Peace and Development 2020 – An Analysis of Recent Experiences and Findings

Development cooperation is increasingly being conducted in conflict-affected states. As violent conflicts grow and spread, so does the expectation that develop­ment co­operation will constructively contribute to their resolution. At the same time, current conflict dynamics put decades of development progress at risk.

The development-peace nexus is not only of central importance for the Global South, but also for countries in the Global North. The latter contribute substantially to shaping the link between development and peace and are increasingly affected by the reciprocal cycle of violent conflict and development setbacks. However, insights on the exact interplay between develop­ment and peace dynamics remain limited. Similarly, recent practical experiences that target the develop­ment-peace nexus are yet to be systematically evaluated and assessed.

Against this backdrop, this report reviews and summarizes the state of the art on the develop­ment-peace nexus. In doing so, it analyzes contem­porary trends, experiences, and challenges and derives practice-oriented recommen­dations for German and international development cooperation. This report was commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Develop­ment (BMZ). It is based on 30 interviews with experts from different world regions and complemented by a comprehensive review of current policy documents and academic research.

Three ongoing global trends shape the relation between peace (building) and development (cooperation): First, many of the interviewed experts emphasize a worldwide wave of domestic trans­formation featuring authoritarian backlash and novel protest dynamics. Second, environ­mental and climate change, and the related resource conflicts, are identified as a critical contemporary challenge. Third, shifts in the global power structure point towards an alleged decline of the “West” and an ascent of non­western actors. All three of these trends in turn affect the general conditions under which work on the develop­ment-peace nexus is conducted.

This report’s analysis generally confirms the positive empirical relationship between development and peace while specifying that inclusion is the central bridge between the two elements. Nonetheless, the processes of development and peace are complex, may even be at odds under certain circumstances, and do not follow a linear logic. These complexities are inadequately reflected in the ongoing political debate, which reduces the development-peace nexus to a simple reactive stabilization of social and political order. This over­simplification has problematic implications for a nexus-oriented peace and development policy.

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