What Makes Inter-organizational Collaboration in UN Peacebuilding Work? Results from an Organizational Analysis of the UN Community in Liberia

This article addresses inter-organizational collaboration (IOC) among United Nations organizations in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. Taking an organization theory perspective on the subject, the article investigates which factors drive or impede the ability of the different branches of a United Nations peacebuilding system to ‘work together as one’ and to deliver results to its beneficiaries in a more coordinated and coherent fashion. Building on evidence from extensive field research in Liberia, the article develops a typology of IOC factors, and identifies nine particularly important key factors for effective IOC. With this, the study makes available an informative basis for the allocation and prioritization of managerial attention and resources in present and future peacebuilding endeavours.

Transition from war to peace in Sub-Saharan Africa

Several devastating conflicts have persisted in Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 20 years or more. Some countries are still emerging from the era of cold war politics, while debilitating internal struggles continue to plague others. Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, and more recently, Angola and Mozambique are examples of the former. The latter is illustrated by the situation in countries such as Liberia, Somalia and the Sudan. This study, the transition from war to peace in Sub-Saharan Africa, offers practical guidance and examples of good practice for improving the design and implementation of programs for demobilization, reinsertion, and reintegration of ex-combatants and their dependents in client countries. It also provides a list of early warning signals that indicate whether the demobilization and reintegration programs (DRPs) process is not going according to plan and suggests preventive actions. Work on the ground, as well as case analysis in countries such as Ethiopia, Namibia, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, and Rwanda form the basis of the suggested good practice in DRPs.

After War then Peace: The US-based Liberian Diaspora as Peace-building Norm Entrepreneurs

The US-based Liberian diaspora’s role in the country’s 14-year civil war and its aftermath is paradoxical. Consistent with existing literature on the role of diasporas in conflict, the group largely played a role contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War and its continuation. However, in a paradigmatic shift, the group is currently contributing towards the peace-building process by serving as norm entrepreneurs. Factors that have contributed to this shift include a strong demand in the homeland for a change in the ‘rules of the game’, a shift in US foreign policy towards promotion of democracy in Africa, and a concerted regional and international effort at promoting peace-building norms. The inclusiveness of the mechanisms for norm transfer, the conduct of the messengers and local perception of norms, affect the degree to which they are well received.

Unintended Impacts and the Gendered Consequences of Peacekeeping Economies in Liberia

Despite increased international attention to managing the potential impacts of peacekeeping on host countries, unintended consequences continue to emerge. This article focuses particularly on the alternative economies that peacekeeping operations generate and the differential economic impacts on individuals who come into contact with peacekeepers. Based on empirical evidence derived from fieldwork in Liberia, the article highlights the everyday lives of women whose livelihoods have been affected by the presence of peacekeeping missions. It also discusses how such economies adjust during the peacekeeping drawdown phase, and explores the dynamics that such economies have on specific segments of the Liberian population. The argument is that, while peacekeeping economies are critical in stimulating the local economy and providing livelihoods during and in the immediate aftermath of war, they have negative unintended impacts that need mitigation.

Outsiders Inside the State. Post-Conflict Liberia between Trusteeship and Partnership

The essay explores how the statebuilding intervention in Liberia produces a situation in which the locus for public authority is unclear and lines of responsibility and accountability are difficult to pinpoint. It does so by zooming in on one particular element in the intervention – the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program – and concludes that the opacity surrounding this programme risks defeating the wider liberal objectives of the statebuilding intervention.

Liberia’s Civil War

Offering the most in-depth account available of one of the most baffling and intractable of Africa’s conflicts, the book unravels the tangled web of the war by addressing four questions: Why did Nigeria intervene in Liberia and remain committed throughout the seven-year civil war? To what extent was ECOMOG’s intervention shaped by Nigeria’s hegemonic aspirations? What domestic, regional, and external factors prevented ECOMOG from achieving its objectives for so long? And what factors led eventually to the end of the war? In answering these questions – drawing on previously restricted ECOWAS and UN reports and numerous interviews with key actors – Adebajo sheds much needed light on security issues in West Africa. The concluding chapter assesses the continuing insecurity in Liberia under the repressive presidency of Charles Taylor and its destabilizing effect on the entire West Africa sub-region.

Desk Study on the Environment in Liberia

A new chapter in the history of Liberia started when the peace agreement in Accra, Ghana, was signed in August 2003. The National Transitional Government of Liberia has been established, and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is helping to reestablish the security in the country. The fighting in Liberia has not only had a devastating impact on its people but also on the country’s rich natural resources and biodiversity. In Liberia, as is the case in many other African countries, resource abundance or scarcity is all too often the catalyst for war and suffering. The Liberian people have been forced to pay a high price for living in a country rich in prized timber and mineral resources. In modern Africa, environment security and effective and fair resource governance are at the very heart of peacemaking and peacekeeping. The misuse of natural resources has not only been a source of conflict in Liberia and the wider region, but has also sustained it. Effective and strong management to promote the sustainable use of natural resources is central to preventing additional conflict in Liberia. For the long-suffering people of Liberia, many of whom have been displaced and separated from their families, this new era provides them with a chance for a better future.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations agency for the environment. I have been asked many times if in the post-conflict situation – like in Liberia today – it is too early to speak about environment and sustainable development. My experience
is that sustainable development cannot be achieved if one of the three key components of it – economic, social or environmental – is forgotten. In Liberia, the country’s growth is dependent on the management and use of its natural resources: timber, minerals, agriculture
and wildlife. Unfortunately, during the last 14 years of misery we have witnessed the woeful and unsustainable use of Liberia’s natural wealth to buy arms and support conflict. UNEP, as a part of the United Nations Development Group and its Needs Assessment process for Liberia, has managed the cross-cutting sector of environment. Working with United Nations colleagues, the government of Liberia and its agencies and with non-governmental organisations, UNEP has collated environmental background data, which is now published in this desk study. My sincere wish is that as soon as the security situation allows, the comprehensive environmental legislation already prepared by Liberia as well as recommendations of this study can be fully implemented.

At War’s End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict

This book is a major contribution to an understanding of the theory, practice and consequences of peacekeeping.  Paris demonstrates how peacekeeping has evolved from the modest attempt to keep the peace into the much more ambitious agenda of engineering the socio-political conditions of a stable peace.  Paris shows that the attmept by the international community to promote democracy and markets has created, in various places, not a liberal peace but instead renewed competition and violence.  Cases include: Angola, Rwanda, Cambodia, Liberia, Bosnia, Croatia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Namibia, Mozambique, Kosovo, East Timor / Timor Leste, Sierra Leone

Capacity-building or Capacity-taking? Legitimizing Concepts in Peace and Development Operations

This article critically analyses capacity-building and local ownership in the context of UN peace operations through interviews with UN staff and NGO representatives in Liberia and Burundi. The argument is that these concepts are left ambiguous and undefined to avoid accountability for peace operations while still functioning as value-adding and legitimizing discursive instruments for the latter. This article proves that the many paradoxes and contradictions surrounding the concepts clearly deter their operation in practice, while their positive connotations remain important, discursively, as legitimizing tools.

Strategic Approaches to Reintegration: Lessons Learned from Liberia

From a security perspective, the reintegration of ex-combatants has been largely successful in Liberia due to six years of sustained effort to reestablish rule of law throughout the country, to rebuild institutions, to promote early recovery, and to reintegrate the former fighting forces as well as other war-affected populations. This, however, does not mean that all problems related to integration are completely resolve. Since 2003, an array of efforts have been undertaken to reintegrate ex-combatants, from classic disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration to strategic and community-based interventions that aims at promoting alternative livelihoods. Here, Tamagnini and Krafft consider what those efforts have achieved and what was not achievable, explain why it is time to end targeted assistance to ex-combatants in Liberia, and propose the next steps to be taken.

Briefing: Liberia’s Experiment With Transitional Justice

Last June, Libera’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) threw a live wire into the ranks of the country’s post-war establishment. Having gathered more than 20,000 statements and examined many scores of witnesses, the Commission handed down a Final Report recommending that 98 people be prosecuted for violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes committed during Liberia’s civil war. Among those named were several sitting members of the country’s legislature, a number of prominent businessmen and public officials, and a professor at the University of Liberia.1 In the Liberian capital, Monrovia, a group of men recommended for prosecution by the TRC called a press conference at which they warned ominously that the Report threatened to return Liberia to war. Several of the Commissioners received death threats, some on their cell phones, others in notes hand-delivered to their homes. At least two Commissioners went into hiding. It was not only among former warlords that the TRC’s Final Report caused displeasure. In addition to the list of those recommended for prosecution, the Final Report went on to recommend that a further 50 people be barred from public office for 30 years on account of the support they gave to warring factions. Included on this list was the country’s feted president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, an icon of the international women’s movement and a widely lauded exemplar of good governance and civility.

Ending Civil Wars: The Success and Failure of Negotiated Settlements in Civil War

Based on the study of every internationally negotiated civil war settlement between 1980 and 1998, this volume presents the most comprehensive effort to date to evaluate the role of international actors in peace implementation. It looks into promises made by combatants in peace agreements and examines when and why those promises are fulfilled. The authors differentiate between conflicts, showing why Guatemala is not Bosnia, and why strategies that succeed in benign environments fail in more challenging ones. Going beyond attributing implementation failures to a lack of political will, the volume argues that an absence of political will reflects the judgment of major powers of the absence of vital security interests. Overall, the authors emphasize that implementers must tailor their strategies and give priority to certain tasks in implementation, such as demobilizing soldiers and demilitarizing politics, to achieve success.

From Promise to Practice: Strengthening UN Capacities for the Prevention of Violent Conflict

How can the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations, government donors, and other policymakers best apply the tools of conflict prevention to the wide range of intrastate conflict situations actually found in the field? The detailed case studies and analytical chapters in this book offer operational lessons for fashioning strategy and tactics to meet the challenges of specific conflicts, both potential and actual. The cases included are Burundi, Colombia, East Timor, Fiji, Georgia, Kenya, Liberia, Tajikistan, and Tanzania/Zanzibar.

A Framework for the Analysis of Post-conflict Situations: Liberia and Mozambique Reconsidered

For a long time analysts of war-torn societies have understood post-conflict situations primarily as processes of transition towards consolidated statehood. This perspective is increasingly considered unsatisfactory in that it raises false expectations of state-building processes and conceals important dynamics unfolding in situ. This article formulates an integrated analytical framework that allows for characterizing and assessing the dynamics in post-conflict polities. It is argued that any post-conflict polity can be characterized by focusing on the interactions between three post-conflict actors: the formal government, external actors and informal powers. In a second step Amartya Sen’s capability approach is used as an analytical benchmark for measuring state-building achievements. Subsequently, the analytical framework is applied for comparing two diverse post-conflict environments, Mozambique and Liberia, in order to illustrate the potential and limitations of the analytical framework.

Employing the Environment as a Peacebuilding Tool: Environmental Peacemaking in the Context of Post-conflict Peacebuilding in Liberia and Mozambique

This paper aims at contributing to this branch of research by providing first attempts for a theoretical discussion of the role of environmental cooperation in post-conflict peacebuilding, followed by an illustration of two concrete peacebuilding cases: Liberia and Mozambique. The major underlying question is how a closer link between research on environmental peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding can be achieved. The paper argues that both branches of research have historically been rather detached from one another. Work on the link between environmental aspects and security has often been dominated by environmentalists, e.g. water engineers or conservationists, while research on post-conflict peacebuilding has often been done by those specialized in the fields of international relations or conflict resolution. A systematic study of potential spill-over effects between research and environmental peacemaking and other branches of research might therefore reveal interesting findings about the potential role of environmental peacemaking in the context of post-conflict countries. Chapter 2 provides a start into this discussion by reviewing some of the core literature on the link between natural resources and violent conflicts, the theoretical background of the environmental peacemaking theory, and some of the literature on post-conflict peacebuilding. Chapter 3 uses the insights gained from this theoretical discussion in order to systematically look for interconnections and spill-over effects. As a result of this discussion, concrete hypotheses about the role of environmental peacemaking in post-conflict countries will be derived. Chapters 4 and 5 contain a discussion of the peacebuilding challenges in Mozambique and Liberia, followed by an analysis of the potential role for environmental peacemaking to support their peacebuilding processes. Chapter 6 contains the conclusions of this discussion, followed by a range of concrete policy recommendations, addressed primarily to the international community.

The Struggle to Satisfy: DDR Through the Eyes of Ex-combatants in Liberia

This article calls for a re-examination of the justification, formulation and implementation of DDR programming in certain post-conflict environments. Qualitative fieldwork among ex-combatants in Monrovia, Liberia, suggests that the extent and form of DDR programming must be more sensitive to and predicated on context, accounting for conflict histories and current socioeconomic conditions and local institutional capacity. Moreover, in some post-conflict societies, a better use of international community resources may be to delink disarmament and demobilization from reintegration, focusing reintegration resources instead on open-access jobs programmes with discrete, complementary bilateral or multilateral programmes for particularly vulnerable groups.

Would You Fight Again? Understanding Liberian Ex-Combatant Reintegration

One of the frequently used tools in the post-conflict toolbox to prevent ex-combatants from returning to conflict is “demobilization, disarmament, rehabilitation, and reintegration” (DDRR) programming, supported by the international community. But frequent recidivism and the failure of ex-combatants in many post-conflict societies to become productive citizens is leading to efforts to better understand the motives and the psychosocial dynamics that affect ex-combatants’ decisions following the end of a conflict-especially decisions concerning a possible return to violence. While most studies of DDRR programs focus on tallying participants and gauging the effectiveness of vocational training, few have focused on how the ex-combatants themselves see their own reintegration, their future, and the issues that could compel them to rejoin a fighting faction. Thus, there has been minimal understanding of how ex-combatants’ personal characteristics and experiences during and after conflict affect their choices and attitudes toward reintegrating into society or resuming violent activities. The authors led an initiative to listen to ex-combatants in war-ravaged Lofa County, Liberia, and in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, to identify the key factors affecting their choice of whether to build a life as a civilian or explore taking up arms again. CHF International, a U.S.-based international development organization, received a grant from the United States Institute of Peace to examine reintegration dynamics in Lofa County and later extended the research to Monrovia. The research, based on a survey administered to more than 1,400 ex-combatants, builds on recent efforts by others to hear the opinions of combatants and ex-combatants.1 While the research encompassed multiple aspects of ex-combatants’ economic and social reintegration, the focus here narrows to a single subject: the likelihood and potential causes of ex-combatants’ return to combat.

Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions

In a sweeping review of forty truth commissions, Priscilla Hayner delivers a definitive exploration of the global experience in official truth-seeking after widespread atrocities. When Unspeakable Truths was first published in 2001, it quickly became a classic, helping to define the field of truth commissions and the broader arena of transitional justice. This second edition is fully updated and expanded, covering twenty new commissions formed in the last ten years, analyzing new trends, and offering detailed charts that assess the impact of truth commissions and provide comparative information not previously available. Placing the increasing number of truth commissions within the broader expansion in transitional justice, Unspeakable Truths surveys key developments and new thinking in reparations, international justice, healing from trauma, and other areas. The book challenges many widely-held assumptions, based on hundreds of interviews and a sweeping review of the literature. This book will help to define how these issues are addressed in the future.

Aiding Peace? The Role of NGOs in Armed Conflict

As non-governmental organizations play a growing role in the international response to armed conflict – tasked with mitigating the effects of war and helping to end the violence – there is an acute need for information on the impact they are actually having. Addressing this need, Aiding Peace? explores just how NGOs interact with conflict and peace dynamics, and with what results.

Too Little, Too Late? International Oversight of Contract Negotiations in Post-conflict Liberia

International actors involved in transitional post-conflict situations often focus their attention on the reconstruction of a state’s political apparatus. Even where control of natural resources is central to the conflict, there tends to be less consideration of resource governance issues in transitional periods. This article examines one particular aspect of resource governance – the negotiation and signing of foreign investment contracts – in the context of post-conflict, pre-election Liberia. The investment contract process was mishandled by the transitional Liberian government. Although local interests resisted external oversight, international actors could and should have done more, in the interest of all Liberians, to proffer contract negotiation expertise and to prevent the transitional government from locking the state into unsatisfactory deals on major resource assets. International actors did address the contract issue and external oversight of economic governance more generally during Liberia’s formal transitional period, but ultimately their interventions amounted to too little and they came too late.

Resurrecting the Rule of Law in Liberia

The rule of law is more than a legal concept. It encompasses more than an established set of rules and legal institutions. In the case of Liberia, there can be no rule of law without the commitment of those relatively few people who administer those rules on behalf of a post-conflict state that has endured twenty-five years of civil war and exploitation. This Essay seeks to prove that existing legal architecture and institutions in a post-conflict state matter less to the rule of law than does the character of the people who run the legal system. The Essay does not suggest that legal rules are, or should be, subordinate to personality in the orderly functioning of a postconflict society. However, it concludes that emphasis on creating new laws to address the perceived causes of state failure will ultimately accomplish little if the judges and lawyers who operate the legal system are not genuinely committed to the rule of law. This argument is developed by outlining, in very broad terms, the pre-conflict Liberian legal system and how it failed to serve as a meaningful bulwark against warlord predators. Then, the Essay focuses on a particular case, decided by Liberia’s Supreme Court on August 23, 2007, involving Liberia’s former head of state, Charles Gyude Bryant, who served as chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) from October 2003 until the inauguration of Liberia’s current President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on January 16, 2006. The Bryant case provides an example of how the presidential immunity provision in Liberia’s Constitution was invoked in an attempt to trump the rule of law with the rule of impunity, and how the Supreme Court of Liberia’s judgment offers hope for a better day in Liberia’s legal future, notwithstanding the divided opinion of the Court.

Liberia’s Post-War Recovery: Key Issues and Developments

This report, which is updated as events warrant, covers recent events in Liberia, a small, poor West African country. It held elections in October 2005, with a presidential runoff in November, a key step in a peace-building process following its second civil war in a decade. That war began in 1999, escalated in 2000, and ended in 2003. It pitted the forces of Charles Taylor, elected president in 1997 after Liberia’s first civil war (1989-1997), against two armed anti-Taylor rebel groups. It also destabilized neighboring states, which accepted Liberian refugees and, in some cases, hosted anti-Taylor forces and became targets of the Taylor regime.

Building States to Build Peace

There is increasing consensus among scholars and policy analysts that successful peacebuilding can occur only in the context of capable state institutions. But how can legitimate and sustainable states best be established in the aftermath of civil wars? And what role should international actors play in supporting the vital process? Addressing these questions, this state-of-the-art volume explores the core challenges involved in institutionalizing postconflict states. The combination of thematic chapters and in-depth case studies covers the full range of the most vexing and diverse problems confronting domestic and international actors seeking to build states while building peace. Case studies include: Somalia, Palestine, Bosnia, East Timor / Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Liberia

Security Sector Reform in Liberia: An Uneven Partnership without Local Ownership

The security situation in Liberia is currently quite good, and at a glance the peacebuilding process seems to be moving ahead. However, the root causes of the conflict have not been adequately addressed, but have in fact become more interlinked in the aftermath of the civil war. Instead of addressing local perceptions of insecurity the international community made plans for Liberia without considering the context in which reforms were to be implemented. The peace in post-conflict Liberia is therefore still fragile and the international presence is regarded as what secures the peace. Still, the UN is supposed to start its full withdrawal in 2010, indicating that the international community will leave the country without addressing the root causes of conflict.

Making Plans for Liberia – A Trusteeship Approach to Good Governance?

Since the end of the Liberian civil war in August 2003 the international community has been “making plans” for Liberia. However, it rarely questioned whether these plans were in accordance with the political and economic logic of the peace agreement and the subsequent transitional government. The consequence was that corruption continued and a much more intrusive economic management plan was established. The Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme is supposed to combat corruption and facilitate good governance, but it also limits the range of policy options for the new democratically elected government of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The irony is that the best and most legitimate government that Liberia has ever had is subject to stronger external control than any of its predecessors. The probability that this scheme will remain sustainable when donor interest shifts elsewhere is low, and what is needed is a more pragmatic approach that draws a wider segment of Liberian society into anti-corruption management and creates checks and balances between them.