Pilar Domingo

Policy and Research Papers

The Politics of Practice: Security and Justice Programming in FCAS

On 6-7 November 2012, the Politics and Governance Programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) hosted a two-day Expert Meeting on the Politics of Practice: Security and Justice Programming in Fragile and Conflict-affected States (FCAS).

The meeting drew together approximately 70 researchers, policymakers and practitioners from Europe, North America, Asia and the Pacific and Africa to discuss challenges and lessons learnt in translating improved policy thinking into practice. 

This report draws out key themes and challenges in justice and security programming that featured in discussions. It also summarises emerging recommendations and lessons learnt, and signals areas where changes are important in order to improve results. Therefore, the objective of the report, as it was of the meeting, is to begin to set out avenues for operational and organisational changes and action-oriented research, and for revisiting some of the policy content in ways that can help relevant communities of practice grapple with the challenges of translating policy into practice.


A Problem-Focused Approach to Violence against Women: the political-economy of justice and security programming

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women ended its 57th Session on 15 March 2013 with an outcome document affirming the importance of eliminating violence against women (VAW). The Commission was unable, however, to reach consensus on a global action plan. The negative reaction of some UN member states to an action plan is a worrying reminder of ongoing resistance to reform. These persistent challenges highlight the ongoing struggle to gain a serious global commitment to address VAW and recognise it as a breach of women’s fundamental human rights.   
This Report proposes an approach that engages with the specificities of the problem – paying attention to context, and the concrete political-economy dynamics of the drivers of VAW – and that takes account of the real options that women face in navigating the available security and justice chains to seek protection, redress and justice.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


The Political Economy of Pre-Trial Detention

On any given day, over 3 million people are held in pre-trial detention (PTD). On average, this represents one out of every three people detained, but this rises to one in two detainees in many countries. PTD is a relatively discrete justice issue that is clearly identifiable and can be addressed before escalation, presenting an important opportunity for policymakers (from ministries and donor agencies) to engage in reform. It is also diagnostic in relation to broader justice challenges and state–society relations, making it a useful gauge of other blockages within the justice sector.

The objective of this paper is to develop an analytical framework that draws on political economy analysis (PEA) that can contribute to identifying the drivers of PTD. This can then be taken to country level to inform programming in ways that improve results.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


The Politics of Legal Empowerment: Legal Mobilisation Strategies and Implications for Development

Legal empowerment occurs when poor or marginalised people use the law, legal systems and justice mechanisms to improve or transform their social, political or economic situations. While understanding of legal empowerment has been confined to a relatively small group of legal experts, the relevance of legal activism to development is becoming clearer. This overview summarises recent evidence on legal empowerment and highlights political economy perspectives on what it will take to realise greater empowerment for those who need it most.

To view this article, please follow this link.


Security and Justice Reform: Overhauling and Tinkering with Current Programming Approaches

This report brings together some of the key points of discussion from a one-day workshop organised by ODI in January 2014,  ‘From policy to programme implementation: Examining the political economy of security and justice reform.' It also draws from responses to an anonymous questionnaire of workshop participants, and on-going thinking in ODI in relation to the political economy of security and justice programming.

While the scope of the workshop was focused broadly on security and justice reform, discussions centred on DFID in particular given the background of the participants in the room. As a result, this report necessarily focuses on DFID, although its insights and ideas are relevant to other donors and funders working on SJR.

This publication is an output of the following project: Achieving sustainable governance transitions.To view this publication, please follow this link.


The power to decide: women, decision-making and gender equality

Around the world, women now have more influence over the decisions that affect their lives. Even in the most conservative societies, feminists and gender advocates have been able to forward more equitable policies and outcomes.

This briefing explores women’s decision-making power in this context. It looks at the reasons for women’s increased presence in public life around the world, and why women in some socioeconomic groups, sectors and countries have less political power than others. It examines when and how women have power and influence in practice, and what they seek to achieve.

In addition, the authors outline how the international community can better support women’s political leadership by investing in women’s education and economic assets, their organisations and political apprenticeships; focusing on political systems and not just elections; and supporting locally-led and problem-driven responses.

Full paper: The power to decide: women, decision-making and gender equality


Rule of law, politics and development: the politics of rule of law reform

Rule of law remains a constant theme in development policy and practice, and in recent policy discourse and international commitments it has gained a new level of prominence. Despite this recognition, the history of international support to the sector's reform is peppered with a sad trail of failures and underachievement.

While these failures have been widely documented, the international development community is more committed than ever to advancing an agenda on rule of law support. This is evidenced in the UN Declaration 2012 at the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law and the inclusion of justice for all in the Sustainable Development Goals.

How to square the recognition that rule of law really matters with the poor track record of reforming it? Drawing on different analytical and empirical bodes of work on the international rule of law, this report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) seeks to find some better answers to this question. In doing so, it reviews key trends over time and makes the case for drawing on two current propositions for changing policy and practice, namely: 1. the link between rule of law and political settlements and, 2. being politically smart and adaptive in approaching rule of law reform.

In developing some reflections on these recent trends, this ODI note is thus a call to new research and analytical reflection on their implications for policy and praxis of rule of law support.

For full access to the ODI report Rule of law, politics and development: the politics of rule of law reform, kindly follow the link.


Experimentalism in International Support to Rule of Law and Justice

In May 2017, ODI and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) convened a workshop. It aimed to explore to what extent ‘experimental’ approaches feature in international support to rule of law and justice reform, and the risks and merits of such an approach. Experimentalism was taken to refer to approaches that are problem-focused, adaptive and iterative. This paper highlights some implications for policy and practice discussed in the workshop.

For full access to Experimentalism in International Support to Rule of Law and Justice, please follow the link.


Other Documents

Political Economy Analysis - Guidance for legal technical assistance

This guidance note is for use by those involved in the design and delivery of pro bono and legal technical assistance projects aimed at advancing the rule of law in developing countries.

Seeking to bring about change in relation to the rule of law requires an understanding of the particular political and economic factors that exist within a context. PEA is an approach through which to consider these factors, identify underlying needs and problems in relation to the rule of law, and determine how legal technical assistance can contribute to effective and sustainable solutions.

To access the entire guidance note Political Economy Analysis - Guidance for legal technical assistance, kindly click on the link. 

Other Document