04 Nov

How can sub-national governments strengthen state-citizen relations in fragile contexts? Insights and implications for policy

Organized by:PAX and Graduate Institute Geneva

This networking event is organized by PAX and the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland). 

In many fragile states, a key driver of insecurity and instability is the deterioration of state-society relations, through which citizens legitimize the state in exchange for its provision of basic services and protection. Conventional statebuilding strategies and instruments have proven inadequate to the challenge of strengthening state-society relations as a means of transitioning from fragility to more cohesive and resilient political orders. Evidence exists that sub-national actors can perform a substantive and practical role in building inclusive dialogue and collaboration between state institutions and the public, and providing concrete conflict mitigation and dispute settlement mechanisms that prevent or reduce the resort to violence. With a view to improving peacebuilding and statebuilding policy, the networking event described in this concept note will pose the question: How can sub-national government institutions contribute to strengthening citizen trust and state legitimacy in fragile contexts?

The event will tackle a set of framing questions relevant to policymakers, to be determined through a consultative process with interlocutors at The Netherlands’ MFA and the Swiss FDFA in September-October 2015.

The event aims to spotlight research insights and facilitate a critical policy dialogue around the utility of promoting effective and accountable sub-national actors in peacebuilding and statebuilding processes, and to inform the development of more effective policy frameworks, particularly in relation to Dutch policy in fragile contexts and global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG 16). 

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