Stability - International Journal of Security and Development (Stability)

Stability: International Journal of Security & Development  is a fundamentally new kind of journal. Open-access, it publishes research quickly and free of charge in order to have a maximal impact upon policy and practice communities. It fills a crucial niche. Despite the allocation of significant policy attention and financial resources to a perceived relationship between development assistance, security and stability, a solid evidence base is still lacking.

Research in this area, while growing rapidly, is scattered across journals focused upon broader topics such as international development, international relations and security studies. Accordingly, Stability's objective is to:

Foster an accessible and rigorous evidence base, clearly communicated and widely disseminated, to guide future thinking, policymaking and practice concerning communities and states experiencing widespread violence and conflict.

The journal will accept submissions from a wide variety of disciplines, including development studies, international relations, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology and history, among others. In addition to focusing upon large-scale armed conflict and insurgencies, Stability will address the challenge posed by local and regional violence within ostensibly stable settings such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and elsewhere.

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Policy and Research Papers

Reviewing the Justice and Security Hub Modality as Piloted in Liberia

‘The Republic of Bangui’ or ‘the Republic of Monrovia’ are phrases we sometimes hear from practitioners to describe post conflict countries where very few services exist outside the capital city. This is especially the case for security – the critical public good in post conflict countries. In response to the need to bring security services closer to the citizens who often need them most, the Government of Liberia and the United Nations are piloting a new approach financed by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) – the so-called ‘Justice and Security Hubs’. The donor community and the United Nations are watching closely. If this works, there is indication from UN officials that the model could potentially be replicated in other settings such as the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti and the northern states of South Sudan. If the hub concept is capable of being adapted and successful elsewhere, the United Nations will not only have added a new instrument to its peacekeeping toolkit but will also firmly demonstrate how the UN Peacebuilding Fund can in essence be catalytic in fostering long-term and comprehensive approaches to peacebuilding. This practice note outlines the process of developing and constructing the first hub in Liberia, which is due to be partly operational by the end of 2012, and provides a prognosis on its chances for success.


Interim Stabilisation in Fragile Security Situations

For more than two decades a conventional approach to security promotion has been widely applied by multilateral and bilateral agencies during war-to-peace transitions. Advocates of this approach typically recommend a combination of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) to consolidate peace-making and peace-building processes (Colletta et al 2009, Muggah 2006). Notwithstanding the broad acceptance of such activities – and the theory that underlies them – there is little evidence that such interventions have contributed to any enduring solution to conflict and fragility (Muggah 2009). Indeed, analysts have come to recognise that the political, economic and social pre-conditions for DDR and SSR – including a relatively functional government, a reasonably stable labour market and a minimum level of social trust – are seldom in place. Even when these ambitious pre-requisites have been achieved, it is not clear that they are sufficient for DDR and SSR to take hold. Nevertheless, these orthodoxies persist in security promotion policy and practice.


Slip-Sliding on a Yellow Brick Road: Stabilization Efforts in Afghanistan

The ongoing transition process in Afghanistan will deliver three shocks in the coming few years: foreign forces will complete the handover of security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts, aid volumes and international spending in the country will decrease and, lastly, the political dispensation will be upended by presidential elections in which President Hamid Karzai is not supposed to run again. These challenges are mounting at a time when, due to inconsistent international approaches and a lack of appreciation for the Afghan context, Afghanistan is dealing with rising insecurity, dysfunctional governance, rampant corruption, and ethnic factionalization within the society and the domestic security forces. Based upon a review of the security sector, governance, social and economic conditions, regional relations and negotiation efforts with the insurgents, this article finds that fundamental questions about the efficacy of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan continue to lack clear answers. Regardless, significant room for improvement – both in policy and execution – appears to exist. It remains to be seen whether, as many Afghans fear, a civil war will engulf Afghanistan once again in the post-transition period or whether the international community will take those steps – re-energizing governance reform efforts, maintaining financial support and continuing to strengthen the Afghan army and police – which could help to bolster stability.


Sahel State Political Violence in Comparative Perspective

Policy, media and academic attention on violence in the Sahel region has been widespread since the onset of the Arab Spring, and the escalating violence in recent months in Mali. This research explores the nature, patterns and dynamics of this violence in regional and national comparative perspective, contrasting divergent dynamics of violence both within and across the region. Data is drawn from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Dataset (ACLED), which facilitates analysis of both contemporary and historical patterns. Regional characteristics of Sahelian violence are highlighted, which underscore a relatively low level of violence in the region as a whole, with increases in conflict levels largely driven by the single case of Mali in recent months. Detailed analysis of specific groups and actor types reveal important intra-regional discrepancies which have been largely obscured by characterisations of a regional, trans-national crisis. Together, these observations point to the need to interrogate narratives of regional dynamics which may conceal important national and even sub-national variations and drivers of political violence.


The Two Faces of Security in Hybrid Political Orders: A Framework for Analysis and Research

The paper examines ‘security’ and ‘development’ in a hybrid context, combining different theoretical interpretations to frame these as highly contested concepts that involve both conflict and collaboration between state and non-state actors and ideas. These are then analyzed from a bottom-up perspective, focusing on three political spaces to observe how so-called “end-users” view security in such a contested order. The paper concludes by identifying new research challenges for applying the “end-user” lens to security and development at the national, regional and international levels.


Violence in Yemen: Thinking About Violence in Fragile States Beyond the Confines of Conflict and Terrorism

This article examines the different forms of criminal violence that affect fragile states, with special reference to Yemen. The article is particularly interested in analysing the relationship between violent offending with no clear political motive, underdevelopment and conflict. It does so by conducting an in-depth evaluation of conflict and crime in Yemen, using publicly accessible data to suggest new ways of understanding violent criminal behaviour in Yemen and elsewhere. This article is written in response to a prioritisation of political violence, insurgency and terrorism in international development and stabilisation strategies, which has emerged alongside the broad securitisation of international aid. Common forms of criminal violence have been overlooked in a number of fragile contexts, as they have been in Yemen. In light of rising levels of insecurity, resulting from poor relationships between the state and its citizens, there is a need to re-evaluate this unstated omission if the new Yemeni Government is to gain increased legitimacy by being seen to prioritise the protection of its citizens.


Violent Conflicts and Civil Strife in West Africa: Causes, Challenges and Prospects

The advent of intra-state conflicts or ‘new wars’ in West Africa has brought many of its economies to the brink of collapse, creating humanitarian casualties and concerns. For decades, countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea- Bissau were crippled by conflicts and civil strife in which violence and incessant killings were prevalent. While violent conflicts are declining in the sub-region, recent insurgencies in the Sahel region affecting the West African countries of Mali, Niger and Mauritania and low intensity conflicts surging within notably stable countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal sends alarming signals of the possible re-surfacing of internal and regional violent conflicts. These conflicts are often hinged on several factors including poverty, human rights violations, bad governance and corruption, ethnic marginalization and small arms proliferation. Although many actors including the ECOWAS, civil society and international community have been making efforts, conflicts continue to persist in the sub-region and their resolution is often protracted. This paper posits that the poor understanding of the fundamental causes of West Africa’s violent conflicts and civil strife would likely cause the sub-region to continue experiencing and suffering the brunt of these violent wars.


Security Sector Reform, Local Ownership and Community Engagement

Local ownership is widely considered to be one of the core principles of successful Security Sector Reform (SSR) programmes. Nonetheless, there remains a gap between policy and practice. This article examines reasons for this gap, including concerns regarding limited capacity and lack of expertise, time and cost constraints, the allure of quantifiable results and quick wins, and the need to ensure that other principles inherent to SSR are not disregarded. In analysing what is meant by local ownership, this article will also argue that, in practice, the concept is narrowly interpreted both in terms of how SSR programmes are controlled and the extent to which those at the level of the community are actively engaged. This is despite policy guidance underscoring the importance of SSR programmes being inclusive and local ownership being meaningful. It will be argued that without ensuring meaningful and inclusive local ownership of SSR programmes, state security and justice sector institutions will not be accountable or responsive to the needs of the people and will, therefore, lack public trust and confidence. The relationship between the state and its people will be weak and people will feel divorced from the decisions that affect their security and their futures. All this will leave the state prone to further outbreaks of conflict. This article will suggest that the requisite public confidence and trust in state security and justice sector institutions, and ultimately, the state itself, could be promoted by SSR programmes incorporating community safety structures.


A Case Study of Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) Programming: Lessons from OTI’s Kenya Transition Initiative

Between 2011 and 2014 the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)’s Kenya Transition Initiative implemented what was essentially a pilot program of the new Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) concept. Aiming to counter the drivers of ‘violent extremism’ (VE), this operated through a system of small grants funding activities such as livelihood training, cultural events, community debates on sensitive topics, counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on. This paper delivers lessons from the program, generated via an independent evaluation, offering insights of relevance to the broader CVE community of practitioners. A first overarching conclusion is that programming decisions would have benefitted from a more comprehensive understanding of VE in the local context. For instance, subsets of the population more narrowly ‘at-risk’ of being attracted to VE should have been identified and targeted (e.g. potentially teenagers, ex-convicts, members of specific clans, and so on), and a greater focus should have been placed upon comprehending the relevance of material incentives, fear, status-seeking, adventure-seeking, and other such individual-level drivers. A second conclusion is that the KTI team would have profited from additional top-level guidance from their donors, for instance, providing direction on the extent to which efforts should have been targeted at those supportive of violence versus those directly involved in its creation, the risks associated with donor branding, and contexts in which the pejorative term ‘extremism’ should have been pragmatically replaced by neutral terminology. As a priority donors and the wider community should also provide suitable definitions of the CVE concept, rather than leaving practitioners to construe (undoubtedly inconsistently) it’s meaning from the available definitions of VE.


Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia

Abstract: The possibility of ending the armed conflict in Colombia will depend, to a large extent, on the state’s ability to prevent multiple criminal economies, and inhibit the actors who participate in them from damaging the implementation of the final peace agreements. This article analyzes criminal economies’ ability to destabilize and thereby damage the post-conflict phase, and identifies dilemmas the state must confront in responding to this situation. The article’s objective is to provide an analytical model to understand the complex relationship between actors involved in the peace process and criminal economies, and to thereby identify risks and possible models for intervention. The theoretical referent of this work is the discussion about peacebuilding in fragile states and literature that identifies organized crime as a spoiler. This is the first attempt to apply this perspective to Colombia, and to take the particular characteristics of the country into account while making comparisons with other countries that exhibit similar features in their own post-conflict and transitional phases. The article comes to the conclusion that in Colombia it is necessary to consider Interim Stabilization Measures, which allow the state to provide an effective response that takes advantage of available resources without losing sight of the need to strengthen local institutions in the mid-term.

This article can be found here: Garzón-Vergara, J.C., (2015). "Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia." Stability: International Journal of Security and Development . 4(1), p.Art. 36. DOI:


Security Sector Reform and the Paradoxical Tension between Local Ownership and Gender Equality

This article analyses the tension or conflict that can exist between the principles of local ownership and gender equality that guide Security Sector Reform (SSR) programmes when gender discrimination and patriarchal values characterise the local environment (and ‘locals’ do not value gender equality). In these situations, international actors may be reluctant to advocate gender equality, regarding it as imposing culturally alien values and potentially destabilising to the SSR process. It is argued, however, that the tension between local ownership and gender equality is deceptive and merely serves to protect the power of dominant groups and disempower the marginalised, often serving to disguise the power relations at play in post-conflict environments and avoid addressing the security needs of those who are often at most risk. The paper concludes that rather than a tension existing between the two principles, in fact, local ownership without gender equality is meaningless. Moreover, failing to promote gender equality undermines the extent to which SSR programmes result in security and justice sector institutions that are representative of and responsive to the needs of both men and women. It can also perpetuate structural inequalities and conflict dynamics and, ultimately, limit the success of SSR and broader peacebuilding processes.

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‘Chieftaincy’ in the Social Media Space: Community Policing in a Twitter Convened Baraza

Lanet Umoja is on the outskirts of Nakuru town in the Central Rift region, one of the most politically volatile regions in Kenya. Its area chief, Francis Kariuki, has been the focus of local and international media attention for his use of Twitter in transforming the interaction between members of his locale and himself. The focus of this attention has largely been trained on his deployment of the micro blogging platform Twitter for community policing. Using Manuel Castell’s idea of the network society and John Postill’s concept of how agencies and agents engage a society that is networked, this paper argues that social media has expanded both the spatial and temporal aspects of the baraza, thus producing a very effective site for not only community policing, but also novel experimentation by the chief at the local level.

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Reversing the Stabilisation Paradigm: Towards an Alternative Approach

Stability stabilisation

This practice note from the Stability Journal by researcher Mark Knight examines the dialogue around the concept of 'stabilization'. The author contests the view that stabilisation is inhibited by the unachievable objective of a liberal peace, arguing instead that it is stability which is an unachievable objective that inhibits the end goal of a liberal democratic state. Instead of stability, then, the author argues that stabilisation should aim for the protection and enjoyment of human rights. Finally, the note concludes that stabilisation can be understood as a set of political actions in support of an ideological outcome, and that such an understading is compatible with current international engagements.

To access the practice note Reversing the Stabilisation Paradigm: Towards an Alternative Approach, kindly follow the link.


Next Generation Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

The process of disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating ex-soldiers at conflict’s end is as old as war itself. The results of these efforts are far from even. Even so, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) has assumed a central place in the imagination of the peace, security and development communities. It is frequently advanced as a key pillar of multilateral and bilateral stabilization and reconstruction efforts at war’s end. Yet, the contexts in which DDR is conducted are also changing. As the United Nations and others grapple with the new geographies of organized violence, it is hardly surprising that they are also adapting their approaches. Organizations operating in war zones (and also outside of them) are struggling to identify ways of ‘disengaging’ Al Shabaab in Somalia or northern Kenya, Jihadi fighters in Syria and Iraq, Taliban remnants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Boko Haram militia in Nigeria. There are increasingly complex legal and operational challenges for those involved in DDR about when, how and with whom to engage. In order to effectively engage with these dilemmas, this article considers the evolving form and character of DDR programs. In the process, it considers a host of opportunities and obstacles confronting scholars and practitioners in the twenty first century, offering insights on future trajectories.

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Lessons from the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) for Peace Operations in Mali

Mali and Somalia have both suffered determined Islamist-inspired insurgencies, and in both African Union-led peace operations have been a central pillar in political and security stabilization efforts. Despite challenges in transferring lessons between unique situations, the AMISOM experience can offer some useful lessons for Mali. We have identified several themes that helped to drive success for AMISOM, amongst others the determination of troop contributors and their funding partners, and actively pursuing the support of the host population. At the operational and tactical levels, we have highlighted a number of features that has contributed to more effective operations, including a high degree of adaptability, working with allied armed groups and a dogged determination to see the fight through. The next stage for both countries may be the most challenging yet as African Union and United Nations troops are called to keep a complex and fragile peace in Mali and Somalia. 

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Searching for Conflict Related Missing Persons in Timor-Leste: Technical, Political and Cultural Considerations

This paper outlines the context in which many thousands of people went missing in Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999. The issues related to estimating the exact number of missing are discussed, followed by a review of the mechanisms implemented by the government and civil society since independence to attempt to examine and investigate the fate of missing persons. The paper then examines the technical details involved with searching for the missing which impact on the effectiveness of the different mechanisms. Further complexities related to scientific and religious/cultural beliefs when dealing with the missing are discussed. The paper concludes withquestioning the to date ad hoc  approach to the search for the missing in Timor-Leste, and providing suggestions for ways that the future search for the missing can realistically continue in light of other competing development priorities.

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Operationalizing Civilian Protection in Mali: The Case for a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis, and Response Cell

This practice note details an emerging best practice of civilian harm mitigation in armed conflict: namely, the creation of civilian casualty tracking, analysis and response processes by a warring party or peace operation force. It asserts that in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon Somalia, these processes to better understand civilian harm and address consequences have positively shaped mission tactics, training, and overall operations. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, tracking and analysis has lead to a marked decrease in civilian casualties and facilitated the making of amends for any civilian losses. The paper argues that for warring parties to achieve their mission—particularly one with a protection of civilians mandate as with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)—they must fully understand the impact of their actions on the civilian population, positive or negative. For this reason, a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis, and Response Cell should be created for MINUSMA to improve its ability mitigate risk to civilians as required by its Security Council mandate.

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Remembrance of Things Past: Somali Roads to Police Development

Police reform is thought to require a police force to break with its past. This is notably so in the aftermath of conflict or regime change. In practice, however, most police forces are selectively reconstituted, and their development is influenced as much by legacy issues as by international standards filtered through local norms. This article uses the experience of Somalia’s three regional police forces to reconsider the relationship between past and present projects to build police authority and capacity, and what this says about institutional memory in the absence of documentation. In Somalia, as in other clan or tribal-based societies, police development is influenced by a blend of security levels, political imperatives, pragmatism, international resources and memories of past practices, with group experience playing a more significant role than institutional memory. The only identifiable general principle is the need for political settlements and tactical flexibility – that is, for stability.

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Toward a Realistic and Responsible Idea of Stabilisation


What is stabilisation, and why do we need a conceptual discussion? Based on interviews and policy documents from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, this article by Stability - The International Journal of Security and Development distils two conceptual visions of stabilisation, outlines a range of institutional and budgetary designs and offers a number of lessons of what a realistic and responsible idea of stabilisation might look like. Given the ubiquity of fragility and the lack of generalised knowledge about social engineering, this article argues in favour of a narrow understanding of stabilisation that seeks only to mitigate acute situations of crisis marked by extreme political volatility and violence. Even this more limited goal is ambitious enough to require sober assessment and communication of risk, continuing improvements to the conceptual and institutional tools for stabilisation and stronger commitment to constant reflection and learning.

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DDR and the Internal Organisation of Non-State Armed Groups

Brian McQuinn argues in this paper published by Stability - the International Journal of Security and Development that demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) trajectories of non-state armed groups are shaped by a group’s internal organisation. Extensive research by political scientists has demonstrated a correlation between internal features of armed groups and their behaviour (e.g. extent of violence used against local communities). He extends this analysis to DDR outcomes by illustrating how two features of an armed group’s internal organisation – command profile and financing architecture – influence post-conflict DDR trajectories. To substantiate the theory, three case studies from Colombia, Nepal and Libya are reviewed. The article concludes with the limitations and opportunities of this approach, including the potential of predicting DDR challenges.

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Does Peacekeeping Reduce Violence? Assessing Comprehensive Security of Contemporary Peace Operations in Africa

Evaluations of peacekeeping operations usually link conflict abatement to the number of casualties in order to measure mission success. This study uses 11 indicators to gain a wider understanding of violence and peace. In contrast to other literature, this study argues that conflict often persists even with the deployment of peacekeepers.

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Special Collection - New Approaches to SSR in Africa

The Centre for Security Governance has launched their new Special Collection on 'New Approaches to SSR in Africa' featuring 8 country case studies from Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and South Africa addressing hybrid governance, informality, and the challenges of sustaining security and justice sector reform. These papers offer examples of how governance emerges from the interfaces between traditional, formal, public, private, national, international, individual and community interests and of how these interests change over time to affect how security and justice services are delivered.  

While the ambitions of comprehensive and holistic SSR programs, embedded with local ownership and context-specificity, remain the hallmarks of current programming, there is a dearth of case study evidence supporting the realization of these objectives. Rather, academic and policy literature is filled with country, region and sector specific studies, which generate a largely predictable set of outcomes and recommendations. It is often difficult to see how –  or even if –  the practice of SSR intervention has evolved. In this light, the papers in this special collection could be considered as evaluating the successes and challenges of SSR by looking at cases where bottom-up approaches to security questions are being negotiated, cases where formal and informal actors interact and form governance arrangements, and cases where the complexity of political change interacts with the needs of reform agendas.

This Special Collection seeks to move the SSR debate forward by further grounding policy debates in the complex interactions from which governance emerges. SSR interventions remain a key tool for improving security and justice in conflict-affected states and as experience and reflection combine, we hope that policy makers, national actors and civil society actors begin to develop more innovative ways to work at the coalfaces of security and justice sector governance. 

For full access to the collection, New Approaches to SSR in Africa, please kindly follow the link. 


Prospects for Accessing Justice for Sexual Violence in Liberia’s Hybrid System

This paper explores the prospects of complementary rather than competitive dispute resolution and justice systems in Liberia. It specifically considers women’s access to justice in relation to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which remains prevalent in the post-conflict period, and in the context of a highly hybridised justice system. While the formal system has made great progress in reforming laws and institutions but is vastly under-resourced. Informal and traditional systems are widely considered more accessible and affordable. They are, however, also susceptible to corruption and co-option, and the state’s oversight and curtailing of specific conflict resolution and punishment practices is considered to have rendered these systems less effective. Significantly, some cultural and traditional practices are themselves considered to facilitate and promote SGBV. These factors make complementary systems an imperative while working to address the deficiencies of both systems.

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Hybrid Security Governance Responses to Crises: The Case of the Ebola Response in Sierra Leone

This paper examines how hybrid security structures, enabled by international support, responded to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. The main objective of this article is to critically discuss the manifestation of hybrid security governance in practice, to consider the constraints and analyze the sustainability of internationally supported security governance interventions in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Specifically, the diverse networks and processes of the formal and informal security, policing and justice institutions are analyzed to generate an understanding of how their interwoven nature affects operational responses to national crises. Using secondary resources, the argument presented here finds that despite international intervention efforts, the hybrid security structures response to the Ebola outbreak show-cased the challenges of operationalizing hybridity due in part to international post-conflict reconstruction efforts prioritizing formal structures with too little support given to informal structures in the years before the Ebola crisis.

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The Implementation of Police Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Analysing UN and EU Efforts

This document analyses the role of the main international actors involved in the implementation of police reform in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably that of the UN and the EU. Despite considerable efforts and resources deployed over 17 years, the implementation of police reform remains an ‘unfinished business’ that demonstrates the slow pace of implementing rule of law reforms in Bosnia’s post-conflict setting, yet, in the long-term, remains vital for Bosnia’s stability and post-conflict reconstruction process. Starting with a presentation of the status of the police before and after the conflict, UN reforms (1995–2002) are first discussed in order to set the stage for an analysis of the role of the EU in the implementation of police reform. Here, particular emphasis is placed on the institution-building actions of the EU police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina deployed on the ground for almost a decade (2003-June 2012). The article concludes with an overall assessment of UN and EU efforts in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the remaining challenges encountered by the EU on the ground, as the current leader to police reform implementation efforts. More generally, the article highlights that for police reform to succeed in the long-term, from 2012-onwards, the EU should pay particular attention to the political level, where most of the stumbling blocks for the implementation of police reform lie.


The Need for Progress in an Era of Transformation: South African Professional Military Education and Military Effectiveness

This article explores the link between defence sector reform, military effectiveness, and education. During the post-1994 transition, defence sector reform in South Africa primarily involved the ‘transformation’ of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The transformation of the military, though, was predominantly driven by the notion of racial representation with little emphasis on embedding military effectiveness as a central element of the transformation effort. While, education was recognised as a key element in the transformation of the military, the emphasis was on the programmes of the National War and Defence Colleges in Pretoria, targeting senior military officers. However, the accreditation of these institutional programmes through alignment with civilian universities was problematic and has forced the military to critically evaluate the pathway for the development of its officer corps. The evolving approach of the SANDF towards military education provides a useful case study to highlight the importance of a long-term view of military effectiveness, underpinned by a committed and educated officer corps, as a central component of defence reform initiatives.

For full access to the report, The Need for Progress in an Era of Transformation: South African Professional Military Education and Military Effectiveness, please follow the link. 


The Limits of Bottom-Up Approaches to Security Governance in Ituri

People are affected by different kinds of insecurity in the Ituri Province in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This article investigates donor-driven attempts to improve security governance there. More specifically, it investigates bottom-up approaches to security governance in Ituri’s capital of Bunia and in Irumu territory. Whereas in Bunia people are faced with high levels of violent crime, Irumu is the site of a violent conflict between the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Force (FRPI), an armed group connected to the Ngiti community, and the Congolese army. 

Despite international and national actors promoting a 'bottom-up' approach to security governance, this article argues that localised efforts will be ineffective in changing the status quo in Ituri as the drivers of insecurity are translocal and too complex. 

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Women and ‘New Wars’ in El Salvador

The most violent countries in the world are increasingly countries considered ‘at peace’. From Honduras to Mexico to South Africa, armed violence, often by gangs, has led to high levels of casualties. Disruption of daily life due to armed violence is similar to the challenges experienced during wartime, though often without the markers or recognition associated with war. With gang violence primarily viewed as a domestic criminal issue, external support for conflict mitigation and humanitarian assistance is often low. Yet the disruptive impact of such high rates of violence is significant, and the humanitarian impact is severe. New theoretical frameworks are needed to better problematize extreme armed violence in ‘peacetime’ states. This article seeks to bring an understanding of the severity of armed violence in states such as El Salvador into engagement with the critical and theoretical foundations of the women, peace and security (WPS) field. Gendered dynamics shape gang violence in El Salvador, and a gender lens helps reimagine its impact. Aligning critical theory with the lived experience of this subset of armed conflict allows new directions for engagement and, in particular, offers the opportunity to re-examine long-standing assumptions of what initiates, maintains, and challenges armed violence by non-state actors in communities considered ‘at peace.’ This article seeks to encourage greater debate and scholarship to inform our understandings of armed conflict and gender in communities affected by gang violence, such as those in El Salvador. In these communities, the level of violence often replicates the experiences of war, and thus a WPS lens is a critical tool for analysis.

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Other Documents

The Conundrum of DDR Coordination: The Case of South Sudan

This article analyses the nature of coordination between the various stakeholders during the design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process. It makes detailed reference to the contemporary DDR programme in South Sudan as this African country is a relevant example of significant international and local efforts to facilitate DDR coordination in a fragile and complex political and operational environment. The analyses showed that in South Sudan, coordination appeared to have been negatively affected by hierarchical, convoluted and inflexible organisational structures and arrangements. In addition, further contributing factors included: inadequate communication; uncertainty over roles and responsibilities; and unequal access to financial resources. Moreover it was apparent that these arrangements and dynamics fostered inter-organisational tensions and eroded trust between stakeholders. This ultimately resulted in fragmented and sub-standard DDR outcomes.

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Other Document