Frederick Stapenhurst

Policy and Research Papers

Oversight Effectiveness and Political Will: Some Lessons from West Africa

The purpose of the present note is to advance two theoretical claims. The first claim proposed is that the impact of the availability of oversight tools and of the most broadly understood legislative capacity (availability of material, technical, financial resources; availability of well-trained staff) on the effectiveness with which legislative oversight is performed is conditional. The second claim put forward, after reviewing a rich body of work on executive–legislative relations and legislative oversight in West Africa, is that, of the various conditions that promote or prevent the effective use of oversight tools and capacity, political will is the single most important. These claims have both theoretical and practical relevance, for if political will is as important as is claimed for the effective performance of the oversight function, then international organisations may have to reconsider their approach to legislative strengthening.

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Parliaments as Peacebuilders in Conflict-Affected Countries

The changing nature of conflict and the increase in intrastate conflict during the 1990s, followed by its slow decline since the turn of the century, have led to changing priorities in the field of conflict resolution. No longer is the international community solely concerned with resolving existing conflicts; it also is managing emerging conflicts to ensure that they do not flare into violent conflict.This book outlines some of the strategies parliaments and parliamentarians can adopt to reduce the incidence of conflict and effectively manage conflict when it does emerge. It is hoped that by developing a better understanding of the nexus between parliament, poverty, and conflict parliamentarians will be more aware of the array of options open to them as they seek to contribute to conflict management in conflict-affected societies.