Stabilisation & Peacebuilding

Improving the lives of poor and vulnerable people increasingly requires interventions to restore basic security, re-establish civil authority, and strengthen the inclusivity and sustainability of political settlements.

The international community’s commitment to improving the lives of poor and vulnerable people is increasingly challenged by the need to do so in countries suffering from violent conflict and failure of governance. In these countries the political settlement that underpinned the state’s legitimacy has collapsed or is openly contested, by either insurgent groups or citizens responding to violation of their rights. The State may be only one of several armed actors using force. Those actors often reject adherence to civil authority. Politics has been militarised whilst mechanisms of democratic governance have been marginalised.

International stabilisation activities must focus on reducing violence and restoring sufficient security for the first steps to be taken towards a sustainable political settlement. This may require building the capacity of state security institutions but also non-state security actors perceived as legitimate by local populations. It may involve establishing civil control of those actors, nationally and locally, as well as strengthening the legitimacy of civil government by improving basic services.

Progress towards a settlement will be gradual and iterative. Stabilisation activities should aim only to establish conditions conducive to longer-term statebuilding and peacebuilding. Difficult trade-offs will have to be made at each step between security and democratic governance.

Selecting counterparts will not be easy; political economy analysis will be vital to determine who has the legitimacy to merit support. Above all, efforts must be made to facilitate dialogue and rebuild relationships between state and society, and between different sections of society.

In response to these challenges Adam Smith International offers expertise in:

  • Strategic analysis: drivers of conflict, stakeholder interests and influence, public perceptions, opportunities to strengthen the political settlement, regional dynamics.
  • Project design: counterpart assessment and vetting, evaluation of project proposals, conflict sensitivity analysis, risk assessments, setting indicators and targets.
  • Strengthening local governance: facilitating state society dialogue and subordination of armed groups to civilian authority, improving delivery of basic services.
  • Improving security and justice services: defining roles, enhancing coordination, assessing capacity, delivering training and equipment, building infrastructure.
  • Project delivery and evaluation: fund management, expenditure audits, risk management, impact assessments, public communication of results. Supporting peacebuilding: defining rights and interests, planning and conducting negotiations, building support through private and public communications.