Current knowledge and practice indicates that legitimate and inclusive politics are key determining factors in trajectories out of situations of conflict and fragility. This is why the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) included a Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goal (PSG 1) in its political agreement New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States that seeks to stimulate “Legitimate politics” through “inclusive political settlements and conflict resolution”.
The IDPS’ understanding of PSG1 can be summarized as having three dimensions: (1) representative state institutions, (2) participatory political processes, and (3) inclusive dialogue and conflict resolution mechanisms. A country’s political settlement, i.e. its (in)formal elite agreement on how power is distributed and exercised, provides the starting point for analysing these dimensions as it reflects the country’s political reality at present.
Yet there is no conclusive evidence on what approaches and techniques for inclusive statebuilding and peacebuilding work under what circumstances, let alone how international actors can support such endeavours effectively and in full partnership with local governments and civil society.
The key questions guiding our research are:
- What role could donors take to support PSG1 and how do donors assess the key characteristics of the political settlement where they seek to support PSG1?
- What are key political, administrative and financial incentives and constraints that influence how donors can support PSG1?
- What innovative practices for supporting PSG1 can be identified and improved, and what difference is this likely to make?
The research methods combine a review of academic literature and relevant New Deal policy documents, as well as a mix of fieldwork-based and desk-based interviews. Key informants are selected representatives of international development partners, New Deal partner governments, civil society, and international diplomatic (and security) actors.
Aims and outcomes
The International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (made up of OECD donor countries, partner governments and local/international civil society representatives) is currently reviewing its New Deal framework which guides international development support. This research aims to contribute to this process by developing recommendations for donor agencies on how they can improve their support to inclusive political transitions in partner countries in the global south. A draft report will be discussed with INCAF members in January 2016, revised on the basis of their recommendations, and later presented to the IDPS in Spring 2016.
The project takes international development actors (in country offices and in headquarters) as its main unit of analysis as well as the primary beneficiaries of its findings. However, to ensure findings are representative, the research also encompasses the views of civil society and national governments in-country, as well as of international diplomatic (and security) actors.
The case studies for the project are Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, South-Sudan, and Somalia, four of the New Deal pilot countries. The Berghof Foundation is responsible for conducting the Somalia and Timor Leste case studies, and for compiling the overall report, while a team at the Clingendael Institute (Netherlands) has prime responsibility for the cases of Afghanistan and South Sudan.