July 1, 2020
  Governance Information Bulletin 2020:3 Subscribe | Unsubscribe



Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman (WFD 2020)

One factor seems to dictate the extent to which governments have been able to respond successfully to the COVID-19 pandemic: political trust. Trust in political institutions such as the legislature, executive branch, police, and courts, is commonly thought to shape both the stability and quality of democracy. In recent years, as populist leaders and anti-system parties have won high-profile electoral victories, some have presented falling levels of political trust as a crisis – both for established democracies and for their younger counterparts. Citizens report alarmingly low levels of trust in their governments in places as varied as Spain, Tunisia, Peru, Poland and Australia. Partly as a result, many democracy assistance organizations, including the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), support programs that aim to foster political trust. Sometimes this goal is explicit, but often it is implicit in program designs and theories of change. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, WFD “invests in the development of MPs, councilors and officials, as well as improving engagement between citizens, institutions and decision-makers to improve trust in governance.” In Tunisia, the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy has supported the Tunisian School of Politics as a means of building trust in the political process.


Alina Rocha Menocal (ODI 2020)

This note aims to inform how development practitioners understand inclusive governance. It explores how inclusive governance relates to other established concepts and ideas in international development including good governance, democracy, human rights-based approaches to development, legitimacy and social cohesion. It further explores linkages (interdependencies and possible tensions and dilemmas) between inclusion as process (governance) and inclusion as outcome (development), and considers whether and how inclusive processes may foster more inclusive development outcomes.

Alina Rocha Menocal (ODI 2020)

Inclusion in terms of both process (how decisions are made, and who is included in that process, how and why) and outcomes (how wealth and prosperity are distributed and shared across a population and why) is a leading priority in international development, with the Sustainable Development Goals as perhaps the most ambitious articulation of this. As the evidence overwhelmingly shows, over the long term, more open and inclusive states and societies tend to be more prosperous, effective and resilient. And yet, it is far less clear how countries that today can be considered more inclusive in terms of both process and outcome got to where they are. This paper explores the relationship between inclusive governance and inclusive development, which is complex and nonlinear. Analyzing existing research on the politics of development finds that there is no automatic causal relationship between inclusion as process and inclusion as outcome in either direction. It then highlights several factors that have been important in fostering inclusive development through inclusive governance. By way of conclusion, the paper draws out a few key implications for how international development actors can support inclusion more effectively through more politically aware ways of thinking and working.

Fragile States/Peacebuilding

Susanna Campbell & Gabriele Spilker (SSRN 2020)

Donors currently allocate the majority of their aid to countries affected by civil war and political violence (OECD 2018). Scholarship on international aid has historically argued that donor aid allocation is motivated by exogenous strategic interests, not the endogenous needs of the recipient country (Alesina and Dollar 2000). Using an original survey-embedded experiment completed by over 1,130 aid experts, we find that donors do, in fact, respond to changing dynamics within the conflict-affected country, albeit in predictable ways. Donor aid modalities, like all organizational routines, provide them with limited allocation options, which they use to reward post-conflict governments for implementing peace agreements and help populations if violence returns (March 1999). These findings, which hold across aid donors and recipient countries, challenge core assumptions within the international aid and peacebuilding literatures, demonstrating the emergence of a previously unobserved set of rules that govern aid allocation to post-conflict countries.

Luis José Consuegra (IDEA 2020)

​The SDGs are global in nature and universally applicable; they consider national contexts, capacities, and levels of development and challenges. SDG 16 was developed from the need to ensure proper actions towards achieving peace, justice and strong institutions to support and guarantee the sustainability of the entire development structure; the national contexts are the basis for its advancement. Global and regional organizations have an important role to play in achieving SDG 16. They can provide support, expertise and knowledge products, and bring together best practices and lessons learned to the operational levels, to better inform all stakeholders for a better, effective, collaborative and coordinated decision-making process. This Discussion Paper was developed with input gathered from official key partner organizations that attended several gatherings to discuss the role of global and regional organizations in the advancement of SDG 16, held using the platform provided by the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy at International IDEA.

C. Anderson, J. Fox, and J. Gaventa (IDS 2020)

Development donors invest significantly in governance reform, including in contexts characterized by conflict and fragility. However, there is relatively little comparative study of their change strategies, and little understanding of what works and why. This paper explores the strategies of six recent DFID-funded programs in Mozambique, Myanmar, and Pakistan with empowerment and accountability aims, based on interviews and workshops with practitioners and review of documentation and evaluation evidence. It examines strategies adopted that deliberately tried to join up action across a number of sites and institutions or organizations – which we call multi-scalar or multi-level strategies. These approaches have been shown to be important in other cases. Three common strategies were identified; attempts to aggregate citizen demands and preferences upwards into decision-making systems, link civic organizations at the grassroots with sub-national and national level civil society activism and lobbying, and create linkages and networks horizontally across geographies. Using these strategies were in part a response to common complexities of citizen-state relationship in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Analysis of how these strategies played out across the programs and were linked to their reported outcomes suggests that they can strengthen citizens’ ability to navigate governance systems to resolve problems and claim accountability. They also seem to bolster pro-accountability coalitions’ internal solidarity and external legitimacy. Multi-level strategies also appear associated with establishing more significant pressure for reform than exclusively local or national approaches. There is significant potential in these programs to learn more about when and how these approaches work, and to share this knowledge with others. For this learning to happen, however, there needs to be a shift in incentives towards greater transparency and rigorous assessment of outcomes. Conventional project reporting focuses on counting activities and outputs rather than really analyzing the dynamic, interactive processes at work in these strategies. Evaluations were rarely publicly accessible, if they were undertaken. There were significant sources of evidence that were under-utilized. To fully understand what kinds of action strengthen citizen demands for accountability in complex places requires a more robust approach to learning from donor-led governance interventions.

Bond Resilience Learning Group (2020)

Without action, more than 80% of the world’s poorest people will be living in fragile contexts by 2030. In a context of increasing conflict and a concentration of extreme poverty in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, we need to understand how resilience can be built most effectively in places characterised by protracted and cyclical crises. Strengthened policy and operational coherence by humanitarian, development and peace actors will be essential. To this end, the Bond Resilience Learning Group brought together diverse speakers from these fields to create a platform for information sharing, discussion and reflective learning. The discussions addressed a number of thematic topics that resonate for the sector as we grapple with the challenge of building resilience in fragile contexts, and what it means, practically, to work in the context of the ‘triple nexus’ : (i) Locally-led approaches to working in fragile contexts; (ii) Joint context analysis to shape integrated programming; and (iii) What needs to change in our operating model?

Iffat Idris (GSDRC 2020)

The media can play a positive role in peacebuilding/conflict prevention. Recognition of this has led to increasing programs on media/communications and peacebuilding, with common interventions including training of journalists, and development of pro-peace program content. However, there are significant challenges in designing and implementing such programs, and even more in evaluation. While some interventions have generated positive results (e.g. reduced election-related violence), evidence is limited and it is hard to make causal links between interventions and impact. This highlights the need for more research. This review draws on a mixture of academic papers and grey literature. The literature was largely gender-blind and made no mention of persons with disabilities. The term ‘media’ in this report refers to both mass media (television, radio, newspapers) and to social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, online blogs) because today both are used as sources or tools of news and information (Betz, 2018: 2). ‘Peacebuilding’ is defined as ‘a process that facilitates the establishment of durable peace and tries to prevent the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes and effects of conflict through reconciliation, institution building, and political as well as economic transformation’. In this review peacebuilding is taken in the wider sense to include conflict prevention as well as post-conflict restoration of peace. Features of the phenomena include: *The media can serve as a driver of peace in diverse ways: building bridges between people and groups; improving governance; increasing knowledge of complex issues; providing early warning of potential conflicts; as an outlet to express emotions; and as a motivator for action to promote peace. * Types of media/communication interventions for peacebuilding can also be very diverse, including: media monitoring; media professionalization programs; peace journalism training; international broadcasting; promotion of an enabling legal and regulatory environment; using media to convey peacebuilding messages; citizen journalism initiatives; and crowdsourcing initiatives to collect and share information. The type of intervention will depend on the context, in particular on the stage of the ‘conflict cycle’. *Key actors involved in media/communication and peacebuilding programming include: NGOs, e.g. Internews, Search for Common Ground and Intermedia; international broadcasters, e.g. BBC World Service, Voice of America; and tech-oriented organizations, e.g. Frontline SMS, Ushahidi. * A number of challenges are faced in carrying out such interventions: willingness and interests of media owners; lack of readership/viewership for peace stories compared to those on violence and conflict; reluctance by journalists on the grounds that the media should be objective; resource constraints; legal and regulatory restrictions; and lack of media outreach. * Evaluation of media/communications interventions for peacebuilding is particularly challenging: outcomes are not clearly defined and benefits are hard to measure directly; conducting research can be difficult and dangerous; and it is difficult to attribute solely to the media/communication intervention when other factors are likely involved. Recommendations for development practitioners are as follows: include the role of the media in context and conflict analysis; consider the interaction between local information systems and global media networks and audiences; know and understand the audience; give voice to all people – including the most marginalised and excluded – from the outset; promote regulatory reform of the media as part of peace settlements and their implementation; ensure the safety of media workers; ensure that interventions apply the ‘do no harm’ principle; and build linkages with other peacebuilding and state-building institutions.

William Avis (GSDRC 2020)

In post-conflict environments, the international community plays an important role in supporting successful planning, delivery, and embedding of elections within a wider context of support to political systems and democratization. This rapid review provides an overview of lessons on developing more inclusive politics through sub-national electoral processes in recent academic, policy, and grey literature. The report notes that support to sub-national electoral processes is often embedded within broader initiatives to support democratization, decentralization and electoral reform. Accordingly, the literature reviewed in this report is drawn from a broad range of sources and is intended to provide an overarching response to the question posed. The report is structured as follows, sections two and three provide background information to contextualize the rationale for supporting sub-national elections. Section 4 provides an annotated bibliography that explores how support for democratization, decentralization or inclusion intersect in many contexts. Although well-timed elections can contribute to conflict resolution and help to consolidate peace agreements or power-sharing deals between elites, they also have the potential to exacerbate latent or simmering hostilities. The evidence reviewed in this report indicates that the content and inclusiveness of pre-election dialogue between former combatants; the timing and sequencing of elections; the strength of electoral and security institutions; the choice of the electoral system; and the independence and conduct of the electoral administration and observers are key variables. A number of findings emerge from the literature that discusses post-conflict elections including: * In pre-election dialogue and negotiation, the importance of quickly securing a peace agreement has to be balanced with the need to ensure the talks are as comprehensive and inclusive as possible, in order to ensure smooth progress as elections are rolled out. * The impact of early elections on post-conflict stability is the subject of much debate. While some argue that early elections facilitate peace agreements, hasten democratization, and ensure post-conflict stability, others suggest that they undermine genuine democracy and spark a renewal in the fighting. * Authors also disagree on the proper sequencing of post-conflict elections. Some argue that national elections should be carried out first on the grounds that they have a higher profile than sub-national elections and are more likely to attract international support. Others recommend in starting at the sub-national level to enable political parties time to organize themselves, build up a local support base, and gain political experience. * The risk of elections resulting in tensions or renewed conflict is much greater in the absence of strong electoral and state institutions. * The choice of electoral system is an important factor in the success or failure of post-conflict elections. Whilst there is no outright consensus on the most appropriate system for post-conflict environments, elections conducted under the auspices of the United Nations have almost always favored proportional representation. * There is a broad agreement that independent, non-partisan, and permanent electoral management bodies represent best practices in terms of electoral administration in post-conflict environments. * The presence of international observers can provide a conducive environment for independent, free, and fair elections. However, it is better for international observers to refuse to participate than to be complicit in an observation process that tells less than the full truth about an election.In relation to supporting sub-national political entities, the evidence is mixed. What becomes apparent is that support for sub-national bodies does not necessarily mean fragmentation or division, rather if designed properly sub-national elections can help hold countries together, creating opportunities for democracy to be brought closer to the people without undermining their loyalties to the national state as a whole.

Countering Violent Extremism


Violent extremism has emerged as one of the leading challenges to the realization of sustainable peace globally. Across South and South-East Asia, violent extremism poses a direct threat to inclusive development by fueling intolerance, forcibly displacing communities, exacerbating cycles of insecurity and armed conflict, exploiting existing inequalities, and obstructing the enjoyment of human rights and the rule of law. Underpinning this violence are gender stereotypes that are used to radicalize and recruit men and women, as well as girls and boys, to violent extremist groups. UNDP and UN Women have been working to ensure that efforts to prevent violent extremism are inclusive and based on the promotion and protection of human rights, including women’s rights. This research is the result of a joint effort between both agencies to better understand the relationship between violent extremism and gender power relations in South and South-East Asia, specifically as it relates to radicalization and recruitment, in order to inform programming and policy responses. This publication includes expert analyses through case studies to highlight how unequal gender power structures fuel and shape violent extremism around the region. It emphasizes how structures of patriarchy and harmful performances of masculinity are deeply embedded in the modus operandi of violent extremist groups. It offers policy makers and practitioners a unique insight into the gender dynamics that underpin violent extremism in South and South-East Asia. It will benefit stakeholders working in this area to ensure that holistic understandings of gender identity are integrated into policy and programming approaches to prevent violent extremism.


(NDI 2020)

During a crisis quick and effective political decision-making is crucial. Not only because there is limited time to make important decisions, but also because a crisis is unpredictable and affects large sections of the population. If political decision-making is not well organized this hampers the ability of elected representatives, parties and governments to respond to the crisis effectively. This document gives recommendations of frameworks, processes and structures that define strong political decision-making during a crisis. It outlines why it is important to create them, the different types of decision-making bodies there are, who should be on them and what their responsibilities are.

(NDI 2020)

Crises require clear, concise and consistent communication. Crisis communication encompasses components of normal political communication but also differs in distinct ways. At times of crisis, political leaders, parties and governments are called on to provide a quick, empathic and trustworthy response. The public wants to understand what is going on, what political leaders are doing about the crisis and what they themselves should do. A crisis, by its very nature, contains many unknowns and uncertainties, and this leads to fear, anxiety and anger, mostly about what could happen. This makes effective crisis communication a strategic resource that can contribute to the success of the crisis response. As a politician, party or government there are important rules that apply to crisis communication. During a crisis there is often little to no time to plan or prepare elaborate communication strategies. Rather crises require immediate skills to communicate with the public. Politicians, parties and governments must ensure that crisis communication is timely, transparent and based on correct information, but also honest and frank, showing empathy and understanding about the public’s concerns. In the current pandemic, crisis communication is essential to ensure that people understand the risks of COVID-19 and follow recommendations to protect their health and limit the spread of the virus. It can be a tool that helps manage or even reduce the scale and impact of a crisis. This guide provides important recommendations for politicians, parties and governments to effectively use crisis communication.


(FP Analytics, 2020)

Today, a number of well-established legacy industries are facing growing pressure to innovate and transform to remain competitive in the global economy. Increasing gender diversity in these traditionally male-dominated industries can be an effective—but often overlooked or neglected—means to address escalating challenges as well as to facilitate and accelerate positive change. Recognizing this missed opportunity and a major knowledge gap as to how women are advancing organizational and industrial transformation, FP Analytics conducted a pioneering global study of fourteen legacy industries, which are among the most male-dominated and have wide-reaching environmental, health, and social impacts, and produced the Women as Levers of Change Report. Building on original data analysis of over 2,300 publicly listed companies around the world and more than 160 in-depth one-on-one interviews and surveys of women at all stages of their careers, this report illuminates the current levels of gender inequality in these legacy industries; examines the many ways that women can advance, or are advancing, positive change; pinpoints factors preventing gender diversity; and highlights best practices to address them.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Ian Mwiti Mathenge (SSRN 2020)

The role of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in promoting constitutionalism has not been given much thought, partly because the link between human rights and constitutionalism is often ignored. Human rights are viewed with narrow eyes as distinct and separated from constitutionalism. However, at the core of constitutionalism is human rights. There have emerged human rights institutions falling under independent commissions or what is referred in South Africa as chapter 9 commissions. These institutions are tasked with promotion of constitutionalism and democracy. Their structure, objectives and functions differ from the traditional human rights institutions. They have constitutional entrenchment of independence clause, the obligation of other organs to assist them, the prohibition on their interference and their obligation to report to the National Assembly. What remains unaddressed is their ability to promote constitutionalism. This research argues they have the ability to promote constitutionalism and uses Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe as the case study. This ability is underscored by the structural and operational design of the NHRIs. Second, the functions of these institutions. This paper also briefly assesses the challenges facing these institutions.


Legislatures/Deliberative Bodies

Jonathan Murphy (IDEA/Inter Pares, 2020)

The coronavirus pandemic has deeply impacted how we are governed. Democracies have had to adapt to operating under extreme time pressure, without losing the advantages of transparency, citizen voice, and effective policy feedback loops, that make democracy the most effective and just governance system. Parliaments are the core democratic institution representing citizens throughout the policy cycle; in creating legislative rules that govern society, in ensuring that government implements legislated programs effectively and fairly, in voting the use of taxpayers’ resources to pay for government services, and in ensuring the diverse views of citizens are heard at every stage. During a crisis, parliaments must carry out the same functions, but more rapidly, and in often adverse circumstances. This Primer focuses on particularly two aspects of parliaments’ responses. First, it looks at how parliaments ensured that emergency measures considered the needs of all parts of the population, and also that any emergency government powers were both limited in time and scope, and subject to parliamentary oversight. Second, the Primer examines how parliaments implemented innovative solutions to enable virtual functioning. The Primer concludes by exploring how parliaments can play a key role in reviewing how effectively government responded to the crisis, identifying lessons to be implemented in improved crisis and disaster planning.

Elections and Political Parties

Saskia Brechenmacher, Caroline Hubbard (Carnegie Endowment, 2020)

Political parties around the world face a crisis in public confidence. Many citizens view them as inaccessible and unresponsive to their concerns. Parties pose specific challenges for women, who face both formal and informal barriers to participation, including opaque nomination procedures, violence, and parties with hypermasculine cultures. The formation of new parties during periods of political transition represents a potential opportunity to break these patterns. Transitions can be openings to transform the broader political, legal, and social barriers to an inclusive kind of politics. In these moments of flux, the development of new party branches and rules, as well as the renegotiation of broader institutional frameworks, can enable women and other marginalized groups to push for greater political representation within party structures. What factors influence the level of gender inclusion in processes of party development? This question is central for policymakers, advocates, and practitioners seeking to support inclusive democracy and gender equality in transitional societies and beyond. To shed light on this topic, this study investigates gender inclusion in three types of party formation that commonly unfold during political transitions: (i) a social movement to a party (as exemplified by Ennahda in Tunisia); (ii) an armed movement to a party (as illustrated by the African National Congress [ANC] in South Africa), and (iii) a dominant party to a breakaway party (as shown by the Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès [MPP] in Burkina Faso). For each of these three cases, the study examines how the origins and characteristics of these parties and their respective transition contexts influence the degree of gender inclusion these parties exhibit. Insights from Bolivia, Nepal, and Uganda expand the analysis to additional regions.

Alix Wadeson, Bernardo Monzani and Tom Aston (Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS, 2020)
One important current trend in evaluation discourse amongst international development practitioners is an interest in finding appropriate methods for evaluating the impact of interventions that are “hard to measure.” Examples of “hard to measure” changes include efforts to shift gender norms and empower women; advocacy for pro-poor government policy and budgeting; and improving governance. For interventions with such goals, purely quantitative approaches to evaluation and simply assessing performance against logical framework model indicators are inadequate and fail to meet the challenge of evidencing how and why change happens. Accordingly, organizations are starting to apply more fit-for purpose approaches such as Process Tracing, Contribution Analysis, Outcome Mapping and Outcome Harvesting. This further reflects increasing recognition of Theory of Change (ToC) as a key foundation to test assumptions and better understand the interplay of complex dynamics and relationships amongst stakeholders in a given change process or system. The paper is organized in the following manner. The authors first explain Process Tracing and review common definitions. Secondly, they consider the potential value added of an explicitly Bayesian approach to Process Tracing. Next, they discuss the six cases where Process Tracing was applied, noting similarities and differences. Then, they explore key practical learning emerging from the cases and insights from the use of different forms of Process Tracing across different programming contexts. These reflections are organized under four meta-themes of participation, Theory of Change, methodological decisions, and mitigating bias. Finally, they present our key recommendations, ending with practical tips, targeted at practitioners and evaluators interested in applying Process Tracing, especially for initiatives falling under the ‘influencing’ umbrella.


Measurement, Evaluation & Learning

(NDI, 2020)

At its core, democracy is about citizens having a say in how they are governed through accountable, transparent and inclusive government. Increasingly, social media is the public square in which debates and discussions take place. In our daily lives we all see the role that social media plays in shaping public opinion and coloring political events. We have seen how virtual tools bring communities together, but also spread discord and tear them apart. This new guide is designed to help democracy practitioners better understand social media trends, content, data, and networks. By sharing lessons learned and best practices from across our global network, we hope to empower our partners to make democracy work online by helping them: • Collaborate with local, national, or international partners; • Understand different methods of data collection; • Make the best use of mapping and data visualization; • Analyze the online ecosystem; • Detect malicious or manipulated content and its source; • Understand available tools for all aspects of social media monitoring; and • Know how to respond with data, methods, research, and more through social media.

Message from the Editor

Greetings in a time of Covid-19.

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB). While this issue of GIB is not a intended as a source of Covid-19 specific information, we hope that it at least offers a welcome distraction from the onslaught of increasingly depressing coronavirus news with a cornucopia of interesting and cutting edge articles on governance and development.

As always, the GIB highlights recent open source articles of interest for development practitioners and scholars in the area of governance. Areas of attention include: (1) substantive and cross-cutting topics in the areas of democracy, rule of law, and governance assistance; (2) development and political institutions including executive and judicial branch support; legislative development; local governance and devolution; and public sector performance improvement and (3) program design, management, measurement, evaluation and learning.

All previous issues can be found at the SUNY/CID website here.

We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions for additional readings of interest to development professionals at cidgib@albany.edu.

David E. Guinn

In This Issue

* Political Trust: The Glue That Keeps Democracies Together

* What Does 'Inclusive Governance' Mean? Clarifying Policy and Practice

* Why Does Inclusion Matter? Assessing the Links Between Inclusive Processes and Inclusive Outcomes

* Rules of Aid: Responding to Post-Conflict Violence and Peace

* Democracy and Peacebuilding in the Framework Of SDG 16+: Policy Recommendations from an Interregional and Multi-stakeholder Approach

* How Do Donor-led Empowerment and Accountability Activities Take Scale into Account? Evidence from DFID Programs in Contexts of Fragility, Conflict and Violence

* Building Resilience in Fragile Contexts

* Media/Communications on Peacebuilding/Social Cohesion/Changing Prevailing Narratives on Conflict

* Developing More Inclusive Politics Through Sub-national Electoral Processes

* Conflicting Identities: The Nexus between Masculinities, Femininities and Violent Extremism in Asia

* Political Decision-Making During A Crisis: A Practical Toolkit For Politicians During The Covid-19 Pandemic

* Crisis Communication Guide: A Practical Toolkit for Politicians During the Covid-19 Pandemic

* Women as Levers of Change

* The Ability of Kenya’s, Zimbabwe and South Africa National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to Promote Constitutionalism

* Parliaments and Crisis: Challenges and Innovations | Parliamentary Primer No. 1

* Breaking the Cycle of Gender Exclusion in Political Party Development

* Process Tracing as a Practical Evaluation Method: Comparative Learning from Six Evaluations

* Data Analytics for Social Media Monitoring

Center for International Development
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State University of New York

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