Strength of evidence

The evidence base for security and justice programming is generally weak, and much of the literature is normative, presenting recommendations with little empirical evidence about what works. There is little in the way of rigorous evaluation on the effects of institutional reform programmes on security and justice provision (Roseveare, 2013, p. 43).

Security and justice programming is highly context specific and there are few proven approaches or models (OECD-DAC, 2007a; Woodrow, 2013). In many cases interventions are based on implicit theories or are embedded in the skills, approaches, capacities, preferences and perspectives of individuals and organisations (Woodrow, 2013). In law and justice, ‘donor investments have been driven as much by theory as by evidence’ (AusAID, 2012, p. 13). Roseveare (2013) notes that while the available evidence is useful for understanding the different dimensions of the rule of law, it is less well suited to demonstrating the efficacy of particular donor interventions (p. 8). In general, there is not a ‘clear sense of what should be done, how it should be done, by whom, in what order, or how success may be determined’ (Desai et al., 2011, p. 243).

  • AusAID. (2012). Building on Local Strengths: Evaluation of Australian Law and Justice Assistance. Canberra: Australian Agency for International Development.
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  • Desai, D., Isser, D., & Woolcock, M. (2011). Rethinking Justice Reform in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States: The Capacity of Development Agencies and Lessons from Liberia and Afghanistan. In H. Cissé, D.D. Bradlow, & B. Kingsbury (Eds.), The World Bank Legal Review Volume 3: International Financial Institutions and Global Legal Governance. Washington D.C.: The World Bank.
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  • OECD-DAC. (2007a). Enhancing the Delivery of Justice and Security. Paris: OECD.
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  • Roseveare, C. (2013). Rule of law and international development. London: DFID.
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  • Woodrow, P. (2013). Practical Approaches to Theories of Change in Conflict, Security and Justice Programmes: Part 1: What they are, different types, how to develop and use them. London: DFID / CDA.
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