Situated in the far northeastern corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brcko District is widely heralded as a successful multi-ethnic society. Such portrayals are typically “top down” and centred on institutions, yet it cannot be assumed that multi-ethnicity at the institutional level necessarily translates into everyday relations between Brcko’s ethnic groups. Based on qualitative interview data, this article explores Brcko from the “bottom up”, through a focus on inter-ethnic relations in everyday life. Its central argument is that viewing Brcko through this additional lens not only raises important questions about the District’s image as a success story but also, and more broadly, has significant implications in highlighting the limitations of liberal peacebuilding and the importance of “peacebuilding from below”.
Most conflicts today arise from intra-state rather than interstate tensions. Many developing countries are unable to manage intra-state conflicts effectively, mainly because of capacity constraints in their governance and oversight institutions, political manipulation and executive interference. The result is that public confidence in the institutions remains weak and there is greater resort to private and group justice. National development is thus deeply affected. In restoring public confidence in the state’s ability to manage inter-group and inter-community conflicts, many governments are establishing and institutionalising standing national capacities for conflict prevention and resolution as extensions of their national governance framework. This article is a critical review of the efforts to establish such capacities in Kenya.
Local peace initiatives have been introduced in post-conflict settings in aid of statebuilding processes. However, contradictions in such efforts that undermine the state become apparent in a development context when government institutions are, generally, functioning. Peacebuilding initiatives in the arid lands of Kenya are a good example of this. While they have proved successful in resolving conflicts at the local level, they challenge the state structure in three ways. First, some of their features run counter to the official laws of Kenya and jeopardize the separation of powers. Second, they pose a dilemma, since their success and legitimacy are based on grassroots leadership and local concepts of justice. Both can be at odds with democratic decision-making, inclusiveness and gender equity. Third, they provide yet another tool for abuse by politicians and other local leaders. This reveals a dilemma: aspects of peacebuilding can actually undermine a statebuilding endeavour.
The conflicting relationship between peace and justice is frequently debated in the field of transitional justice. The obligation to prosecute serious crimes can contradict the measures necessary to reestablish peace among society. The predicament gives rise to a similar, though less obvious, challenge in many developing countries, where the formal justice system can be at odds with conflict management initiatives. Often, due to their inaccessibility or
incompatibility with local socio-cultural norms, official justice institutions in developing countries do not fully penetrate the whole of society. In response, conflict management and peacebuilding initiatives have proven to be more flexible and responsive to socio-political realities. While such initiatives may be more efficient in reestablishing the peace between communities in conflict, they may contradict the official law. Current policy efforts and practices in the arid lands of Kenya illustrate this dilemma. Official justice institutions have proven too weak or ill-suited to prevent or resolve conflicts between local communities. To address the prevailing tensions, local ad hoc peace initiatives have developed, which operate on the basis of local norms and include local stakeholders. Given their relative success, some high level state agents have embraced the initiatives. The Office of the President is currently drafting a national policy framework on conflict management and peacebuilding, which is in part based on the experiences in the arid lands. Such a policy framework will ultimately have to deal with a similar dilemma known from the field of
transitional justice: a decision between the establishment of peace and the application of formal justice may be required.
Community Driven Development (CDD) projects are now a major component of World Bank assistance to many developing countries. While varying greatly in size and form, such projects aim to ensure that communities have substantive control in deciding how project funds should be used. Giving beneficiaries the power to manage project resources is believed by its proponents to lead to more efficient and effective fund use. It is also claimed that project-initiated participatory processes can have wider ‘spillover’ impacts, building local institutions and leadership, enhancing civic capacity, improving social relations and boosting state legitimacy. This paper briefly reviews the World Bank’s experience of using CDD in conflict-affected and post-conflict areas of the East Asia and Pacific region. The region has been at the forefront of developing large-scale CDD programming including high profile ‘flagships’ such as the Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) in Indonesia and the Kapitbisig Laban Sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) project in the Philippines. As of the end of 2007, CDD constituted fifteen percent of the lending portfolio in East Asia compared with ten percent globally. Many of East Asia’s CDD projects have operated consciously or not in areas affected by protracted violent conflict. CDD has also been used as an explicit mechanism for post-conflict recovery in Mindanao in the Philippines and in Timor Leste, and for conflict victim reintegration in Aceh, Indonesia. It then looks at the evidence on whether and how projects have achieved these outcomes, focusing on a range of recent and current projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. The analysis summarizes results, draws on comparative evidence from other projects in the region and elsewhere, and seeks to identify factors that explain variation in outcomes and project performance. The paper concludes with a short summary of what we know, what we don’t, and potential future directions for research and programming.
Civil service reconstruction is important in post-conflict countries because conflict erodes institutions and civil service capacity. And because successful reconstruction-in all sectors -requires domestic capacity to implement projects, a weak civil service undermines overall reconstruction efforts. Moreover, donor assistance is crucial to a country’s rebuilding, and coordinating such assistance requires a certain amount of civil service capacity. In addition, the Bank has found that country ownership is essential for successful projects. But country ownership can be jeopardized if international agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) dominate reconstruction efforts, overwhelming states already weakened by conflict. Civil service reconstruction offers an opportunity to start anew, with little of the resistance to civil service reform often encountered from politicians and civil servants. It allows good practices to be instilled from the outset-without having to undo bad ones.
This report develops and discusses a new analytical framework to understand the functions of civil society in peace building. In theory and practice, there is a wide variety of ways to categorize civil society contributions to development and peacebuilding. Donors tend to employ actor-oriented perspectives, focusing on supporting activities of different types of civil society organizations in a given situation. This report proposes to move toward a functional perspective, centered on the roles that different actors can play in conflict situations. The analysis shows that civil society can make numerous positive contributions and have unique potential to support peacebuilding and conflict mitigation. It can do so independently as actor in its own right, or in relation to peacebuilding processes and programs led by Governments or the international community. Despite many successful initiatives on the ground, however, civil society should not be considered a panacea. The existence of civil society per se cannot be equated with the existence of peacebuilding actors. Similarly, civil society strengthening and support does not automatically contribute to peacebuilding. While civil society organizations are frequently actors for peace, they equally have the potential to become actors of violence. So far, outcomes and impacts of different civil society peace interventions have not been sufficiently evaluated. Civil society and donors need to more strategically identify the objectives and demonstrate the relevance of the particular approaches they propose to engage in different phases of conflict/peacebuilding. Without greater clarity regarding objectives and intended impacts, and, without addressing existing institutional constraints and distortions, activities run the risk of being well-intentioned, but unlikely to achieve sustainable results.
This note looks at the challenge of capacity building in post conflict countries, including options for creating capacity and the trade-offs between speed and longer-term impact, the need to ensure that aid management agencies include sunset provisions, and six proposed general lessons for more sustainable capacity building.