“Comprehensive approach”, “3D”, “whole of government”, “networked security”, “civil‐military cooperation” – over recent years, numerous terms have been coined to describe the interaction of foreign, security and development actors in fragile and conflict countries. Underlying them is the assumption of greater effectiveness, efficiency and political scope, together with the paradigm of the “security-development nexus”.
The diversity of terms often leads to misunderstandings among stakeholders, however. Similarly, the underlying concepts can arouse sometimes intense controversy due to actors’ different values and objectives and their different interpretations of core terms such as “security”, “crisis prevention” or “cooperation”. Whose security is meant to be guaranteed or restored? What are the goals of an engagement by external actors, and who defines these goals and the strategy by which to achieve them? What are the implications for civil-military interaction or for cooperation between state and civil society actors operating in-country? And which specific opportunities – and problems – are associated with cooperation?
These questions not only arise at the national level in the context of interministerial cooperation and bilateral interaction involving the military, governmental and civil society actors. Within the framework of multilateral peace and stabilisation missions too, such as those undertaken by the UN, the AU and the EU, the role and significance of development and peace actors and approaches are increasingly being discussed.
The security sector and state-building
In parallel, the international debate about peace-building and state-building in fragile and conflict countries has also intensified in recent years. Here, the national security sector and issues relating to its regulation are an increasing focus of attention – for alongside the tasks of promoting the legitimacy of government and supplying the general public with services, safeguarding security as a public good is a key pillar of state-building.
Until now, however, international approaches for the reform and democratic control of the security sector have been geared mainly towards state actors. Comparatively little attention is paid, by contrast, to non-state security actors such as private security companies. Nor is enough account being taken of civil society organisations’ “watchdog” role. Issues relating to the prioritisation and sequencing of measures taken by international actors before, during or after violent conflict also remain contentious. Against this backdrop, it is especially important to channel the views of stakeholder communities about the relationship between security and development and the framing of foreign, security and peace policy into the German debate on a targeted basis and initiate a dialogue on this issue.
Security management and safety of personnel
Development and peace organisations face particular challenges in their work in countries and regions affected by violence. For example, violent attacks on international development workers have increased in recent years. Issues relating to the safety and physical integrity of staff and target groups are therefore becoming increasingly important. Credibility as the basis for local acceptance is crucial here. Furthermore, international organisations are adopting a more professional approach towards the management of their security, which may mean not only monitoring the political situation on an ongoing basis but also subcontracting security tasks to private security services. However, as the private security sector is usually poorly regulated in developing countries, conflicts can arise with other development goals such as good governance. To avoid adverse effects (“do no harm”), it is important to develop internal standards and guidelines which apply when contracting these companies.
FriEnt supports informal and professional exchange on this topic between institutions engaged in development-oriented peace work and policy-makers. It undertakes analyses, stages events and offers strategic advice to its member organisations.