Highlights of ECDPM activities in support of conflict, security and resilience in 2012

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For an overview of publications and events in 2012, please click here

Enhancing the EU's political and institutional capacity for conflict, security and resilience

We contributed towards this objective by providing direct, demand-led, technical support to some of the key change agents within the EU institutions. For instance, we supported the EEAS’ Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Mediation division (CPPM) to develop a guidance note on conflict prevention in support of DCI/EDF programming for discussion in the Conflict Prevention Group. We also trained officials from the EEAS in conflict sensitivity and analysis and conflict prevention in EU programming. This included designing the process and co-facilitating a joint EU – civil society conflict analysis workshop on northern Nigeria. Another key output was monitoring the process leading up to the launch of the pilot phase of a new Conflict Early Warning System. Our work centred on exploring ways to strengthen the learning around the tool as well as related consultation and decision-making processes.

Over the course of the year we produced a series of evidence-based documents aimed at enhancing conflict mediation capacities and contributing to the generation of relevant knowledge within and outside the EU. To demonstrate the impact of EU mediation support we produced factsheets on key mediation topics as well as a study on European experiences in mediation and dialogue that included an evaluation of the Mediation Support Pilot Project.

Through both our analytical research and our work behind the scenes within the EEAS institutions, we have amassed a strong knowledge base on the different instruments EU has at its disposal for conflict prevention and peace building, which we share broadly. An example of this is our analysis of actual and potential value of the Instrument for Stability in the Briefing Note: “1st Among Equals? The Instrument for Stability and Conflict Prevention & Peacebuilding in the EUs new financial perspective”. The recommendations contained in the Briefing were used in subsequent iterations of the regulations. 

Through regular formal and informal briefings, blogs, speaking at events we share ideas, and are asked to share our analysis and insights on topics related to conflict and fragility. The Cabinet of the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European Parliament, EU member states (notably the Netherlands, Germany and Finland), and African Union entities all sought ECDPM’s input on these issues. 

Support to African institutions and policy processes and EU – Africa policy dialogue

The policy process that appears to have the strongest momentum in relation to conflict and fragility is the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals and the resulting New Deal agreement (reached in November 2011) that is currently being piloted in five countries, four of which are in Africa. Yet, the implementation of the New Deal addresses issues that overlap with continental policy frameworks, such as the AU’s Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Policy. Furthermore, the regional perspective - not at all addressed in the New Deal - requires much stronger consideration, in view of the often cross-border nature of conflict and the increasingly regional nature of European Security Strategies. 

In 2012 ECPDM initiated conversations with partners in Africa, such as the African Platform for Development Effectiveness of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance in Lusaka and other potential partners, on ways to address this deficit. Our goal was to engage our African partners in joint learning and dialogue on how to achieve the transformation from conflict to situations of stability. We also sought to increase policy coherence and synergies between the different processes, and to feed lessons learnt into policy exchanges at the pan-African and regional levels. 

Another area of focus during the year was providing input to the EU Working Group on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals as it formulated indicators for monitoring implementation of the Goals. We also contributed to work by the G7+ members themselves, which led to requests for further inputs. As these indicators are an essential part of operationalising international support to fragile states, ECDPM’s engagement in this area is potentially of high impact, and opens up important windows of opportunity for further engagement with partners in opening up the dialogue and learning around these peace- and statebuilding goals on the African continent and in Europe. In addition it opens up windows of opportunity to bring Southern partners more prominently into the dialogue.

Enhancing State-society relations and domestic accountability 

In a study for the German Federal Ministry of Cooperation and Development (BMZ) we explored the operationalisation of support to domestic accountability in different country contexts ranging from high governance levels to fragile states. This body of work should contribute to an improved approach for addressing fragility in different development contexts, which is of high importance given the increased focus on fragile Middle Income Countries globally. 

Yet, societal resilience goes beyond the state-society relationship; it relates to the ability of a society to adapt and renew its institutions and systems in the face of changing circumstances or (external or internal) demands. External support can support such forces for change, but it can also undermine them (often unwillingly), as elaborated in our Discussion Paper “Strengthening civil society? Reflections on international engagement in fragile states”. 

In many policy frameworks the concept of resilience is often primarily associated with linking relief and development, and in particular in relation to disaster risk management and food security. In a number of articles published in ECDPM’s Talking Points blog, ECDPM framed transitions out of fragility as complex problems that can benefit from a systems’ perspective. This perspective also underpinned our responses to the EC’s communications on resilience and related discussions by the European Parliament on Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development. We conducted additional analysis exploring how current institutional and policy processes surrounding the Drought Resilience Initiative in the Horn of Africa frame and define resilience, with recommendations on how the Initiative could promote more resilience-enhancing policies.