s efforts to implement the Security Council resolutions.Norway will continue to contribute to international efforts to achieve sustainable peace on the basis of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Peace means far more than the absence of war. Norway’s efforts must be designed to meet women’s security and humanitarian needs and uphold women’s rights. The Government’s global health and education efforts, which are targeted particularly at women and girls, tie in with these overall aims. Our goal is to ensure that more children and young people affected by crisis and conflict receive a good-quality education. We will also seek to ensure that education is given higher priority in humanitarian aid work. There is systematic discrimination against women in many countries and in many areas of activity. Armed conflict can exacerbate the situation because women are forced to flee their homes, and also because parties to conflict may deliberately attack or abuse women. The lawlessness that accompanies conflicts can make women vulnerable, for example to sexual violence.It is of crucial importance to improve women’s security and increase their freedom of action and influence. The participation of women is important in itself: everyone has the right to take part in decision-making processes that affect their own future. Men need to be encouraged to become partners in efforts to change the situation. The aim is for women and men to be involved in decision-making processes as equal partners. This will help to ensure that the security needs of the whole population are met, and will strengthen the legitimacy of decisions. Ensuring that such processes are inclusive is also a way of preventing conflict. It is not possible to achieve sustainable peace if half the population is excluded from peace processes and decisions. At the same time, the security institutions themselves must be changed. It is essential to incorporate a gender perspective into all peace and security work, which means that the impact on both women and men must be evaluated during each phase of the work. To achieve the goal of mainstreaming a [...]

Climate change and state fragility in the Sahel

15 Dec 2016 04:45:46 GMT

Many climate experts agree that the Sahel is a key hotspot for global climate change. Throughout the region, higher temperatures, increasingly variable rainfall, and more frequent droughts and storms will interact with high levels of vulnerability and low adaptive capacities to significantly challenge continued development progress. Increasing regional insecurity further threatens development: ongoing civil conflicts and secessionist movements, the pervasiveness of organised crime, and the rise of extremists groups such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The security implications of these trends extend beyond the Sahel to Africa more broadly, Europe and the Middle East. Ensuring that climate change does not trigger or further exacerbate conflict or weaken states across the Sahel will be a major challenge for both national governments and international actors.
  • climate change can combine with political and economic instability, poverty, inequality and historical grievances to exacerbate tensions or trigger conflict
  • poor governance, weak institutions, capacity constraints and corruption restrict the ability of Sahelien states to address climate change
  • peacebuilding interventions should be climate-resilient and climate change responses must be conflict sensitive

Displaced women and homelessness

30 Nov 2016 06:40:43 GMT

This report identifies conflicts as a cause of homelessness. Displaced persons, by definition, have to abandon their homes. Many of them have been forced to leave because of targeted discrimination.

NRC´s research shows that this is compounded by the repressive social norms women experience from their communities and families. Those who face discrimination because of their ethnicity, place of origin and gender, are more likely to become homeless and, oncehomeless, are exposed to more serious protection risks.

Women refugees in Lebanon and the consequences of limited legal status on their housing, land and property rights

30 Nov 2016 06:22:21 GMT

Understanding the situation for women refugees in particular, including the protection risks they face, is essential in order to develop and provide appropriate interventions taking their perspective and specific challenges into account.

The aim of this report is to highlight some of the consequences of limited legal status, with a specific focus on the coping mechanisms of refugees to try to maintain their housing each month and what impact such, often negative, coping mechanisms have on women in particular.

The rise of environmental crime: a growing threat to natural resources, peace, development and security

25 Nov 2016 04:31:21 GMT

The environment provides the very foundation of sustainable development, our health, food security and our economies. Ecosystems provide clean water supply, clean air and secure food and ultimately both physical and mental wellbeing. Natural resources also provide livelihoods, jobs and revenues to governments that can be used for education, health care, development and sustainable business models. The role of the environment is recognized across the internationally agreed seventeen sustainable development goals adopted in 2015.

The slaughter of elephants and rhinos has raised awareness of the illegal trade in wildlife. We are facing mass extinctions and countries are losing iconic wildlife species. However, the scope and spectrum of this illegal trade has widened. Criminals now include in their trafficking portfolios waste, chemicals, ozone depleting substances, illegally caught seafood, timber and other forest products, as well as conflict minerals, including gold and diamonds.

The growth rate of these crimes is astonishing. The report that follows reveals for the first time that this new area of criminality has diversified and skyrocketed to become the world’s fourth largest crime sector in a few decades, growing at 2–3 times the pace of the global economy. INTERPOL and UNEP now estimate that natural resources worth as much as USD 91 billion to USD 258 billion annually are being stolen by criminals, depriving countries of future revenues and development opportunities.

Environmental crime has impacts beyond those posed by regular criminality. It increases the fragility of an already brittle planet. The resulting vast losses to our planet rob future generations of wealth, health and wellbeing on an unprecedented scale. They also compromise our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

An additional by-product of environmental crime is that it undermines peace. It is not surprising that the UN Security Council has recognized the serious threat to security posed by environmental crime, with UN reports pointing to armed groups and potentially even terrorists sustained through the spoils of this rising criminal industry.

However, an enhanced law enforcement response can help address this worrying trend. There are significant examples worldwide of cross-sectoral efforts working to crack down on environmental crime and successfully restore wildlife, forests and ecosystems. Such collaboration, sharing and joining of efforts within and across borders, whether formal or informal, is our strongest weapon in fighting environmental crime.

But to meet the scale of this threat, a broad-ranging, targeted effort must be put forward so that peace and sustainable development can prevail.

Fragile States Index 2016

25 Nov 2016 03:02:39 GMT

Since its inception in 2005, the annual index produced by the Washington DC-based Fund for Peace has ranked 178 countries based on measures of their stability and the pressures they face. The vast amount of information acquisition and interpretation involved in such a project is no small task and the commendable objective of the Fragile States Index (FSI), aimed at policymakers and the wider public, is to inform political risk assessment and better policy responses. Called the Failed States Index when the IPCS last issued a report on it, the FSI has generated lively debate in South Asia and further afield. While it has received some qualified praise, it has also faced wide-ranging arguments by numerous scholarly and policy critics. The term 'failed state' and the FSI more broadly have been variously regarded as excessively biased and politicised, overly simplistic, and lacking analytical precision and predictive utility.

Turkey in Somalia: shifting paradigms of aid

22 Nov 2016 10:15:40 GMT

As the global development landscape continues to evolve, new and emerging actors – countries transitioning from being aid recipients to aid providers – are becoming increasingly visible on the global scene. Although the approaches, interests and resources of emerging donors are far from uniform, their increasing presence in global development – particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings – could create new ways of thinking about foreign aid and contribute to more horizontal, equitable and efficient practices. The rise of these donors also poses challenges: their compliance with international standards in development assistance, the effectiveness of their aid and the inclusivity of their efforts have often been questioned.

Turkey’s presence in Somalia is an important example of emerging donor engagement in a conflict setting. Its involvement in Somalia intensified in response to the devastating 2010–2012 famine, but has since gone well beyond delivering aid and assistance to famine survivors. It has hosted international and regional conferences, mediated among various parties, engaged in capacity-building efforts, encouraged bilateral trade and delivered development assistance. Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has been remarkably multifaceted; it has included the Turkish government, religious institutions, nongovernmental organisations, the private sector and local municipalities. It is too early to accurately assess the impact of Turkey’s involvement on Somali institutions or to understand whether it has attenuated the conflict. Instead, this report draws on dozens of interviews in Turkey and Somalia to examine trends and challenges.

Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has distinguished itself by a readiness to deploy staff in the field despite the security risks, deference to the Somali government and a push for national ownership, as well as its involvement in the security and private sectors. However, its experience has also brought to the fore critical tensions: Will its respect for sovereignty and support to security institutions clash with norms of human rights and the inclusion of other parts of society in peacebuilding? Can this multi-pronged approach to aid be channelled toward a coherent and comprehensive peacebuilding strategy? And will these nascent aid institutions be able to weather domestic pressures in Turkey? [Authors' summary]

Political violence, drought and child malnutrition: empirical evidence from Andhra Pradesh, India

22 Nov 2016 03:41:31 GMT

Households in developing countries have to cope with a myriad of uncertain events, some of which may happen simultaneously. One important example is the interplay between climatic shocks and violent conflict.Although the extent to which conflict and disasters interact differs across countries and contexts, in general, people living in fragile and conflict-affected states find it harder to cope with natural disasters given the impact of violence and instability on health, basic service provision, social cohesion, mobility opportunities and livelihoods.

Existing evidence on how individuals, households and communities cope simultaneously with violence and natural disasters is, however, largely anecdotic and descriptive. This is partially due to lack of data, but also to challenges in identifying empirical causal effects when endogeneity biases may be potentially large.

The objective of this paper is to address this gap in the literature by analysing the combined effect of exposure to political violence and drought on child nutrition. The context of the analysis is the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which was for several decades affected by a left-wing (Naxal) guerilla insurgency. Households in Andhra Pradesh face in addition cyclical climatic shocks that affect the nutrition levels of their children, often quite severely.

The paper shows two important results. First, drought exerts a strong impact on malnutrition, but only when it occurs in a violent environment. Second, the authors found that political violence exerts a long term impact on child malnutrition only indirectly, when the combination of conflict with drought prevents households to appropriately protect their children against adverse nutritional shocks. Although existing data does not show irrefutable evidence for the mechanisms at play, analysis strongly suggests that the adverse combined welfare impact of conflict and drought is explained by a failure of economic coping strategies and restricted access to public services and aid in conflict affected communities, possibly due to fear, insecurity and isolation.

Silencing the guns: terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups

18 Nov 2016 12:35:35 GMT

On 21–22 October 2015, the African Union (AU), in collaboration with the Government of Namibia, hosted the Sixth AU High-level Retreat of Special Convened under the theme of “Terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups”, the objectives of the retreat were to provide a platform for delegates to deliberate on the successes and challenges in relation to tackling the underlying causes of terrorism in Africa, to provide recommendations, and to discuss and exchange views on shared responsibilities and coordination between African and international actors working on preventing and combating terrorism.

A key element of the retreat was to use the opportunity to start conceptualising a shared continental counterterrorism response strategy, as well as specifically to explore the ways in which dialogue and mediation could be used to counter terrorism. A key outcome of the retreat was the Windhoek Declaration, attached as an appendix to this report.Envoys and Mediators on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.

This research report is based on the deliberations of the Windhoek Retreat and provides an overview of the proceedings, highlighting the key points that came out of the discussions. Much of the report is dedicated to expanding and elaborating on some of the discussions that took place. Structurally, the report first explains the background and context to the deliberations by providing an understanding and definition of terrorism, and its origins. It also focuses on the causes of terrorism in Africa and identifies violent extremist actors, trends and dynamics on the African continent. Second, the report highlights the current approaches that have been adopted in response to countering terrorist acts, with specific reference to the challenges that remain and the role of mediation as an effective approach to oppose terrorism, by drawing on a number of case studies. Finally, several recommendations have been elicited to determine the most effective way forward that promotes a holistic approach to dealing with terrorism and violent extremism.


Preliminary reflections on the 2016 Liberian National Conflict-Mapping Exercise

18 Nov 2016 01:15:06 GMT

Since 2009, the Government of Liberia (GoL), working with its national and international partners, has continued to provide leadership in responding to a myriad of critical confl ict factors. It has done this through various peacebuilding frameworks, such as the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Liberia, the Liberia Peacebuilding Program (LPP) and the Agenda for Transformation (AFT).3 In addition, Liberia has concluded its post-Ebola recovery plans, supported by the United Nations (UN) and other partners, in the midst of the UN Mission in Liberia's (UNMIL) transition in 2016, as well as within the context of the country’s 2017 national elections. It was against this backdrop that the Peacebuilding Offi ce (PBO) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and other partners had to rethink and reprioritise Liberia’s peacebuilding and reconciliation strategies, programmes and interventions, moving forward. As such, a comprehensive confl ict-mapping and confl ict analysis exercise was pivotal to allow for a systematic and empirical process in which Liberian confl ict issues and potential confl ict drivers could be identifi ed.

This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) seeks to refl ect on the 2016 National Confl ict-Mapping Exercise (NCME) process, as well as the methodological approaches used to gather and analyse the data. It further highlights the importance of the NCME as a process and outlines the supportive role of international partners to the PBO, which guaranteed that the process is locally owned and steered by the PBO. Although it has a definitive end in the form of fi ndings, the NCME itself should be seen as an important component for enhancing the coherence and coordination of peacebuilding interventions in Liberia.

On becoming a responsible great power: contextualising China’s foray into human rights and peace & security in Africa

06 Oct 2016 01:18:39 GMT

The deepening of China’s engagement with Africa has also prompted the broadening of its interests on the continent. This has resulted in China’s expansion into increasingly riskier territories, which means there is a greater urgency to protect its interests from the political vagaries endemic to conflict-affected African states. This evolution marks a shift away from traditional perceptions of Chinese engagement in Africa as being limited to its economic interests, towards one where China becomes a politically interested and invested actor. This trend is paralleled by a macro-level reorientation of China’s foreign policy goals, where it envisions itself playing a stronger norm-setting role in the global arena.

This policy insights paper explores the values and imperatives that motivate China’s engagement in peace and security, human rights and human security in Africa.

China’s foray into political matters is a consequence of the growing need for it to respond to attacks on its citizens and investments on the ground, but can also be traced to grander foreign policy underpinnings associated with its desire to position itself as a norms entrepreneur in the global arena. What emerges from the interplaybetween these two factors is a dynamic foreign policy that is responsive to the political contexts of African states while guarding the sanctity of state sovereignty.

To be a successful player in promoting peace, security and human rights in Africa, China has found it necessary to develop an approach that mitigates the challenges of operating in volatile environments by increasing its engagements in multilateral organisations. In doing this, China positions itself as an important alternative to established global norms, projecting its aspirations of becoming a more responsible great power in world affairs.



War and peace in the Great Lakes Region

04 Oct 2016 05:18:11 GMT

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a two-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 19 to 20 March 2016, on the theme “War and Peace in the Great Lakes Region”. The meeting brought together about 30 prominent African and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society activists to assess the major obstacles to peace and security in the Great Lakes, and considered seven broad themes: Security and Governance in the Great Lakes Region; the cases of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); Burundi; Rwanda; and Uganda; as well as the role of the United Nations; and that of the European Union, in the Great Lakes. The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the policy research seminar:since post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts in the Great Lakes have become stalled due to the unresolved issues in the region’s political economy, it is imperative that governments urgently address the major issue of youth unemployment – more than 30 percent of the region’s population are aged between 10 and 24the international community must adopt a less selective approach to responding to the governance deficiencies of the countries in the region, acting swiftly to criticise the government in Burundi but being reluctant to condemn governments in Uganda and Rwanda due to strategic interests in both countriesaddressing sexual violence in the DRC must become a key priority. Making progress in security sector reform which has been largely uncoordinated by external actors amid a lack of political will on the part of the government of Joseph Kabila, would also be critical to efforts to tackling gender-based violenceBurundi needs effective leadership and a government that is accountable to its own people. A mass movement must therefore be fostered to promote an inclusive negotiation process. Beyond Burundi, mass advocacy movements should also be built among the 127 million citizens of the Great Lakescarefully targeted international sanctions against the Rwandan government for its actions in the DRC have had some effect in changing its behaviour. Such sanctions should also be applied to Rwanda’s domestic human rights situationthere is an urgent need for governments in the Great Lakes region to recommit to peace accords and tackling regional insecurity related to issues of identity and citizenshipthere is also an urgent need for political parties and conflict actors in the Great Lakes to revisit peace accords that were signed more than a decade and a half ago with a view to adapting as well as implementing principles of constitutionalism and multi-party democracy which were enshrined in these accordsthough some have suggested that UN peacekeepers should withdraw from the DRC to create room for endogenous solutions to the country’s long-running conflict, other voices have cautioned against a premature withdrawal of the UN, citing the example of Burundi in 2006 where such a withdrawal removed the international community’s capacity for tackling instabilityit is time to rethink the role of the UN in the DRC in the areas of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Its bureaucracy has become dysfunctional which has negatively affected the efficiency of UN peacekeeping missions. The UN Security Council must therefore do more to align mandates, roles, and resources closer to the realities onthe groundthe EU and other international actors need to undertake more outreach to Tanzania, South Africa, the EAC and other regional actors in their[...]

South Africa in Africa: the dilemmas of foreign policy and human rights

30 Sep 2016 02:30:02 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) hosted two public dialogues in Cape Town, one on 11 April 2016 on “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?”, and another on 30 June 2016 on “South Africa in Southern Africa: ‘Good Governance’ Versus Regional Solidarity?” Both events were held at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town.

The main focus of the public dialogue “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?” was to discuss South Africa’s obligations to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) generally, and its specific obligations towards arresting Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the ICC. Following the adoption by the United Nations (UN) Security Council of resolution 1593 in March 2005, several investigations resulted in two warrants being issued by the ICC for the arrest of al-Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes, and, in July 2010, relating to charges of genocide, both committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The following four key recommendations emerged from the two public dialogues:

  • African and other governments need to work closely with the UN and the ICC to sequence the administration of justice in cases such as Sudan in ways that do not undermine the pursuit and consolidation of peace
  • the South African government should not lose sight of its domestic human rights challenges, particularly in relation to violence, crime, and xenophobia; and Tshwane should give these problems as much priority as its outward-looking foreign policy
  • South Africa, through SADC, should put in place a five-year implementation plan for greater regional industrialisation projects that build strong partnerships to promote socio-economic development and reduce human rights abuses
  • Southern African governments must honour their commitments enshrined in SADC, the AU, the UN, and other international legal documents to promote human rights more effectively across the sub-region

Civilians’ survival strategies amid institutionalized insecurity and violence in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan

26 Sep 2016 03:07:15 GMT

The Nuba’s peripheral homeland of the Nuba Mountains, in southern Kordofan, is one of Sudan’s current killing fields, with high numbers of civilian casualties, of wounded and internally displaced persons, refugees, families, and individuals. One key overarching argument framing this paper is that the recurring and prolonged wars in Sudan are better understood when put in a wider precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial historical context of the Sudanese socio-political historiography. Thus, it is argued here that the present excessive violence in Sudan in general, and in the Nuba Mountains in particular, is essentially a result of institutionalized insecurity prevalent throughout the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial history of the Sudanese state.

The wide range of literature covering different political episodes in Sudan supports this assertion. It succinctly confirms the continuity of institutionalized insecurity and perpetual violence from the precolonial kingdom; the Turco-Egyptian rule and its slave trade institutions, the Mahdist’s brutal Jihaddiya of forced militarization; the colonial closed district policy coupled with brutal punitive operations, the postcolonial violence and protracted civil wars generated by the state against its own citizens at the peripheries.

India's Panda the rise and fall of Sabyasachi Panda in India's Maoist movement

23 Sep 2016 10:42:57 GMT

Sabyasachi Panda is an ordinary man with a curious claim to fame. A mathematics graduate from a middling college in rural India, Panda, with his custom short haircut (combed to the side), generic reading glasses, and stock-standard moustache (almost universal amongst Indian men), speaks softly and almost entirely in well-worn clichés. Unimposing (both in personality and physicality), neither impressive nor unimpressive, intellectually unremarkable and entirely non-descript in appearance, by all logic, Panda really ought to have lived out his days quietly and unnoticed in the shadows – just another face in India.

The fact that he has not stands as an affront to any ideal of a merit based society. Panda's prominence, it seems, is an accident of history; something that should ordinarily provoke protests – he just does not seem like someone who deserves media attention. Yet it is safe to say that no one in India today envies Panda as he sits in solitary confinement facing an almost certain life sentence. His mug-shot remains the last and only indication that there might be something more to his character: the man now considered a martyr for his cause – "India's Che Guevara" (Pandita 2012) – is spitefully pouting as he stares down the camera in a final act of defiance.

The year that shook the rich: a review of natural disasters in 2011

22 Sep 2016 10:56:57 GMT

From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to fourteen disasters causing over a billion dollars each in damage in the United States, 2011 was particularly damaging for developed countries. Reviewing 2011’s natural disasters, this report analyses the range of disasters and lessons to be learned from those that occurred in developed countries.

Key lessons:

  • 2011 was the most expensive year in terms of disaster losses in history, mostly because of a spate of disasters affecting developed countries. Globally, the economic cost of disasters in 2011 was $380 billion, of which $210 billion were the result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This was 72 percent higher than the losses in 2005, the second costliest year in history of disaster-related losses
  • developed countries were particularly hard-hit by disasters in 2011 as evidenced by floods in Australia, earthquakes in New Zealand, an earthquake/tsunami in Japan and a series of disasters in the United States. While natural disasters result in higher economic losses in rich countries, fewer people tend to be affected and loss of life is less than in developing countries
  • the post-tsunami Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan poses serious questions about preparedness for technological and industrial accidents caused by natural hazards as well as questions about the safety of nuclear technology
  • several positive trends in international humanitarian response were evident in the course of 2011, including promising developments in international disaster law, greater emphasis on disaster risk reduction and preparedness, and better communications during crises, including the use of social media in disaster response
  • the first famine in twenty years was declared in Somalia in mid-2011, demonstrating the deadly interaction of conflict, political instability and drought that can result in a catastrophe with high human casualties
  • the interconnections between disasters (especially mega-disasters), media coverage and humanitarian funding means that humanitarian funding tends to be directed toward disasters that have higher media coverage rather than to those with disaster-affected populations in greater need of assistance
  • global population is ageing at an unprecedented scale and yet the special needs of older people in emergencies are often neglected. In disasters such as the earthquake/tsunami in Japan and Hurricane Katrina, older people made up a disproportionate percentage of casualties. Given the fact that developing countries are also experiencing an increase in the percentage of elderly people, it is likely that a lack of focus on older persons in all phases, from planning to emergency management to post-disaster reconstruction, can result in higher fatalities among older people, long-term chronic health issues, psychosocial trauma and isolation. Treating older people simply as “normal” disaster victims denies
    the specific vulnerabilities that many older people face
  • more work is needed to recognize the positive contributions which older people can make in reducing the risks from disasters, in disaster response and in recovery and reconstruction

The dynamics of youth radicalisation in Africa: reviewing the current evidence

20 Sep 2016 04:09:48 GMT

Youth radicalisation towards violent extremism is a global phenomenon that threatens peace, security and stability. This paper reviews the evidence on the factors that may contribute to the dynamics of youth radicalisation in Africa. 

Available findings from East Africa and the Horn of Africa, West Africa and the Sahel, and North Africa are used to understand the dynamics that may contribute to radicalisation and, potentially, to violent extremism. Many factors emerge including political, economic, social and individual factors. Religion, identity and gender also arise as topics for further analysis.

Youth radicalisation is a complex phenomenon that cannot be attributed to any one explanation or set of factors. This paper recognises these complexities, offers recommendations and identities additional issues that should be explored further.

Mali's young 'jihadists': fuelled by faith or circumstance?

20 Sep 2016 04:04:11 GMT

Unemployed, idle and fanatical – this is how young people in the ranks of the armed jihadist groups in Mali are portrayed. However, there is little empirical data to support this characterisation. Little research has been done in the Malian context where the young people involved in these groups have been interviewed directly, to assess the role that both religion and unemployment play in the emergence of this phenomenon that allegedly affects young people the most. Based on interviews with more than 60 previously involved youths, this policy brief questions the conventional wisdom on an important issue that is crucial to stability in Mali and the security of its neighbours.
Key points:
  • factors that are not economic, religious or ideological explain the presence of young people in the ranks of armed jihadist groups in Mali
  • the need to protect oneself and/or one’s family members, community or income-generating activity appears as an important factor
  • in most cases there is interaction between various factors; it is therefore pointless to search for a single underlying cause
  • it is important to analyse in detail the local realities behind youth engagement and resist the temptation to apply the resulting conclusions to other contexts
  • concepts currently in vogue such as ‘radicalisation’, ‘de-radicalisation’ and ‘violent extremism’ should be used with caution, as they could lead to solutions that miss the point

South Africa, the ICC, and theUN Human Rights Council

08 Sep 2016 11:27:27 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) hosted two public dialogues in Cape Town on 24 February 2016 on €œSouth Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC)€, and on 31 March 2016 on €œSouth Africa and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council€.

In 1993, less than a year before the end of apartheid, Nelson Mandela -€“ South Africa'€™s first democratically elected president -€“ identified the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy as core principles to guide the country's foreign policy. However, two decades on, South Africa’s efforts to forge a human rights-based foreign policy have been confronted by the realities of regional and global politics, with critics decrying the perceived forfeiture of its role as a 'human rights entrepreneur'.  Tshwane (Pretoria) has, however, emphasised the need for a balance between normative ideals and pragmatic concerns, pointing to the decisive influence that national interests play in international politics and arguing that South Africa should not be judged by a higher standard than other countries.

The following seven key policy recommendations emerged from the two public dialogues:

  • civil society must maintain sustained pressure on South Africa not to withdraw from the ICC
  • African states should use their majority at the ICC constructively to place their concerns before the Assembly of Parties, and propose amendments to the 1998 Rome Statute
  • South Africa and other African governments must continue pushing for the reform of the UN Security Council, particularly as it relates to referrals to the ICC
  • all African countries should cede jurisdiction on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in order to establish a viable regional court as an alternative to the ICC, which should be a court of last resort
  • the granting of immunity to sitting African heads of state must be carefully weighed against a fair justice system that holds leaders to account and avoids impunity
  • the South African government should not place its political and economic interests on the continent ahead of the rights of victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Justice for victims must remain the priority
  • South African government departments responsible for the implementation of the provisions of international human rights law instruments - including the departments of justice and constitutional development, social development, home affairs, and health - must be fully capacitated, both in terms of budget and human resources, to submit reports to the UN Human Rights Council timeously, and to implement the programmes emanating from this domestication

Uprooted: the growing crisis for refugee and migrant children

08 Sep 2016 10:19:42 GMT

Around the world, nearly 50 million children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced. This report presents comprehensive, global data about these children - where they are born, where they move and some of the dangers they face along the way. The report sheds light on the truly global nature of childhood migration and displacement, highlighting challenges faced by child migrants and refugees in every region.Based on the findings of the report and its work in the field, UNICEF has developed six goals and practical suggestions to protect child migrants and refugees and provide them with hope for the future: protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence - introduce measures to strengthen child protection systems, including the training of social and child workers and working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and professional groups. Clamp down on trafficking  through enhanced law enforcement, and the systematic appointment of qualified guardians; better access to information regarding the management of their cases and access to legal assistance. Governments should also develop clearer guidance for case officers when determining the migration status of children, to prevent the return of children and families to persecution, dangerous or life-threatening situationsend the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating - introduce practical alternatives to detention wherever children (or their families) are involved, given the negative impact of detention on a child’s development. Examples of alternatives to detention include: the surrender of passport and regular reporting requirements; guarantors or bailees who may be family members or community supporters; foster care and supervised independent living for unaccompanied and separated children; and compulsory registration with authoritieskeep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status - develop clear policy guidance to keep children from being separated from their parents during border control processing and any migrant legal processes. States should speed-up procedures and make it easier for children to reunite with their families, including with their extended families in destination countries. Children born to migrant parents need legal identity for their future wellbeing. Governments should provide birth registration and/or other identity documents to enable children to access services and avoid statelessnesskeep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services - an increased collective effort by governments, communities and the private sector is needed to provide education, health, shelter, nutrition, water and sanitation, and access to legal and psychosocial support to these children. This is not only a collective responsibility, it is in all societies’ common interests. A child’s migration status should never represent a barrier to accessing essential servicespress for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants - address the root causes of conflict, violence and extreme poverty in countries of origin. This should include increasing access to education and social protection; expand[...]

Climate security and justice for Small Island Developing States: an agenda for action

18 Aug 2016 12:52:54 GMT

Small island developing states (SIDS) are a unique group of countries that bear a disproportionate share of the impacts of climate change despite their minimal contribution to its causes. Their vulnerability and lack of resources to adapt raise signifi cant questions for global security and justice in the decades ahead.

This policy brief reviews both the challenges that SIDS face because of climate change in terms of adaptation and development, internal displacement and migration, sovereignty and exclusive economic zones, as well as the means they use to advance their cause, such as legal claims to compensation and multilateral diplomacy.

The policy brief proposes an agenda for action that identifies political, legal, economic, and other possible ways of addressing the predicament of the SIDS. The authors encourage policymakers to consider the proposals presented here at fora such as the upcoming Third International SIDS Conference, UNFCCC negotiations, other climate summits and discussions on a post-2015 sustainable development framework, with a view to taking concrete decisions for action.

The African Union: regional and global challenges

18 Aug 2016 01:38:08 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”.The meeting was convened with about 30 prominent African, Asian, and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society actors to reflect critically on the historical mission, achievements, challenges, and prospects of the African Union (AU) in a changing regional and global environment.The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the Cape Town policy seminar:the AU Commission should engage more strategically with African civil society, think tanks, the private sector, and the philanthropic sector in order to implement its mandate more effectively. There is an urgent need to revisit Adebayo Adedeji’s 2007 five-year review of the AU Commission in order to implement its main findings on reforming the AU’s institutions and accelerating regional integration and economic development efforts in Africa. Key parts of the 2013 Olusegun Obasanjo Report on alternative sources of funding for the AU should also be implemented to ensure a sustainable source of future financingthere is an urgent need to sanction non-performing AU staff members and to implement results-based management at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Recruitment, retention, and training of personnel should be greatly improved. There is also a need for better coordination between the AU’s Department of Political Affairs and its Peace and Security Department. The AU Commission must further strengthen its administrative and financial management capacity to be able to absorb and manage donor fundsthe AU’s continental early warning system needs greater coordination with the mechanisms of sub-regional bodies such as IGAD, ECOWAS, and SADC. Furthermore, African leaders must provide greater financial and political support to the APRM, strengthening its capacity and restoring its previous consistent fundingthere is an urgent need to create institutionalised mechanisms for regular consultation and coordination between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the organs of the RECs; this must include the increased participation of civil society and parliaments in decision-making to promote greater synergy and complementarity between the policies and initiatives of the AU and the RECs in this arearegional integration in Africa should take into account the configuration of interests in member states, and put in place mechanisms to compensate groups that may lose out from integration. There is an urgent need to cultivate a national entrepreneurial class to drive socio-economic development across Africa. The continent also needs more “Afrocrats” – young, highly competent officials with a strong commitment to Pan-Africanism, similar to many of the EU’s “Eurocrats”the AU needs to rationalise relations between the RECs and the African Economic Community in light of the multiple membership of the former. It might also be necessary to create a smaller grouping of African states in which conditions for entry involve sound economic and political performance, resulting in greater aid and investment for its membersin line with the Common[...]

The East African energy frontier, a decade on

12 Aug 2016 11:07:29 GMT

The East Africa region has seen some of the decade’ s largest natural gas and energy finds. However, despite their magnitude, these discoveries have yet to fulfil the promise of social and economic progress. With some signs of the negative impact of resource wealth already in evidence, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique all require changes to their natural resources policies to ensure that revenues are shared and invested in the future. Underpinning this is the need for governments to improve transparency, allowing local institutions to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable. Without such steps, the full potential of these finds is set to go unrealised.
The past decade’s energy finds created great promise for Eastern Africa. Yet questions remain about whether these finds will be a burden or blessing. With the downturn in global energy markets and production dates being repeatedly postponed, any potential benefits are subject to the uncertainties and political volatilities that have come to characterise the region. However, it is not too late for these countries to use their assets wisely. A real commitment to accountability and the channelling of revenues towards development objectives is needed, as well as the necessary freedoms for local institutions to monitor the sector and hold government and other stakeholders to account. Now, while prices are low, is a good opportunity for states to get their institutional houses in order. With the effective infrastructure in place, as well as co-operation between states and profits being invested in their future, these finds can in time contribute to the development of the region.

Women, peace and security: implementing the Maputo Protocol in Africa

12 Aug 2016 04:42:32 GMT

Women’s rights are fundamental to human security and sustainable peace. the African Union’s Protocol to the African charter on human and Peoples’ rights on the rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) guarantees the rights and equality of women on the continent and complements the global women, peace and security agenda. But case studies of Malawi, South Sudan, Somalia and Mozambique reveal that the implementation of the Maputo Protocol is slow and patchy. the African Union needs to find innovative ways of working with national governments, civil society and grassroots organisations to realise the full potential of this crucial instrument.
The Maputo Protocol is a key continental instrument that recognises the links between gender equality, women’s empowerment and the achievement of sustainable peace in Africa. Its full and effective implementation is key. however, despite the fact that many African states have ratified the protocol, implementation has been severely restricted – if it has happened at all – by a lack of political will, an immense gap between high-level policy and awareness on the ground, where it matters most, and challenges in changing prevailing behaviours and attitudes that embrace patriarchy.

It is imperative that the Au finds new and innovative ways of working with national governments, civil society and grassroots organisations to realise the full potential of this crucial instrument.

Fractured peacebuilding in the Central African Republic: lessons for African Union engagement

12 Aug 2016 04:33:44 GMT

The Central African Republic (CAR) has seen decades of fracturedpeacebuilding processes. after holding elections in 2016, the country can seize the opportunity to reach sustainable peace. This policy brief looks at the role played by the African Union in supporting CAR’s peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction and development processes; and identifies ways for the continental body to enhance its engagements.
Key findings:
  • the impact of the African Union (AU) can be seen most clearly in its capacity to convene stakeholders, including
    government, thereby supporting larger peacebuilding initiatives
  • the AU’s mandate to engage on a post-conflict
    reconstruction and development framework can be more clearly defined in order to maximise its impact in this area
  • there is an increased AUinterest in the central african
    Republic (caR), which could provide further opportunities for linking with other AU-led initiatives
  • there are opportunities to strengthen coordination between the AU in CAR and the AU Commission
  • the AU and other international organisations, including the united nations, can enhance coordination on how
    to best to support peacebuilding in CAR

Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea: establishing law, generating order

08 Aug 2016 12:34:49 GMT

Maritime security has become a buzzword in recent years as criminal activities at sea threaten a wide range of geostrategic, security and economic imperatives. In few other places in the world is this problem more pointed than in the Gulf of Guinea on Africa’s western coast. While countries in the region are receptive to mechanisms promoting co-operation in tackling maritime insecurity, problems are posed by inadequate information around the nature and extent of maritime crime, as well as a dearth of legal instruments to address this activity. This presents an important challenge to evidence-based policymaking, and prevents capacity-constrained countries from using their resources in the most effective way. The impending AU summit on maritime security and safety to be convened in October 2016 in Lomé, Togo, however, provides a unique opportunity to address these obstacles.
  • policymakers at Lomé should legally define the range of maritime crimes in their waters, and subsequently require the criminalisation of these incidents through the development of appropriate national legislation
  • the reporting of all incidents should be required of shippers under the charter, so that better data may be available on the extent and nature of maritime crime. This may necessitate an undertaking from states to ease the burden implied by reporting, through swift evidence collection and modern means of involvement, such as testifying via video link
  • a more detailed template for reporting should be adopted by the IMB/IMO and reporting bodies at regional and national level. This will improve capacity for generating data that is accurate and statistically significant, in turn allowing for evidence-based policymaking

Networks of organized violence: conference documentation

12 Jul 2016 11:54:48 GMT

Networks are part of the current landscape of peace and security—they have likely always been, but they are perhaps more so today. Rather than consider them as a challenge only, they could also be seen as having potential for building peace and reducing organized violence, and should be examined accordingly.
On 28 October 2015, BICC hosted its annual international conference entitled “Networks of Organized Violence”. This topic was chosen because of a perceived shift from the primacy of the state to the importance of
networks in perpetrating organized violence. The aim the conference was to view networks of organized violence from different academic angles and to discuss various methodological approaches to understanding the
role of networks. The first panel illustrated the relevance of exploring local dynamics of violent conflicts, including the behaviour of groups and the networks in which they are embedded. The second panel looked at
the interconnectedness of structures, systems and people involved in the procurement and application of military technology, using a more classical understanding of networks. The final panel discussed the use of network
analysis as a tool for understanding armed actor groups. The conference concluded that while understanding networks of organized violence is critical to limiting its destructive effects, networks should also be examined for their potential to build peace and reduce organized violence.

The institutionalisation of mediation support within the ECOWAS Commission

06 Jul 2016 04:57:22 GMT

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission established the Mediation Facilitation Division (MFD) in June 2015 to backstop mediation efforts undertaken by its mediation organs, member states, non-state actors and joint initiatives with other international organisations, such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations (UN). In January 2016, the structure was further upgraded to a directorate within the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).

This Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) examines the rationale for taking the bold step to institutionalise a mediation support structure within the ECOWAS Commission; the legal and normative instruments that underpin its mediation interventions; the mandate, vision and scope of operation of the mediation support structure; and the key activities undertaken by the structure within one year of its existence. The PPB identifies the uniqueness of ECOWAS’s experiences in interventions in the 1990s, and the subsequent importance accorded to preventive diplomacy and mediation as a key factor that informed the decision to establish a mediation support structure -  in contrast to using an ad hoc arrangement to backstop its mediation efforts in the past. This new arrangement, the PPB argues, will ensure that mistakes such as the marginalisation of ECOWAS in mediation processes in the region, the disconnect between the ECOWAS Commission and its appointed mediators, facilitators and special envoys, are remedied. It will also ensure a coordinated approach to capacity building and mediation knowledge management within the ECOWAS Commission and its institutions, as well as with its partners, including mainstreaming Tracks II and III mediation into official Track I mediation.

Masculinities conflict and violence: Nigeria country report 2016

06 Jul 2016 03:25:32 GMT

Differences in the way Nigerian men and women are socialised and valued – and disparities in their abilities to access power, resources and key roles in society - create an imbalance of power within relationships between the two sexes. These differences also fuel personal struggles as well as conflict and violence in the home and the wider community and further deepen gender inequality.

This study examine masculinities, conflict and violence in four states in Nigeria: Borno; Kaduna; Lagos; and Rivers. It explores what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman because the two sets of notions are fundamentally linked. The study was conducted using focus group discussions and key informant interviews and reveals important insights which have relevance across the research states.

Research findings offer compelling evidence for policies and programmes which are adapted around development, gender equality, peace and security. The study found many significant ways in which perceived ideas around masculinities drive conflict and violence and, conversely, highlighted the impact that deviation from these norms and behaviour can have on peace. This opens up opportunities for positive change where interventions avoid reinforcing inequitable masculinities or adding to the pressure that men experience in trying to live up to often impossible ideals.

Rural banditry and conflicts in Northern Nigeria

06 Jul 2016 03:16:23 GMT

Ipastoralists and farmers in Nigeria have been on the rise. This social conflict has traditionally consisted of disputes over natural resources and is often presented as a conflict between settlers and nomadic people. However, what began as conflict between pastoralists and farmers over land has recently developed into rural banditry with heavy human and economic cost, ranging from the sexual assault of women and girls, attacks on villages, to catte rustling, amongst others. The bandits traversing Benue, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano are involved in crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping. There have also been reported cases of rural banditry in Delta, Enugu, Ondo, Oyo and Ebonyi states.

Examining the root causes of rural banditry and social conflict requires an understanding of its historical trajectory, social contexts, development and the dynamics of the often conflictual, but also symbiotic relationship between two production systems (agricultural and pastoral) that not only depend on land and its related resources, but are also fundamentally different in important respects. It is against this backdrop that the researchers undertook a broad interrogation of the economic and social forces that might have triggered the current realities. The 10 chapters of this book focus on wide-ranging issues, including: cattle rustling; animal husbandry; transhumance; grazing reserves; herdsmen and farmers association; media and construction of popular narratives; social impact of the phenomenon; and women's livelihoods.

The findings of the 10 reports reveal that factors which account for rural banditry and social conflicts include: ecological and climate change and consistent shift in the human and livestock population; expansion in non-agricultural use of land; weak state capacity and the provision of security; proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs); rise of criminality and insecurity in rural areas; and weakening or collapse of informal conflict resolution mechanisms.

The reports also draw attention to the international dimensions of rural banditry and social conflicts, from the perspective of the rising incidences of cross-border crimes and how it impacts on the proliferation of SALWs in Nigeria. The book incorporates recommendations to policy makers and other relevant stakeholders that, if considered and implemented, may help mitigate and manage this challenging phenomenon.

Planning for peace: Lessons from Mozambique's peacebuilding

06 Jul 2016 02:59:28 GMT

In the more than two decades since Mozambique'€™s civil war ended and its first multiparty elections were held, the country still faces persistent social, political, economical and developmental challenges. What have been some of the main drivers and threats to Mozambique'€™s peace? this paper examines the plans and processes that have been developed in the pursuit of national stability. It also highlights current and future challenges for continued consolidation of peace. By exploring key plans to address demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration, economic and social development, decentralisation, justice, and natural resource investment, this paper puts forward seven key findings with implications for peacebuilding in Mozambique and for the field as a whole.

Economics, governance and instability in South Africa

06 Jul 2016 02:31:47 GMT

FORTY YEARS AGO a combination of frustration against local government, the enforcement of Afrikaans  language policy, trade-union activism and the politicising impact of the black consciousness movement culminated in the Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976. In the weeks and months that followed, tens of thousands of South Africans from townships across the country took to the streets in a violent confrontation with the apartheid state. Although the National Party government was eventually able to restore a semblance of order by force of arms, several thousand young South Africans fled the country, largely to join the Pan Africanist Congress, then moving on to the African National Congress (ANC) when the former proved absent to fight apartheid. These events – combined with international activism, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and internal revolt within the governing National Party – would eventually force a historical compromise when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and, in 1994, elected president of South Africa.

This paper examines the economic and social underpinnings of rising political instability in South Africa such as poverty, unemployment and inequality. The paper then reviews the patterns of violence across different categories before concluding with a brief analysis of the extent to which corruption, poor governance and lacklustre leadership exacerbate social turbulence. In this way, it presents the context for a separate paper, South African scenarios 2024, and a subsequent set of policy recommendations Rainbow at risk that set out the prospects and requirements for change.

Manufacturing torture? South Africa's trade in electric shock equipment

06 Jul 2016 02:11:12 GMT

In South Africa, the trade in certain kinds of fi rearms and military equipment is controlled for reasons of safety and security. However, there is a gap in legislation when it comes to the control of law enforcement equipment that can facilitate torture and ill treatment. This brief examines electric shock devices as an example of security equipment that needs stronger trade- control measures.

The brief outlines concerns over the use of electric shock equipment, and discusses the manufacture of these items in South Africa and their trade with other countries. It also looks at trade controls currently used elsewhere, and provides recommendations for changes in the control measures surrounding these products in South Africa.

  • the trade in law-enforcement equipment that has no practical purpose other than for the purpose of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment should be prohibited
  • body-worn electric shock devices (e.g. stun belts) have no legitimate law enforcement purpose and should be banned for import and export
  • hand-held direct contact electric shock devices designed for law enforcement (e.g. stun shields and stun batons) are prone to abuse and should be banned for import and export
  • wired projectile electric shock weapons should be regulated in the same way as firearms
  • a targeted end-use control mechanism for policing and security equipment would help prevent the transfer of weapons that could contribute to internal repression

Ethnic diversity, segregation, and ethnocentric trust in Africa

06 Jul 2016 01:34:54 GMT

Ethnic diversity is generally associated with less social capital and lower levels of trust. However, most empirical evidence for this relationship is focused on generalized trust, rather than more theoretically ap
propriate measures of group-based trust. This paper instead evaluates the relationship between ethnic diversity – at both national and local levels – and the degree to which coethnics are trusted more than non-coethnics, a value I call the “coethnic trust premium.”
Using public opinion data from 16 African countries, the author finds that ethnically diverse states have, on average, larger coethnic trust premiums. However, within countries, local-level ethnic diversity is actually
associated with less ethnocentric trust. The paper than shows, consistent with these patterns, that diversity is
detrimental to intergroup trust only in the presence of ethnic group segregation.
These findings have important implications for understanding interethnic relations, as well as for the policies we design to deal with ethnic conflict.

First, the results demonstrate that the observed relationship between diversity and trust depends crucially on the level of analysis. While this fact has influenced the study of race relations in the United States, it is not yet fully appreciated in the study of intergroup relations in Africa. In particular, these results suggest that the study of micro-level relations between members of different ethnic groups is unlikely to tell us very much about how macro-level ethnic diversity influences political and economic outcomes.

Second, policy makers must consider the potential for policies to have differential effects at different levels of aggregation. For example, while proponents of conflict theory advocate for the separation of ethnic groups, both spatially and politically, as a means to reduce conflict, contact theory is regularly used to justify policies that promote ethnic and racial integration locally. This study suggests, at a minimum, that appropriate policy solutions to ethnic conflict must appreciate the potentially countervailing effects of diversity at different levels of interaction.

A stitch in time: preventive diplomacy and the Lake Malawi dispute

06 Jul 2016 01:04:38 GMT

A low-intensity dispute between Malawi and Tanzania threatens regional peace as the two countries contest the demarcation of their national boundaries at Lake Malawi. This long-standing dispute became more urgent when in 2011 the Malawian government issued licences for oil prospecting beneath the lake’s northern shoreline. Although tensions have waxed and waned in accordance with the respective countries’ election cycles, both seek a speedy resolution of this dispute. Potential oil revenues are a significant game changer for these two highly indebted poor countries – but perhaps more so for Malawi, which is less endowed with natural resources.
In the absence of a functioning SADC Tribunal to mediate the dispute, the task has been assigned to the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government, but there are also other regional mechanisms that could assist with the task. In particular, it falls within the purview of the many early-warning mechanisms in SADC and the AU that already exist and whose raison d’être is to prevent the escalation of disputes.
This paper explores the failures and challenges that plague Africa’s preventive diplomacy institutions and advocates that the region would do well to empower these institutions. This would foster stronger and more legitimate regional institutions that would be better able to act decisively on dispute settlement.
It is apparent from this paper that there are a number of bodies that are concerned with the resolution of disputes such as the one posed by the Lake Malawi/Nyasa dispute. Although these institutions are aware of the problem to varying degrees, there is little to suggest that they are able to co-ordinate efforts among themselves, or in the service of the governments in question. Arguably, the fortification of these institutions at regional and sub-regional levels would depoliticise much of the process and inch the continent towards stronger, more transparent and democratic outcomes.

The impact of food assistance on pastoralist livelihoods in humanitarian crises: an evidence synthesis protocol

28 Jun 2016 04:03:55 GMT

This protocol outlines plans for conducting an evidence synthesis on the impact of food aid on pastoralist livelihoods. The distinctiveness of pastoralists – including factors related to the erosion of their livelihood strategies and the difficulty posed by identification of frequently mobile households, and their particular vulnerability to humanitarian crises, suggest that the effects of humanitarian interventions targeting them are likely to differ from other populations. The purpose of this review is to use evidence synthesis methods to: systematically identify all available evidence on the impact of food assistance to pastoralist livelihoods (during and after) a humanitarian crisis; compare and contrast the effects of assistance delivered (by population, assistance type etc.); qualitatively and (if possible) quantitatively synthesise identified data and concepts; assess the quality of evidence, as appropriate; and identify gaps in the current evidence-base and further comment on future research needs in this space. 


Return To violent conflict? Challenges of sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons to and within South Sudan

24 Jun 2016 02:00:27 GMT

The case of South Sudan shows that peace on paper does not necessarily mean peace on the ground. Many displaced persons are sceptical of the peace process and the commitment of their leaders, in particular as nothing has changed since the beginning of the conflict.

Nevertheless, over ten thousand people have already returned, and aid agencies expect many thousands more who return because they feel alienated in South Sudan’s neighbouring countries or try to find livelihood opportunities to support their families outside the camps. But their return needs to be sustainable to prevent new conflict as a first wave of two million returnees between 2007 and 2013 had already failed.

So how can return be made sustainable and new conflict be prevented?

The author recommends:

  • continuous programmes and locally adapted approaches - as the numbers of returnees in many regions of South Sudan increase, and livelihood opportunities need to be established to foster development and prevent new causes of displacement, aid agencies should address the full cycle of displacement to reintegration at a given location. Programmes therefore have to focus on issues beyond emergency aid and be long-term until returnees have indeed become self-sufficient
  • target group: The youth - young people are very influential in stabilizing the peace process. To promote local economic development, jobs and higher education, for instance, should therefore be offered not only to returnees, but also to hosts to provide alternatives to engaging in violence. Besides vocational training, “spaces” for recreational activities should also be established
  • participation of the communities in designing diversified income activities - trainings are particular successful when communities participate in designing the programmes. A diversification of income activities (e.g. rural and urban) also promotes the sustainability of return. Local dynamics have to be studied beforehand to prevent the failure of programmes and enhance sustainability
  • increase information-sharing and extend dialogue platforms: dialogue platforms help to share information about the peace process and the situation at the return location. Radio broadcasts, in particular, have proven to be a good practice to share information and spread the word of peace. The media thus can be an important tool for fostering communication between groups and, consequently, the reintegration of returnees


Mobilising a response to HIV, gender, youth and gender-based violence in South Africa: a toolkit for trainers and programme implementers

21 Jun 2016 04:42:54 GMT

This toolkit was produced as part of the Sexual HIV Prevention Project (SHIPP) to support in-house training on gender, HIV, youth, and community mobilisation for programme implementers working on HIV and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention at the district and community levels. The toolkit modules cover a range of topics and can be selected based on organisational needs and specific knowledge gaps among staff and volunteers. According to the toolkit, "an advantage of the modular arrangement is that rather than having to set aside large blocks of time for training workshops, exercises and modules can be conducted on a stand-alone basis through sessions as short as two to three hours, or, if time permits, over a day or several days, or intermittently over a number of weeks or months." The toolkit also provides a detailed outline of the key principles and techniques of participatory learning.

The following topic areas are covered:

  • Module 1: Gender concepts and definitions
  • Module 2: Gender roles and change
  • Module 3: GBV: intimate partner and non-partner domestic violence
  • Module 4: Links between GBV and HIV
  • Module 5: Gender and HIV policies
  • Module 6: Gender analysis and engaging men and boys
  • Module 7: Mobilising community action teams through community facilitators
  • Module 8: Youth vulnerability, HIV and GBV

Making a killing: a 2011 survey of ivory markets in China

16 Jun 2016 01:23:07 GMT

An unprecedented surge in ivory seizures occurred in 2011. Media reported that 5,259 elephant tusks were seized worldwide in that year alone, representing the lives of at least 2,629 elephants. In spite of the government’s efforts to regulate the ivory trade, China continues to be the world’s main recipient of smuggled ivory.

In 2004 China introduced an ivory product registration and certification system to control the domestic ivory market and to meet the conditions required by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) for the purchase of stockpiled ivory from some African countries. In July 2008, the CITES Standing Committee approved of China as a trading partner for the second so-called “one-off ” sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
This survey was conducted two and half years after the 62 tonnes of ivory China bought at the CITES-approved sale were officially imported in March 2009. The survey was conducted by local experts who both visited physical markets and monitored online marketplaces. The physical market visits were conducted in September and October 2011 in five cities along the eastern seaboard of China. Online marketplaces were monitored for one week in January 2012.
In general, the survey found widespread abuse of the ivory trade control system. It became clear that illegal ivory, once smuggled to the country can be laundered freely through the legal market. The legal trade is
sustaining and perpetuating a rising demand for elephant ivory.

At the heart of discontent: measuring public violence in South Africa

14 Jun 2016 12:31:39 GMT

civil protests and strike action have become increasingly commonplace in South Africa. Although several institutions collect data on various forms of protest, the available information varies in quality, reliability, coverage and accessibility. it is for this reason that the institute for Security Studies launched its interactive public and election violence-monitoring project in 2014.The objective of this project is to enhance understanding of the nature and extent of all forms of public violence taking place across South Africa to contribute to better initiatives that address their root causes. this paper sets out some of the preliminary findings from the project and provides initial considerations for ensuring appropriate responses to protest and strike action.Measuring public violence is complicated by the difficulty of developing a suitable definition that adequately describes the phenomenon in all its various forms. Moreover, the nature of public violence can shift or expand, with, for example, a protest starting over inadequate housing but resulting in attacks on foreign-owned shopkeepers. research also shows that inappropriate actions by state and non-state actors can escalate tensions and result in violence..Without an improvement in the understanding of the extent, nature and dynamics of different forms of public violence, it will be difficult to develop and implement effective strategies or responses that result in sustainable reductions. Certain steps can be taken to improve responses to the challenge of addressing public violence in South Africa:efforts should focus on collaboration and analysis by all role players to establish a common understanding of the meaning of ‘violence’ during crowd events. This process should include the development of a shared and objective definition of ‘violence’ during crowd eventsnational information-gathering system should be established. It could be similar to the peace monitor system that existed during the first years of democracy. This emanated from the signing of the National Peace Accord and the Election Monitoring Services once managed by the now defunct Institute for Democracy in Africafurther research is required to examine the inter-relatedness of various forms of public violence and the triggers that can lead to these forms of violence. For example, the triggers for xenophobic attacks need to be interrogated, as well as whether these can be identified and addressed before their resulting in physical violencemechanisms for the notification of public marches or protests should be user friendly and permission should be encouraged, unless rational and clear reasons for denial are given and discussed. The research shows that the notification processes provide an opportuni[...]

Violent extremism in Africa: public opinion from the Sahel, Lake Chad, and the Horn

14 Jun 2016 11:54:13 GMT

Over the past two decades, the threat posed by violent extremist groups that espouse fundamentalist religious narratives has grown substantially across Africa (Hallowanger, 2014). The colonial era and the undemocratic rule that characterised many post-independence governments generated anti-Western and jihadist movements across the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.
Security-led approaches have largely failed to contain the geographic footprint of violent extremists in sub-Saharan Africa. This has prompted the emergence of more development-oriented approaches, such as countering violent extremism (CVE) and preventing violent extremism (PVE) initiatives, which seek to address root political and socioeconomic causes of extremism.
This paper provides exploratory analysis of new opinion data from three of sub--Saharan Africa’s regional “hotspots” of extremist activity, which are home to some of the continent’s most prolific groups:
  • Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region (Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria)
  • Ansar Dine, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al Mourabitoun (among others) in the Sahel region (Mali)
  • Al Shabaab in the Horn of Africa (Kenya and Uganda)
Afrobarometer survey data suggest that security-related issues are a top priority for citizens of countries that have experienced high levels of extremist activity. Public trust in security forces varies widely by country; trust is generally lower in the police than in the army. Public approval of government counter-extremist efforts ranged from about four in 10 in Nigeria and Kenya to three-fourths or more in Mali, Cameroon, Niger, and Uganda. Support for strengthening military responses and capabilities was high in all countries in which the question was asked. Among citizens’ perceptions of what motivates people to join extremist groups, personal gain was a far more common response than religious beliefs.
While the exploratory analysis presented here must be considered in light of changes in government and of evolving extremist and counter-extremist strategies, it suggests the value of tracking and expanding insights into citizens’ perceptions and attitudes related to violent extremism.