When less is more: external assistance and the political settlement in Somaliland

Sarah G Phillips

This article uses a political settlement framework to explore the configuration of power that underpinned the establishment and maintenance of peace in Somaliland. It explores the ways in which the country's isolation fostered mutual dependence between powerful political and economic actors for their survival and prosperity, and challenges underlying assumptions of western ...» more

State-society relations and citizenship

2° ATO Belo Horizonte

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Towards more people-centric peace operations: From ‘extension of state authority’ to ‘strengthening inclusive state-society relations’

Cedric de Coning, John Karlsrud and Paul Troost

Periods of conflict erode trust between national and local authorities and the people they govern, a trust that needs to be re-established. As peace operations are undertaken by inter-governmental bodies that tend to be inherently state-centric, however, peace operations need to go beyond merely supporting the extension of state-authority and strengthen inclusive state-society ...» more

Speculating on crisis: the progressive disintegration of the Central African Republic’s political economy

Lotje de Vries & Tim Glawion

What factors shape the Central African Republic's volatile present? This report explores the political and economic foundations that underpin the country’s progressive disintegration. It analyses the interlinking factors that have deepened historic divisions, stimulated armed groups and failed to adequately address the countries' continued instability. It calls for strategic ...» more

Inclusive transitions framework

Seth Kaplan & Mark Freeman

Transitions are the critical moments where fragile states can transform their social and political dynamics by pursuing more inclusive and cohesive practices. This publication argues that an inclusive approach offers the only realistic way to transform the relationships, institutions and dynamics that have troubled these countries. It draws on past experiences of ...» more

The legitimacy of states and armed non-state actors

Somalia (UN Photo/Stuart Price)

Legitimacy is a crucial aspect of all power relations. Without legitimacy, power is exerted through coercion; with legitimacy, power can be exerted through voluntary or quasi-voluntary compliance. Legitimacy lies at the core of state-citizen relationships and thus of the whole state-building agenda. This Topic Guide explores the meaning of legitimacy in relation to state and ...» more

Developmental regimes in Africa: Initiating and sustaining developmental regimes in Africa

David Booth (Ed.)

This report synthesises findings from the Developmental Regimes in Africa project. Among the findings is that leadership transitions that maintain economic growth seem to require the presence of either a governing party with a tradition of consensual decision-making, or a state bureaucracy that can insulate policy from political leadership changes. Analysis suggests that ...» more

Leveraging Local Knowledge for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Africa

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin

This report highlights examples of innovative peacebuilding and statebuilding at the community and local level across Africa. Five case studies explore the work of local actors, their relationship to and interaction with national actors and policies, and their influence on international programs and planning. The case studies include women’s statebuilding initiatives in Egypt; ...» more

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 ...» more

Legitimacy, statebuilding and conflict

(This 10-minute presentation accompanying the reading pack was recorded at the GSDRC Seminar on Conflict and Development, London, 23 March 2015.) Building legitimacy is widely considered to be a central aspect of statebuilding efforts in fragile and conflict-affected states. It features prominently in the statebuilding policies of donors and the G7+ alike. In the literature,…» more

Multi-agency stabilisation operations

While there is as yet limited empirical evidence of what works best in multi-agency – or ‘whole-of-government’ – approaches to stabilisation, the literature does identify some lessons learned and principles of good practice. These include: Overcoming common challenges: establishing transparent processes to identify and manage tensions and trade-offs between neutral humanitarian ...» more

Policy approaches and lessons from working with non-state actors in security and justice

DFID has a rule of law policy approach. Programming decisions are made by a context-based, problem solving approach and therefore the policy does not identify overarching actors or themes for engagement. Is one of few donors to have published a briefing (DFID, 2004) entirely focussed on engaging with non-state security and justice actors. Engaging with non-state actors is also ...» more

Donor policy approaches to security and justice

This rapid policy mapping gives an overview of security and justice policies from the following donors and development agencies: DFID; European Commission; USAID; AFD; SIDA; World Bank; BMZ; and JICA. In terms of the differences and similarities to DFID’s approach, it finds that DFID is one of the only donors that conceptualises security and justice as a joint policy area, ...» more

The UK Government’s Approach to Stabilisation (2014)

FCO, MOD, DFID and Stabilisation Unit

This document outlines the UK Government’s Approach to Stabilisation. It explains why and when Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) engages in Stabilisation and sets out how the stabilisation approach links to other tools and approaches which HMG uses in situations of violent conflict.This document supports the strategic and policy framework comprising HMG’s National Security ...» more

Community Security: A Vehicle for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding


It is now broadly recognised that in the long term there cannot be security without development, nor development without security. This briefing explains the concept and practice of ‘community security’, an innovative and effective approach that builds security from the bottom up by empowering communities, authorities and security providers to work together to find local ...» more

In search of the game changers: rethinking social accountability

Fletcher Tembo, Jenny Chapman

This paper speaks to a number of current debates regarding the effectiveness of accountability programmes. Drawing on lessons from the five-year Mwananchi social accountability programme, the authors argue for greater innovation and flexibility from donors, and analyse the need to identify and support project interlocutors with the power to really 'change the game'. This paper ...» more

The Politics-Bureaucracy Interface: Impact on Development Reform

Niheer Dasandi

This paper provides an in-depth review of the existing research on the relationship between political and bureaucratic leaders in developing countries, the factors that shape this relationship, and the impact it has on the success and failure of reforms. It finds that political-bureaucratic relations are an important factor in reform success or failure. Politicians and ...» more

Internal and external dilemmas of peacebuilding in Africa

Lauren Hutton

This paper argues that peacebuilding programming has prioritised order above other social values, which has resulted in an emphasis on building robust state structures as the way to instil stability within a society. This trend exposes the concept and practice of peacebuilding to a range of dilemmas, particularly around the role of violence in state formation and the ...» more

Fragile States 2014: Domestic Revenue Mobilisation in Fragile States


What financial resources are available to fragile states – internationally and domestically – to fund their development? What role does aid play? What can be done to close the gaps in resources for development? This report looks at these questions, highlighting the need to focus more on domestic revenue generation as a source of state revenue, and also as a cornerstone of ...» more