Topic: Conflict and Security

What restrains extreme violence – Culture or the Law?

Ed Cairns on how advocates of international humanitarian law have started getting excited about culture and norms Do we need to get used to war? That’s the frightening question from the 2018 Armed Conflict Survey, from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), launched with the blunt message that ‘peace processes are stalling… the number […]

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What can the Thinking and Working Politically community learn from peace and conflict mediation?

Alex Douglas from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue adds some useful insights for adaptive management/TWP from his vantage point in peace building Wily aid practitioners have long understood the importance of adapting their programs to the political environment, and even use their activities to push politics in a progressive direction.  But this magic was spun […]

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Escaping the Fragility Trap? Why is it so hard to think constructively about fragile states?

Just been reading the report of the ‘Commission on Fragility, Growth and Development’. Hosted by LSE and Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government; big name chairs (David Cameron, Donald Kaberuka and the LSE’s Adnan Khan). And I think it’s a bit disappointing. But the reasons for that are actually quite interesting and instructive. First the positives. […]

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What’s the role of Aid in Fragile States? My piece for OECD

The OECD’s ‘States of Fragility’ report was published yesterday. It’s a 260 page monster, so I haven’t got round even to skimming it yet. Will report back on the interesting bits, but in the meantime here is the piece I contributed, on fragility and aid. If aid is primarily aimed at reducing extreme poverty and […]

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Adaptive Management: the trade offs; how to build trust; the sources of resistance and how to counter them

Not sure if you can take any more posts on Adaptive Management, but I had an interesting conversation with Stephen Gray on AM and Peacebuilding, which he may be using for a podcast. A few lightbulb moments: Things we often assume go together, but they actually don’t. Two candidates: Results v Risk: There is a […]

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The Global Humanitarian Assistance 2018 report is out today – here are six top findings

The Global Humanitarian Assistance 2018 report is out today. Here are some of the headline findings and supporting numbers: 1. Humanitarian Assistance (HA) mainly goes to a small number of countries: ‘60% of all assistance was channelled to 10 countries only, with 14% going to Syria, the largest recipient, and 8% to Yemen, the second-largest.’ […]

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Violence v Non Violence: which is more effective as a driver of change?

Oxfam’s Ed Cairns explores the evidence and experience on violence v non violence as a way of bringing about social change One of the perennial themes of this blog is the idea that crises may provide an opportunity for progressive change. True. But I’ve always been nervous that such hopes can forget that most conflicts […]

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Public Authority through the eyes of a Dead Fish

One of the highlights of last week’s conference in Ghent was a presentation by Esther Marijnen about her research in the Eastern Congo, conducted with Chrispin Mvano. Esther is trying to understand how rebel groups (of which DRC has many) see nature – across Africa, there is a long tradition of insurgents setting up bases in national parks. […]

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Gender, disability and displacement: Reflections from research on Syrian refugees in Jordan

This guest post is by Bushra Rehman (right), a Research Officer with the Humanitarian Academy for Development, which is the research and training arm of Islamic Relief Worldwide. The post is based on her prize-winning Masters dissertation. It is mid-afternoon in Jordan and the weather is stiflingly hot. I arrive at a derelict building in Irbid, […]

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Illicit economies, shadowy realms, and survival at the margins

Guest post by Eric Gutierrez, Senior Adviser on Tackling Violence and Building Peace at Christian Aid After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, poor landless farmers in the most conflict-affected areas of southern Afghanistan started migrating in increasing numbers to the relatively more insecure rocky desert areas. With the help of loans worth a […]

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Book Review: Can Intervention Work? Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus

We’ve had some great speakers at the LSE this year, but Rory Stewart was top of the pops, according to the students’ evaluations. He rocked up at LSE, despite having just been reshuffled to Minister for Prisons, spoke without notes, and blew everyone away. Alas, he insisted on it being off the record, so I […]

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Challenging humanitarianism beyond gender as women and women as victims

Dorothea Hilhorst (right), Holly Porter (centre) and Rachel Gordon (left) introduce a highly topical new issue of the Disasters journal (open access for the duration of 2018). This post first appeared on the ISS blog. At the United Nations (UN) World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in May 2016, ‘achieving greater gender equality and greater inclusivity’ was identified as one […]

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