Governance: Paths to democratic institution building in transition environments
Date: 16-18 May 2012
Venue: UN Headquarters, New York
For countries emerging from conflict, it is critical to strengthen accountable and transparent governance institutions to support enduring rule of law, good governance, and enduring peace. The need to support effective and representative institutions; to strengthen rule of law and access to justice; and create a robust civil society ensuring participation of women and traditionally marginalized groups is fundamental for establishing the foundation of an open and stable society. How can this be achieved, however, in states that have collapsed? This course will address these fundamental concerns of democratic state practice. Further, it will distill lessons learned and examine current areas around the world to provide the set of tools required to help rebuild and strengthen nation states. The Governance Course will help enable diplomats, practitioners, policy makers, and civil society in developing and implementing effective strategies in building democracy and governance in conflict-to-peace transitions.
A successful strategy in developing effective governance involves a multidimensional and cross-cutting approach. While elections, for example, form an essential component in a democratic transition, the impact of the elections may not bring about the anticipated political results or transitions. Elections in an environment without an interim government seen as legitimate in the eyes of the populace and the international community, and without some form of common legitimizing of the electoral process within civil society, might be reduced to an exercise in futility. No less important will be the requisites to democracy building such as: developing a written constitution and or a system of checks and balances; strengthening the justice system; supporting an active and engaged civil society; and combatting corruption.
In rebuilding states, the international community plays different roles in helping to negotiate, establish, and implement peace agreements. Forms of intervention range from promoting good offices and preventive diplomacy to deployment of a peacekeeping/peacebuilding mission -- one of the more prominent types of intervention in conflict-to-peace transitions occurs with the UN assuming a leading role. Other types of intervention involve international or regional coalitions. This course will pay special attention to international post-conflict recovery and state-building countries.
By the end of this course, participants will be able to:
- Understand the elements/factors/components (“framework”) that are necessary to promote a culture of democratic governance with systems of accountabily in transition environments
- Use the framework to analyze a specific conflict to understand the strengths and areas for strengthening in a society
- Identify multidimensional issues within governance, and how these issues relate to each other
- Assess pre-existing factors on-the-ground that will inform how best to move forward in re-establishing, strengthening and/or building institutions
- Develop a strategy for promoting governance in a particular transition environment
- Apply lessons learned in considering current conflict-to-peace transitions in evaluating governance
- Develop and apply strategies for creating successful transitions from post-conflict environments to more stable political systems
This course is developed and organized in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace.