Kicking off 2015 at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700, we are pleased to look back on the last twelve months, a successful first year of our new funding period. In 2014, research projects quickly delved in to new questions at hand and welcomed numerous international guests to our offices. Preparations for the 56th annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA) in New Orleans got into full swing toward the end of the year – the SFB will participate once again in February 2015.
In the first part of this newsletter, Daniel Jacob reports on his exciting experiences as a research fellow at the University of Arizona, where his work examined libertarian theories of democracy. Marianne Beisheim then discusses the exchange between academia and practice in the context of development partnerships. In the last article, Karoline Eickhoff takes a look at the role of security sector reform as a new focus of the SFB’s cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office.
We look forward with great anticipation to the year of research and events ahead. 2015 will bring new depth to our findings through field studies and empirical data collection within the individual projects – you can expect a thrilling series of reports and results in the coming months.
As always, we look forward to your input and wish you all the best for 2015!
With kind regards,
Thomas Risse Coordinator SFB 700
The SFB 700 Welcomes New Visiting Scholars
The SFB hosted several visiting scholars in the second half of 2014, who supported and complemented our current research with important new areas of focus. In September, we were pleased to welcome Girmachew Alemu Aneme (professor at the International Law and Policy Institute and the Addis Ababa University School of Law) from Ethiopia. Prof. Aneme specializes in the areas of international law and African studies, and his work strengthened these two perspectives within the SFB.
The Collaborative Research Center also welcomed Jennifer Burrell (professor of anthropology at the University at Albany / State University of New York) and Shakira Bedoya Sánchez (former PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology). In addition, the SFB hosted Ellen Moodie (professor of anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean studies at the University of Illinois) in November and integrated her expertise on governance in Central America and the Caribbean into our research.
International Workshop on Gender Equality and Governance
From October 31 to November 1, 2014, the SFB 700 cohosted an international workshop on the question “Why is Gender Equality Good for Governance” in cooperation with Prof. Amy C. Alexander, political scientist at the University of Göttingen. The workshop invited interdisciplinary scholars worldwide and took as its starting point the paper „Taking the State (Back) Out? Statehood and the Delivery of Collective Goods. Governance“ (2014) by Melissa M. Lee, Gregor Walter-Drop, and John Wiesel. The authors argue through their research that the empowerment of women – in contrast to statehood – has a significant influence on governance. Workshop participants traveled to Berlin from the United States, the Netherlands, Morocco, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and engaged in a heated discussion over the course of five different panels. Findings were presented from both qualitative and quantitative studies and focused on the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Key areas were the consequences of gender equality on corruption, the influence of gender on political participation, the empowerment of women in predominantly Muslim countries, and the influence of patriarchal norms in general. On the topic of corruption and governance, participants debated whether women contribute to governance with more integrity than men because of their weaker or nonexistent integration into political networks. To conclude, it was noted that men face discrimination because of their gender as well, and that this should receive more attention (on an international level).
The SFB 700 at the WISC’s Global International Studies Conference 2014 in Frankfurt
From August 6 to 9, 2014, the fourth “Global International Studies Conference” took place in Germany for the first time. The conference was held at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, and the SFB was present the entire time with an information and book stand. Daniel Jacob, research associate in the SFB 700’s B9 project, gave a talk on “Justice through Foreign Rule? On the Moral Justifiability of International Transitional Administration” in the panel “Jus Post Bellum – The Rights and Duties of External Peacebuilders.”
Book Launch at the Federal Foreign Office of the Current Special Issue of Governance
Before an audience of specialists from politics, economics, and academia, the special issue of Governance“External Actors, State-Building, and Service Provision in Areas of Limited Statehood” (ed. Stephen D. Krasner and Thomas Risse) was the subject of discussion on December 8, 2014, at the Federal Foreign Office. The publication was introduced by Thomas Risse, one of the issue’s editors and coordinator of the SFB 700, and discussed by Ambassador Georg Wilfried Schmidt, regional coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel at the Federal Foreign Office. Prof. Tanja Börzel and Dr. Gregor Walter-Drop from the SFB 700 also participated as authors of the special issue. The event was moderated by Dirk Lölke, head of Department 300 at the Federal Foreign Office.
The special issue identifies conditions for the success of governance services by external actors in areas of limited statehood. The book launch provided a forum to discuss the policy implications of the research findings and their applicability to German foreign policy. The presentation is one result of the SFB 700’s current collaboration with the Federal Foreign Office through the transfer project T3. Through mutual exchange, the transfer project aims to incorporate the research findings of the SFB into foreign policy practice, as well as to integrate practical expertise from the Federal Foreign Office into the work of the transfer project.
Democratic Theory in the Desert
Deep in the Southwest of the United States, just before the Mexican border, lies the University of Arizona. Far from the ivy-clad towers of the East Coast, one of the best political philosophy departments in the country is tucked away in the Arizonian desert. This was my motivation to become a visiting scholar in Arizona from October to December 2014.
At the SFB 700, I focus on the question of how – or in what respects – the goal of democratic governance can be realized in areas of limited statehood. These questions force us to abandon our trusted, familiar ideas of state-based democracy in order to reach a notion of democracy that does not take the state as a prerequisite. Through an extended exchange with Thomas Christiano, one of the most important democracy theorists in the United States today, I concentrated my time in Arizona on developing a consciously abstract understanding of democracy that still maintained democracy’s core normative commitment: the equal participation of all members of a political community in making collectively binding decisions.
Although I did not anticipate it, my time in Arizona also provided an opportunity to reflect in unusual ways upon the role of the state in political communities. Unlike in Germany and most parts of Europe, there are true “libertarians” in the United States, particularly at the University of Arizona. Drawing on the work of F. A. Hayek and Robert Nozick, these political theorists argue for a concept of freedom that places strong limits on state intervention. For this type of libertarian thought – whose political significance in the US currently manifests itself in the “Tea Party” phenomenon – non-state governance is far from flawed; to the contrary, it is the normatively desirable constellation. Even libertarian authors agree that certain functions require the state for normative reasons, but in taking the classic, liberal notion of state legitimacy to its extreme, they reverse the burden of proof: now it must be shown why state governance is better than non-state forms of governance. While I did not become a libertarian myself, my stay in the United States thus became a wonderful opportunity to question and rethink normative assumptions held dear in reflecting upon the state.
Security Sector Reform as a New Thematic Priority in Cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office
With numerous acute crises affecting our world today, Security Sector Reform (SSR) is experiencing a boom in German foreign policy. The Federal Foreign Office’s toolbox faces challenges in dealing with crises in areas of limited statehood. How can instruments of foreign policy be adapted to new strategic goals? What kind of reach does civil crisis prevention have in the context of current crises? And how can a potential conflict of normative goals – for example between democratization and stabilization – be resolved in areas of limited statehood? These and other questions guide the Federal Foreign Office in its “Review 2014 – Rethinking Foreign Policy”. The SFB 700’s transfer project T3 ties in to this process with contributions in the field of the next thematic priority, Security Sector Reform.
Security Sector Reform aims to support states in shaping their security architecture according to democratic principles and the basic tenets of accountable governance. The reform agenda is holistic and overlaps with aspects of democracy promotion and promotion of rule of law. Lively academic and political discussions have emerged around the reform concept, as the discrepancy becomes increasingly obvious between ideal-typical, standardized policy objectives and the practical implementation of SSR measures on a case-by-case basis. Empirical studies on the effectiveness of such measures have only been conducted in a few cases. Little is known about the conditions for their success or about the causal linkages between security and development. Moreover, criticism of the concept has mounted, fundamentally questioning whether international standards of democratic security governance can be transferred to areas of limited statehood, or citing the weak implementation of local ownership principles in international SSR interventions.
Recently drafted “Interdepartmental Guidelines of the SSR Working Group” should contribute to improving cooperation in the area of SSR through a whole-government approach by several ministries (the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). The document aims to establish SSR as a cross-departmental task among these diverse policy areas. The transfer project T3 will contribute to the further conceptual development of SSR in the German context on the basis of these guidelines, for example through expert discussions under the aegis of the Federal Foreign Office.
The transfer project’s work should be relevant to foreign policy practice and contribute to a systematic, results-oriented review of policy issues. To this end, the transfer project will also focus on operational aspects of SSR. Through SSR case studies, the project will initiate a discussion on conditions for success and ways to evaluate the effectiveness of SSR measures.
As an independent research institute, the SFB 700 envisions this transfer project as a platform for various actors from academia and politics to openly discuss conceptual and operational questions facing German foreign policy – not only concerning SSR. The SFB 700 has much to contribute to this dialog, drawing on in-depth research on conditions for success of governance transfers, reactions by local security sectors to external interventions, and complex questions of meta-governance.
About the author:
Karoline Eickhoffis a research associate in the T3 projecton policy implications of governance research for German foreign policy, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office. Her work focuses on Security Sector Reform.
Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Mutual Knowledge Exchange between Independent Research and Practice
The D1 project at the SFB 700 looks at partnerships for sustainable development and tries to identify the conditions for their successful provision of governance services in areas of limited statehood. In these multi-stakeholder partnerships, state and non-state actors work together to achieve their goals. In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan called upon these partnerships to improve the implementation of sustainable development. However, among these partnerships only some are actually successful, meaning that they have achieved broad, long-term impact for a more sustainable development. This is one reason why these partnerships are controversial. Nevertheless, many actors still consider them a favorable option. With public coffers empty, international organizations and governments are inclined to draw on the material and immaterial resources of private partners. In addition, partnerships with non-state actors enable the UN to implement projects in places where UN Member States are unwilling or unable to do so, such as in areas of limited statehood. Many developing countries have strong interest in partnerships. At the same time, opponents accuse the UN of “selling out” and criticize what they see as an increasing influence of multinational corporations.
The findings of the D1 project offer differentiation to the antagonistic front between advocates and opponents of partnerships. Our research indicates that these partnerships are neither panaceas that work smoothly everywhere, nor are they fundamentally evil attempts at privatization offering no political or developmental benefits to local populations. Instead, our findings show that the success of partnerships in areas of limited statehood depends on many conditions. Their effectiveness is tied to specific factors, including both external conditions in the areas of operation and internal matters of design and management (see Beisheim and Liese 2014). These findings have been presented at several political forums.
In 2014, project director Marianne Beisheim was the convening advisor on global partnerships for the “Charter for the Future” (Zukunftscharta), an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Over a six-month period, she provided insight and guidance for the broad public consultation process and the drafting of the final charter: “One World – Our Responsibility”. She advocated that it would be best to first evaluate the successes and success conditions of existing partnership and from there provide a corresponding framework before initiating new partnerships. In the process, criteria were collaboratively developed to be applied to partnerships. This process also incorporated the D1 project’s empirical research findings, which were well received – not least because they echoed the experiences of many development organizations and NGOs involved.
In the SFB 700’s third funding period, the D1 project will investigate to what extent state or non-state actors draw on lessons learned about the conditions affecting the success and impact of partnerships for sustainable development, and what the consequences of this are in the future. The project team is particularly interested in the extent to which actors demand “meta-governance” – criteria and rules – for partnerships: or, as the case may be, actors’ own attempts at and justifications for creating meta-governance for partnerships.
Much is happening at the United Nations regarding this matter. Following the Rio+20 Conference and in preparation for the Post-2015 agenda for sustainable development, the UN has launched a new registry for voluntary initiatives and partnerships. Registration is coupled with certain requirements for reporting. In addition, the UN is considering a review mechanism that would not only assess state implementation of sustainable development but would also include “a platform for partnerships”. There is significant interest in how to design these processes: On the one hand, the UN hopes to expand its support of partnerships in the context of its Post-2015 agenda, not least because many developing countries are demanding it as a means of implementation. On the other hand, skepticism toward partnerships has increased among critical observers, especially from civil society. The UN finds itself under political pressure to steer and evaluate its partnerships more thoroughly. In 2014, project D1 presented initial considerations on these matters at the annual meeting of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) in June, and at the second meeting of the new UN High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, in July.
The D1-project benefits from this practical experience and information exchange: It enables the researchers to engage in closer dialog and develop a deeper understanding than through research interviews alone. At the same time, the project team is aware of the necessity of avoiding mixing research and consultation: If the project investigates whether, why, and how certain actors envision and potentially try to shape the work of partnerships through meta-governance, then the advisory work must be put on hold. In our view, political actors benefit from the critical distance of the research perspective: After the research has been completed, they profit from an independent evaluation of their work – one that also covers questions they may have never asked.
About the authors:
Dr. Marianne Beisheim is project director of D1, which explores the conditions for success of transnational development partnerships. Nils Simon ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im D1 Projekt. is research associate in the project. Both researchers are part of the Global Issues Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).
Spokesperson Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse Spokesperson Prof. Dr. Stefan Rinke Managing Director Eric Stollenwerk, M.A.
Research Program of the Collaborative Research Center 700
Governance has become a central focus within the field of research of the social sciences. The SFB 700 inquires into the conditions of governance in areas of limited statehood. This includes developing countries or those in transition, failing and failed states in troubled regions around the world, and, from a historical perspective, different colonialset-ups.
The center‘s main research questions are: How can effective and legitimate governance be sustained in areas of limited statehood? What problems emerge under such conditions? Which consequences may arise from non-state governance for national and international politics?
Der SFB 700 is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and was set up in 2006.