I DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL FOREIGN AID
Is democracy really in trouble, or do recent events simply signal a temporary downward fluctuation? Are sceptics overreacting to sensational daily headlines, and losing sight of democracy’s numerous advances over the last few decades? Under what conditions is democracy resilient when challenged? To answer these questions, the first edition of International IDEA’s biennial publication, The Global State of Democracy, explores the challenges and risks to democracy as well as the enabling conditions for its resilience—its ability to adapt and recover from complex challenges and crises. The Global State of Democracy seeks to address the lack of analytical material on democracy building and the quality of democracy internationally, and to bridge the gap between academic research, policy development and democracy assistance initiatives. It provides evidence-based analysis of the global state of democracy. It introduces the new Global State of Democracy (GSoD) indices as a key evidence base to inform policy interventions and identify problem-solving approaches to trends affecting the quality of democracy.
Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)
A Brief on Policy and Practice to Inform National Strategies for Preventing Violent Extremism and Promoting Sustainable Peace. In November 2016, during ICAN’s fifth annual Women, Peace and Security forum, members of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) and other women-led organizations in over 30 countries analyzed the role of formal and informal education in contributing to enabling conditions and mitigating extremist violence. They also highlighted their own practical experiences and lessons learnt in providing education to prevent violent extremism by fostering peace, resilience, equal rights and pluralism (PREP) in formal and informal spaces, including through the teachings of alternative religious narratives. Their experiences, combined with desk research on the state of current policy and practice, and the first multi-stakeholder Global Solutions Exchange (GSX) meeting on the nexus of education, gender and extremism held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in March 2017, inform the findings of this report.
Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment. The report presents the results of a two-year UNDP Africa study aimed to generate improved understanding about the incentives and drivers of violent extremism, as expressed by recruits to the continent’s deadliest groups themselves.
Marina Caparini, Gary Milante Emma Bjertén Ünther, Yeonju Jung (SSRN 2017)
Peace and development are continuous processes that require constant cultivation and may necessitate decades of effort before their benefits are realized. This chapter introduces current conceptualizations of peace and development, and how they relate to the new United Nations framework of ‘sustaining peace’. Relevant key events of 2016 and their implications for sustaining peace are considered in four sections. Section I introduces the concepts of negative peace and positive peace and locates them on a spectrum ranging from violence to peace. It describes economic development concepts related to path dependency and expectations about the future to explain how security and peace objectives of the present may not always align with development objectives of the future. Section II traces the development of the UN’s sustaining peace framework over 2016. After a brief introduction to the concept, the context for sustaining peace is described: pockets of violence concentrated in the world’s dangerous places; ongoing complex humanitarian emergencies; and limited capacities for preventing, responding to, managing and recovering from conflict. Sustaining peace is further linked to the sustainable development agenda and the principles of national ownership and inclusivity. Section III examines several important mechanisms and events of 2016 in the fields of preventing violent extremism, humanitarian action, and the women, peace and security agenda. These fields reveal some of the mechanisms through which the concept of sustaining peace is being integrated into global peace and development practice. The chapter concludes in section IV with discussion of the concept of conflict prevention. While prevention remains mostly aspirational, several developments in 2016 can be interpreted as investments in sustaining peace and possible paths for a positive peace, addressing the increasingly complex, interdependent and unprecedented challenges of sustainable development today.
Patricia Justino (IDS 2017)
This paper reviews an emerging body of literature on the design and evaluation of current or recent governance interventions in countries with ongoing violent conflict, recovering from conflict or at serious risk of conflict. The review focuses on three broad intervention areas. The first includes interventions that support local governance and the improvement of local capacity for collective action. The second area comprises interventions that strengthen the accountability, legitimacy and reach of state institutions, including improvements to information and the provision of public goods and services. The third centres on interventions aimed at changing social rules and norms that shape systems of governance. A number of ways forward are proposed for future research and policy interventions on governance in conflict-affected countries. These include: the need to better understand the political dynamics of conflict-affected countries; the importance of internally driven governance reforms; the need to take better account of the distributional consequences of governance interventions; and the role of multi-level approaches to governance in countries at risk of conflict.
How to Support State-Building, Service Delivery and Recovery in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations
Richard Mallett and Rachel Slater (ODI 2017)
Since 2011, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) has sought to understand how processes of post-conflict recovery and state-building play out in some of the world’s most challenging contexts – and to equip policy-makers and practitioners with better information on how to support these processes. Over the past six years, CDI has learned that state-building and recovery are turbulent processes – and supporting them requires more than technical ‘best-practice’ fixes. Policy and programming need to become more adept at navigating politics, building relationships, and responding to ever-changing situations. This synthesis briefing details five key findings, and associated policy implications, for policy-makers and practitioners working to support state-building, service delivery and recovery in fragile and conflict-affected situations.
(Fragile States Forum 2017)
Transitions often struggle due to underlying fault lines that divide societal groups and debilitate institutions. This new publication (published by the Institute for Integrated Transitions) highlights that a more comprehensive approach is needed, involving a combination of three building blocks: 1) the bringing together of different groups around a “social covenant” that bridges social divides and creates a greater common sense of nationhood; 2) the deliberate adoption of inclusiveness as a guiding principle across a broad range of policy areas (e.g. politics, education, rule of law, security, economics, culture); and 3) the establishment or strengthening of measures that enforce political commitments and reduce biases in how institutions work. It is based on a combination of in-depth expert interviews with desk and field research, and examines and contrasts positive and negative lessons from four regional pairings of cases: Ukraine and Macedonia; Tunisia and Libya; Sri Lanka and Nepal; and Colombia and Guatemala. In explaining these three building blocks, the publication aims to enable national and international policymakers and practitioners to better understand and assess the underlying dynamics that influence how likely a country is to forge a strong, inclusive social contract.
Duncan Green (IDS 2017)
This paper explores the current state of thinking among a range of aid actors (multilaterals, bilateral, applied scholars and international non-governmental organizations) on how to promote empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict and violence affected settings. It seeks to identify trends, gaps and weaknesses in that thinking, and propose research questions and hypotheses to test. Three underlying sources of confusion are identified that are hindering progress on both understanding empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict and violence affected settings, and taking helpful action to promote it. They are: (1) Theory of endogenous change (e.g. on how empowerment and accountability arise in situ) versus the theory of action of an external intervention; (2) Fragility versus conflict: there is no clear justification for combining these different aspects into a single category; and (3) Empowerment versus accountability: donor analysis and practice has been overwhelmingly weighted towards accountability, exhibiting limited understanding or interest in the nature of power.
Tony Roberts & Gauthier Marchais (IDS 2017)
The use of social media and digital technologies has radically changed the way that information about violence is captured, reported, analysed and acted upon. People’s use of social media played a significant role in the Egyptian revolution, post-election violence in Kenya, and drug-cartel violence in Mexico. Social media can be used to provide humanitarian agencies, policymakers and academics seeking to understand and respond to violent crises with data unavailable from other sources. After an initial period of uncritical optimism regarding the potential of social media and digital technologies there is now, however, a growing recognition that they come with new practical, ethical and methodological limitations. Indeed, social media content is often the target of conscious distortions, manipulations, or censorship by a range of actors. Bias of several kinds can significantly distort social media data and reduce their representativeness. This paper assesses the role of social media and digital technologies in the reporting of violent events, and evaluates their relative strengths and weaknesses as compared to other means available. It seeks to understand how social media and digital technology data are collated, how reliable the data are, and what practical and ethical issues are associated with their collection and use.
Swait Chawla, Dannah Dennis, Vanessa Ochs, et al. (USAID 2017)
Widespread agreement exists among scholars and activists that women’s civic and political participation is crucial for democracy and development. Nevertheless, obstacles to women’s participation persist. Given these obstacles, how can agencies like USAID most effectively encourage women in the developing world to participate in civil society and politics? When agencies effectively intervene, what level of risk do women face as a result of strong resistance to that intervention? And where that risk is high, how can it best be mitigated? USAID commissioned a review of the evidence-based literature to answer these questions.
Stephanie Chaban, Luis J. Consuegra, Hannah Elten, Karin et. al (IDEA/Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies/UNDP 2017)
Gender equality and the political empowerment of women are key elements for the consolidation of sustainable democracies worldwide. Global and regional organizations play an important role in the development of legal and policy frameworks, as well as in the design of effective action plans to better support the advancement of the gender equality agenda at the global, regional and national levels. This report presents key instruments for promoting gender equality and political empowerment of women that are currently in place at the global and regional levels, highlighting the challenges, opportunities and successes that each organization has encounter in the implementation within their respective regions.
Governance, Transparency and Accountability/Anticorruption
Valeriya Mechkova, Anna Lührmann, & Staffan I. Lindberg (SSRN 2017)
Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Establishing accountable governments is a top priority on the international development agenda. Yet, scholars and democracy practitioners know little about how accountability mechanisms develop and thus can be supported by international and national actors. The present study tackles the questions of how, and in what sequence accountability sub-types develop. We consider not only vertical (elections and political parties) and horizontal accountability (legislature, judiciary and other oversight bodies), but also diagonal accountability (civil society and media) in both their de-jure and the de-facto dimensions. By utilizing novel sequencing methods, we study their sequential relationships in 173 countries from 1900 to the present with data from the new V-Dem dataset. Considering the long-term dimensions of institution building, this study indicates that most aspects of de-facto vertical accountability precede other forms of accountability. Effective institutions of horizontal accountability – such as vigorous parliaments and independent high courts – evolve rather late in the sequence and build on progress in many other areas.
Mariana Borges, Jordan Gans-Morse, Alexey Makarin, Andre Nickow, Monica Prasad, Vanessa Watters, Theresa Mannah-Blankson & Dong Zhang (USAID 2017)
This report assesses the interdisciplinary state of knowledge regarding anti-corruption policies, with a particular focus on reducing corruption among civil servants. The report—created by a team of economists, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists—synthesizes scholarship bearing on this question from diverse research traditions. Part I of this report evaluates the interdisciplinary evidence on seven categories of strategies: 1) rewards and penalties, 2) monitoring, 3) restructuring bureaucracies, 4) screening and recruiting, 5) anti-corruption agencies (ACAs), 6) educational campaigns, and 7) international agreements. Overall, there is not a great deal of rigorous evidence either for or against the majority of commonly prescribed anti-corruption strategies. The partial exception concerns anti-corruption audits and e-governance which, based on existing evidence, appear to hold promise. In addition, adequate civil service wages seem to be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for control of corruption, as does a free press. An emerging skepticism regarding the effectiveness of ACAs also is apparent in the literature. Part II finds scholarship converging on the consensus that corruption reforms fail in the long term when they are focused only on cases of individual deviance. In many developing countries, corruption represents not individual deviance from a social order, but an alternative social order. This means that programs to reward good behavior or punish bad behavior eventually fail because those tasked with doing the rewarding and punishing are themselves corruptible. Given the systemic nature of the problem, the study then examines how corruption has been overcome at a country-wide level. The overarching lesson of this section is that successful, long-term corruption reform requires that there be endogenous demand in a country for corruption reform, and specifically, that some group or set of individuals develop a stake in fighting corruption. The next section examines how and why endogenous demand is undermined. Civil servants and ordinary people engage in everyday corrupt practices for three main reasons: because it is necessary to do so to survive in a broken state system; because the distinction between a corrupt act and a non-corrupt act is unclear in a given context; and in response to pressure from ethnic or kin groups. Finally, the authors suggest three anti-corruption strategies. First, because corruption is a system-level problem, it can only be reformed through a “big bang” or a “big push” that attacks all dimensions of the problem at once. However, we note that this strategy is limited in usefulness as it can generally only be implemented in very rare historical moments, such as following defeat in a major war. Second much corruption exists because citizens need to be corrupt to meet everyday requirements, such as finding electricity or water. In such contexts, citizens often need the help of intermediaries to navigate state bureaucracies, and these intermediaries can drive up levels of corruption. Reformers should consider providing citizens with other ways of navigating the state. Finally, given the need to attack multiple dimensions of the problem at once, and the difficulty of doing so at the level of a whole country, scholars suggest the strategy of attacking all dimensions of the problem within particular organizations by conducting a “big push” inside one organization at a time. The report concludes with recommendations regarding future, policy-oriented anti-corruption research.
Philippe Leroux-Martin & Vivienne O'Connor (USIP 2017)
Many peacebuilding interventions seeking to support rule of law get stuck. The reason they get stuck may have little to do with the law and its technical dimensions and more with a tendency to treat certain rule of law systems as if they were orderly, regular, and predictable. In reality, peacebuilding practitioners work with complex systems, namely systems that are disorderly, irregular, and unpredictable. Based on research over the past ten years at USIP and drawing upon literature from other fields–such as organizational development, adaptive leadership, change management, and psychology–the authors argue for more adaptive and flexible approaches in peacebuilding and rule of law reform.
Ahmed Ali M. Khayre, (SSRN 2017)
Somalia has been without any effective, central government for the last two decades. The UN Commission on Human Rights stated that “without a central administrative structure, it is not possible to lay down the foundations of a permanent program of human rights for Somalia”. On the other hand, there is a widespread consensus that, for a functioning central authority to be constituted, human rights protection should be made central to all attempts. Admittedly, it seems that the current effort to rebuild the collapsed state of Somalia is geared towards restoring a ‘minimalist’ state that can restore law and order without further thinking about the contextual circumstances and actual reasons, particularly human rights violations, which led to the collapse in the first place. This paper argues that it makes no sense rebuilding the same abusive state institutions. The argument proceeds in three stages. Firstly, it critically analyses the previous failed endeavours that tried to recreate the old order, without human rights components being implemented in the process. Secondly, it examines the role of human rights in creating a legitimate authority that can adequately protect human rights of the citizens. Finally, this paper suggests ways to embed human rights into all facets of state rebuilding.
Amy Kirbyshire, Emma Lovell, Rebecca Nadin, Erin Roberts, Thomas Tanner and Lena Weingartner (ODI October 2017)
This Resilience Scan summarises writing and debates in the field of resilience during the second quarter of 2017. It comprises an 'expert view' on some of the emerging issues for transboundary adaptation, an analysis of blogs from the past six months, and summaries of high-impact grey literature and academic journal articles. The final chapter synthesises the insights from literature in terms of five characteristics of resilience: awareness, diversity, self-regulation, integration and adaptiveness. It aims to encourage a global discourse on how the Rio Conventions, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, can serve as a platform for enhancing work on transboundary adaptation.
Global demographic shifts, the spread of technology and new media, violent conflicts, and other dynamics have generated new challenges and opportunities for today’s young people, who make up more than half of the world’s population. These changes have affected the way that youth communicate with and relate to others, how they perceive and engage with their governments, and how they organize themselves to shape the world around them. With financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), NDI completed a study of youth participation programs and trends in youth political activism and leadership to guide future program decisions. As a result of the study, NDI developed this resource to offer guidance on how to assist young women and men in becoming more politically organized and active. The resource is divided into four main sections. The Context of Youth Development and Political Participation section includes information on the imperative of youth development and participation, contemporary patterns of youth political activism, and how “youth” can be defined. The Unified Theory of Change for Youth Political Participation Programs section introduces and unpacks a unified theory of change for how youth political participation can be strengthened. The Lessons for Structuring Youth Political Participation Programs section lays out guidance for planning and implementing programs that build youth agency and an enabling environment for youth participation, reflecting the unified theory. The Lessons from the Field section features reviews of NDI youth programs in Kosovo and Jordan, describing how they have contributed to the different elements of the unified theory of change. Finally, the site includes information on the Change My Community tool box, which provides practical guidance for young people to lead local-level advocacy campaigns.
Executive/Public Administration/Regulatory Agencies
Mark Miller, Bryn Welham and Abraham Akoi (ODI 2017)
The interest in state-building in post-colonial development thinking is relatively new. Historically, the need to ‘build states’ has received less attention than the need to build effective markets to generate wealth, or build effective political institutions to deliver democracy and respect for individual rights. Since the 1990s, however, there has been a stronger focus on the role of the state in development. There is, for example, a wider recognition – perhaps even a general acceptance – that ‘governance matters’ for development, and that patterns of state/society interaction will shape overall development outcomes. As part of this discussion, some commentators have tried to reconceptualise what ‘development’ means to emphasise that it must include an increasingly sophisticated bureaucratic capability alongside traditional conceptions of greater economic output and more inclusive political institutions. ‘State weakness’ – an inability of the state to deliver basic public goods or undertake essential functions – is increasingly seen as a key challenge for global development. The problem of ‘state weakness’ is often expressed in the concept of a ‘failed’ or ‘fragile’ state, defined as states that are unable – or unwilling – to protect their populations from insecurity, to foster economic development or deliver basic public goods. For some thinkers, fragile states represent the central problem of development in the modern era. This report aims to provide practitioners with an accessible guide to the existing academic and policy literature on the relationship between fiscal governance and state-building.
The second Global Parliamentary Report is jointly produced by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). It focuses on parliament’s role in oversight of government, and parliament’s power to hold government to account for its actions and decisions. Oversight is a core function of parliament. It is essential for building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions as envisioned by Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Parliaments’ oversight of government is critical for ensuring that people receive essential services, and is thus critical for building accountability. Parliament, through its representative mandate, is the appropriate entity through which oversight should be led. The analysis, conclusions and recommendations in the report are grounded in parliamentary practice and experience: 150 national parliaments contributed to the preparation of the report. The report includes numerous examples of how parliaments and Members of Parliament (MPs) carry out oversight in their countries, as well as tips for MPs on ways to approach oversight. The report is intended to stimulate action to strengthen parliament’s oversight role. The future positive development of parliaments and their ability to contribute to achievement of the SDGs depends, in large part, on what oversight can deliver for the populations they serve. UNDP works to strengthen parliaments to help them become fit for purpose for the delivery of Agenda 2030 in some 70 partner countries, and will implement the lessons learned from the report in this work.
Rick Stapenhurst & Louis Imbeau (Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation 2017)
Much has been written on oversight, and especially financial oversight, in countries that apply the ‘Westminster’ model of governance. There has been substantial research and practical interest in the Public Accounts Committee, which, together with the institution of the Auditor General, is the centerpiece of financial oversight in Commonwealth and, increasingly, non-Commonwealth countries alike. In contrast, there has been scant attention paid to the Standing Committees of Finance (SCF), which, in Francophone countries, have similar – but broader – mandates to the PACs. To correct this imbalance, we researched the mandate, organization and resources of SCFs around la francophonie. Reflecting and building upon the approaches noted above, we identified key criteria determining the capacity of SCFs, their statutes (i.e. mandate and organization), their practices (e.g. access to witnesses and public nature of their work) and resources, both financial and human. In selecting these criteria, we ensured that our results would be comparable to research undertaken on PACs. This book presents these results, along with country and regional case studies of oversight in la francophonie.
Mark Buntaine, Brigham Daniels & Colleen Devlin (SSRN 2017)
Decentralization and community-driven development intend to bring public decisions closer to the people, yet elites often capture local institutions. One way that local elites capture community-driven development is to limit information about opportunities for citizens to shape group decisions. We investigate whether sending citizens targeted and timely information about when and how they can participate in the planning of community-driven development projects increases knowledge, participation, and satisfaction with local institutions. We implemented a pre-registered randomized field experiment in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority that involved sending residents in randomly selected villages near Bwindi National Park approximately 60 messages by mobile phone over eight months about how a park-sponsored revenue sharing program worked and how and when residents could participate. We do not find evidence that the information increased perceived knowledge, participation, perceived efficacy, or satisfaction with local institutions. Exploratory findings suggest that among women, who are often disenfranchised in Ugandan society, the information treatment backfired. More positively, we find that reaching more people in a community with information led to promising results. We conclude that informational treatments are unlikely to empower participation on average, unless they are deployed broadly and in ways that promote collective action.
III. PROGRAM DESIGN AND EVALUTION
Caroline Sian Hughes, Sokbunthoeun So,Erwin Ariadharma,& Leah April. (World Banik 2017)
Achieving better governance has been a central problem for development. When public services are not delivered as intended, reform action becomes necessary and that involves deliberate activities to change laws, structures, and processes to improve public sector performance and benefit public service users. The key challenge is that changes in the design of the institution or its procedures do not necessarily translate into immediate changes in the behavior of relevant actors. A central problem of public sector reform is ensuring that changes in laws and policies also prompts changes in the way that people work, so that service delivery improves. There is no one-size-fits-all approach ensuring that change happens the desirable way; however, experiences from the field suggest that a useful combination of political economy analysis with change management tools can help to maximize positive impacts. Different contexts will require different approaches to change management, and therefore political economy analysis can be used productively to design a targeted change management strategy that builds on existing strengths and opportunities. Greater integration of political economy analysis into change management assessments has been helpful in deepening understanding of attitudes to change within these particular contexts. This has allowed more effective leveraging of the opportunities for reform through the more systematic tailoring of change management strategies to different sets of issues emerging among particular groups of actors. Cambodia and Indonesia, the case studies presented in the paper, help to illustrate this.
Assessment Tools and Strategies
Robert Chambers (Practical Action Publishing 2017)
This book is intended for all who are committed to human wellbeing and who want to make our world fairer, safer and more fulfilling for everyone, especially those who are ‘last’. It argues that to do better we need to know better. It provides evidence that what we believe we know in international development is often distorted or unbalanced by errors, myths, biases and blind spots. Undue weight has been attached to standardized methodologies such as randomized control trials, systematic reviews, and competitive bidding: these are shown to have huge transaction costs which are rarely if ever recognized in their enormity. Robert Chambers contrasts a Newtonian paradigm in which the world is seen and understood as controllable with a paradigm of complexity which recognizes that the real world of social processes and power relations is messy and unpredictable. To confront the challenges of complex and emergent realities requires a revolutionary new professionalism. This is underpinned by a new combination of canons of rigour expressed through eclectic methodological pluralism and participatory approaches which reverse and transform power relations. Promising developments include rapid innovations in participatory ICTs, participatory statistics, and the Reality Check Approach with its up-to-date and rigorously grounded insights. Fundamental to the new professionalism, in every country and context, are reflexivity, facilitation, groundtruthing, and personal mindsets, behavior, attitudes, empathy and love.
Christopher J. Fariss & Geoff Dancy (SSRN 2017)
Fifty years ago, the world had very few human rights laws and very little information on human rights violations. Today, the situation could not be more different. The world is awash in laws and indicators of legal violations, and two perspectives have developed to explain their relationship. The factualist approach measures whatever information is available, however imperfectly, and assumes that the resulting indicators are valid representations of the theoretical concepts of interest. The constructivist approach reminds us that these processes are not independent and that a science of law and human rights is fallible. Though the conclusions from these perspectives diverge radically, they agree on a central notion: that international human rights law has contributed very little to social progress. We disagree and offer an alternative, constitutive approach that both accepts the critique of indicators and offers a way forward that encourages scholars to treat measurement itself as an object of theorizing and inquiry.
Political Economy Analysis
Stuti Khemani (World Bank 2017)
This paper reviews the literature relevant to understanding political constraints to economic reforms. Reform refers to changes in government policies or institutional rules because status quo policies and institutions are not working well to achieve the goals of economic well-being and development. Further, reforms refer to the alternative policies and institutions that are available that would most likely perform better than the status quo. The main question examined in the political economy of reform literature has been why reforms are not undertaken when they are needed for the good of society. The succinct answer from the first generation of research is that conflict of interest between organized socio-political groups is responsible for some groups being able to stall reforms so that they can extract greater private rents from status quo policies. The next generation of research is tackling a more fundamental question: why does conflict of interest persist; or, why do some interest groups exert influence against reforms if there are indeed large gains to be had for society? These are questions about norms and preferences in society for public goods. The next step is to examine where norms and preferences for public goods come from, and which institutional arrangements are more conducive to solve the public goods problem of pursuing reforms. After reviewing the available and future directions for research, the paper concludes with what all of this means for policy makers who are interested in understanding the factors behind successful reforms.