Seminars

The Stabilisation Unit arranges seminars on current topics relevant to the UK Government's work on stabilisation, conflict and security. These are only open to government staff but selected written summaries can be accessed on this page.

Documents

document Before SSR: The Case for Security Sector Stabilisation

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Before SSR - The Case for Security Sector Stabilisation.docx

Before SSR: The Case for Security Sector Stabilisation
Presentations by Ben Lovelock and Rachel Kleinfeld, followed by discussion
18 December 2014 – Lessons in conflict and stabilisation seminar series

Abstract
Ben Lovelock (former Royal Marines officer and Senior Security and Justice Adviser with the Stabilisation Unit) and Rachel Kleinfeld (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) addressed the question: In very violent, highly conflicted contexts, what can be done to encourage and protect dialogue through engagement with political and security actors both locally and nationally?  The session examined how the concept of security sector stabilisation and other approaches could help promote improvements in security and encourage political progress where the capability and legitimacy of political authority is lacking.

document Integrating gender into UN peace support operations in DRC

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Integrating gender into UN peace support operations in DRC.docx

Integrating gender into UN peace support operations in DRC
Presentation by Major Rachel Grimes, followed by discussion
16th January 2015 – Lessons in conflict and stabilisation seminar series

Abstract

This seminar was delivered by Major Rachel Grimes, a British Army officer, who has just completed 9 months working with the United Nations in the DRC. Part of her deployment saw her establish a new role, the Child Protection and Gender Field Adviser. Since 1994, an estimated 3 million women and 800, 000 men have been victims of rape in the DRC. This seminar explored the challenges involved in tackling sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and also provided an oversight on the lessons learned from mainstreaming gender to 200, 000 soldiers under MONUSCO’s mandate (UNSCR 2147).  This mandate was placed within the international policy framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and the UK’s commitments and efforts to enhance military capabilities internationally to prevent and respond to sexual violence and wider gender issues captured in the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security and the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).

 

document Legitimacy and Illegitimacy

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Legitimacy and Illegitimacy.docx

Legitimacy and Illegitimacy
Presentation by Robert Lamb, followed by discussion
19th November 2014 – Lessons in conflict and stabilisation seminar series

Abstract

Decision makers often need to understand how much support or opposition an organization, operation, or policy might face. Legitimacy, according to many fields of study and practice, is something that induces voluntary support, lowers operating costs, and improves stability and sustainability. There is therefore a great deal of interest in measuring and assessing it, which is difficult, because it cannot be observed. This seminar will introduce and discuss a new multidimensional, multilevel, bilateral assessment framework that governments, businesses, organizations, scholars, and others can use when they need to better understand the sources and dynamics of support or opposition for any entity. It will briefly cover the intellectual history of the concept of legitimacy, summarise the literature (“people are motivated by what is right”), introduce a new conceptualisation of illegitimacy, and outline four types of legitimacy assessments, from a rapid to a comprehensive assessment.

document Lessons Roundtable: Making Peace with the Taliban

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 Lessons Roundtable: Making Peace with the Taliban 

Presentation by Professor Michael Semple and Professor Theo Farrell, followed by discussion

24 November 2015 - Lessons Roundtable Discussion

Abstract

 In this roundtable discussion, Professor Michael Semple and Professor Theo Farrell argued that in seizing Kunduz in late September 2015, the Taliban achieved a key stated objective of their 2015 campaign, which was to capture a provincial capital.  However, they also argued that victory does not alter the strategic reality of the war, which is one of stalemate. The Afghan army and police have no hope of wiping out the insurgency; equally, the Taliban cannot win back Afghanistan through force of arms alone.  Semple and Farrell highlighted that this creates a simple and compelling logic for peace talks as the only way to end the conflict.  At a time when many Taliban might be mistaken about the possibility of military victory, they outlined what can be done to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and to keep them there.

document Understanding and Engaging Local Level Governance in Fragile States: State of the debate

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Understanding and Engaging Local Level Governance in Fragile States: State of the debate
Presentation by Professor Ken Menkhaus, followed by discussion
3rd November 2014 – Lessons in conflict and stabilisation seminar series

Abstract:

This seminar will explore the challenges of identifying and understanding local level governance coping strategies and how the international community should engage with those structures and attempt to reconnect them with the central state. In particular, the seminar will examine how can we understand the local environment and those governance structures in order to incorporate local preferences and coping strategies into the wider campaign plan? The discussion will be situated in the context of one or two case studies taken from the Horn of Africa. It will also consider contemporary thinking and the current state of the debate both in within the practitioner and academic communities.

 

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