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Helping prevent terrorism and violent conflict the development dimension

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  • 1. Helping Prevent Terrorism and Violent Conflict: The Development Dimension – Some Comments1 By J. ‘Kayode Fayemi, Ph.D, Centre for Democracy & Development, (Lagos & London) “For most people today, a feeling of insecurity arises more from worries about the daily life than from the dread of a cataclysmic world event. Job security, income security, health security, environmental security, security from crime, these are the emerging concerns of human security all over the world.” UNDP, Human Development Report, 1994 The concept of human security began to gain prominence after the collapse ofthe cold war. It argues for a broader conception of security that does not limitsecurity to its narrowly defined, state-centric military notions hitherto dominant insecurity studies and practice in the cold war era. This broader conception seeks toarticulate security in a manner that the individual, the group as well as the state mayrelate to its fundamental objectives of promoting and ensuring the right to life andlivelihood. The OECD poverty reduction guideline document talks of a humansecurity approach that “seeks to address the sources of risk that affect poor people in aco-ordinated fashion, breaking out of the increasingly artificial separation betweenconflict resolution, post-conflict reconstruction, natural disaster preparedness andrelief and rights-based governance work”. (OECD, DAC Report 2000). Whereasthese two documents and several others make clear the link between security anddevelopment and several attempts have been made to ensure that this registers withworld leaders, none of these extensive studies made any impact until the tragic eventsof September 11. Although it is now widely accepted that efforts to address Africa’s1 Being paper prepared for presentation at the OECD Forum 2002 in Paris, France on May 13, 2002. 1
  • 2. violent conflicts must be linked to wider democratisation and sustained developmentefforts, the challenge remains how to translate this new understanding into specificpolicies and how to ensure effective implementation, in particular appropriateinternational development assistance.Causes of Conflict: Understanding the Development DimensionTo understand the development dimension of violent conflict, perhaps the mostimportant task today is to examine in a more nuanced manner the historic roots andcontemporary trajectories of Africa’s violent conflicts and to move away fromsimplistic interpretation of causes based on notions such as ‘greed’, ‘poverty’, or‘ethnicity’. Africa’s conflicts share a common backdrop of economic stagnation andfaltering democratic rule that undermined state capacity and legitimacy in the 1980s.Yet each conflict has followed its own trajectory shaped by political and policychoices partly made by African governments and partly imposed by theirdevelopment partners. Among the most critical elements in understanding the newconflict equation arising out of the 1990s political transition on the continent are:• The shifts in global and geopolitical power relations; in particular the end of the cold war and the withdrawal of the metropolitan security umbrella which paved the way for serious challenges to some client regimes in a manner previously considered impossible.• With the demise of universalistic ideological battle between socialism and capitalism, new forms of conflict emerged in the form of identity issues anchored on religion and ethnicity in particular.• The withdrawal of assistance by big states also resulted in the search for new forms of sustenance leading to the exploitation of resources and criminal activity;• Increasing availability and privatisation of instruments of violence, transforming the military balance between the state and society. (A recent survey indicates that the permanent members of the Security Council were together responsible for 81% of world arms exports from 1996 – 2000. The G8 nations sold 87% of total arms exports to the entire world. US’ share of that is over 50 per cent and 68% of arms supplied to the developing world comes from the United States.)• New forms of violent and trans-national crime. 2
  • 3. Yet in this context of internal cleavages and external fuelling of conflicts, one couldalmost reach the flawed conclusion that the 1980s was a period of unbridled peace.The truth is however more complex that this. Examined critically, the most importantlesson of the 1990s conflict in Africa is that the 1980s laid a solid basis for themthrough the severe economic and fiscal compression exemplified by the structuraladjustment shocks of the period. It is no longer in doubt that the erosion of socialcapital, political legitimacy and institutional weakening of many African states can bedirectly linked to the policy choices that informed governance during this period. - Decomposition of the security sector was a key component of this state collapse. - Equally, the State lost its central relevance due to the SAP’s agenda to retrench it from basic services’ provision to the citizens; - State militarism largely driven by the authoritarian culture which was so widespread in the 1980s laid the basis for the new and more deadly societal militarism represented by the warlords of the 1990s and the violent nature of crime In short, the nature of conflict and politics in Africa was in essence redefinedby the peculiar context of the 1990s and the nature of partnership between Africa andits development partners. Addressing violent conflicts in Africa therefore requiresbroadening the notions of security and developing multi-faceted responses. Fourpillars of peace and security ought to form the core of this agenda: 1) human securityas the bedrock for peace; 2) democracy and open governance; 3) transformation ofviolent conflicts through political processes; and 4) collective security for all Africanstates. At the heart of this conflict prevention agenda is the transformation of Africa’ssecurity establishments. Until recently, the mantra among donors was to emphasisecost-cutting approach to dealing with security sector problems. However, thesolutions required are first and foremost political in nature. To achieve this politicalconsensus, governance in the security sector which treats security actors asstakeholders in processes of democratisation and administrative reform is central,both in terms of long term containment of conflict and democratic consolidation. Theappropriate framework for achieving governance in the security sector is human 3
  • 4. security. Yet, if conflict provides the framework, regionalism is the basic institutionalscaffolding that the development community should help focus on. On its own part, the OECD recognises that there is a need to focus on a humansecurity approach but remains very much committed to state centric notions ofsecurity and seems unsure of the link between poverty and conflict. In my view, thebasic assumption that undergirds a human security approach is the need to adopt abroader conception of security and development, breaking away from state-centricnotions of security which often allows the conflation of regime security with statesecurity to the detriment of the basic needs of the people especially when security isnot seen as a public good – which ought to be the concern of all citizens. The above raises a fundamental problem in a region where efforts to buildhomogenous nation-states on the basis of artificially constructed boundaries haveresulted in forced unity through the promotion of the principle of “non-interference”.To the extent that sovereignty of the nation-state is regarded as sacrosanct and non-derogable, states that have ceased to function as states in the traditional sense ofproviding basic needs for the citizens still enjoy support and assistance indevelopment circles even when it is known that these states are nothing but privatisedentities. So, when the guideline document argues on the one hand that poor people rateinsecurity as a key cause of poverty and states in the same breath that the evidence forseeing poverty as a cause of armed conflict is generally weak, it is reasonable to arguethat this is tantamount to being caught in a cold-war time warp. While it is true thatinequality or relative deprivation rather than poverty as in absolute deprivation ismore to blame for conflict, it is important to take a far more complex view of thecauses of conflict in their economic, political, environmental and cultural dimensions. Clearly, poverty – as exemplified by the inequality arising out of unfairsharing of global opportunities - remains the greatest threat to democraticconsolidation in Africa today and, at the broadest level, globalisation is resulting indeep polarisation between rich and poor throughout the continent. Whereasquantitative accounts of the problems do not always tell the whole story, even theavailable statistics for the African continent paint a gory picture – especially in termsof the impact of conflict on poverty on the continent. 4
  • 5. Acknowledging the fact that an exclusive focus on the nation state hasprevented an understanding of region specific determinants in the poverty-security-development complex might help policy makers and anti-poverty analysts to addresssome of the policy issues and possibilities that can make a difference. How might thisbe taken forward to improve current policy levers in the human security approach,dealing with the practical dilemma of recognition to non-state actors in an attempt atincorporating security into development?Where do we go from here? For a start, as we move towards the G8 summit in Canada, and one whichseeks to make Africa a priority, it is important to acknowledge that Africa’s violentconflicts and security problems can only be resolved through genuine globalpartnership. The 1980s were a testament to the dangers of ‘broad brush’ approaches,characterised by the external imposition of macro-economic stabilisation andstructural adjustment programmes that were sufficiently inflexible to account for thediversity of circumstances and need. Developing more ‘home grown’ approaches willrequire donors to relinquish greater responsibility to Africa’s leaders and their people.Given the different trajectories that we have seen on the continent, it is important todevelop a typology of African states in the post cold war transitions decade in order toavoid the broad-brush strategies that did not work in the 1980s. It is possible toidentify in this context at least five categories of African states ranging from progressto stasis, and in a few cases reversal, and requiring different responses fromdevelopment partners. It is possible to talk of 1) Consolidating states – South Africa,Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal, Benin; 2) Semi, new or proforma democraciesin transition – Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso; 3) States in Conflict oremerging out of conflict – Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Liberia, Eritrea,Rwanda, Burundi; 4) States in relapse or remilitarisation – Zimbabwe, Guinea Bissau,Madagascar and; 5) Authoritarian States or States that have collapsed – Togo,Somalia, Central African Republic. I have identified issues that are common to all thestates in question below and why it is important to respond to them differently, even ifthey are treated in a continuum. Ultimately, my argument is that given the ‘glocal’nature of the conflicts afflicting many of the states, state rebuilding can only be 5
  • 6. reinforced in the context of regional integration supported by global partnership notthrough a uniform understanding of globalisation.Support for peace building and reconstruction: State rebuilding after state collapseoften requires a strong support for peace building and reconstruction measures. Peacein this context has often been interpreted as mere absence of war and state rebuildingis often seen only in terms of physical reconstruction. While physical reconstructionmay be a necessary departure point for state reuilding, the defining characteristic ofstate rebuilding from a human security approach is the presence of holistic securityand a model of conflict management, which emphasises the fundamentals of militarysecurity, democratisation and consensus building, development, economic reform andhuman dignity for the citizens to engage their rulers. Therefore, although the conventional wisdom is to ignore it, the securityrequired in the immediate aftermath of conflict also requires higher rather than lowersecurity expenditure to enable the state and citizens cope with the impact of conflict –rehabilitating refugees and the internally displaced, providing for a secure, safe andenabling environment in which development initiatives can succeed and reintegratingformer combatants into society and economy. In situations where conditions ofpoverty prevail after post war conflict, it is reasonable to predict a correlation betweenthe lack of development opportunities in terms of direct income generation tosurvivors and an increase in criminality and conflict. For policy makers, especially international donors who just want to “move themoney” because of the domestic pressure from disaster management and reliefagencies, there is always the pressing need to construe their role in terms ofimmediate restoration of peace and stability, rather than security and developmentthrough the promotion of common values and the rule of law. The concentration onelections and elections monitoring in say Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in recenttimes gave an impression that what mattered most was the election, not democracy orthat elections are enough to guarantee democracy and development. Experience hassince shown that while there are immediate tasks that must be addressed in terms ofpeace building and reconstruction in every conflict situation – disaster relief andmanagement, repatriation and reintegration of refugees and reduction in theproliferation of small arms and landmine clearance, these are not the most successfulingredients of a successful peace building strategy. 6
  • 7. To promote sustainable security and peace building strategies therefore – antipoverty strategists and international development agencies must take a comprehensivelook at peace building and reconstruction strategies treating them as a continuum withshort term (relief and emergency aid and creating a secure and enabling environment);medium term (peace support operations) and long term (reconstruction, democracy &development) components in an integrated manner. Second, there is a need forstronger cooperation between the Bretton Woods institutions, the UN Systems andother multi and bi-lateral development agencies as well as independent developmentinstitutions to reduce the overzealous focus on achieving fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability at the expense of efforts to protect social spending. The impact that structural adjustment reform programmes have had and how itcontinues to negatively impact on African states is a sad reflection of lack ofcoordination on the part of these institutions. Third, it is extremely important thatinternational institutions should seize the momentum provided by the weak capacityof the state to align external assistance with local needs and efforts, not an opportunityto impose received wisdom and new theories of development. This is extremelyimportant in the context of recent claims that NEPAD is Africa owned – a claim thatis rejected by many Africans. Where state institutional capacity is weak, an immenseburden of responsibility is placed on IFIs and development agencies in which realdialogue with the people and wide consultations underscore whatever actions aretaken. Finally, international donors cannot ignore the international context in theirresponse to peace building and reconstruction efforts. How, for example, has theoften convoluted linkage between trans-national corporations, proliferation of armsand promotion of neo-liberal globalising trends by the industrial world undermine thesuccess of security and development reforms in countries emerging out of conflict,especially within the context of an unstable region in which domino effect is realrather than imagined. These are some of the issues that are central to any discussion of policyresponses on peace building and reconstruction efforts and the extent to which theguideline document considers them critically would determine the possibilities ofsuccess that might accompany critical intervention.Support for State monopoly of means of coercion: As has been argued above, thisthinking itself is a product of the state-centric notions of security that dominated 7
  • 8. traditional thinking in the cold war era. Since the state is increasingly seen asunrepresentative and illegitimate in Africa, it would be useful for developmentspecialists and anti-poverty strategists to begin to consider seriously conditions underwhich conflict might be seen to be a legitimate means of removing certain regimetypes that promote conflicts and anti-poverty strategies in the way leading actors haveencroached upon common pool resources. To this end, some questions might sufficein any consideration of complex political situations rather than focus exclusively onstate monopoly of means of coercion. This is not to suggest that states do not havelegitimate needs for security which might necessitate legitimate procurement andmonopoly of means of coercion, but this has to be demonstrated in the mannersecurity is treated as common public good. It may therefore be necessary to consider:• Under which circumstances, if any, is war necessary to remove bad governments? That is how do we distinguish between justifiable rebellion and needless conflict?• How is regional economic and political co-operation built between and among states to address the pathology of militarism?• How can state-centric definitions of security be de-emphasised, and the role of civil society in peace building increased?• How is democratic control of the military to be built in states undergoing political transition or moving from war to peace – through parliamentary oversight, effective institutions of governance and genuine interaction between the military and the rest of society?Acknowledging the need to ask these questions should help to address some of thepolicy challenges posed for conflict transformation and security sector reform in thecontext of globalisation and subject state monopoly of violence to international andregional checks. Although there is evidence to suggest that IFIs and developmentagencies now accept the arguments about broadening policy framework, but thecommitment to the mutually reinforcing interaction between the values of democracy,equity and sustainability still remain subordinate to the core need for macro-economicstability and integration into the international political economy. This is why many inAfrica are still suspicious of the IFIs’ commitment to a human security approach inspite of the new rhetoric about local ownership and social capital. 8
  • 9. Promoting social coherence through civil society development and multi-culturaltolerance: If peace-building is taken as the sum total of activities that will support peacemaking and conflict transformation: demobilisation, re-structuring of the localsecurity system – police and the military; resettlement of refugees and the internallydisplaced persons; removal of dangerous weapons – mines and other unexplodedfirearms, reconstruction of shattered infrastructure and humanitarian and disasterrelief – very few still advocate that this could be done with the exclusion of civilsociety. Indeed, even IFIs and development agencies now see civil society as key tothe successful implementation of these various aspects of post-conflict peace buildingprocess. In discussing rights based approach to governance and poverty reduction,local ownership and development of social capital rests with the civil society, but it isimportant to place this within the context of developing institutional mechanisms formanaging diversity and difference and incorporating international human rightsframework into domestic law. Hence, the rights of the people to their resources shouldnot be compromised at the altar of encouraging foreign direct investment, especiallywhere this undermines environmental security. Since states are usually products of war and rampage, it might sound far-fetched to base the quest for tolerance on the notion of reclaiming the militarisedmind through the creation of structures capable of mediating conflict betweenbelligerent parties. Perhaps, an explanation of this construction is necessary here.It is suggested that the military option now prevalent in several parts of theAfrican continent is the inevitable consequence of the acute nature of internalcontradictions and the almost total absence of democratic institutions that canassist in the management of deep-rooted conflicts. It was assumed in policy and development circles that support for neo-liberaldemocracy will help achieve this objective, hence there was the enthusiasm fordemocracy assistance and ‘good governance’ in the early 1990s and donor countriesmade some efforts to move economic assistance away from former concerns aboutstimulating economic growth to an emphasis on political objectives, including supportfor processes of democratisation and building of civil society. Although the above represented a shift from the days of the super-powerideological rivalry, even this shift in development agencies and IFIs’ assistance has 9
  • 10. concentrated primarily on a ‘private good, public bad mantra’ through the reform ofthe public sector and involvement of the ‘civil society’ to the extent that it promotesthe neo-liberal paradigm, not on an alternative vision of bottom-up reforms driven bysocietal consensus. The fact that many of the transitions of the last decade in Africanow approximate to - at best electoral democracies and at worst elected dictatorships,has raised new questions on how to deepen the democratic content of current reformsin a process oriented, participatory and accountable manner. At every level, the ideaof constitutionalising democratising polities that have largely functioned as‘virtual’ democracies along multifaceted lines is taking shape. Today, the fact that the struggle for reconstituting the African state is takingplace in no fewer than fifteen African states in Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe,Cote d’Ivoire, Swaziland and Lesotho, to mention but a few, underscores aparadigmatic shift from constitutionality to constitutionalism, a situation whereconstitutions are now seen as tools for building bridges between the state and civilsociety, a social compact based upon a foundation of consensus among the constituentelements within the polity and between them and the state. What has to be emphasisedhowever for the purpose of poverty reduction and human security in reconstitutingAfrican polities is the importance of an organic link between the constitution as a ruleof law instrument incorporating international human rights framework and primarilyconcerned with restraining government excesses, and the constitution as alegitimisation of power structures and relations based on a broad social consensus indiverse societies. In short, if it is to promote the mutually reinforcing role ofpromoting development, security and democracy, the task today is largely betweenbridging the gap between “juristic constitutionalism” and “political and socio-economic constitutionalism” if the reconstituted state is to have meaning and beaccountable to its citizens.Building assets that provide security against disasters and economic shocks: Conventionally, the way most development agencies have promoted thebuilding of assets against disasters and economic shocks has been to focus on macro-economic stability strategies like Structural adjustment reforms, electoral democraciesand support of measures that seek to provide the enabling environment for foreign 10
  • 11. direct investment and the global integration of the economy – a mutual pursuit ofpolitical and economic liberalisation. So far, the logic of trickle down economics hasfailed to produce an integrated world economy in which all zones are winners.Indeed, as Caroline Thomas and Peter Wilkin argue, In the process of globalisation, the continent (Africa) has quite literally been left behind in terms of the distribution of the spoils of the process. The promised advantages of economic restructuring, as hailed by the IMF, World Bank and individual developed countries, have not been borne out. Foreign investment fails to flow in; debt burdens continue; commodity prices fluctuate; environmental degradation proceeds…and industrialisation fails to occur. (Thomas & Wilkin: 1998).This clearly contradicts the core assumption of globalization that wealth wouldautomatically be created when the free market gains universal acceptance in theworld. By arguing that the way to build assets against shocks is not via the creation oflocal self sufficiency, but national economies should concentrate on what they cancontribute to the world economy, globalisation ignores the comparative advantage ofthe North, locks states of the global South into relative powerlessness by creatingconditions for conflict which further weakens the mediatory role of the states.Instead, it empowers those elites within the state who can form part of the convolutednetwork in business and government capable of acting independently of the juridicalstate. The fallout of this globalising trend is the unregulated trade in illicit mineralresources, proliferation of arms and narcotics and the illicit trade in narcotics whichall of which ultimately undermine food security, environmental security and thesecurity of the individual – all factors responsible for conflict today. (Insert here theother section in the globalization paper) It has also helped in deepening the rural-urban divide, fostered inter-generational strife occasioned by youth frustration andexacerbated the scourge of refugees and the internally displaced, all of which havemoved the hapless below the poverty line and moved them closer to violence andconflict. The greatest assets against shocks and disasters ultimately lie with thedevelopment of human resources, better management of natural resource endowment 11
  • 12. and respect for local ownership of the reform agenda whether in determining the roleof the State or in arriving at the most effective poverty reducing mechanisms. It isalso useful to examine and analyse individual situations on their merit, rather thanassume that the market is God. This is of course not to suggest that market has norole in reforming states structures. It is to say that there are no universal models ofthe market as providing the best assets against shocks and disasters, hence donoragencies must learn from their own experiences of the market, security and publicsector reforms in formulating realistic policies that are not driven by dogma even asthey admit that certain assumptions undergird their work based on their State valuesand principles.In pursuit of human security and human development Based on the above comments, a number of measures seem to suggestthemselves to policy makers and donor agencies in developing a human securityapproach that promotes human development:1. There is a need for conceptual clarity through a comprehensive approach to security sector reform in policy and development circles;2. There is a need to adopt a regional approach to conflict prevention;3. Policy instruments must recognise the need to reconcile economic and social development and enhance the input of non-state actors – in policy formulation to enhance social capital rather than entrench the leverage of IFIs and donor agencies on States;4. Recognition of legitimate security needs of nation-states must be factored into the human security approach to poverty reduction;5. Policy instruments must problematise the link between globalisation and conflict, rather than assume that it is always going to be positive in the promotion of pro- poor growth; 12
  • 13. 6. Policy instruments must locate the security agenda within the democracy and development framework and reflect the link between politics and economics, and between security and opportunities;7. There is the need for democratic governance, not just civilian control of military and security establishments in democratising polities;8. Human security approach is a process, whose results will not necessarily be immediate, hence the need for a long term view by interested stakeholders and anti-poverty strategists.It is our hope that the leaders meeting in Kananskis, Canada this June will bear theabove in mind as they prepare the Action Plan for this much needed partnership forAfrica’s Development – one that secures the world and promote peace.REFERENCESBarry Buzan et-al, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, (Boulder, Colorado:Lynne Rienner, 1998).Caroline Thomas & Peter Wilkin (eds), Globalisation, Human Security & the AfricanExperience, (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner, 1998)CODEP, Report on the outcomes of the consultation on globalisation and conflict forthe White Paper on International Development: Globalisation & Development(London, June 2000)DFID, Security Sector Reform and the Management of Military Expenditure: Risks forDonors, High Returns for Development, Report on an International Symposium,February 14-16, 2000.Draft Guideline Chapter on Poverty Reduction for OECD/ETC InternationalConference. 13
  • 14. J. ‘Kayode Fayemi, “Security Challenges in Africa”, Seminar: Indian Journal ofOpinion, Special Issue on African Transitions 490, June 2000.R.Luckham, I.Ahmad and R.Muggah, The Impact of Conflict on Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Background paper for World Bank poverty status assessment forSub-Saharan Africa, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, May1999.Brendan Martin, New Leaf or Fig Leaf? The Challenge of the New WashingtonConsensus. Report prepared for Bretton Woods Project and Public ServiceInternational. 2000.UNDP, Human Development Report 1994UNHCR, The State of the World Refugees 1998. 14

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