Poverty and conflict

Poverty and conflict are widely understood to be closely interconnected; with poverty making countries more prone to civil war, and armed conflict weakening governance and economic performance, thus increasing the risk of conflict relapse (Goodhand 2001). The selected readings in this pack move beyond reductive and harmful assumptions about ‘pathologies’ of poverty to examine the…» more

National climate governance and politics

In the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate change, multilaterals and aid agencies are shifting significant attention to the national arena, where the fulfilment of climate commitments will depend upon new legal and regulatory frameworks, supporting institutions, and the political support within and outside the government. The characteristics of climate change—complexity, uncertainty, irreversibility, and…» more

Social movements

Social movements as contentious politics Social movements are large, often informal groupings of people who come together against power holders around a common cause, in response to situations of perceived inequality, oppression and/or unmet social, political, economic or cultural demands. At their core, social movements are not about “polite debate” or “invited spaces” of interaction between…» more

Social protection systems

A social protection system, in an international development context, is broadly understood to be an integrated national portfolio of interventions which aims to serve four basic functions for households and individuals: protection of a minimum standard of living, prevention of deprivation through increasing resilience to shocks, and promotion of sustainable livelihood improvements. At a societal…» more

Governance, politics and growth

In recent years, there has been an increasing realisation that political institutions and governance matter when explaining economic growth in developing countries. Here, political institutions refer to the process of collective decision-making and the checks on politicians and politically and economically powerful interest groups. Governance refers to the capability of the state to provide public…» more

Stabilisation

What is stabilisation? Stabilisation efforts have become a common policy component of intervention in conflict response throughout the world. In recent years, there have been significant stabilisation interventions in places such as the Western Balkans, Haiti and Mali, among others. The concept of stabilisation, understood as the requirement to meet basic humanitarian and development needs…» more

Urban governance in fragile cities

The planet is urbanising at a rapid pace. There is no agreed definition of what constitutes a city, however the world’s new geography includes dozens of super cities (population of 40 million+), hyper-cities (population of at least 20 million), conurbations and more.  While a number of the world’s largest cities still reside in North America…» more

Security and justice

Security and justice are priorities for poor people, are core functions of the state, and frequently considered prerequisites for economic and social development and prevention of violent conflict. The creation of spaces where people feel safe and secure are also at the heart of statebuilding. However, approaches to security and justice remain heavily contested, overlapping…» more

Identity

What is identity? Identity is as much about how people describe themselves and others as it is inherently about difference – defining a group with regards to dissimilarities in cultural, gendered, sexual, ethnic or national markers among others. Questions relating to identity may also be buried in other terms and framing depending on context –…» more

Taxation, governance and growth

Historically, tax research has been dominated by two questions: how to enhance revenue collection in order to finance redistribution and public goods and services, and how to design tax policy to strengthen incentives for economic growth (Joshi et al. 2014; Moore 2013).  However, the past decade has witnessed surging interests in a third possibility: that…» more

PFM and corruption

Public Financial Management (PFM) processes – revenue mobilisation (e.g. taxation and customs), budget preparation and resource allocation, budget execution (e.g. procurement and payroll), and the accounting and auditing of government expenditure – are a key focus of donor supported anti-corruption reforms. A focus on the budget and budgetary processes is not surprising given that: (1)…» more

Ceasefires

All peace agreements need to address the question of the cessation of violence and in most cases this is done through a ceasefire of some kind. Typically, conflict parties will seek to put in place mechanisms to immediately stop the violence and prevent its resurgence. These mechanisms will most often enjoy international support (in terms…» more

Media and governance

In fast-changing media and communication environments more people are connected than ever before. While most acknowledge that the influence and impact of changing media and communication on governance outcomes is growing, the degree to which new media landscapes are contributing to more informed, peaceful and accountable societies remains in question.  For some, increasingly networked young,…» more

Governance and service provision

Over the past decade, development professionals have become increasingly aware of the fact that providing better services for the poor is as much about governance as it is about solving technical problems. Building new schools, health centres, and water points is all very well, but if teachers and nurses don’t turn up to work or…» more

Youth and jobs

When jobs are scarce it is young people who are hit the hardest as they are either unable to enter the workplace or are the first to be fired. According to the World Bank (2015), one third of the world’s 1.8 billion young people are not in employment, education or training (NEET), and only 40%…» more

Citizen voice and action

No democratic government can afford not to listen to the voices of its citizens. Why? It is a matter of common sense; involving people in discussions about how to tackle a problem that affects their lives is much more likely to generate successful ways to address the issue. Further, if opportunities are made to formulate…» more

Religion and development

Why would you want to mix religion with development? They appear to be completely different things – at best incompatible; at worst highly combustible. After all some strands of religion have an overtly political agenda, while other strands promote or condone violence, including terrorism. In some instances religions promote discrimination against women, children and other…» more

Violent extremism

‘Violent extremism’ is rarely defined: neither the United Nations nor the European Union has an official definition. USAID defines it as “advocating, engaging in, preparing, or otherwise supporting ideologically motivated or justified violence to further social, economic or political objectives”. However, this apparently simple and obvious statement conceals a great deal of controversy and uncertainty….» more

Human rights

Human rights emerged as a new field in international development in the 1990s. By 1997, the UN Secretary-General had called on all UN development agencies to mainstream human rights (1997), while development donors and NGOs increasingly committed themselves to a human rights approach. Diverse factors explain this seeming breakthrough of human rights. First, a growing…» more