Stabilisation is the process of establishing early peace and security in countries affected by conflict and instability.  Central to the stabilisation process is the promotion of a peaceful political settlement to support a legitimate indigenous government, which can better respond to its people. Stabilisation often requires external support to indigenous efforts and is best undertaken through an integrated approach. 

pdf Building Stability Overseas Strategy

Institution: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence
Publication Date: July 2011
Keywords: Stabilisation; Conflict 


This strategy sets out how the UK Government aims to address serious conflict and prevent it from taking hold in unstable countries by promoting democracy, security and prosperity in countries and regions where its interests are at stake.  It sets out current drivers of conflict across the world and examines future threats, including resource scarcity. 

default For Stabilisation

Author: Christian Dennys
Institution: Stability: International Journal of Security & Development
Publication Date: February, 2013
Keywords: Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Peacekeeping, Political Settlement, Stabilisation, Security And Justice


This paper outlines a conception of stabilisation which can provide support and allow transformation in communities affected by conflict. It connects stabilisation efforts to the broader international pursuit of stability and suggests it can provide a pragmatic way to engage in conflict.

It is a rejoinder to Roger Mac Ginty’s polemic (Against Stabilization - see arguing, whilst the author is correct in identifying the inconsistencies in the concept and practice of stabilisation, it is a viable concept. This article draws on field research from Afghanistan and Nepal to demonstrate within stabilisation’s philosophical pedigree and practical application are components that can articulate a form of sub-national international intervention that can address political threats. Further this form of intervention is morally defensible and can promote control rather than constrict it. Stabilisation is a new term that has been applied to many old practices, but it has been inconsistently used suggesting that it is both a practice for national level interventions and those directed at a sub-national level. This has been unhelpful as it confuses stabilisation activity with other forms of intervention. The article explores the threats stabilisation can address, the stability being sought after and the manner in which interventions can be approached in order to address the threats. It suggests there is a space in which stabilisation can operate, pragmatically engaging in the complexities of political conflict in states under extreme tension.


pdf Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction

Author: Beth Cole, Emily Hsu, et al
Institution: United States Institute of Peace and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute                              
Publication Date: 2009
Keywords: Stabilisation; Comprehensive/Integrated Approach


Guiding Principles is a best practice manual for civilians engaged in peacebuilding missions.  The document sets out a strategic framework for stabilisation and reconstruction missions; and, recommends common strategic principles based on lessons learned from past stabilisation operations. The manual provides a foundation for decision makers, planners, and practitioners to help them better prioritise their work in stabilisation missions.  This document is a useful overall guide for stabilisation advisors operating at a policy or programme level. 

default Interim Stabilisation in Fragile Security Situations

Author: Nat J. Colletta
Institution: Stability - International Journal of Security & Development
Publication Date: November, 2012
Keywords: Conflict, Political Settlement, Stabilisation, Security And Justice: (Community Security, National Security, Human, Comprehensive /Integrated Approach


This paper is relevant because it situates stabilisation primarily of issues around the security sector, particularly with relation to integration with military forces and the importance of disarmament processes in the context of stabilisation.  The document provides a reconfirmation of the importance of stabilisation in addressing entrenched conflicts,

default Preparing Stabilisation for 21st Century Security Challenges.

Title: Preparing Stabilisation for 21st Century Security Challenges. 

Author: Zyck, S.A. & Muggah, R

Institution: Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 4(1), p.Art. 54. DOI:

Publication Date: November 2015.

Keywords: stabilisation, new security challenges


The authors argue that the term stabilisation and the tools understood to be associated with it have become increasingly commonly used over recent years.  This familiarity brings with it an attendant risk that it becomes part of conflict and post-conflict jargon, losing much of what makes it a useful and valuable concept.  They identify a range of ‘new’ security challenges including migration, transnational crime, new technologies and the fragmentation of traditional conflicts, arguing that a broad interpretation of stabilisation provides an opportunity to look beyond existing and narrow-focussed approaches to conflict resolution and security responses.  They claim that stabilisation has an important role to play in helping to respond to these challenges.  However for this to happen, stabilisation needs to be interpreted as a ‘combined, multi-part strategy’, not a means through which stability can be bought with humanitarian or development assistance in the absence of a meaningful diplomatic or military-security strategy.  Those seeking to understand how stabilisation concepts and approaches might be of use in addressing new security challenges will find this article informative and useful. Part of its value is that it is part of a series of articles looking at the future of stabilisation published by Stability:  Journal of Security and Development.   


default Saving liberal peacebuilding

Title: Saving liberal peacebuilding

Author: Paris, R

Institution: Review of International Studies, (36, pp 337-365)

Publication Date: 2010

Keywords: Liberal peace, post conflict peacebuilding, UN


In this article, Roland Paris, one of the leading proponents of the concept of liberal peacebuilding, on which post-war stabilisation is often understood, defends the concept against critiques that it is ‘irrationally exuberant’.  Paris argues that liberal peacebuilding, in which intervention to support governance and economic recovery is prioritised alongside peacekeeping and humanitarian support does not deserve the ‘hyper critical’ attentions of those critical theorists who see it as a neo-colonialist approach by developed nations to expanding the borders of their influence.  He identifies five key mistakes made by those who claim that liberal peacebuilding does more harm than good. Amongst them he argues that ‘Conflating Post-Conquest and Post-Settlement Peacebuilding’ misunderstands the different challenges of (a) peacebuilding from a position of (some) consensus, framed by a political settlement process, and (b) attempts to resolve conflict in post-conquest contexts in which there is no agreed strategy for resolution and recovery.  This paper is important as it revisits the claims made in the 1990’s by liberal peacebuilders in the light of experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, and makes a counter-argument to that advanced by realists and critical theorists that the ambition and desired effect is no longer plausible.  It matters for those involved in stabilisation activities as it provides a wider lens through which to look at short term stabilisation efforts, and their desired effects on longer term transition and peacebuilding.  As such, it is valuable, yet accessible reading for those seeking to understand the linkages between activities to promote stability and civil, diplomatic and military strategies required by outside actors to support peacebuilding in contexts affected by violent conflict.

default The Surge to Stabilize: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia

Title: The Surge to Stabilize: Lessons for the UN from the AU's Experience in Somalia

Author: Lotze, W and Williams, Paul D

Institution:International Peace Institute

Publication Date: 2016

Keywords: Stabilisation, Somalia, AU, African Union


The authors studied the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in undertaking stabilisation activities in support of the Government of Somalia from 2011.  They identify five key factors which impeded stabilisation efforts.  These included the lack of a shared stabilisation strategy between internal and external actors, military operations outpacing civilian stabilisation responses, difficulties in providing real or perceived improvements in security for civilian populations, and the inability of AMISOM to provide consistent peace dividends due to problems with security and service provision. They conclude by offering nine lessons for the UN and others attempting stabilisation activities in future.  They range from commonly identified themes, such as the importance of ensuring that civilian and military efforts are in sync, to observations which are less well articulated elsewhere, such as understanding that ‘territorial expansion is less important than degrading the capabilities of spoilers’.  This paper is relevant to all who seek to support stabilisation alongside significant external military activities in contexts affected by ongoing violent conflict. Further, it contains valuable insights for those engaged in diplomatic conflict resolution efforts, and for contexts in which the UN and regional bodies play a significant role in leading, coordinating or delivering the efforts of bilateral actors. 



default Toward a Realistic and Responsible Idea of Stabilisation.

Title: Toward a Realistic and Responsible Idea of Stabilisation. 

Author: Rotmann, P

Institution: Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 5(1), p.5. DOI:

Publication Date: 2016

Keywords: stabilisation, resilience

The author studies stabilisation concepts and mechanisms in the UK, US, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands. From this he concludes that there are broadly two contemporary official understandings of the term: the first sees stabilisation in its broadest interpretation in which stabilisation efforts are intended to build lasting peace, security, stability and prosperity; the second, more narrowly defined concept focusses on activities aimed at ‘defusing crises’. The former understanding requires a similarly broad response which attempts to address instability through genuine political, security and governance reforms; the latter implicitly accepts an end-state in which there is resilience to shock or crisis, but where states are still deeply fragile, characterized by unrepresentative politics, abusive security actors and lack of economic or social opportunity.  This bifurcation is not dissimilar to the concepts of positive and negative peace developed by peace researchers such as Johan Galtung and Adam Curle in the 1960s and 1970s.  However, it is valuable in that the author’s research is contemporary, and uses as its dataset the official positions and mechanisms adopted by European and North American governments.  It is relevant to those working on contemporary stabilisation challenges and specifically those seeking to understand and communicate the relationships between addressing short-term political priorities which often reflect public opinion and the longer-term and more fundamental changes required for genuine peace and transition from cycles of violent conflict.   

pdf UK Approach to Stabilisation

Author: Stabilisation Unit
Institution: Stabilisation Unit
Publication Date: May, 2014
Keywords: Stabilisation


A new definition of stabilisation
Stabilisation is one of the approaches used in situations of violent conflict which is designed to protect and promote legitimate political authority, using a combination of integrated civilian and military actions to reduce violence, re-establish security and prepare for longer-term recovery by building an enabling environment for structural stability.

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