The Emerging Issues Research Service responds to and shapes new and emerging priority agendas of concern to the international development community. These are emerging policy areas where it is important to bring expert disciplinary perspectives into policy debate and programme responses early.
If you are interested in commissioning research through this service, please contact email@example.com so we can discuss your requirements. AusAID staff should contact the Fragility and Conflict: Policy and Partnerships Section at GsdrcHelpdesk@ausaid.gov.au.
Conflict Drivers, International Responses, and the Outlook for Peace in Mali: A Literature Review
Shivit Bakrania, January 2013
This paper reviews the literature (as of January 2013) on: (1) the key conflict drivers in Mali, the principal actors and their positions, and the regional dynamics affecting the conflict; (2) international responses, including mediation efforts; (3) existing capacities for, and possible sources of, peace; and (4) recommendations for preventing further escalation and resolving the conflict. Recommendations in the literature include: promoting Malian ownership of dialogue processes; strengthening the unity, discipline and efficiency of Malian defence and security forces; promoting Mali’s economic resilience; weakening criminal networks incrementally; and addressing ethnic tensions.
This literature review assesses the available academic and policy-oriented literature on social movements in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. It examines who becomes involved in collective action and why, the barriers to mobilisation and, where social movements do emerge, how these are able to sustain mobilisation and broaden their membership base to reflect the interests of the wider community. Evidence from this review suggests the importance of considering the interplay of movement activity and state stability, and of taking into account existing state-society relationships. Donors could focus on creating a supportive environment for social movements.
Youth, Armed Violence and Job Creation Programmes
Oliver Walton, September 2010
This rapid mapping study reviews donor approaches to addressing armed violence through youth job creation programmes. It covers a range of programmes including reintegration programmes, early recovery and cash for work programmes; as well as integrated AVR programmes that involve youth job creation components. It finds that approaches have become more nuanced and sophisticated. There has been a growing emphasis on holistic, comprehensive and integrated approaches that go beyond simply addressing a lack of economic opportunities and seek to address the more complex array of factors that cause social exclusion for young people. These initiatives combine and integrate job-creation schemes with a range of other forms of intervention, such as capacity-building and training in conflict resolution. In a similar way AVR strategies have moved beyond a narrow focus on controlling arms and reducing the demand for weapons, towards more comprehensive strategies that address a range of risk factors associated with armed violence. Donors have also sought to make job creation schemes more effective by conducting more rigorous contextual analysis and by working more closely with the private sector and tackling the demand-side of youth unemployment. Nevertheless, there is a still a significant gap between donor rhetoric and practice in this area. Furthermore, both the theoretical and empirical cases for using youth employment programmes as a stand-alone tool for reducing violent conflict are weak.
Political and Social Analysis for Development Policy and Practice: An Overview of Five Approaches
Huma Haider and Sumedh Rao, September 2010
The use of Political Economy Analysis in development is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning in the early 2000s. Prior to this, theory and practice largely ignored political and social context. Policies and programmes were planned and implemented in a technical manner, based on the presumption that expertise and aid was sufficient to generate growth. The failure of development interventions to produce expected results led to a growing awareness among donors that politics, ‘political will’ and local context matter to development. In order to gain a better understanding of these issues, donors have developed various tools for political and social analysis. This paper provides a detailed overview of five of these tools and frameworks: Power Analysis, Drivers of Change, Strategic Corruption and Governance Analysis, Poverty and Social Impact Analysis, and Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis. Under each tool or framework, it discusses how to use the tool (research methods, processes, outputs, and elements of the approach); skills and resources required; the value added and operational impact of the approaches; key challenges; and linkages with other analytical tools.
Assessing the Evidence of the Impact of Governance on Development Outcomes and Poverty Reduction
Lucy Earle and Zoë Scott, March 2010
This paper synthesises academic and donor research on the impact of governance work on poverty reduction and development outcomes. There is a large body of work on the critical importance of good governance in developing countries which argues that good governance has both intrinsic and instrumental developmental value. Our introduction charts the historical emergence of ‘the good governance agenda’ from the early 1990s to the present day, through narrow technical understandings of governance reform, to the concept of ‘good enough governance’, and on to current wider emphases on political economy approaches to governance.
The literature presents a mixed picture, showing that governance reforms have not always resulted in the expected improvements in development outcomes and poverty reduction. This is often argued to be because the success of governance reforms is often conditional on political factors. Other clear messages from the research are that bad governance impacts negatively on the poor and institutions matter for growth and poverty reduction. Policy implications from the research are that donors must take a long-term perspective as change to governance institutions takes place over long time horizons. Donors should also give more attention to the demand-side of governance, rather than focusing exclusively on top-down approaches to reform, as results have often been promising where citizens have been brought into governance interventions.
Community-based Approaches to Peacebuilding in Conflict-affected and Fragile Contexts
Huma Haider, November 2009
The ‘community’ has often been resilient in conflict-affected and fragile contexts, providing survival and coping mechanisms for violence, insecurity and fragility. Growing attention has thus been paid to the adoption of community-based approaches to help address the extensive needs in these contexts. This paper explores the principal aims of community-based approaches and key challenges and considerations in designing and implementing such approaches, particularly in environments of conflict and fragility.
Community-based approaches (CBA) seek to give communities direct control over investment decisions, project planning, execution and monitoring, through a process that emphasises inclusive participation and management. The basic premise is that local communities are better placed to identify their shared needs and the actions necessary to meet them. Taking charge of these processes facilitates a sense of community ownership, which can contribute to the sustainability of interventions.
The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Conflict and State Fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa
Shiv Bakrania and Brian Lucas, July 2009
Whilst countries which are currently politically unstable and suffer from pre-existing conflicts have suffered severely from the financial crisis, decreasing income streams could even push some previously stable countries towards fragility. Thus, there is a perilous risk that the crisis could precipitate new instances of fragility and erode many of the gains made over the past decade by post-conflict states in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, empirical evidence shows that the declines in human development made during economic deceleration outweigh the gains made during economic accelerations. Therefore, achieving the MDGs becomes an even more distant prospect if the impacts of the financial crisis are not mitigated in countries that are fragile or emerging from fragility and conflict.
In this context, this issues paper collates recommendations from a range of sources on how the impacts of the financial crisis might be addressed and suggests potential areas of collaboration among donors. These include:
Southern Perspectives on Technical Cooperation
Zoë Scott, July 2009
This paper is divided into two parts. Part A is an Analytical Review which synthesises findings on Southern perspectives from the post-2000 literature on technical cooperation (TC). Part B is an Annotated Bibliography which provides reference details, internet links and summaries of the key resources on this topic.
The review identifies several areas of concern to Southern nationals and recipient governments. There are a few that stand out as key, either because of the frequency with which they are mentioned, or because of the depth of criticism they have evoked. The following policy recommendations have been based on these key findings:
Jonathan Di John and James Putzel, June 2009
Why do similar sets of formal institutions often have such divergent outcomes? An analysis of political settlements goes some way to answering this question by bringing into focus the contending interests that exist within any state, which constrain and facilitate institutional and developmental change. It provides a framework to analyse how the state is linked to society and what lies behind the formal representation of politics in a state.
The political settlement and the elite bargains from which it emerges are central to patterns of state fragility and resilience. The role of political organisation within the political settlement is crucial to both the stability of the settlement and the direction in which it evolves over time. The elite bargains that may lead to the establishment of what might be considered a resilient political settlement may also act as a barrier to progressive developmental change.
Analysis of political settlements suggests that state-building is
far from a set of technical formulas, but is a highly political process. Creating capacity within a state to consolidate and expand taxation is fundamentally determined by the shape of the political settlement
underlying the state. This is true as well for the development of service
delivery or any other function of the state. This analytical framework provides a window for donors to grasp the politics of a place in order to design more effective interventions.
Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Impact Evaluation and Measuring Results
Sabine Garbarino and Jeremy Holland, March 2009
There has been a renewed interest in impact evaluation and measuring results in recent years amongst development agencies and donors. This paper reviews the case for promoting and formalising qualitative and combined methods for impact evaluation and measuring results, as part of a broader strategy amongst donors and country partners for tackling the evaluation gap. The accompanying workshop report provides a summary of the January 2009 workshop “Make an Impact: Tackling the “I” and the “D” of Making It Happen”, which aimed to familiarise DFID staff with the use of qualitative methods in impact evaluation and measuring results.
The case for qualitative and combined methods is strong. Qualitative methods have an equal footing in evaluation of development impacts and can generate sophisticated, robust and timely data and analysis. Combining qualitative research with quantitative instruments that have greater breadth of coverage and generalisability can result in better evaluations that make the most of their respective comparative advantages.
State Capacity and Non-state Service Provision in Fragile and Conflict-affected States
Richard Batley and Claire Mcloughlin, February 2009
How can governments effectively engage with non-state providers (NSPs) of basic services where capacity is weak? This paper examines whether and how fragile and conflict affected states can co-ordinate, finance, and set and apply standards for the provision of basic services by NSPs. It explores ways of incrementally engaging the state, beginning with activities that are least likely to do harm to non-state provision.
Paradoxically, the need for large-scale approaches and quick co-ordination of services in fragile and conflict-affected settings may require ‘prematurely high’ levels of state-NSP engagement, before the development of the underlying institutional structures that would support them. When considering strategies to support the capacity of government to engage with NSPs, donors should:
Increased Religiosity Among Women in Muslim Majority Countries
Sarah Ladbury and Seema Khan, November 2008
It has hitherto been assumed, at least by western development practitioners, that women’s rights are best attained through secularist liberal interpretations of equality, of the sort reflected in CEDAW type conventions. Yet what does increasing use of the veil and greater religious observances across the Islamic world signify in this context? Does it reflect a rejection of these standards? And if understanding this move to greater religiosity requires a different paradigm of rights then how does this ‘Islamic’ paradigm sit with the ‘western’ one?
The social, political and economic contexts within which women live in Muslim majority countries (MMCs) are in a constant process of change. Their increased literacy, access to information and communication technologies, as well as to wage-earning work, and their appropriation of religious knowledge from previously closed, male-dominated circles means that Muslim women are constructing their own modernity. This symbolises a break from many traditional practices as well as from western conceptions of progress and equality.
The issues paper argues that it is important for development policy makers and practitioners to take an interest in this upsurge in religiosity because it raises questions that are relevant to three key areas of their work: women’s rights and gender equality; women as political actors (including in Islamist parties); and women’s involvement in civil society (including religious movements). The annotated bibliography is written for those who want a more in-depth understanding of the issues introduced in the main paper.