Restoring Confidence: Moving Away from the Brink
Author: World Bank
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There are a number of pathways back from the brink of violent conflict, but there are two common elements in successful cases. The first is building 'inclusive-enough' coalitions, and identifying the signals and commitment mechanisms that can galvanise support for change. Pacts to end violence need not be all-inclusive, and can promote peace if they are minimally inclusive at the beginning. The second element is delivering results on the ground to build confidence in citizen security, justice and economic prospects. For both elements, successful transitions have made astute use of capacity from the private sector, traditional institutions and non-governmental organisations.
Country studies reveal different approaches for building coalitions at national, subnational and local levels, and several guiding principles emerge on what is 'inclusive enough':
- Groups may legitimately be excluded where there is a widespread belief that they have sacrificed their right to participate due to past abuses. Inclusion strategies can change over time.
- Including business and civil society groups that bring legitimacy and resources, and that will press for deeper institutional transformation is valuable. However, at the beginning it may be necessary for such parties to defer to political leadership on some decisions.
- There can be trade-offs between wide inclusiveness and efficiency of state decision-making, as including many groups may mean creating a government with many ministries.
- In the early stages of transition, building confidence requires policies that signal a break from the past and instil trust that new directions will not be reversed. This can be achieved through commitment mechanisms, such as robustly independent electoral commissions supplemented by regional or international technical and monitoring capacity.
- Signals used in successful transitions involved combined actions across the security-economic or political-economic domains. These include actions on security sector reform, social cohesion, wealth-sharing, transparency, human rights violations and political reform.
Delivering early policy results is important because it offers concrete indicators of a government's good intentions, and of its ability to deliver on its promises. It also shows that leaders can withstand pressure from their own supporters and provide benefits to all citizens. In attempting to deliver such results there are several considerations:
- Successfully navigating transitions has involved a clear focus on the drivers of violence and on designing programmes to mitigate them. This requires a strategy that balances security, justice, and economic opportunity.
- The choice of results and how they are to be achieved is important because it sets directions for later institution-building.
- Governments that have successfully restored confidence have typically mobilised non-state actors to deliver results. This can involve both local non-state structures (communities and community organizations, traditional institutions of justice, the domestic private sector, NGOs) and external assistance. Engagement with non-state security actors to deliver fast results has been less successful.
- Community driven development programmes can extend the state's reach, re-construct social capital, strengthen social cohesion and signal the inclusion of marginalised groups.
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World Bank, 2011, 'Restoring Confidence: Moving Away from the Brink', in World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, World Bank, Washington DC, ch. 4
Organisation: World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/