The winter semester is just around the corner, and work at the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700 is entering the home stretch. Preparations have begun for the SFB’s closing events in the coming year. Our researchers are working at maximum capacity to analyze their findings and finalize their last publications. In this newsletter, research associates Luisa Linke-Behrens, Anton Petrov, and Leon Schettler will report on their fieldwork in Tanzania, Great Britain, and Haiti as part of their projects at the SFB.
So far the year 2016 has been immensely productive at the Collaborative Research Center, beginning with our successful participation in the 57th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA) in Atlanta, USA. The last weeks and months have been filled with various events – at both the SFB and our partner institutions – and we would like to take this opportunity to inform you about them. In addition, we are excited to introduce our current visiting scholars and to tell you about our most recent publications.
We hope you enjoy the newsletter and look forward to receiving your feedback!
With best wishes,
Thomas Risse Coordinator SFB 700
The SFB 700 welcomes our visiting scholars:
The SFB 700 was thrilled to welcome Prof. Dietlind Stolle of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, as the new Mercator Fellow this year. As a professor of political science and director of the Centre of the Study of Democratic Citizenship (CSDC), Dietlind Stolle joined the Collaborative Research Center from late April to late July 2016. Her research interests include the political role of associations; trust; institutional foundations of social capital; political mobilization; and new forms of political participation. Her expertise on social trust and institutional trust in areas of limited statehood contributed greatly to the SFB, where she held a lecture titled “The Sources of Generalized Trust.” A video of the full lecture is available here.
In addition, Mercator Fellows Prof. Stephen D. Krasner of Stanford University and Prof. Shalini Randeria from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva / Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna returned to the SFB 700 as visiting scholars.
Many thanks for the productive exchange, and we look forward to future cooperation with all Mercator Fellows!
SFB 700’s Successful Participation in the ISA Convention in Atlanta
The SFB 700 showcased its work with a broad range of events. In total, eleven scholars traveled to Atlanta to present their research findings and publications on nine panels and in a round table discussion. For example, one panel organized by the SFB revolved around the question, “Areas of Limited Statehood: What Makes State and Non-state Governance Effective and Legitimate?” Thomas Risse and Tanja Börzel used the conference to present their most recent volume: the Handbook of Comparative Regionalism, published by Oxford University Press.
A high point of the convention, as in previous years, was a reception co-hosted with the Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG) „The Transformative Power of Europe“ for all interested guests, experts, and friends of both institutions. Following a brief welcome address by SFB Coordinator Thomas Risse and Co-director of the KFG Tanja A. Börzel, about 250 guests enjoyed the opportunity to chat with SFB scholars and learn more about the Research Center’s work.
The SFB 700 also participated in the conference with a book and information booth, which generated strong interest and attracted many visitors.
In addition to the current cohort of attachés from the Federal Foreign Office, junior staff from the Federal Ministry of Defence and the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development also participated in the seminar. The event took place at the Foreign Service Academy in Berlin-Tegel.
The seminar discussed the special conditions of foreign, development, and security engagement in areas of limited statehood. It offered participants the opportunity to learn more about the institutional logics and practical approaches of the various governmental departments.
Authors’ Workshop on the Oxford Handbook of Governance and Limited Statehood
From April 22 to 23, 2016, the first authors’ workshop for the planned Oxford Handbook of Governance and Limited Statehood took place at the Seminaris CampusHotel Berlin-Dahlem.
Over a total of eight sessions, the authors briefly introduced the content and structure of their chapters. The presentations led to intense discussions among the approx. 40 participants, including many international guests, on the different thematic areas. For example, some talks revolved around different groups of governance actors in areas of limited statehood, such as international organizations or companies. Other chapters will address various governance services, for example in the areas of security or health. Further contributions will analyze the policy implications of research at the SFB 700.
For an overview of the workshop program, please click here.
Workshop on Legitimacy and Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood
From June 10 to 11, 2016, an authors’ workshop took place in the main building of the SFB 700 for a planned special issue on legitimacy and governance in areas of limited statehood.
Using the title “Legitimacy and Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives,” Cord Schmelzle and Eric Stollenwerk, editors of the planned volume, invited its authors to the workshop. More than fifteen German and international legitimacy experts participated and discussed the various texts, which approached the topic from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. Contributions ranged from conceptual meditations on the definition of state and non-state legitimacy to empirical examinations of state legitimacy in Sri Lanka or the legitimacy of external actors in Afghanistan, for example. Central aspects of the workshop were the exploration of legitimacy itself and the consequences of legitimacy in areas of limited statehood. Over the course of ten sessions, the authors introduced their chapters in brief presentations; two designated participants then discussed each contribution intensively before opening the floor to the rest of the group.
The next workshop on this publication is set to take place in early 2017.
An overview of the workshop program is available here.
Healthcare for Mothers and Children in Tanzania and South Africa: What Do External Actors Provide?
How strong do state structures have to be for international actors to provide effective governance? This question is the focus of my research in project B2, “The Governance Contribution of External Actors in Areas of Limited Statehood,” with a concentration on maternal and children’s health in Tanzania and South Africa. The health sector in Sub-Saharan Africa attracts billions of US dollars in development aid. At the same time, an array of international and non-governmental organizations and bilateral donors are active in the field as well. Both in practice and in current scholarship, the strength of state structures has gained prominence as a condition for the success of development cooperation and governance provision. My research takes Tanzania as a case study for a relatively weak state and South Africa as a case study for a relatively strong one. At the beginning of the year, I visited each country for four weeks in order to collect documents and conduct expert interviews with external actors and employees of state ministries.
In Tanzania, the field of relevant actors is very complex; many well-known organizations and donors claim on their websites and in conversation that they are working to fight maternal and infant mortality. A targeted follow-up, however, often reveals that the number of concrete projects is much lower than suggested, and these are usually carried out cooperatively by a number of different actors. So when four different organizations told me about their projects, but in fact they were all referring to exactly the same project, the potential positive effect on local healthcare provision was much less than I had initially assumed. Indeed, many interview partners confirmed that the actors involved are poorly coordinated. Due to inadequate personnel resources and overly complex bureaucratic processes, the Ministry of Health is only somewhat capable of taking on its coordinating position. Nevertheless, smaller projects did seem to be effective, as evaluation reports by the various actors made clear. These projects are discussed with the Ministry of Health in their conception phase but implemented with broad autonomy by the organizations and donors after that; they therefore only partly rely on strong state structures.
Beyond my interviews, I was also able to gain a direct impression of rural healthcare in Tanzania. I accompanied a GIZ team to Masasi in the Mtwara region on the country’s southern border in order to observe a two-day, on-the-job training session in the maternity and neonatal ward of the district hospital. This type of training program is a common, project-related measure and is carried out by a variety of actors in Tanzania. By refreshing and expanding on doctors’ and nurses’ knowledge, the training aims to make a sustainable contribution to reducing maternal and infant mortality. That the hospital has a neonatal unit at all is an anomaly in rural Tanzania. But at first glance, everything seems to be deficient: the mosquito nets over the beds are not intact and provide no protection against malaria; none of the faucets work, so instruments are sterilized in rain water in plastic buckets; blackouts occur several times a day; the rooms reach more than 40ºC (104ºF), and the foreheads of mothers and newborns are covered in beads of sweat. Despite all this, lives are saved here every single day. Whether or not the training program is effective in the long term can only be determined in one or two years when the GIZ team returns. When a different organization conducted a similar session here a while ago, they brought along material to collect patient data – forms that, during my visit, were lying unused in the corner. Apparently the donor organization’s initiative had gone nowhere.
The situation in South Africa’s health sector is entirely different. Here, most external funding is tied to fighting HIV/AIDS, while other areas of healthcare are simply ignored. This trend is increasingly revealing itself as a problem for areas such as maternal health, where the provision of care is riddled with basic insufficiencies. Compared to Tanzania, far fewer actors are involved in maternal and children’s health. Those that are active, however, are in much closer contact with the Ministry of health and are well coordinated. Instead of multiple smaller training programs like in Tanzania, South Africa hosts one large initiative funded by Great Britain and the EU, coordinated by the Ministry of Health and implemented by the University of Pretoria. Training sessions have taken place in many hospitals around the country, and the results are striking. Still, the actors involved complain of partisan conflicts, which play out – via bureaucracy – even in technical political fields such as health and significantly slow down the implementation process.
During my stay, clear differences emerged between the two countries with respect to the role of international organizations and bilateral donors in healthcare provision, as well as the role and capacity of state structures. In Tanzania, external actors play a much more central role than in South Africa, but because state structures lack bureaucratic capacity, these actors are not coordinated as well. At the same time, a high degree of statehood does not seem to be a prerequisite for the effective implementation of individual (smaller) projects. This leads to the hypothesis that the degree of statehood is relevant not necessarily to the effectiveness of specific projects but rather to the impact of external actors on healthcare provision as a whole. In this sense, my trip made an important contribution to the B2 project’s research agenda.
Contemplative in Cambridge: Between Research and Practice, Humanitarianism and Pragmatism
Historic Cambridge, about an hour north of London, is home to the renowned Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Founded in 1983 by Sir Elihu Lauterpacht to honor his father, Sir Hersch Lauterpacht, the institute aims to create an academic setting that both shapes and absorbs the practice of international law. Our research project C8 “Legitimacy and Law-Making in International Humanitarian Law” at the SFB 700 studies legitimacy and law-making in international humanitarian law and examines international law-making processes on an empirical and theoretically normative level. My research stay in Cambridge from January to March 2016 provided an opportunity to speak with other researchers working in the same field.
International humanitarian law was developed based on the premises of inter-state law and inter-state war. Both of its two fundamental assumptions are no longer a given: non-state violent actors shape the armed conflicts of our time, and a plurality of non-state actors – whether the armed groups themselves or non-governmental organizations – informally participate in the development of the legal order. Can the international law in place provide appropriate answers? After having thoroughly examined the role of non-state violent actors and ways to directly engage them in law-making processes, for example through voluntary deeds of commitment, our project is now studying how legal methodology can address relevant practice, and to what extent it is already being used.
During my ten-week stay in Cambridge, the Lauterpacht Centre offered exactly the kind of forum that it is committed to providing: an international place where researchers from all over the world can get to know each other and discuss their approaches. The daily coffee breaks are practically legendary among international law scholars, a moment when visitors and members of the institute can meet and exchange ideas. The first weeks of 2016 were exciting not only for me but also for the entire institute, as the new director, Eyal Benvenisti, took up his position. It remains to be seen whether his progressive approach to global governance will leave a lasting mark on the Centre.
The Lauterpacht Centre is known for its close connection to legal practice. This comes through in many respects, not least in one of the Centre’s two buildings: the Bahrain House was once donated to the institute by Bahrain, reportedly in thanks for successful legal representation by the former director in a case against Qatar before the International Court of Justice. For our project, the Centre’s close contact to the Red Cross was of particular interest. A former International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) employee was visiting the institute during my stay and recounted a great deal of instructive experience from three years of work with conflictive parties in Afghanistan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, the institute is home to the project “Customary International Humanitarian Law,” a cooperation between the Lauterpacht Centre, the British Red Cross, and the ICRC. The project gathers practice worldwide in order to update the Red Cross’s Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law. In this much-lauded study, the Red Cross published the customary law applicable to armed conflict. Central to the publication is the question of which – and more importantly, whose – practice is most significant to the formation and identification of customary international humanitarian law. According to prevailing international legal theory, only the practice and legal convictions (opinio iuris) of states are relevant. However, there are increasing calls to consider non-state armed actors as well, since these assume a central role today – unlike when state-centered international legal theory was developed. States, meanwhile, are fending against any kind of opening, fearing that non-state groups could thus be legitimized and undermine sovereign states’ monopoly on law-making. The ICRC takes a classic, state-centered approach and cooperates with the national Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations. At the same time, the ICRC has extensive experience and can gain direct insight into the activities of various armed actors – which, however, play no immediate role in the Study on Customary Law. Looking over the shoulders of my colleagues in Cambridge and watching them navigate the field between practice, pragmatism, research, and humanitarian ideals offered our project new perspectives on the legitimacy of law-making in international humanitarian law.
Delegating non-state actors a formal role in law-making processes does not seem opportune right now if international law is to retain its relevance at this difficult juncture for states in general. The international legal system has always faced the challenge of juggling vision and stability – but for both, state structures retain their crucial importance. The trick will be to creatively use established channels and methods to steer the lumbering steamship of international law through the present and into the future.
Haiti, Permanently Provisional: Impressions from the Field
On January 12, 2010, an earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Within 30 seconds, several hundred thousand people had died and more than a million residents lost everything. But even before the devastating earthquake of 2010 bad news from Haiti was common, shaped by poverty and political instability. By now people have grown used to the images of poverty, destruction, and angry protesters.
The photo chosen for this report, however, shows a different reality. A villa surrounded by parked Jeeps, green palm trees, and walls. It is the reality of international organizations (IOs).
In our D8 project, “‘Talk and Action’: How International Organizations React to Areas of Limited Statehood,” we look at the perspectives of international organizations on statehood, their choice of governance activities, and their perception of their own role. While in Haiti, I conducted interviews with employees of the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the emergency humanitarian aid program of the EU (ECHO) – all IOs that are concerned with food security.
Haiti is the country in our project ranked worst in the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) in terms of both the strength of administrative capacity and the degree to which the state maintains a monopoly on force. Staff of the IOs described an endless list of structural capacity deficits attributed to the Haitian state. In addition to a lack of material resources, they complained of the administration’s inability to plan ahead. Ultimately, they reported, weak institutions led mayors and cabinet members to serve their own clients first in order to stay in power.
The monopoly on force in Haiti is not in the hands of the state. There is no army; by its own account the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) keeps the peace. Luckily there are no rebel groups threatening peace at the moment. For the IOs, the state´s latently limited monopoly on force is not a pressing challenge, since they can still maintain access to their governance addressees.
Is Haiti a “Republic of IOs”? No, not anymore. The overall budget for aid in Haiti has sunk once again to the 2010 level. Contrary to the narrative – widespread in Haiti – of an inefficient, neo-colonial development aid industry, I met a number of experts who are competent in their fields of expertise, care deeply about the wellbeing of the population, and think critically and constantly about which measures can truly lead to positive effects. All IOs in our project’s study have undergone comprehensive evaluations in recent years in order to analyze their engagement in Haiti since the earthquake. There was consensus among the organizations that directly after the earthquake, a new structure needed to be established parallel to the state in order to coordinate aid. But the IOs’ reflections, which were indeed self-critical, also suggest that a transition from emergency to development aid never really took place. Even today, many find it extremely challenging to strike the right balance between solidarity and autonomy. Considering the weak state structures and a barely accountable elite, governance services can only be provided effectively in cooperation with engaged local leaders. An initial analysis of my fieldwork reiterates that particularly IOs with a focus on development are increasingly forced to think creatively when helping to build local capacities. Humanitarian organizations, too, are trying more and more to incorporate non-state governance institutions. In doing so, the IOs acknowledge that they will occasionally have to cede responsibility even in places where neither the state nor non-state actors can replace them 100%. Only in this way can the vicious cycle of foreign and self-disempowerment be broken.
At the same time, the next emergencies are just around the corner: The ground in Haiti is nearly strained to its maximum. Hurricanes, floods, forest clearance, and the use of pesticides have long wreaked havoc on the landscape. Three successive years of drought led once again to a crop shortage. The IOs are currently preparing emergency aid to help the approximately one million people who will likely suffer major food insecurity as a result. Without them it would not work. Not yet.
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.