In many contexts, we see a vicious circle of fragility, violent conflict and corruption: state institutions are weak and not trusted by the population, the allocation of power is discretionary. Patronage, clientelism and violence prevail as elites compete for power, social and economic networks are shattered. Corruption creates grievances and functions as a driver of conflict and fragility. As symptom of poor governance and impunity, it is often connected to the root causes of violent conflict.
Key Theses, Thoughts and Ideas
Escaping the vicious circle is only possible if the systemic linkages of corruption and violent conflict are addressed simultaneously and peacebuilding and anti-corruption join forces.
Breaking the silos of peacebuilding, governance and rule of law, we need to recognize how the conflict system and corruption fuel each other. We need to widen our analytical focus and integrate more granular, local understanding of the political economy of the peacebuilding context, including social norms. Do no harm needs to go both ways, so that neither peacebuilding aggravates corruption nor anti-corruption efforts undermine peacebuilding unintentionally.
With a deep, localised understanding the conflict-corruption system we can act jointly to pave the way for a sustainable and inclusive transformation of social contracts. In doing so, peacebuilding actors also need to reconsider their own accountability and transparency standards to encourage more downward accountability towards people on the ground.