On June 11 and 12, 2009, IPI convened an experts’ workshop aimed to improve understanding of how international actors grapple with local context and dynamics in the countries where they work.
The workshop brought together twenty-four experts from donor governments, the United Nations, and independent research organizations with experience in designing and/or using assessment tools, as well as those who have been involved in using the analysis generated by these tools for decision-making.
The workshop was part of an ongoing project called “Understanding Local Context” that seeks to answer two basic questions:
- What tools or other means do international actors use to assess and understand the local context in the countries where they work?
- How do the information and analysis produced by these instruments influence international actors’ decisions, policies, and programs?
The first phase of the project is focused on the many formal tools that have been designed by international actors in recent years to assess governance, conflict, and state fragility. However, these categories are somewhat blurry, and many assessment frameworks — whether they are labeled conflict assessments, governance assessments, or fragility/stability assessments — seek to understand several of these dimensions simultaneously.