The Security Development Nexus.

A Workshop.

Ottawa, April 30 - May 2, 2010



Among the many threats to security, locally and globally, are intrastate political violence, transnational political violence and state sponsored violence. These forms of organized violence are often symptoms of fragile states. Instances of organized violence and state failure are concentrated in regions which suffer from low levels of development.

Development policies are therefore often seen as one of the most important tool for fixing states, for making then more accountable, and for fighting organized violence.

There has been much discussion (and some reforms) in academia and policy circles about the “security-development-nexus”. By contrast, there has been relatively little empirical work, and we are a long way away from a comprehensive theory of the relation between development policies and security policies.

The Puzzles

There are many puzzles that empirical research needs to address. Among them are:

1)What is the impact of development on security? And how much security is needed for development?

2)Which security threats can be addressed by development programs, and which cannot (and should therefore be addressed by other means, e.g. diplomacy or armed stabilization operations)?

3)There is a vast range of development tools, ranging from humanitarian aid to multinational trust funds. Which development polices help? What kind of initiatives and projects, at what level, are efficient? Which mode of delivery is adequate in which situation? Who should be the addressees and  the beneficiaries (elites, civil society, spoilers, others)?

4)How should external actors cooperate with the state? How important is it to cooperate with local elites? Is the regime type important? What strategies are available when there is no state, or a hostile state?

5)Security can range from “absence of threat of physical harm  for a small in-group” to security as a “public good based on the rule of law”. What type of security  can or should be achieved? Is there a trade-off between different types of security? Are our concepts of security adequate?

6)In the context of peacebuilding missions, what is good practice in civil-military relations?

7)And finally: What are the causal mechanisms by which development affects security and vice versa? What empirical evidence do we have so far? How can the preferences and capabilities of organizers of violence be influenced? Which is their incentive structure, and how can it be changed? what methods do we have or should we have to  produce better empirical evidence (experiments, quasi-experiments, anthropological case studies, expert interviews, survey techniques) ?


This workshop has the following objectives:

1)Present and discuss ongoing empirical research

2)Present and discuss methodological approaches

3)Facilitate networking between researchers with various backgrounds from Canada, the US and Europe

4)Generate  a research agenda

5)Early outreach to policy makers in Ottawa

The Format

Participants will be asked to briefly present their research, based on a paper. However, the focus will be less on presenting research papers, than on discussing emerging topics, new methods, issues of data and measurements, and conceptual issues. The exact format will be determined at a later stage

We plan to have sessions on:

Saturday, May 1: 10 - 5

Sunday, May 2: 9 - 2


This Worksop is organized by CIPS (Center for International Policy Studies, U of Ottawa) and Freie Universität Berlin.

Convenors are Roland Paris and Christoph Zürcher, U of Ottawa

Participants (April 2010)

Andrew Wilder,  Christoph Zürcher, Desha Girod, Eli Berman, Jake Shapiro, Jan Böhnke, Jan Koehler, Jason Lyall, Jonathan Goodhand, Roland Paris, Stephen Brown, Christine Yeung


soon to come

As a growing share of aid resources is being allocated to conflict prevention and peacebuilding and interventions, more evidence demonstrating their effectiveness is essential. Hence, there is a growing interest among donors and practitioners to learn more about what works, what does not, and why? (DAC 2007).