About peacebuilding, peacekeeping, “statebuilding”, constitution-making and “resilience”
Challenges of peace negotiations
The challenges of peace negotiations are many.
During peace negotiations, parties focus their attention on security concerns rather than the long-term institutional, social, and political development of the country. When it comes to constitutional design, for example, security concerns are likely to lead to a focus on the accommodation of elite interests and to demands for strict power sharing or territorial devolution models, which are often inimical to long-term peacebuilding.
Peace processes are typically elite affairs and tend to be inadequately representative of a given society's interest groups. Negotiated settlements represent compromises among wartime elites. As a result, when they contain detailed governance models, they tend to institutionalize what were meant to be short-term deals and to compromise long-term peace.
Besides that by rewarding wartime elites with positions in the central state institutions, agreements may alienate from the reconstruction process those citizens who worked during the conflict to counter its negative social and political consequences through a variety of civil society outfits.
So, peace agreements should put in place frameworks or solid governance structures and detailed policies?
- Liberal Peacebuilding targets
Liberal peacebuilding rests on security, humanitarian assistance, democracy, governance, development, market-based economic reforms and institution building, but it should also look at history and cultural background.
- The secondary role of the international community in relation to national stakeholders in peace operations
In a peace operation the leadership role must be unquestionably of the nationals. The foreigners need to fully understand and accept that, vital as their own contributions may be, their stay is temporary. However important and even indispensable their contribution — security forces, financial aid and technical expertise — might be, they do not have the right to impose their views over the national will and the legitimate aspirations of the indigenous people.
To underscore the primacy of local over foreign concerns in no way means that the international partners have to accept the views of the local parties unconditionally and without discussion, but the genuine respect for the local population is indispensable.
- How can we simultaneous ensure balanced progress toward both peace and justice over longer periods through a succession of stages or UNO missions?
Peacebuilding raises several dilemmas: i) "horizontal dilemmas" — the extent to which different actors are engaged and included in the political settlement; ii) "vertical dilemmas" — the relationship between the political elite and the rest of society, including issues related to democracy and human rights; iii) "systemic dilemmas" — the active role of international actors themselves and the spillover effects of domestic conflicts; and iv) "temporal dilemmas" — the balancing of short-term versus long-term objectives.
- Peacebuilding and peacemaking
There is undeniably a tension between the priorities of peacemakers and peacebuilders. Peacemakers work with elites who yield military power with the primary goal of ending the violence. They are preoccupied with short- and medium-term tactical decisions. But we cannot totally distinguish peacebuilding (implementation) from peacemaking (mediation), because peacemaking, as political engagement by a third party aiming to assist the resolution of political disputes among parties, is an activity directly relevant to peacebuilding. Fierce political disputes persist after the signing of agreements and peacebuilders routinely use the tool of mediation to assist their resolution. We can especially see mediation as directly relevant to peacebuilding if we define peacebuilding as an essentially political endeavour and if we understand peace agreements as one of several landmarks in a long political process.
- Is there any difference between peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping?
Post-conflict peacebuilding is a “new concept” introduced in 1992 by Boutros-Ghali to define “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid relapse into conflict” [UN, Agenda for Peace], while peacemaking and peace-keeping were traditional instruments “required to halt conflicts and preserve peace once it was attained”.
Later, in 2000, the Brahimi Report refined peacebuilding as “activities undertaken on the far side of conflict to reassemble the foundations of peace and provide the tools for building on those foundations something that is more than just the absence of war”.
Nowadays peacebuilding has three main scopes: i) stability creation; ii) restorations of State institutions, and iii) addressing the socio economic dimensions of conflict. While peacekeeping in mainly based on: i) consent of the parties; ii) impartiality; iii) non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
- Difficulties of post-conflict democratization
Are Western models of liberal democracy an appropriate model for the democratization of these states?
Should partial success be emphasized, recognizing that many years are required for democratic consolidation and that expectations should be lowered?
Democratization refers to the processes whereby the rules and procedures of citizenship are applied to political institutions previously governed by other principles (coercive control), expanded to include persons not previously covered (ethnic minorities), or extended to cover issues and institutions not previously subject to citizen participation (state agencies).
To peacebuilding and post-conflict political construction, it is necessary to learn from, rather than repeat, the past and bridge the disjuncture between local priorities and donor interests. Multilateral and bilateral efforts to promote peacebuilding and democratization require continued refinement and evaluation at both the strategic and operational levels.
If donors prioritize peacebuilding and democratization in transitions from violent conflict, then it is imperative that donors ensure that their assistance effectively advances these goals.
Multilateral and bilateral donors should help contribute to more stable, effective, and legitimate forms of governance. Effective governance is a critical underpinning of development. The ultimate challenge of governance is managing conflict without violence, which can best be served through democratic institutions and processes developed with local participation and the use of appropriate forms of knowledge.
- Peacebuilding under hybrid agency model: a resilience proof of the post-colonized and post-conflict nations?
Hybrid models can create space for inclusivity, but the hybrid agencies can also become powerful than the States, and this is a threat for longstanding peace.
We need hybrid models where the participation of both parts absorbs the resilience aspects of the post-colonized and post-conflict nation’s societies.
- The risks associated to third-party political engagement in the post-agreement period
Third-party political engagement in the post-agreement period is neither neutral nor without risks.
Excessive interference or inappropriate contribution of third parties in the political process can have multiple negative consequences. Instead of encouraging national leaders to initiate inclusive political processes, external actors often prevent adequate consultations from taking place by imposing deadlines suitable to their own timetables. They favour the participation of certain political groups and leaders over others based on their own interests and understandings of a country's political realities. Sometimes, they even impose their favourite models of consultation as opposed to those derived from national political tradition.
It is important that national leaders are in the driving seat of post-peace agreement politics with third parties, when necessary, pushing for inclusive political processes and for the expansion of political participation. Third-party mediation and political engagement needs to strike a balance between allowing the domestic political process to develop through the initiative of national leaders and facilitating the opening up of this political process to as many social groups as possible. External actors cannot and should not try to replace indigenous political processes.
- The relation between “peacebuilding” and “statebuilding”
Building structures and capacities to prevent conflict and maintain peace will often be an integral part of broader statebuilding efforts and vice versa. Peacebuilding and statebuilding are therefore closely related and will often be mutually reinforcing. However, peacebuilding and statebuilding do not represent identical objectives, and there may be tensions and dilemmas involved in their practical application.
The dilemmas involved in peacebuilding are long recognized. Since the 1990s, we know that the lessons learned from the peacebuilding debate may therefore be useful in a statebuilding context.
- Why and how international actors should engage in statebuilding processes?
Donor governments and international agencies often justify and legitimize their statebuilding support by referring to international norms, such as human rights. Others question the relevance of these norms, in particular, in fragile states that are unable or unwilling to live up to them and have only limited means of exercising their sovereignty.
Local actors must be listened, because they know much better how to solve their own conflicts than anyone else.
However, should not these two positions be reconciled with each other?
- Are International Norms Relevant for Statebuilding? What are the sources of international norms? What dilemmas and trade-offs are involved in their application? How mechanisms for engaging national statebuilding actors work?
There should be a balance between the respect for international norms and an understanding and appreciation of the national context, because international interventions in fragile situations often run the risk of doing harm by causing tensions and fragmentation of societies if they are not sensitive enough to the political, historical, and cultural context.
The imposition of international norms in fragile situations may threaten the sustainability of the statebuilding process, thereby perpetuating fragility, poverty, and a marginalized status in the international system.
This discussion should lead international statebuilding actors to clarify their own role in promoting normative standards in fragile situations in a number of ways that would help to strengthen progress.
- Is “statebuilding” a Local Process or an International process?
Statebuilding is concerned with states institutions geographically bounded and functioning in a local cultural and historical context. Statebuilding must therefore be managed by local processes and led by national actors if it is to be sustainable and legitimate.
When international actors do engage, they inevitably create strong expectations and incentives for national actors, and these expectations and incentives may stimulate both positive and negative change. A neutral or value-free international engagement is not possible. However, international actors need to align themselves with national actors and need to be particularly sensitive to national and local initiative in fragile situations and to find flexible ways of engaging with partners at the local and national level. While normative standards remain relevant for international actors, they need to be realistic about the speed and quality of progress in fragile situations, and they need a level of tolerance and appreciation of local norms and values in order not to undermine ownership.
Well-targeted international assistance may support domestic processes, but excessive attempts to import policy prescriptions from the outside may risk undermining the internal legitimacy and sustainability of the statebuilding process, especially in fragile states.
- The relation between "nationbuilding" and "statebuilding"
Statebuilding and nationbuilding are organically linked and should be considered as a whole?
How can international norms contribute to a “nationbuilding” process?
It is very important do discuss these issues because, apparently, the creation of a national identity is an inherently domestic process, and it is counterintuitive to consider a role for international agencies or international norms in this. Although it is possible for donors to support the institutions of the state, there is little certainty what potential effect this could have on national identity.
- The role of Constitution-Making in the peace process
A new constitution is essen tial to work as the framework of principles and rules upon which the new state can act. Although it is risky, ramming a constitution in the peace process, because people coming out of a conflict are hardly capable of building the national consensus required for the successful drafting of a constitution.
Related to this issue many others arise: when and to what extent should public participation take place? How can constitutional processes become more inclusive? How can Constitutional Commissions be more representative? How can the judicial system pro tect constitutional rights and guarantees?
- Does participation in international trade is actually beneficial to development and statebuilding?
Free trade and participation in the global trade system has come to be seen as a basic norm for the management of the economy by the state. It requires states to live up to certain standards and follow certain rules in their behaviour and has thus become part of the double compact required for legitimacy. However, globalization requires states to live up to certain standards, but these demands constitute a shrinkage of "development space" and "self-determination space" that may have harmful effects on statebuilding.
- How the normative standards of development interact with the objectives of statebuilding?
The current debate on statebuilding is strongly influenced by development cooperation and, in particular, the focus on good governance as a condition for effective poverty reduction. A general discussion about international norms in statebuilding therefore needs to consider the specific normative standards of development.
However, the causal relationships between support for good governance, statebuilding, and development outcomes may often be complex and require lengthy and uncertain processes of change. It is questionable to what extent these processes can be mapped out in advance even on the basis of thorough political and social analysis, and it is also questionable to what extent early statebuilding interventions can be linked directly with progress toward international norms, especially in fragile situations.
- What is the effectiveness of aid conditionalities and their impact on development and statebuilding?
Development assistance has increasingly gained a status as a key instrument to promote a range of international norms. Human rights conditionality has become a common feature of bilateral development cooperation while economic policy conditionality has been part of assistance from the international financial institutions for decades. Yet the example of economic policy conditions in the 1980s and 1990s in Africa showed that the development assistance helped to stabilize macro-economic conditions, but it also created incentives for elites to deplete existing low levels of state capacity even further, and this had a harmful effect on the long-term prospects for development.
- How can countries and in-country development actors start and/or advance New Deal implementation?
The New Deal and its institutional drivers — the International Dialogue on peacebuilding, made up of international partners organized through the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) and the g7+ — emerged within a context of the growing critiques targeted at the aid architecture and its inability to effectively respond to the problems of fragility and conflict.
In June 2011, five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSG) were agreed on in Monrovia, setting the framework for the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States (New Deal). These goals were: i) legitimate and inclusive political settlements and conflict resolution; ii) establish and strengthen people’s security; iii) address injustices and increase people’s access to justice; iv) generate employment and improve livelihoods; v) manage revenue and build capacity for accountable and fair service delivery.
Over forty countries and international organizations endorsed these goals at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, in November 2011. The New Deal set out two strategic tools in order to measure the progress: i) a set of indicators for each of the five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals, that would be developed by the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding to track progress at the global and the country levels; and ii) a fragility assessment with a diagnostic tool (the "fragility spectrum") to assist fragile and conflict affected states to assess and map their way out of fragility. g7+ will develop these tools supported by international partners.
How should progress out of fragility and conflict, and toward peacebuilding and statebuilding, be measured? The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has engaged the debate through its report "Governance for Peace: Securing the Social Contract" arguing that the immediate needs and complex state-society relations that characterize fragile and conflict-affected societies are not accounted for.
At the third meeting of the Indicator Working Group in New York, in September 2012, a first effort to assess to collectively the commonalities across the fragility assessments emerging from the pilot countries took place. From this, a set of common areas for measurement has been developed for pilot countries to take back to their national settings, and to reflect and report on, alongside their specific country indicators. A "South-South Knowledge Exchange on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Indicators" held in October 2012 in Nairobi to provide opportunity for g7+ countries to share experiences in developing their country lists and to build ownership and consensus around the process and product of the emerging shared list of indicators. This brought g7+ representatives from bureaus of statistics, ministries of finance, focal points of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding process, and civil society together from eight g7+ countries.
After a long discussion on global development indicators, they agreed on a list of 64 indicators shared at a November meeting in Haiti for g7+ ministers. This list circulated for feedback through the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding community at large, but also to a range of new experts globally and in particular in the Global South. The consultation feedback was presented at the fourth meeting of the Indicator Working Group in Nairobi, in January 2013, and after several days of deliberation a streamlined list of 34 indicators was agreed upon.
The UNDP report “Governance for Peace: Securing the Social Contract” (2012), produced by the United Nations Development Programme’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), outlined the key components of an approach that help improve the social contract. The social contract refers to processes by which everyone in a political community, either explicitly or tacitly, consents to state authority, thereby limiting some of her or his freedoms, in exchange for the state’s protection of their universal human rights and security and for the adequate provision of public goods and services. This agreement calls for individuals to comply with the state’s laws, rules, and practices in pursuit of broader common goals, such as security or protection, and basic services in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. These included the following:
- Promoting responsive public institutions at both national and local levels;
- Supporting inclusive politics, based on transparent and predictable mechanisms that include and engage individuals or social groupings commonly marginalized or wholly excluded from political life;
- Fostering resilient societies, chiefly by promoting robust state–society and society–society relations.
- Building fiscal institutions in post-conflict countries
Taxation is particularly relevant in addressing economic inequalities and social inequalities that have some impact on economic disparities. While most policies aimed at political inequalities lie outside the fiscal system (in constitutional arrangements, for example), decentralization of the fiscal system can empower local groups and thereby reduce political horizontal inequalities.
According to the IMF, building fiscal institutions in post-conflict countries implies a three-step process. These steps are: i) creating a legal and/or regulatory framework for fiscal management; ii) establishing and/or strengthening the fiscal authority; and iii) designing appropriate revenue and expenditure policies while simultaneously strengthening revenue administration and public expenditure management.
The ultimate aim should always be the same — to make fiscal policy and fiscal management effective and transparent.
In this sense, the guided Fiscal Affairs Department’s advice to post-conflict countries on building or reestablishing their fiscal institutions drew attention to the need to promote transparency in fiscal operations; ensure a minimum level of revenue collection; and ensure that spending patterns reflect government priorities.
It is essential to create in these countries a proper legal and/or regulatory framework for fiscal policy, through the constitutions and tax and budget laws. The creation of a consolidated package of customs and tax legislation, regulations, and directives is essential, as well as a new Budget Law. It is also important to adopt a first post-conflict budget — sometimes a transitional one covering three to four months, but also to reestablish the authority of the government to collect taxes and prepare an adequate budget law.
It is therefore necessary to establish a central fiscal authority (to develop a fiscal strategy and monitor its impact on the economy; formulate expenditure policy and execute the budget; formulate tax policy and collect revenues) and a mechanism for coordinating foreign assistance.
In cases where there is little or no administrative capacity, long-term advisors can play a critical role in building capacity (for example by helping train local staff) and transforming skills in the early post-conflict stages.
However, it is necessary to analyze the fiscal impacts of the introduction of policies controlled by Western institutions in fragile states, because the international processes can frustrate the development of robust state–society relations. Examples of this is the fiscal weakening of governments subjected to strict requirements by the international community to liberalize capital controls and trade taxes (with resulting revenue losses), and also to strong transnational tax competition, which tends to favor “light” domestic tax regimes and, in the worst cases, non-transparent accounting and illicit capital flight. The insertion of national economies into global trading and financial circuits sometimes exposes national producers, consumers and public treasuries to fluctuations in income, prices, and revenues that often trigger violence.
Some of the forces that tend to block or weaken the economic basis of a social contract include:
- Rents accruing to elites who control international economic flows, both licit and illicit, rather than relying on tax revenues drawn from the wider economy;
- Unimpeded flows of investible surpluses from poorer to richer jurisdictions, exacerbating problems of corruption, low domestic investment and unaccountable governance;
- Lack of global tax regulations, leaving countries alone in their efforts to address under-taxation or outright evasion, especially of corporations.
Aid donors have an important role to increase the general progressivity of the tax system by increasing the role and progressivity of direct taxes and property taxes, and increasing the progressivity of indirect taxes by raising rates on luxuries and exempting basic goods consumed by the poor. It is also, important design indirect taxes to bear more heavily on privileged groups, by introducing taxes or increasing rates on geographic areas, and production and consumption activities, in which such groups are concentrated.
Where the government has the requisite political will, donors can provide technical assistance to build capacity to analyze and redress inequalities. Where political will is lacking, donors may not be able to change firmly held positions of the government in power, but they can draw attention to the need to monitor and take action to reduce inequalities, as well as help collect relevant data. They can also request that public expenditure reviews incorporate equity considerations, and ensure that their own assistance contributes to correcting inequalities.
- OECD 2016 final recommendations on States of Fragility