Creative disruption for better security & justice programmes
30 May 2016 - 14:31
Source: Jack/flickr

Results of a Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law event

In this podcast (10 min), Senior Research Fellow Erwin van Veen discusses what is needed to get serious about improving security and justice programmes in fragile societies with Craig Valters (Overseas Development Institute), Debra Ladner (The Asia Foundation) and Hans Rouw (PAX). Their conversation takes place during an Interactive Brainstorm of the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law on 10 May 2016. They argue that three actions can address part of the existing shortcomings:

  1. Programmes must incentivize the ability to learn from their operational experiences to a much greater degree. Budget allocations, using processes like strategy testing (pdf) and monitoring for the sake of learning (instead of accountability) can help.
  2. A more dedicated skills set should be nurtured that centers on enhanced abilities to manage change, to manage risk and to display the right level of diplomatic astuteness to get traction in this sensitive area of programming;
  3.  Programmes need to be designed as adjustable interventions underpinned by a continuous conversation about what is possible and what is not.

The backdrop for these suggestions is that a fair number of programs that seek to strengthen security and/or justice in conflict-prone environments do not deliver well on their stated purpose - irrespective of whether it is defined in terms of development or statecraft. Yet, there is little sense of urgency amongst the international community concerning this state of affairs. This is in part because existing accountability mechanisms, bureaucratic inertia and skills shortages create a placidity that prevents space for experimentation with alternative approaches from emerging.

You can listen to the podcast here.