Tag Archives: overseas development institute
A number of noteworthy reports on institutional change, development, and foreign aid have been published recently. There is much agreement between them, suggesting that we have reached a tipping point in knowledge in this area. I will briefly summarize the results here and provide links for those who want to explore the subject further.
The Development Leadership Programme lays out a framework for how to work politically:
1) Agency matters. This means that the choices, decisions and actions of individuals, groups and organizations and, in particular, their leaders and elites matter.
2) Leadership matters. But the extent to which he or she will be able to pursue a particular vision depends on his or her ability to mobilize an alliance or coalition of other people, organizations or interests in support of that goal.
3) Coalitions matter. This is essential to reconfiguring political dynamics to overcome constraints and take advantage of opportunities. The possibilities depend on the institutional and political context; the interests, strength and nature of the political opposition; the strategies they adopt; the networks they exploit; and the manner in which their tactics and communications are framed. (more…)
Almost whenever you read anything about fragile states, the introduction notes that, ‘no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet to achieve a single United Nations Millennium Development Goal’. This is a quote from the overview from the 2011 World Development Report on conflict, security and development. It seems to be an elaboration of a quote from the main body of the report that is subtly but importantly different. ‘No low-income, fragile state has achieved a single MDG, and few are expected to meet targets by 2015.’ (more…)
How useful is the concept of political settlement? Not very, according to a recent post by Mick Moore over on the Institute of Development Studies’ Governance and Development blog. Taking particular issue with the lack of consensus regarding definition, Mick questions the legitimacy of the concept, closing with a somewhat pessimistic evaluation of its added value.
To be sure, definitions of political settlement abound, and while many are simply variants revolving around a core theme, others are most certainly competing. To quickly caricature what I see as the biggest ‘battle’ in this war of definitions: political settlement as arrangement of political power vs. political settlement as outcome of a peace process. In these circumstances, confusion is inevitable.
But I disagree with Mick in his assessment of how far the concept of political settlement takes us. As documented by DFID’s Will Evans, recent years have seen the development of a sophisticated understanding of what political settlements are about, shifting from a narrow focus on ‘bargains’ and ‘pacts’ between elites to a broader consideration of the way in which organisational and political power is organised, maintained and exercised (who is included, what are the conditions that determine in/exclusion?). And, despite the multiplicity of definitions, Will identifies a number of ‘common points’, including: (more…)
Although we may not always agree on the specifics – or the application of the concept given its political sensitivities – there is a degree of consensus on the general traits of state fragility. These include, for example, weak capacity to provide basic services, public security and rule of law; inability to manage political conflict; and delegitimization of the state. But this year’s Global Monitoring Report, produced by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, threw a new trait into the mix. “Fragile states,” it argued, are characterized by, among other things, a “lack of timely and reliable statistics on the basis of which policies can be formulated.” (more…)
Despite what many commentators may believe, it is premature to declare Libya a success. As Ed Husain points out on his blog The Arab Street over at CFR.org, armed militias must still be disarmed, the central government is yet to be recognized by the country’s all-important tribes, and an increasingly violent Salafi contingent has yet to be contained.
As the Arab Spring has . . . shown, while getting rid of a dictator may prove relatively straightforward, building a new political order that is grounded in legitimacy and broad-based representation is likely to be much harder. Against a backdrop of great hopes and heightened expectations both within Libya and beyond, it has become clear that the country faces enormous challenges. (more…)