Research this month
Local First in practice: unlocking the power to get things done
This study addresses a fundamental problem of current aid practice. Because the sector focuses on the provision of external resources, it is dominated by donor agendas and often ignores existing capacity in recipient countries. This has some damaging and distorting consequences for local agency and ownership, and can lead to inappropriate and misconceived interventions that end up exacerbating the very problems it aims to solve.
Local First in practice is a detailed study of models for locally-led development projects, written by Rosie Pinnington as part of the Local First initiative. Under the Local First initiative, Peace Direct researched practical approaches and partnership models that can be used by international organisations to work in a way that allows local people to lead their own development.
Hungry for peace: positives and pitfalls of local truces and ceasefires in Syria
While they can prove problematic in some areas, and have been co‐opted as part of the government’s starvation and surrender policy, or used as a military tactic by other forces, local agreements have often delivered tangible improvements on the ground that the top level talks singularly failed to do.
Hungry for peace, from the LSE and Syrian NGO Madani, presents an in-depth analysis of examples of grassroots peacebuilding in Syria that have led to local ceasefires and pockets of peace. The research looks at the motives behind such peace deals and the key factors that lead to their success or failure.
Civil society speaking out: agendas for a sustainable peace in Colombia
In order to build a sustainable peace, it is essential to involve those that have suffered the impact of the conflict in the peace-building process. For this an enabling environment needs to be created – an environment where participative democracy and human rights are respected and promoted.
Civil society speaking out, from ABColombia, looks at how civil society in Colombia is contributing to the peace process. The paper stresses the importance of recognising the vital role that civil society plays in building sustainable peace.
Learning from governance initiatives for conflict resolution: local agency, inclusive dialogue and developmentality
Many elements of such initiatives are less than ideal and do not lead to the ultimate objective of helping to resolve the conflict. In some cases, they may actually have created more tension than existed before.
Learning from governance initiatives for conflict resolution, from the Berghof Foundation, draws on a series of case studies from diverse conflict environments to examine the use of governance initiatives for conflict resolution. The paper is critical of these initiatives for often failing to acknowledge local capacity, having poor-quality dialogue among stakeholders, and pursuing a goal of pacification instead of peacebuilding.
Conflict, climate and environment
With the post 2015 Development Agenda fast approaching, the rationale for exploring the relationship between conflict, climate and environment has never been more urgent.
Conflict, climate and environment, from International Alert and the Overseas Development Institute, serves as a guide to the relationships between conflict and the environment. The publication provides an in-depth introduction to the key issues, debates and latest thinking.