OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers

OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers cover work on understanding aid flows, strengthening aid delivery and improving development policy. Topics include, among others, aid statistics and architecture, aid effectiveness, capacity development, development co-operation systems and management, evaluation of development programmes, as well as the relationship between development and trade, conflict and fragility, environment, gender equality, governance and poverty reduction.


From Spoilers to Statebuilders: Constructive Approaches to Engagement with Non-State Armed Groups in Fragile States

The global policy discourse and the war on terror tend to ignore the wide variety of roles and agendas of non-state armed groups (NSAGs), viewing them primarily as threats to security, negative for peace and as important spoilers that can undermine successful peace building. They tend to be closely linked with other forms of transnational threats such as international terrorism, crime, narcotics, human trafficking, and the illicit trade in small arms. The paper argues that engaging with NSAGs on the basis of their positive or potentially positive impacts is more productive. It emphasises the importance of distinguishing different types of NSAG and understanding their motivation, mobilisation, financing and popular support in order to assess their claims to legitimacy. Potential entry points and policy guidelines for donors include the need for “bottom-up” statebuilding efforts in capacity trap countries like Afghanistan and DRC, the inclusion of legitimate groups in peace settlements and greater focus on the positive role of NSAGs in statebuilding. Finally, for statebuilding efforts to be successful they must be framed within a broader template of regional peacebuilding to prevent the externalisation or spillover of conflict and fragility.


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