Most contemporary wars are intrastate conflicts, which often have far-reaching regional as well as international dimensions and ramifications. Such conflicts not only rupture a country’s development; they are often the consequence of the failure of a country’s developmental efforts. The nexus between development and security is an important one, but it is only beginning to be understood and addressed by the international community. Drawing upon research undertaken by the International Peace Academy’s [now International Peace Institute] Security-Development Nexus program as well as the expertise and experience of a wide range of academics and practitioners working in the field, IPA’s 2004 New York Seminar focused on recent conceptual, policy, and programming innovations at the intersection of development and security.
The seminar examined international efforts to respond to the multifaceted socioeconomic, political, environmental, and security challenges in conflict-prone, conflict-torn, and postconflict countries, and assessed the effectiveness of new programs in three sectors regarded as essential for building sustainable peace: governance, security, and rule of law. It is readily acknowledged that strengthening state institutions and enhancing their capacity to provide security and development based on principles of good governance are essential for sound conflict management. Similarly, an effective, credible, and accountable security sector provides a safe and secure environment in which to entrench other programming initiatives. In turn, good governance and security sector reform need to be embedded in a predictable legal environment supported by culturally appropriate rule of law programs.
Yet it is not evident that many programs undertaken by international actors in support of good governance, security sector reform, or rule of law are effective, mutually supportive, or contribute to a wider conflict management strategy. The seminar explored the obstacles to more effective programming in each of these sectors and highlighted the tensions and the contradictions among different, and often conflicting, priorities.