Research this month

Informal justice and the international community in Afghanistan

While much of the international community’s efforts to work with informal justice in Afghanistan may have been well intentioned, the foregoing critiques suggest that they have not always been well informed.

Informal justice and the international community in Afghanistan, from USIP, looks at the approaches, both international and Afghan-led, to supporting informal justice in Afghanistan. The report argues that international approaches have often been damaging, and presents guiding principles applicable to Afghanistan and beyond.

New technology and the prevention of violence and conflict

In the long run, however, the most effective approach to using new technologies for conflict prevention may well be the one needed in prevention more broadly: one that successfully balances both grassroots, decentralized efforts and the more rationalized and coordinated activities of governments and international organizations.

New technology and the prevention of violence and conflict is a collection of articles looking at the role of new technology in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The articles draw on a number of case studies, providing lessons for practitioners and identifying areas of further research. There is a 90 minute video of the launch event and subsequent discussion available to view online. Published by the International Peace Institute with support from UNDP and USAID.

Help or Hindrance? Results-orientation in conflict-affected situations

Methodological and organizational responses to make interventions in conflict-affected contexts more focused on results are often poorly adapted to grapple with the complexity of these environments.

Help or hindrance examines the impact of results-orientation, impact assessment, and value for money on peacebuilding. Based on two expert workshops organised by Swisspeace, it offers a counterweight to the recent increased focus on results, which, the paper argues, has led to too much emphasis on 'upward accountability' at the cost of general learning and accountability for communities.

Demobilisation in the DRC: Armed groups and the role of organisational control

The ex­-combatant interviews show that RCD­ Goma, the CNDP, and the Mai­ Mai groups mimicked the organization of a conventional national army. This meant that low­ level troops could be closely monitored, and also that the risks of being caught and punished for desertion were high.

Demobilisation in the DRC details how armed groups in DR Congo are able to control the demobilisation of individual combatants. The paper shows the mechanisms of organisational control used by armed groups to prevent "unauthorised" demobilisation, and presents possible ways of countering these disincentives. Published by the Small Arms Survey.

Violence against women in Syria: Breaking the silence

Risks of stigmatisation and rejection of survivors impose a culture of silence, preventing women reporting crimes of sexual violence. As a result, the vast majority of those in need of medical and psycho-social support do not have access to such services.

Violence against women in Syria draws on testimony from refugees fleeing the conflict to show the extent of violence against women in the Syrian conflict. The report gives accounts of the violence by all sides of the conflict, and the social stigma that prevents women speaking out. From the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Pakistan Calling

Pakistan Calling is an innovative platform for filmmakers to show the links between civil and cultural organisations and communities in Pakistan and the UK. The films explore some of the many pressing social problems facing Pakistan, and highlights the inspiring stories of people and organisations tackling these issues.

From the Blog

From the field: Peace negotiations in Colombia: is an end to the conflict possible?

Fabio Andres Diaz, a Colombian peace researcher, examines the prospects for peace in Colombia with the government and the leading rebel group, FARC, sitting around the negotiating table. Read more »

Pakistan calling: an innovative film project exploring social problems in Pakistan

Pakistan Calling is a innovative platform for filmmakers to show the links between civil and cultural organisations and communities in Pakistan and the UK. The films explore some of the many pressing social problems facing Pakistan, and highlights the inspiring stories of people and organisations tackling these issues. Read more »

Supporting local agents of change: missing pieces of the puzzle

Western donors need to rethink their policies for supporting social change in former communist states of Eastern Europe in order to support vulnerable democracies, especially by enabling local civil society to create demand for alternative models of development among its citizens. Read more »

The humanitarian role of local faith communities

In humanitarian emergencies across the world, people commonly look to their local faith communities for support. But does religion help people and societies to cope with and transition out of conflict and disaster? Or is it ill-equipped, superstitious and fatalist, even creating conflict in the first place? Our preliminary investigation has found that the situation is complex and requires careful research. Read more »

New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States

Carolyn Hayman, Chief Executive of Peace Direct, looks at the progress of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. Read more »

Sexual violence as a peacetime-wartime continuum

Kirthi Jayakumar argues that sexual violence during war is a reflection of a society’s attitudes towards women during peacetime. Read more »

Building Peace: a forum for peace and security in the 21st century

The inaugural issue of “Building Peace: A Forum for Peace and Security in the 21st Century”, launches today. Find out more about the publication and where you can watch the launch event live online. Read more »

Change depends on people

Ten peacebuilders in Israel and Palestine are asked: ‘What is your motivation to work towards peace?’ This is an insight into motivations of ten committed peace activists on both sides of the conflict at a specific moment in time. Read more »

What does the difference between driving a bus in Stockholm and Delhi have to do with evidence-based policy-making?

Arnaldo Pellini, Research Associate with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), asks: are evidence-informed policies and decision-making processes the prerogative of central governments or can they also take place at local level? Read more »

Your energy and the heart of conflict resolution

James O’Dea, author of Cultivating Peace: Becoming a 21st Century Peace Ambassador, explores the variety of energy types people possess, and the way in which these energy profiles affect conflict resolution. Read more »

Liberia: early warning and early response collaboration

Civil Society organisations, representatives of the government of Liberia line ministries, and United Nations organisations in Liberia are working collaboratively for the prevention of violence through the establishment of a conflict early warning system in Liberia. Read more »