2014 SCID Symposium – Keith Sargent – Re-thinking Post-Conflict State Building: Developing Better Governance and Fighting Corruption – Have We Got It Right?

PowerPoint presentation: Re-thinking Post Conflict State Building – Keith Sargent

In this presentation, Keith Sargent underscores the importance of addressing governance and corruption issues if post-conflict state building efforts are to be successful. With specific reference to state building efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan, Keith highlights the extent to which these efforts have been undermined by a weak governance and anti-corruption agenda, particularly for the public service. Keith also examines the reasons why efforts to promote governance and fight corruption have been less than successful, referring, in particular, to weaknesses in donor co-ordination, prioritisation and sequencing as well as debates over the nature/definition of governance and corruption. In conclusion, a number of recommendations are proposed that would enable governance and corruption to be addressed more comprehensively after conflict and, thus, better contribute to rebuilding post-conflict states. These recommendations include the need for donors to deal with anti-corruption in a joined-up, comprehensive and cross-cutting manner; the need for agreement to the prioritisation and sequencing of the elements of the state building agenda between donors and with government at the outset of the state building process; the need for commitment to fully understand systemic corruption and act firmly against it; the need to commit adequate resources to the governance agenda, and particularly to obtaining ‘clean government’ and fighting corruption; the need for change initiatives to promote a culture of integrity and anti-corruption, which should not be lost sight of just because they are invariably very long term; and the need for greater attention to be paid to addressing corruption in donor organisations if they are to be listened to and expect its wishes to be organisations respected by aid recipient countries.

Keith Sargent is an independent advisor specialising in state building and good governance. In a career spanning over 40 years he has worked internationally in advisory and management capacities for governments and their development partners  including  the  UK Government’s DFID/ODA and  FCO,  UN  agencies,  the  EC,  the World Bank and other agencies. He is a regular chairperson and speaker on an Anti-Corruption seminar programme at the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, where he also speaks on a Conflict Transformation programme.

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