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UNU’s Activities in and on Africa

Governance & International Justice


Nigeria, Kano — Government lawyer Babatunde Irukera, attends the court case against Pfizer. The Nigerian government, on behalf of a group of families, is sueing the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for acting unethically when it tested the experimental drug Trovan on a group of children after a meningitis outbreak. The tests are claimed to have been the direct cause of death for 11 children, leaving many others with brain damage. Photographer © George Osodi

Completed projects appear below those ongoing.

Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in Conflicted Societies: Partnership for Research and Capacity Building

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Madako Futamura

Time frame: 2008-2011

Analysis of local needs and ownership in peacebuilding remains underdeveloped, and local voices are not always present. The UNU-ISP project “Peacebuilding in Conflict-Affected Societies: Comparative Experiences and Local Perspectives” addresses these shortcomings by considering local experiences and perspectives in four areas: 1) the legacy of violent conflict; 2) local resources and capacity; 3) the scope, priority and sequencing of peacebuilding activities; and 4) balancing local and international engagement.

Workshops have been held in Accra and in Sarajevo.

The project outcomes will be disseminated through an edited academic volume, a UNU Research Brief, and a workshop report to be published in the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, capacity development, peacebuilding, network, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau

Publications: Futamura M., E. Newman and S. Tadjbakhsh, Towards a Human Security Approach to Peacebuilding, UNU Research Brief 2, 2010

The responsibility to protect and the problem of the Kin-State

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2008-2011

This UNU-ISP project, conducted with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), applies the RtoP norm to ethnic minority issues, concentrating on the responsibility to prevent tensions escalating to atrocities or conflict. It analyses the role of the so-called ‘kin-state’ through a range of case-studies including Tanzania, Nigeria and Cameroon, to draw insights into the potential risks and benefits of kin-state involvement.

Research findings and policy recommendations will be disseminated to the academic and policy communities through a UNU Policy Brief and an edited volume, expected in early 2011.

Locations: Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon

Tags: atrocities, conflict/post conflict, mass crimes, peace and security, human rights

Publications: Turner, N. and N. Otsuki, The Responsibility to Protect Minorities and the Problem of the Kin-State, UNU Policy Brief 2, 2010

Transnational corporations, human rights, and environmental justice in developing counties

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Obijiofor Aginam

Time frame: 2009–2011

This UNU-ISP research project engaged local scholars and international experts to explore the competing demands of human rights, economic development, and environmental justice in transnational corporate operations within the framework of sustainable development in developing countries. The research was conducted at regional workshops in Abuja, Nigeria (12 May 2009), and in Quito, Ecuador (11-12 November 2009), with research findings to be published in an edited volume in 2011.

Tags: economic growth, globalization, social responsibility, sustainability/sustainable development, human rights

Enhancing human security through developing local capacity for holistic community-based conflict prevention in northern Ghana

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Madoka Futamura

Time frame: 2009–2012

UNU-ISP and UNU-INRA are implementing this joint project with UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, and UNIDO. Supported by the UN Human Security Fund, the project aims to develop the capacity of local institutions, communities and individuals to manage and prevent conflict in the most vulnerable communities of northern Ghana as a means to ensuring sustainable human security in the area. The project seeks to reflect the major livelihoods of the population and socio-cultural mechanisms in the area, actively building peace and promoting human security by recognizing the complex relationship between poverty and conflict, and education and conflict prevention.

Locations: Ghana

Tags: conflict/post conflict, human security, peace-building, peace and security, conflict prevention

Completed Projects

Engaging civil society: emerging trends in democratic governance

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Vesselin Popovski

Time frame: 2009-2010

The rapid pace of globalization has led to the increasing interdependence of member states of the United Nations to achieve sustainable development objectives, including the eradication of extreme poverty, environmental protection, access to basic services and livelihoods and the promotion of economic growth and opportunities. Policymakers, scholars and development practitioners recognize the centrality of effective governance at the local, national and global levels to promote sustainable development. Along with governments and the private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) are playing an increasingly important and expanded role in improving transparency, participation, access to services and the rule of law.

This project examines the changing roles of civil society in global and national governance. It identifies factors that influence the effectiveness of civil society in promoting democratic governance, with particular focus on Africa and Asia.

The project asks: how and to what extent has the global civil society been influencing global governance and democratic change? What have been the patterns of growth of civil society in Asia and Africa including the legal frameworks under which CSOs are established? What are the capacity gaps of the civil society vis-à-vis its assumed roles? What are the mechanisms for the horizontal and vertical accountability of civil society? How and with what effect has civil society been engaged in promoting democratic change and inclusive governance?

Tags: civil society

Publications: Cheema, G. S. and V. Popovski (eds.), Engaging Civil Society: Emerging Trends in Democratic Governance, UNU Press, 2010

Democracy in the global south

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Vesselin Popovski

Time frame: 2009-2010

Traditionally, studies on democracy have focused on the orthodox so-called Northern models of democratic governance, and within this framework, the extent to which Southern models are considered democratic. This UNU-ISP project draws attention to the complex problems of democratic consolidation across the majority world. The book resulting from the project draws upon nine case studies – three each from Africa, Latin America and Asia – to enable the democratization literature to become more relevant to theorists, practitioners and policy-makers in the South. These case studies shed light on the contemporary challenges faced by democratizing countries, mostly from the perspective of emerging theorists working in their home countries.

Location: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria

Tags: democracy

Publications: Howe, B., V. Popovski and M. Notaras, Democratic Voices from the South: Participation, the State and the People, UNU Press, 2010

International law in a time of change: 104th annual meeting of the American Society of International Law

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Obijiofor Aginam

Time frame: 24-27 March 2010

UNU-ISP presented a paper on “The WTO Agreement on Trade in Services, Migration, and Public Health in Africa” at the 104th annual meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) held in Washington, DC, USA, 24-27 March, 2010, as part of a panel on “Hot Topics in GATS and Human Rights”. With over a century of tradition and experience behind it, ASIL’s Annual Meeting has become the most important gathering in the field of international law. More than 1,000 practitioners, academics, and students gather in Washington, DC, each spring from all over the world to debate and discuss the latest developments in their field. ASIL’s 104th Annual Meeting reflected on the theme “International Law in a Time of Change”.

Tags: migration, trade, public health

Developing Capacity to Achieve Justice for International Crimes in Africa

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Vesselin Popovski

Time frame: 2008–2009

The Peace and Governance Programme proceeded with the research project “Developing Capacity to Achieve Justice for International Crimes in Africa”, with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) based in Pretoria, South Africa. The project provides an African forum for dialogue and learning among policy makers, practitioners and experts, building understanding of, and support for, the role of international law and the International Criminal Court in ending impunity, and assisting in building domestic capacity to deal with international crimes.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, forum, law, international criminal court, impunity, crimes

Fragility and Development

UNU World Institute on Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

In recent years there is a growing concern within the international donor community regarding the plight of a special group of countries labeled as “Fragile States”. These states, which according to current donor lists currently numbers more than 40 countries, are diverse in many respects. But, compared with other aid-receiving countries, all are thought to use aid poorly and to have lower capacities to absorb aid efficiently due to having especially bad policies, especially weak institutions or both. In addition they are all especially income poor, each belonging to the low-income country group.

Alongside this rather recent concern is a more longstanding one for Small Island and Landlocked (SIL) countries . These countries can also be considered fragile, not necessarily in the way in which donors use that term, but in the sense that they are vulnerable to external shocks. The project and conference on Fragile States - Fragile Groups looks at aid and related governance issues and a range of development challenges faced by Small Island and Landlocked countries in the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

A complete list of publications is available online.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, fragile state, development, aid, vulnerability, policies, low-income, Small Island and Landlocked countries

Researching Conflict in Africa: Insights and Experiences

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Albrecht Schnabel c/o Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2002–2005

The book Researching Conflict in Africa: Insights and Experiences was published in 2005, based on the results of a Peace and Governance Programme project. It examines the ethical and practical issues of researching within violent and divided societies, providing factual case studies from Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. The authors provide insights about researching conflict in Africa that can only be gained through fieldwork experience.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, conflict, ethics, violence, divided, case studies, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa

Humanitarian Diplomacy – Practitioners and their Craft

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Hazel Smith (University of Warwick, UK) c/o Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2004–2007

Within the framework of this project, humanitarian professionals shared their insights and experiences from the field, including those in Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. The book entitled Humanitarian Diplomacy: Practitioners and their Craft was published in 2006. The volume provides a compendium of experiences presented and analyzed by 14 senior humanitarian practitioners who led humanitarian operations in settings as diverse as the Balkans and Nepal, Somalia and East Timor, and across a time frame from the 1970s in Cambodia and 1980s in Lebanon to more recent engagement in Colombia and Iraq. Their unique experiences and insights from the field are framed by context-setting essays on the theory and practice of humanitarian diplomacy and on the ingredients of the craft as practiced by humanitarian professionals.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, humanitarian, diplomacy, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia

After Mass Crime: Rebuilding States and Communities

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Albrecht Schnabel c/o Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2003–2006

The Peace and Governance Programme completed the research project After Mass Crime: Rebuilding States and Communities. A book based on the project was published in December 2006, drawing on case studies including Rwanda and Burundi, to examine the impact of mass crimes on individuals, society at large, and the organizations involved in providing assistance in the post-conflict phase.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, mass crimes, Rwanda, Burundi, impact, post-conflict

Economic and Legal Tools to Promote Foreign Direct Investment in Zones of Conflict

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2007–2008

In January 2007, the UNU Peace and Governance Programme initiated the project “Economic and Legal Tools to Promote Foreign Direct Investment in Zones of Conflict” in co-operation with UNCTAD. African scholars and experts participated actively in the project, exploring opportunities to improve the investment climate in countries emerging from armed conflict, to regulate trade with natural resources, and to handle existing economic difficulties and legal shortcomings in the conflict and immediate post-conflict periods.

Publication

Foreign Direct Investment in Post-Conflict Countries, Virtus C. Igbokwe, Nicholas Turner and Obijiofor Aginam (eds.), Adonis & Abbey, 2010

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, FDI, economy, promotion, post-conflict

Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Chiyuki Aoi (Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo) c/o Nicholas Turner

Time frame: 2006–2007

The UNU Peace and Governance Programme book Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations was published in May 2007, based on a research project of the same name. The project was conducted with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), based in Durban, South Africa, with key contributions from African scholars.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, peacekeeping, unintended consequences

Atrocities and International Accountability

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Vesselin Popovski

Time frame: 2004–2007

The UNU Peace and Governance Programme project “Atrocities and International Accountability” resulted in a book, published in June 2007. Bringing together eminent scholars and practitioners with direct experience of some of the most challenging contemporary cases of international justice, the book includes contributions based on the experiences of Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and West Africa.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, atrocities, accountability, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, West Africa

Tokyo Peacebuilders Symposium

UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP)

Contact: Vesselin Popovski

Time frame: 2008

The UNU Peace and Governance Programme co-organized the “First Tokyo Peacebuilders Symposium: Peacebuilding Experience from Asia to the World” with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on 24-25 March 2008. A diverse range of peacebuilding practitioners and academics from Asia, Africa and other regions of the world shared their experiences and expertise, promoting effective peacebuilding and peacebuilding-support policies and practices in Japan, Asia, Africa and the global community.

Tags: Africa, governance and international justice, peacebuilding, practitioner, academic, expertise, policy, practice

UNU-Cornell Africa Series

UNU-Programme on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), Cornell University, UNU Office of New York (UNU-ONY), and UNU Food and Nutrition Programme for Human and Social Development (UNU-FNP)

Contact: Emmanuel Fanta

Timeframe: 2007–2008

Programme website

UNU-Cornell Africa Series: In collaboration with Cornell University, UNU brings together academic experts and practitioners on and from Africa, the UN, and civil society to discuss many of the major challenges facing Africa in the 21st century. Key areas of the Africa Series include: food and nutrition, governance, HIV/AIDS, public health, environmental sustainability, and education. A final event will outline the lessons learned from the preceding events and elaborate on policy recommendations for the High-Level Meeting on “Africa’s Development Needs” to be held during the UN General Assembly in September 2008 and as a focal point for UNU’s future Africa Strategy.

Dr. Rodrigo Tavares, UNU-CRIS Associate Research Fellow and consultant to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, through the Cornell-UNU-UN cooperation had the opportunity to draft the Secretary General report on Africa’s Development Needs (background document of the High Level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs, NYC, 22 September 2008).

Tags: MDGs, sustainability, sustainable development, vulnerability, risk, NEPAD, poverty

Is the EU's governance 'good'?: An assessment of EU governance in its partnership with ACP States

UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Contact: Nikki Slocum-Bradley

Time frame: 2005–2009

This article was written by Nikki Slocum-Bradley and Andrew Bradley and published in Third World Quarterly, special issue on Governance, Development and the South: Contesting EU Policies, Volume 31, Number 1 (February 2010). The original version was published as a UNU-CRIS working paper.

Abstract: Distinguishing between ‘(good) governance’ as a process and an outcome, this paper examines both the processes and outcomes of governance in the context of the EU’s relationship with ACP States within the period of the Cotonou Agreement (CA). It discusses and assesses a variety of governance mechanisms, including the European Commission’s use of the governance concept, EPAs, manifestations of partner preferences, the EDF, the revision of the CA, and Fisheries Partnership Agreements. Specific examples of the wielding of each mechanism are assessed based upon two criteria: a) the extent to which the wielding of the mechanism by the EU is a manifestation of “good governance”, and b) the extent to which the EU’s wielding of the mechanism has resulted, or is likely to result, in the sustainable development of and reduction of poverty in ACP countries. The examples are chosen to illustrate contradictions between rhetoric and practice and the consequential negative (actual and potential) impact upon development in ACP States. The final section offers suggestions for improving the EU’s governance processes and their outcomes for development.

Locations: Southern, central, eastern & western Africa

Tags: European Union, human security, social responsibility, sustainability/sustainable development, governance

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Page last modified 2011.06.07.




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