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Policy and Research Papers

Women's Education, Conflict and Stability

Question 
Women’s Education, Conflict and Stability: What international evidence exists on whether states where women are better educated are more stable and less affected by conflict? 
Helpdesk response
Key findings: There are very few studies which provide empirical support to the view that cultures where women are politically, socially and economically repressed are more prone to violent conflict and instability. Furthermore, evidence for a direct relationship between the level of educational attainment amongst women and girls and the degree of fragility or stability is scarce and no studies that establish direct causality specifically between secondary education for women and fragility were identified during the period of this review.

Notwithstanding, arguments in favour of increasing access to education for women and girls’ in fragile states can be made on the basis of:

  1. empirical evidence that suggests that there is a correlation between gender equality and conflict;
  2. rights-based imperatives; and
  3. evidence suggesting that increasing access to education for girls is fundamental to achieving broader developmental objectives such as those outlined in the MDGs.

Furthermore, the literature asserts that education which leads to gender empowerment is as worthwhile in fragile contexts as pursuing other stabilisation objectives such as security sector reform, institutional reform and macro economic development.

Full response: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HD674.pdf

Date query received by the Helpdesk: 09 April 2010 
Enquirer's contact details:
DFID 

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Institutional Assessment of the Police and Justice Sectors

Institutional assessment is often considered to be a first step in the reform or development of institutions. It involves an analysis of various components and stakeholders in an institutional setting and provides a means of identifying the current situation, priority areas for intervention and the various constraints/barriers that could undermine reform efforts. Assessments of this nature usually examine both the overall institutional framework (the rules of the game) and the organisations operating within this institutional context (the players).

This report collates information, guidelines and case study material. Not all of the documents included below directly use the term ‘institutional assessment’, but the processes described, variously referred to as reviews, studies and assessments, broadly pertain to the definition of institutional assessment.

The report includes coverage of a number of donor designed frameworks for assessing the policing and justice sector. According to much of the general academic and policy literature on SSAJ programmes, substantial reform of the police force is only possible when reform of the justice system is administered at the same time. However, whilst the underlying principles for the institutional assessment of policing and justice may be similar, the specific frameworks espoused by donors appear to tackle the institutional assessment of policing and justice separately.

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Helpdesk Research Report: Evidence on Establishment of the ‘Rule of Law’ through Deliberate Interventions

Cross-country evaluations show that different types of rule of law reform programmes have had disappointing, limited or no impacts on the establishment of rule of law. Recurring issues around the design and implementation of international rule of law interventions are reported by different donors, in different countries and sectors. A common criticism is that rule of law reform does not take into account the importance of domestic political commitment to reform. A number of evaluations point out that short-term interventions are unlikely to lead to sustainable establishment of rule of law. More investment in the monitoring and evaluation of results is needed. 

To view this publication, please follow this link.

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Interventions for Collective Action and Accountability

Collective action has a relatively long history in political science and economic theory, but its application to governance programming in development is a relatively new phenomenon. As such there is little evidence of interventions that have been specifically designed to address collective action failures and increase accountability. There is, however, a range of literature relating to collective action and accountability interventions from which to draw inferences that may address both.

This report identifies several articles, reports and blog postings relating primarily, but not exclusively to accountability interventions, that provide insights into how a collective action approach might be used. As well as providing a conceptual background to collective action and accountability, this report identifies some of the emerging evidence relating to convening and brokering networks, the evidence examining the social dynamics that affect collective action, and how the nature of the public good or service can affect propensity for collective action.

For further information, please visit: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ904.pdf 

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Conflict and Stabilisation in Mali and the Sahel region

The report covers factors including: Islamist terrorism; criminal networks and trafficking (of arms, drugs, cigarettes, and vehicles); and Tuareg rebellions against the Malian government. It also considers state weakness, including the weakness of state security structures in the north, and the role of neighbouring countries, ECOWAS, the AU and other international actors.

Practical recommendations in the literature include:

  • Adopt a burden-sharing and a multi-tiered approach that builds on the strengths of different actors
  • Support livelihoods and integrate Tuareg concerns over land and livelihood opportunities through inclusive political engagement
  • Seek to weaken incrementally the criminal networks in Mali's north through coherent international support for regional cooperation
  • Establish a common position on ransom payments
  • Consider joint anti-terrorism and development policies aiming to strengthen the state's operational capacity to deliver security and development
  • Draw on traditional conflict-management mechanisms, such as inter-community and inter-clan solidarity systems
  • Be sensitive to historical tensions between the Hausa and Tuareg ethnic groups.

For a full response, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ876.pdf

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Evidence on Establishment of the ‘rule of law’ Through Deliberate Interventions

There is a lack of systematic evidence on whether and how the ‘rule of law’ can be established through domestic or international interventions. There is also limited literature on the relationship between domestic change processes and rule of law interventions.

Some experts consulted for this helpdesk report referred to the evaluations and assessments of the decades of extensive international experience with rule of law interventions. However there are limitations to this evidence, such as insufficient focus on outcomes rather than outputs.

This study reviews a selection of evaluations of international interventions and identifies the following key findings.

  • Many evaluations on different types of rule of law reform programmes have found disappointing, limited or no impact on the establishment of rule of law by international interventions across donors, countries and sectors. Some evaluations have also found positive examples of successful interventions.
  • The same issues with the design and implementation of international rule of law interventions are reported across donors, countries and sectors. A common criticism is that rule of law reform does not take into account the importance of domestic political commitment to support the reforms.
  • Some innovative interventions and tools are identified as successful (at least in process and output terms).
  • A number of evaluations point out that short-term interventions are unlikely to lead to sustainable establishment of rule of law.
  • Some also point out that investment in the monitoring and evaluation of results is needed.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ882.pdf

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Conflict, Exclusion and Livelihoods in the Sinai region of Egypt

The most rigorous academic research on these issues focuses on changes in Bedouin livelihood strategies, with a particular focus on South Sinai. This literature draws some links between Bedouin livelihoods and patterns of exclusion and conflict in the Sinai region. A large body of more recent literature, drawn mainly from news and policy reports, focuses on growing violence and extremism in the region, and the response of both the Egyptian state and Israel. A small number of recent reports examine tensions caused by migration, particularly at the border with Israel, but largely from a security or human rights perspective.

Key findings include the following:

Livelihoods

  • Since the 1960s, Bedouin have moved away from agro-pastoralist livelihoods and become increasingly reliant on insecure paid work.
  • Although the Sinai region has seen rapid economic development through tourism and donor investment since the resumption of Egyptian government in 1982, few benefits have passed to the Bedouin population. They remain marginalised, while resettled mainland Egyptians have been the chief beneficiaries.
  • There is widespread poverty amongst the Bedouin population in Sinai which remains largely unacknowledged and unaddressed by the Egyptian state.
  • A decline in the traditional Bedouin ‘core occupations’ of pastoralism and horticulture can largely be attributed to economic shifts that occurred during the Israeli occupation of Sinai and a lack of water.
  • Bedouin involvement in the drugs trade has been driven primarily by a lack of alternative income generating activities.
  • The war in Gaza in 2008 and the Israeli blockade created renewed demand for smuggled goods.
  • The border with Israel is also an important site of trafficking, particularly for migrants and prostitutes. Some reports suggest that Bedouins have become increasingly involved in the trafficking of African migrants to Israel in recent years. Growing concerns about trafficking have led to an increasingly hard-line security response from Israel and the Egyptian government.

Exclusion and conflict

  • People from Sinai are distinguished in terms of identity from the state-promoted national identity based around Pharonic heritage.
  • The Bedouin are perceived negatively by many Egyptians. They are also distrustful of the government and perceive its development strategies in the region with suspicion. Until recently the Bedouin did not have the right to vote.
  • The terrorist attacks that occurred in the 2000s further damaged relations between the Bedouin and the Egyptian government. A few reports state that issues of exclusion and unemployment amongst Bedouin have driven the rise in terrorist and Islamist groups in the region.
  • Driven by growing instability in the region since 2011, the Egyptian state has increasingly recognised the need to address underlying issues of social exclusion and under-development in Sinai. Some commentators suggest that recent efforts have not signalled a fundamental shift in the government's approach to the region and that it lacks the means or will to deal with Bedouin demands.

For ull response: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ834.pdf

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UN Peace Support Mission Transitions

This report provides an overview of the available analysis on UN peace support transitions. The term transitions refers to situations where peace support operations withdraw and hand over responsibility to national authorities, another UN body such as a UN country team, an alternative international presence, or other regional and local actors. The available literature is mostly focused on transitions from peacekeeping missions to peacebuilding missions. There is relatively little analysis of transitions from UN missions to UN country teams, although many of the general points raised in relation to peacebuilding missions are relevant to country teams. This report should be read in conjunction with three case study reports, which focus respectively on transitions of UN missions in Sierra Leone (M’Cormack 2012), Haiti (Fraser 2012) and Nepal (Walton 2012).

High levels of global peacekeeping deployment have led to growing pressure for UN peacekeeping missions to scale down (CIC 2011). At the same time, there have been parallel pressures for UN peace support missions to take on a wider range of roles (including support for statebuilding and improved governance) (CIC 2011). These twin pressures have led to growing analysis about transitions primarily in the official UN literature but also in the academic literature (expert comments). The majority of UN analysis is oriented towards improving current practice rather than reflecting deeply on experience.

It is important to note that UN missions are transitioning amid very different operating environments (CIC 2011). In some contexts, such as Liberia, UN missions drawdown in a relatively stable environment and in an orderly fashion, while in others UN missions are abruptly ended when local consent is withdrawn (as occurred in Chad and the Central African Republic) (CIC 2011). These varied dynamics present different organisational and political challenges.

The report provides an overview of the literature’s suggestions for improving peace support mission transitions, highlighting several key recommendations:

  • Promote integrated missions
  • Ensure a clear mandate from the start.
  • Ensure clear and realistic benchmarks.
  • Start planning early and coordinating with other actors.
  • Promote national ownership.
  • Focus on economic recovery and provide security guarantees.

The report also highlights several key problems facing transitions:

  • Deployment issues
  • Funding issues
  • Growing political opposition.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ810.pdf

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Police Reform Evaluations

Police reform often comes under the remit of broader security sector reform (SSR). The two are increasingly promoted in post-conflict, transitional and fragile states as a means of providing a stable environment within which wider social, economic and political development can take place. Despite this, however, researchers and practitioners argue that there is very little adequate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of security sector reform processes.

Consequently, few instances of ‘successful evaluations’ that provide examples of how to proceed with the M&E of police reform exist. Lessons can be learnt, however, from examining the challenges that faced previous evaluations. The report particularly focuses on efforts to measure social outcomes.

The research highlights key aspects for designing police reform evaluation. These include:

  • Ensure that a baseline survey is undertaken at the beginning of the programme’s implementation against which evaluators can subsequently assess findings.
  • Clarity and purpose: Ensure that higher level indicators are broken down into specific, measureable elements.
  • Local ownership and participation: The inclusion of beneficiaries and stakeholders external to the programme in the design and conduct of evaluations is critical to their success.
  • Provide adequate time and resources: Plenty of time needs to be built in for gathering evidence and reviewing the programme, particularly when the programme has a wide scope.
  • Public opinion polling is a valuable M&E tool, especially for measuring the development of a population’s sense of security. Such surveys can offer quantitative ‘proof’ as to whether observed changes in one area are attributable to programme activities, through a comparison with ‘control’ areas.
  • The gender dimensions of policing are an important, often overlooked, aspect. Evaluations should consider the programme’s impacts on gender roles, expectations and outcomes, including matters such as domestic violence and sexual abuse.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ798.pdf

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Peacebuilding Support in West Africa

This report identifies the major government and donor programmes that aim to contribute to peacebuilding in four West African nations – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. It begins by providing an overview of major partnerships and programmes, particularly those that are present in two or more of the countries.

The main types of partnerships for peacebuilding in West Africa are between:

  • multilateral agencies (e.g. World Bank-UN partnerships)
  • different organisations within multilaterals (e.g. between UN agencies)
  • International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) (e.g. the Consortium for Rehabilitation and Development)
  • International and local NGOs/civil society organisations (CSOs)
  • National governments and multilateral/bilateral donors (e.g. Sierra Leone government and DFID)
  • UN agencies and International Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Key programmes include the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and the World Bank State- and Peacebuilding Fund.

As countries that neighbour one another, whose conflicts had implications for the others, regional and cross-border approaches towards peacebuilding are also highlighted.

The report focuses particularly on programmes in each country, which are undertaken jointly by a range of donors and international and local partners, in each of four areas: food security, youth employment, mining governance and election support.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ788.pdf

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UN peace support mission transition in Sierra Leone

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) began in 1999. At its height in 2001 it consisted of some 17,500 personnel. The mission had a strong influence on how the integrated mission concept is understood and applied today, particularly with regard to integrating humanitarian politico-military efforts and the UN system in the country, operating under the single leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG).

In 2005, it was decided that UNAMSIL had run its course but that Sierra Leone (and its neighbouring countries) was still fragile and that continued UN support would be required. The United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) was therefore established, as a means of contributing comprehensively to Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding efforts and to the consolidation of democracy in a post-conflict environment (Atuobi 2009). In October 2008, the Security Council created the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), a new, smaller, integrated peacebuilding office to continue the UN’s commitment to assisting the country’s new government with peace consolidation and economic recovery (United Nations 2009). The transition was viewed as an opportunity to strengthen the capacities of the United Nations to provide more targeted and effective support to the Sierra Leone Government (UN 2008).

Thus far, analysis of the nature of the transition from one mission to another is virtually non-existent. Because it is part of a broader approach to UN integrated working, UNIPSIL’s impact (and by extension analysing the transition to UNIPSIL) is difficult to assess. This report therefore relies on UN documents that discuss the different mandates of the missions, various commentaries on the transitions, and studies of particular development aspects that the various missions were involved in (elections and promoting gender).

A review of the mandates illustrates how the changing roles of the various missions were envisioned and incorporated into mandates, from monitoring the peace agreement, to peace consolidation and longer-term peacebuilding. The commentary shows that the various transitions were largely considered successful due to:

  • careful planning
  • widespread awareness-raising among the general public
  • clear, targeted mandates
  • the effective application of an integrated post-peacekeeping approach.

Constraints have, however arisen, as a result of the limited availability of post-crisis funding and the complexities associated with attempting to integrate disparate UN agendas. There was also the danger of a lack of continuity as the missions took over from one another, in terms of certain programme areas, such as gender.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HDQ813.pdf

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Global Statistics on Conflict, Violence, Security and Justice

This report provides some global statistics relating to armed conflict, armed violence and security and justice. These figures may be useful for the following:

  • highlighting the link between poverty and conflict, security and justice
  • providing international comparisons of national-level issues
  • offering examples of success in relevantly similar contexts
  • acting as measures and indicators of S&J programmes

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HD790.pdf

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Early Warning Indicators of Violent Conflict

This report provides a general overview of the literature on conflict early warning systems (CEWSs) and identifies the most commonly-used indicators of violent conflict. CEWSs use a variety of data sources and models to predict conflict. These systems usually distinguish between long-term structural factors, medium-term proximate or accelerator factors, and short-term trigger factors. This report focuses on indicators of medium- and short-term factors, particularly those that can be updated on a monthly basis.

Long-term structural indicators of conflict are often based on quantitative data produced on an annual basis. These indicators are often collected globally, permitting cross-country comparison. These kinds of structural indicators are seen as fairly unproblematic in the literature. Short-term indicators, on the other hand, typically rely on qualitative data such as expert surveys and questionnaires or locally-generated information. There is some consensus in the literature that key medium-term accelerators and short-term triggers of conflict vary considerably according to context. As a result, most CEWSs that measure short-term indicators are locally or nationally based and rely on data sources that are context-specific. A large number of these short-term indicators exist and their relation to conflict varies according to context.

This report provides a general overview of the literature on conflict early warning systems (CEWSs) and identifies the most commonly-used indicators of violent conflict. CEWSs use a variety of data sources and models to predict conflict. These systems usually distinguish between long-term structural factors, medium-term proximate or accelerator factors, and short-term trigger factors. This report focuses on indicators of medium- and short-term factors, particularly those that can be updated on a monthly basis.

Long-term structural indicators of conflict are often based on quantitative data produced on an annual basis. These indicators are often collected globally, permitting cross-country comparison. These kinds of structural indicators are seen as fairly unproblematic in the literature. Short-term indicators, on the other hand, typically rely on qualitative data such as expert surveys and questionnaires or locally-generated information. There is some consensus in the literature that key medium-term accelerators and short-term triggers of conflict vary considerably according to context. As a result, most CEWSs that measure short-term indicators are locally or nationally based and rely on data sources that are context-specific. A large number of these short-term indicators exist and their relation to conflict varies according to context.

While many short-term indicators are context-specific and are not based on globally replicable quantitative data sources, some short-term indicators appear to have broader relevance and can be generated from easily available global data sources, allowing cross-country comparison. These include movements of IDPs and refugees, and commodity price and currency related indicators. Other short-term indicators are produced globally on an annual basis – including those relating to governance, human rights, public opinion and security. Governance, human rights and security indicators are produced more regularly for some regions, countries or localities by various regional, national and local early warning systems.

For the full article, see: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/HD777.pdf

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Safety, Security and Justice - Topic Guide

Safety, security and justice are priorities for poor people and are associated with development outcomes. What do we know about what has – or hasn't – worked in safety, security and justice programming, and where? This new Topic Guide for policymakers and practitioners synthesises the evidence, challenges and approaches that emerge from the literature.

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Capacity building in the Ministry of Interior in fragile and post-conflict countries

This report reviews the literature engaging with a key issue, the reform of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in fragile and post-conflict countries.

While MoI reform is crucial to the success of Security Sector Reform (SSR), as it enables management and oversight of the internal security forces, it has often been neglected by international actors and by the SSR literature. The literature reviewed here mostly analyses case studies that include Afghanistan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs).

The case studies highlight a range of challenges and problems in the international actors’ action such as organisational and political resistance, a lack of adaptation to local circumstances and a lack of coordination. The literature consistently recommends that international donors and agencies should work more politically and comprehensively to deal with the social and political embeddedness of the MoI.

Read full report of the Capacity building in the Ministry of Interior in fragile and post-conflict countries

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Transitional Justice: Topic Guide

gsdrc

Supported by the UK government and written by Huma Haider (GSDCR, University of Birmingham), this topic guide give an overview of the field of transitional justice. It outlines key transitional justice mechanisms and looks at factors crucial to the design of strategies, processes and mechanisms: local context and ownership; participation and inclusive processes; outreach; timing and sequencing; and coordination with other sectors. It also discusses the impact of transitional justice, socioeconomic rights and development, reconciliation, art and transitional justice, gender and youth as well as diaspora, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

To access the topic guide to Transitional Justice kindly follow the link.

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