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Power-sharing, EU strategy of resilience and civil society actors

The role of non-state actors has intensified dramatically in the 21st century, as a result of globalisation dynamics and a subsequent redistribution of power among states, markets and civil society in the form of power-sharing models of democratic governance (Mathews 1997). Working closely with civil society as part of integrated security approaches to support good governance and accountable institutions represents a stated principle of the EU strategy of building resilience of fragile states (see the EU Global Strategy 2016). Within the space comprised between the state and the market, interactions can occur between stakeholders and actors with different ideological backgrounds and strategies. In particular in transitional SSR regimes, interactions are anticipated to take the form of cooperation (informal agreement), coordination (formal agreement) and collaboration (formal and informal agreement) (Schroeder et al. 2014: 214; see also McNamara 2008). Cooperation is based on informal agreements and channels of information sharing, while coordination happens on the basis of ‘formalized agreements’ and channels of interaction (McNamara 2008: 392). Collaboration allows for joint engagement based on both formal and informal agreements (McNamara 2008: 392). Unlike coordination and cooperation, collaboration requires integration with collective instead of individual goals and relies on trust relations (McNamara 2008: 392).

Collaboration seems to be more suitable to integrated multi-actor security approaches, which require long-term approaches and permanent dynamics of negotiations, than cooperation or even coordination. Yalqinkaya (2012: 495) argues that collaboration is the “most suitable mechanism for NGO-military relations” in volatile and difficult environments, as coordination and cooperation can have ‘side effects’ that can compromise standards of action, such as NGOs’ principle of independence or impartiality. Thus, cooperation and coordination govern civil-military relations mainly during crises and complex emergencies in humanitarian contexts, which in principle have short-term objectives, as highlighted by policy models such as Civil- Military Cooperation (CIMIC) or Civil-Military Coordination (CMCoord). In insecure environments, military and civilian actors, e.g. NGOs, might be seen as having ‘divergent aims and principles’ (Tauxe 2000). Armed forces are responsible for the enforcement of peace agreements and security, while actors such as NGOs are mainly responsible to provide civilians with humanitarian assistance. However, from a human security perspective - which is pivotal to multi-track peace approaches - security and development are interrelated, making it thus necessary to converge military’s and NGOs’ apparent ‘divergent’ aims and objectives.

Another possibility to converge civil and military objective is complementarity, which can be another type of interaction, in addition to coordination, cooperation and collaboration, that deserves distinct analytical attention. Complementarity is closely linked to collaboration, “which presupposes a desire to integrate approaches to achieve a common goal” (Lilly 2002: 2). Complementarity involves ‘distinct actions’ (Jenny 2001: 23) or “working in parallel as separate/autonomous entities within the same system” (Barnes 2006:99). Thus, complementarity is conditioned by strategic interactions between actors operating within a system in order to preserve their autonomy, while helping to foster coherence and avoiding duplication. Complementary approaches are indispensable for the interdependent comprehensive types of peace approaches underpinned by multi-track security paradigms. Particularly in identity-based conflicts, ‘use of force’ promotes peace only if “it is closely linked to the diplomatic process, kept to a minimum and coupled with use of security and trust-building measures” (Jakobsen 2000: 45; see also Stedman and Rothchild 1996). Complementarity is particularly necessary in theatres in which actors with different operational priorities and mandates - such as military and civilians - (Griinewald and Geoffroy 2002: 462) operate.

Interactions between actors operating in hybrid orders are significant because “if an important institution undergoes changes, other institutions are subject to realignment”, “adjustment”, “adaption” or “integration” (Redmond 2005: 501-3). Institutional change in a complex, multi-layered system is important because changes in one layer, e.g. political culture, will result in changes in other layers, e.g. policymaking.

While many scholars argue that non-government organisations can strengthen state capacity by fulfilling public and non-public functions discussed earlier, another strand of literature argues that NGOs might undermine and decline the authority of the state. By overtaking responsibilities and functions that are traditionally implemented by the state, NGOs can “weaken and delegitimize the state” (Goel 2004: 31). Donor-funded organisations in particular might induce a “so-called democratic deficit” (Mathews 1997: 65), because of the top-down direction of the funded projects. External interventions leading to institutional transformation and change are assumed to be following donors’ objectives. However, donors’ objectives are not necessarily conflicting with the domestic priorities; au contraire, they might actually reinforce and strengthen them. For example, one of the stated objectives of the EUGS is “state and societal resilience to our East and South” (European Union 2016: 9, 23-8). Societal resilience is certainly a prerequisite for countries in the East and South to achieve their security objectives. Therefore, what at a first sight appears to be a decline in state power may actually strengthen the national system (Mathews 1997: 65), by increasing both input legitimacy and diagonal accountability. Empirically testing these rival possibilities is important to our understanding of the underlying dynamics of change.

Transition to democracy is not expected to result in a full democracy in one move, but it may lead to an intermediary form of democracy: representative democracy, “formal democracy, pseudo-democracy, weak democracy, partial democracy, delegative democracy [or] low-intensity democracy” (original emphasis, Serra 2010 8-9; see also O'Donnell 1994). Rustow (1970) distinguishes between three intermediary stages of transition to democracy: (a) ‘preparatory’, i.e. “one of struggle and conflict over power between different social forces”; (b) ‘decision-making’, i.e. “an act of explicit consensus in which (...) political leaders accept the existence of diversity in unity and, to that end, agree to institutionalize some crucial aspects of democratic procedures”; and (c) ‘habituation’, in which ‘‘politicians and citizens alike apply the new rules to other issues and adjust to the new democratic structure” (Serra 2008: 10). Civil-military interaction, including with NGOs, can be thus conceptualised as ‘negotiated bargains’ (Wood 1996: 188) between actors displaying various interests, which, in turn, is anticipated to trigger processes of democratic change. These mechanisms of institutional change and transformation are key to our understanding of the processes of change and democratisation of security institutions and governance in hybrid orders.

One key dimension in the implementation of these approaches is the mechanism of institutional change and how democratic change can occur, which is discussed in the following.

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