Policy and Research Papers

Making the System Work ¦ Financing Security Assistance for Ukraine

This report analyses corruption-related risks related to the provision of security assistance to Ukrainian armed forces. The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO) and Transparency International Defence & Security analysed the process by which security assistance is provided and diagnosed corruption-related risks, which can result in assistance being wasted or diverted. More widely, it delves into provision and supervision of security assistance within the larger ecosystem of Ukrainian institutions involved in defence governance, diagnosing the extent to which security assistance helps in the construction and strengthening of a robust, effective, accountable and legitimate security forces in Ukraine.

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Preventing Election Violence in Liberia

Liberia will hold presidential and legislative elections on October 10. The run-up to the vote has been primarily peaceful, and the country has engaged in ongoing efforts to prevent election violence. This Peace Brief, based on USIP research, assesses the risk of election violence and the scope of violence prevention efforts, and provides recommendations for ongoing prevention. 

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Ukraine’s New Diplomatic Battlefronts: U.S. Weapons, UN Peacekeepers

The front lines between the Ukrainian army and Moscow-backed forces in eastern Ukraine may be static but see frequent and violent firefights. Diplomatic manoeuvering over new U.S. lethal weapons for Kyiv risks aggravating the conflict and Russia’s UN peacekeeping proposal could prove a distraction from a genuine solution. Another new dimension to the international struggle over Ukraine are competing proposals from Moscow and Kyiv for a new UN peacekeeping operation that would keep armed forces apart in the main conflict areas in eastern Ukraine. So far, however, it is unclear whether these are schemes designed to sow confusion or genuinely intended to lead to a separation of forces...

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Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

As weak African states face growing insurgencies, they do what weak states tend to do: subcontract certain security functions to non-state actors or vigilante groups, many of which had taken up arms to protect their communities. This approach at times is viewed as a necessity, but is often dangerous, particularly in politically fluid and fractious states. The more fragile the state, the more it is dependent on vigilantes, but also the less able it is to police them or prevent abuse of power. Reliance on vigilante groups often is a faute de mieux  solution for states facing a threat they cannot address alone. But as the cases in this report illustrate, there are better and worse ways of doing so, and of ensuring that a short-term expedient not turn into a long-term headache.

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Beyond the Battlefield - Towards a Better Assessment of the Human Cost of Armed Conflict

Prevailing methods for measuring conflict deaths do not capture the total human cost of armed conflict. In the context of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, one global indicator will deal with conflict-related deaths. Various stakeholders have thus called for the monitoring of conflict deaths to become more holistic and go beyond battle deaths, specifically by covering indirect factors such as a lack of access to healthcare, food, and clean water. This Briefing Paper supports their call, arguing that the current understanding of—and measurement approaches to—conflict-related deaths should be broadened to include more comprehensive mortality figures from conflict zones, particularly among forcibly displaced populations. Its findings are designed to inform work towards meeting Target 1 of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which commits all UN member states to significantly reducing ‘all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’. Specifically, the paper is intended to help shape the development of SDG Indicator 16.1.2, which will guide the measurement of conflict-related deaths.

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