International humanitarian law and peace processes

There is limited research and no empirical evidence exploring links between the degree to which IHL is respected (or ignored) and the success (or failure) of peace processes.  The literature focuses on various related issues, including negotiating with non-state armed groups, the question of why conflict groups may comply with international humanitarian norms, and the need to ...» more

Transitional justice

Participants end a mass ‘Blanket Exercise’ on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill in June 2015, which was organised by the Assembly of Seven Generations as part of the closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Image: Adrian Gregorich/The Sentinel Project).

It is increasingly recognised that legacies of mass violence and human rights violations can, if left unaddressed, fuel future conflicts. Transitional justice seeks to tackle the legacies of large-scale past abuses, and includes mechanisms such as truth-telling initiatives, criminal prosecutions, reparations processes, cultural interventions, vetting and institutional ...» more

Communicating peace agreements

There is limited research on the process of conducting such referendums and how to communicate the contents of peace agreements and constitutions to the electorate. The 1998 referendum in Northern Ireland has received the greatest attention in the literature. Available research focuses on factors that can influence whether a referendum is likely to be won, including discussion ...» more

Religious leaders and the prevention of electoral violence

There is limited literature specifically on the role of religious leaders in countering electoral and political violence, even less on ways in which to engage leaders in taking on such a role. While highlighting particular initiatives involving religious leaders during electoral cycles, this report also draws on literature that discusses the engagement of religious actors more ...» more

Political Economy and Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This report is an update of a 2010 report, ‘Political Economy and Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’, and is based on some of the recent literature on governance and political economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report outlines the following key governance and political economy issues discussed in the literature: Political ...» more

Gender and conflict


What do we know about the role of gender inequality in producing or exacerbating the structural causes of violence and conflict, and about the multi-layered effects of violence and conflict on gender relations? What do we know about how to support gender equality in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS)? This Topic Guide introduces the research evidence. ...» more

Radicalisation of diaspora communities

Much of the literature emphasizes that radicalisation cannot be attributed to any one factor, but is rather the outcome of a multiplicity of factors. Individual and community influences (micro level) include: Identity crisis: second and third generation immigrant and diaspora communities may experience ‘cultural marginalisation’ in terms of alienation and lack of ...» more

Formal justice in Iraq

The criminal justice system in Iraq remains weak. There are a wide range of reports (largely conducted by international NGOs, UN organisations, and state agencies) that reveal a consistent failure to meet international and domestic legal obligations. Areas of particular concern include: Arrest and detention: Iraqi security forces continue to engage in arbitrary arrest and ...» more

Refugee, IDP and host community radicalisation

Socioeconomic conditions: In some circumstances, poor socioeconomic conditions (e.g. impoverishment, unemployment, lack of access to services and infrastructure, overcrowded living conditions) may make it more likely for refugees/IDPs to become radicalised. However, Lischer (2005) finds instead that there is generally little evidence to support the connection between particular ...» more

Conflict sensitivity in education, the private sector and infrastructure development

Conflict sensitivity in education: There has been increasing awareness that education systems are not neutral. Education can exacerbate conflict if it increases social tensions or divisions between groups. This may be the case if: education policies and practice are inequitable; education systems reinforce identity grievances; or educational curricula promote militarism.It is ...» more

Conflict sensitivity

Relief effort for Syrian refugees in Kawrgosk refugee camp, Irbil, Northern Iraq. 21-23 August 2013

Reflection among aid actors after the devastating genocide in Rwanda led to the realisation that humanitarian and development actors contributed to increasing tensions and exacerbating the conflict. Aid interventions have since been understood to become a part of the context – and in conflict settings, to become part of the conflict. This acknowledgement that aid is not neutral ...» more

Participation in transparency and accountability initiatives

Key findings: Transparency and accountability initiatives have generally tended to centre on achieving ‘downstream’ accountability, referring to the efficient delivery of policies and priorities. The focus here has been on the role of citizens in the implementation of policies. There has been insufficient exploration of how the incorporation of citizen voice and participation ...» more

PNPM/Community-driven development in Indonesia

Key findings: The National Program for Community Empowerment Mandiri (PNPM Mandiri) was launched by the Government of Indonesia in 2007. It is a national programme within the overall policy framework established to implement programmes aimed at poverty alleviation, and strengthening local governance and service delivery. PNPM adopts a community-driven development (CDD) ...» more

Monitoring and evaluation of electoral support

Key findings: Electoral support interventions by international actors comprise primarily of electoral observation and electoral assistance. Electoral observation should be of an impartial nature based on the principle of non-interference. Electoral assistance, in contrast, is of an advisory nature and refers to technical or material support to electoral processes. It may be ...» more

Violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste

Key findings: The high prevalence of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, in Timor-Leste is considered to be a key challenge for the country. Not only is the extent of gender-based violence a serious concern, but also the severity of the violence. Most of the available information on Timorese women and girls from 1975 to 1999 concerns experiences of sexual ...» more

Humanitarian work in Syria and Yemen

Syria and Yemen are both experiencing immense humanitarian and development challenges. Violent conflict, political and civil unrest, rising food and fuel prices, mass unemployment and breakdown in social services have contributed to massive displacement, food insecurity and acute malnutrition, difficult living conditions, lack of basic services and poor housing. Neighbouring ...» more

Changing attitudes and behaviours in relation to gender equality

This helpdesk report surveys literature on strategies and initiatives designed to increase awareness and to change attitudes and behaviours in order to promote greater gender equality. The structure of the report is based on the following areas: religious influences; community-level processes, alongside media and social campaigning; and activities targeting men’s attitudes and ...» more

Alternative livelihoods

The literature on ‘alternative livelihoods’ focuses primarily on efforts related to countering illicit drug crop cultivation. Links between illicit drug crop cultivation and armed conflict are noted in various contexts. Efforts to counter illicit drug crop cultivation are thus considered important to stability and security. The ‘alternative livelihoods’ approach is a ...» more