Author Archive

Wednesday 9 October at 9 am we are very pleased to launch our report on the triangular cooperation for capacity development in South Sudan (IGAD-initiative) at a seminar at the International Peace Institute in New York on Regional Cooperation for Civilian Capacity Development after Conflict: Lessons from South Sudan and Afghanistan. Our main report from field work conducted in South Sudan in January and February this year is available at:


Some background: The IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) initiative provides 199 civil service support officers (CSSOs) to South Sudan where they are twinned with counterparts across many ministries and sectors to rapidly develop core government capacity in a coaching and mentoring scheme. The CSSOs come from the civil services of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda and are seconded for two-year terms. The initiative resonates well with the UN Civilian Capacity reform process and the calls for more use of regional capacity and more flexible and bottom-up approaches when supporting countries emerging from conflict.


The IGAD initiative is a promising new and potentially innovative model of triangular cooperation for capacity development for four reasons. First, it provides a model of large-scale support to rapid capacity development in core government functions. Second, the use of regional capacity does to a certain degree mitigate the potential resentment that capacity support can generate as external experts are brought into capacity-poor environments. Third, the programme can already show some evidence of impact on core practices such as establishing strategic plans and drafting policies and supporting their development. Finally, there seems to be a strong ownership of the programme by the Government of South Sudan as well as among many of the twins.


The report is published as one of the first products of the International Capacity Research Initiative (ICRI). ICRI is a co-funded research cooperation on capacity development in fragile states between the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) Noref; and the Training for Peace programme (TfP) at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI). We have received additional support to conduct field work from UN PBSO, UNDP, and last but not least, the countries involved in the project – Ethiopia, Kenya, Norway, South Sudan and Uganda.


We have also published several policy briefs on various aspects of the IGAD initiative:

  1. Civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict. The IGAD Initiative in South Sudan: a case study in the context of the OPEN framework:
  2. Triangular co-operation for government capacity development in South Sudan:
  3. With a little help from my friends: cultural affinity in regional support for capacity development in South Sudan


We hope you will find our work of some interest, and look forward to your reactions and comments.

Diana, Frederik, John, Kristoffer and Soren



Regional Cooperation for Civilian Capacity Development_October 9

Heres information on one event and publication that may be of interest to VPD cluster members, from work I was involved in recently.
The report ‘Paradoxes of Presence: risk management and aid culture in challenging environments’ will be presented at the ODI on Friday 8 November (not sure of the time), based on fieldwork in South Sudan and Afghanistan.
A brief description:
The international policy context and circumstances of development action and humanitarian relief have changed profoundly over the past two decades, with aid agencies now operating in an increasingly diverse array of conflict-affected contexts that are also considered by Western governments as major threats to international peace and security.

The rapid expansion of the aid industry at every level – geographical reach, funding, the number and variety of organisations involved has led to a blurring of the lines between the many different types of contractors and service providers involved. Aid agencies have inevitably experienced the friction and tensions this can engender, including their exposure to insecurity and other risks to a degree that is probably unprecedented, prompting substantial new investment in security management and a proliferation of security-related networks, inter-agency platforms, joint UN/NGO initiatives, good practice guides and security-related consultancy work.

The organisational, ethical, personal and financial difficulties involved in working in challenging environments, and the fundamental tension between ‘staying’ and ‘staying safe’, suggests that bunkerisation and remote management are an unstoppable trend.

The paper argues that recognising the liabilities associated with staying and delivering depends on agencies adopting a broadened risk agenda that is not confined to the immediate preoccupations of ostensibly manageable security risks, but which encompasses attention to the host of interconnected challenges and hazards involved.

The report can be downloaded at: 

Presentation this Friday!

Posted: February 19, 2013 by vpdresearchcluster in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

22 Feb, 3-5pm (room 266):

Pritish Behuria (Dev. Studies 3rd yr PhD candidate)

“But We Have Minerals Too: Rwanda’s Liberalized Mining Sector and its Impacts on the Elite Bargain”


Urban Violence Reading Group

Posted: January 29, 2013 by vpdresearchcluster in Uncategorized

If anyone is interested in starting an urban violence reading group, please contact Philippa on

p_mcmahon AT

Events Feb & March 2013

Posted: January 29, 2013 by vpdresearchcluster in Uncategorized

We have a lot of cluster activity coming up! Here is a list of events until the end of term.

6 February, 3-5pm, B102: Marc Sommers. This is an open meeting – please invite anyone you think would be interested.

Guest speaker on ‘Development and Governance in Post-War Africa: Learning from Research on Adolescents and Violence in Burundi’


22 Feb, 3-5pm (room tba): Pritish Behuria

But We Have Minerals Too: Rwanda’s Liberalized Mining Sector and its Impacts on the Elite Bargain


6 March, 3-5pm, B320: Philippa McMahon (title tba)


8 March (tbc) Claudia Seymour

Young people’s experiences of and means of coping with violence in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

New Site!

Posted: January 29, 2013 by vpdresearchcluster in Uncategorized

Hi Everyone, welcome to the new VPD wordpress site!

I’m currently in the process of importing information from our previous google site page to this brand new blog – so please be patient.

More news items to come asap!