Components of an integrated approach

There are many different approaches and components to an integrated approach to statebuilding and peacebuilding. This section draws upon some of the key areas highlighted by DFID and OECD consultations: understanding the causes of conflict and fragility; supporting inclusive political settlements and peace processes; promoting peaceful dispute resolution mechanisms and capacities for peace; developing core state functions; and responding to public expectations.

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. They are discussed in a separate supplement:
State-Society Relations and Citizenship in Situations of Conflict and Fragility.

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Understanding the causes and dynamics of conflict and fragility

Peacebuilding and statebuilding are not technical exercises. There is a need to understand the historical experiences of state-formation and the specific nature and dynamics of the conflict. Conflict prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding often seek to identify and address the perceived root causes of conflict, in order to understand the context of reform and to tailor appropriate solutions. Some research stresses that attention must also be paid to the dynamics (actors and motivations) and impact of conflict and fragility; and to the ‘causes of peace’ (political arrangements necessary to settle power struggles and limit the use of violence).

Many causes of conflict and fragility may be deeply entrenched and are unlikely to be resolved through short-term external interventions. Addressing root causes entails complex processes and transformations that take time. In addition, it is important for peacebuilding and statebuilding efforts to focus not solely on the national level but to also aim to understand regional dimensions of conflict and stability; and international dimensions, such as globalisation, drug trafficking and terrorism.

For discussion and resources on understanding and addressing the causes, characteristics, dynamics and impact of violent conflict, see Chapter 1 (Understanding Violent Conflict) and Chapter 3 (Preventing and Managing Violent Conflict) of the Conflict topic guide:

For discussion and resources on understanding the causes and characteristics of fragility; and on addressing exclusion, see Chapter 2 (Causes and Characteristics of Fragility) and Chapter 5 (Statebuilding in Fragile Contexts) of the Fragile States topic guide:

Inclusive political settlements and peace processes

Political settlements refer to formal and informal rules, shared understandings and rooted habits that affect how power is organised and exercised and shape political and economic relations. They are subject to change and transformation over time as different state and non-state actors (re)negotiate the rules of the game. The extent to which a settlement is inclusive and perceived as fair is important to state legitimacy and the sustainability of the settlement (Rocha-Menocal, 2010; DFID, 2010).

Peace agreements are formal agreements aimed at ending violent conflict and creating the conditions for durable peace. Peace processes and peace agreements provide an opportunity to transform political settlements, for example through a new constitution that protects the rights of traditionally excluded groups. Peace processes, themselves, should be inclusive and should seek to incorporate broad sectors of society at varying levels of negotiation, with particular attention to marginalised groups. This will allow for greater likelihood of a stable settlement and a stable peace. The process of engaging in joint talks can also contribute to developing trust across conflict lines and foundations for peaceful dispute resolution.

Political settlements and peace agreements are driven by internal dynamics and cannot be imposed by external actors. Promoting inclusive political systems can be especially challenging as it usually requires transformations in power relations that go beyond formal rules and inclusive peace processes. Informal, exclusionary arrangements are often resistant to change. In order to try to enable political transformations, it is important to understand the issues at stake and the incentives and interests of key stakeholders.

For discussion and resources on political settlements and peace agreements, see Chapter 5 (Statebuilding in Fragile Contexts) of the Fragile States topic guide; and Chapter 3 (Preventing and Managing Violent Conflict) of the Conflict topic guide:

For discussion and resources on inclusive peace processes and participation in governance, see: Chapter 2 (Living in Conflict-affected Areas), Chapter 3 (Preventing and Managing Violent Conflict) and Chapter 4 (Recovering from Violent Conflict) of the Conflict topic guide; and Chapter 5 (Statebuilding in Fragile Contexts) of the Fragile States topic guide:

Peaceful dispute resolution and capacities for peace

The ability of governments and societies to manage tensions and disputes peacefully is critical to preventing violent conflict and promoting a durable political settlement. Stable and inclusive political processes and dispute resolution mechanisms are essential. They comprise a range of local and national institutions, including formal and informal systems. Where state mechanisms are considered weak or illegitimate, informal and/or customary authorities can resolve disputes. Civil society organisations also play a prominent role in conflict resolution.

Capacities for peace often exist and survive in conflict affected and fragile contexts. It is important not to substitute for or duplicate them. Development actors should seek to strengthen existing capacities or to enable them where they are absent. Attention should be paid not only to the state level, but within and across communities. Activities such as dialogue and broad consultations; media programming; and civic education are important areas that can contribute to building trust and the foundation for social reconciliation and peace. Non-state actors, in particular civil society organisations, often play a meaningful role in these areas, especially if they have a strong connection to the citizens at large.

For discussion and resources concerning peaceful dispute resolution, see Chapter 3 (Preventing and Managing Violent Conflict) and Chapter 4 (Recovering from Violent Conflict) of the Conflict topic guide:

Core state functions and public expectations

There is consensus that safety, security, justice and rule of law are core functions of the state. These are considered as essential in order to advance state legitimacy and prevent violent conflict. A range of other important functions are identified in the literature, including basic service delivery, financial and macroeconomic management, inclusive growth and job creation, and human rights protections. In some fragile contexts, the state may provide services, but in an exclusionary manner. This also undermines state legitimacy and increases the likelihood of societal tensions.

The weight accorded to the various functions will vary depending on public expectations in different contexts. Society’s expectations of the state are diverse and are shaped by historical and cultural factors and by people’s understanding of rights and entitlements. States need to be seen to meet public expectations for legitimacy and stability.

Perceptions may also differ with regard to who are considered ‘authorities’. External actors should not make assumptions about the expectations of different groups and about which core functions should be a priority. In addition, they should seek to work with both state and non-state actors, based on public perceptions of legitimacy and authority.

For discussion and resources concerning state functions, see Chapter 5 (Statebuilding in Fragile Contexts) and Chapter 6 (Service Delivery in Fragile Contexts) of the Fragile States topic guide; and Chapter 3 (Preventing and Managing Violent Conflict) and Chapter 4 (Recovering from Violent Conflict) of the Conflict topic guide: