Section 3

3.0 What are cross-cutting principles?

Cross-cutting principles apply to every actor across every end state—no matter who you are, international or local; where you are, in the UN Security Council or in a host nation municipality; or what you are doing, running a school or creating a new banking system. The principles are focused, according to the purpose of this manual, on outcomes. Legitimacy, for example, is an outcome of an untold number of actions. It is a cross-cutting principle that should guide all actions. Maintaining legitimacy is the responsibility of all actors in an S&R mission. The cross-cutting principles included here are discussed throughout the manual.

3.1 What are the key cross-cutting principles in an S&R environment?

  • Host nation ownership and capacity means that the affected country must drive its own development needs and priorities even if transitional authority is in the hands of outsiders.21 Ownership requires capacity, which often needs tremendous strengthening in S&R environments.
  • Political primacy means that a political settlement is the cornerstone of a sustainable peace. Every decision and every action has an impact on the possibility of forging political agreement.
  • Legitimacy has three facets: the degree to which the host nation population accepts the mission and its mandate or the government and its actions; the degree to which the government is accountable to its people; and the degree to which regional neighbors and the broader international community accept the mission mandate and the host nation government.
  • Unity of effort begins with a shared understanding of the environment. It refers to cooperation toward common objectives over the short and long term, even when the participants come from many different organizations with diverse operating cultures.22
  • Security is a cross-cutting prerequisite for peace. The lack of security is what prompts an S&R mission to begin with. Security creates the enabling environment for development.
  • Conflict transformation guides the strategy to transform resolution of conflict from violent to peaceful means. It requires reducing drivers of conflict and strengthening mitigators across political, security, rule of law, economic, and social spheres, while building host nation capacity to manage political and economic competition through peaceful means.23
  • Regional engagement entails encouraging the host nation, its neighboring countries, and other key states in the region to partner in promoting both the host nation’s and the region’s security and economic and political development. It has three components: comprehensive regional diplomacy, a shared regional vision, and cooperation.

3.2 Why is it necessary to fulfill these cross-cutting principles?

S&R missions are messy and complex endeavors involving thousands, if not millions, of moving parts. The same principles that guide one individual charged with implementing a political settlement must guide another who is responsible for operating a transitional prison system to achieve peace.

3.3 Host Nation Ownership and Capacity

3.3.1 What is host nation ownership and capacity?

If the end game is a locally led, sustainable peace, then host nation ownership must be developed at all times by all actors. This means that the affected country must drive its own long-term development needs and priorities.24 Ownership requires capacity, and in these environments, capacity may need strengthening. Emphasize the building of capacity for public and private, national and local, and formal and informal institutions to mitigate and manage drivers of conflict.25

3.3.2 Locally led peace

The international community can impose stability, but only the host nation population can create sustainable peace. A situation requiring the intervention of military forces to enforce peace is always deeply complex and can only be resolved through local settlements and institutions.26

3.3.3 Host nation ownership and capacity depend on:

  • Understanding the local context. Every region, every state and every village has unique economic, cultural, religious, political, and historical characteristics. In assessing the local context, always carefully consider all of these characteristics.
  • Fostering ownership. The ultimate responsibility for the stabilization and reconstruction process belongs to the host nation. This means assisting the host nation government and civil society to lead and participate in both planning and implementation.27 Utilization of host nation processes and structures, both formal and informal, builds ownership. For example, using the central budget of the host nation government, with appropriate safeguards, allows host nation actors to shape priorities and meet the needs of the population.
  • Inclusivity. Partnerships with host nation actors should be guided by impartiality, inclusiveness, and gender considerations based on a solid understanding of the local context (to include civil society; private sector actors; and all ethnic, religious, and minority groups). Seek to include those who have demonstrated support for the peace process and made efforts to end the violence.
  • Capacity. Capacity building involves transferring technical knowledge and skills to the host nation, individuals, and institutions to help them develop effective policies and administer public services across the economic, social, political, and security realms.28 This requires adequate resources for a basic level of civil service capacity and perseverance to mentor and assist in building that capacity. Experience has shown that it is still preferable to deliver services “with” rather than “for” the host nation government, despite weak capacity.29
  • Formal and informal systems. Building on and reforming existing structures and systems is more fiscally sustainable and often more palatable to the host nation population than starting from scratch, as long as the institution has not been one of the principal drivers of conflict. Local customs and structures that are legitimate are better than transplanted models that are unfamiliar. Often, the population’s contact with formal state institutions—including those responsible for justice and security—is negligible or very negative. On the other hand, contact with informal systems, such as customary justice, may have been frequent and positive. Understanding the role of formal vs. informal systems is a prerequisite for action.
  • Early resources. Early resources tend to be used for projects that produce quick and visible results—often known as “quick impact”—to demonstrate that things are different in the country. Some examples include rehabilitating infrastructure or cleaning the streets. Early resources may be important, but only if they contribute to increasing host nation ownership over development, supporting the peace process, and building capacity over the long term. Be vigilant about monitoring and accounting for resources by establishing mechanisms to track money flows and progress.
  • The role of women. The engagement of women is necessary to ensure sustainable peace, economic recovery, and social well-being.30 Include women at the peace table, in the recovery process, in the host nation government, and in local public and private sector institutions. Protect them at all times so they can make their unique contribution to peace. Train them and give them the capacity to lead and participate. Women improve the chances for legitimacy when they are involved in mobilizing constituencies for peace and helping to design core programs such as security sector reform (SSR).31
  • Effective transitions from international to host nation. In these environments, international actors may help manage crucial state functions until there are leaders who are committed to peace and institutions with the capacity to run a legitimate government. Effective transitions to full host nation ownership looms as a large gap in knowledge and practice across end states for all institutions.

3.4 Political Primacy

3.4.1 What is political primacy?

Political primacy refers to the basic premise that everything is political. Violent conflict occurs when nonviolent political processes break down and when authority structures are no longer viewed as legitimate by some or all of the population. Political settlements may seek to end this violence, but the motives for conflict may not have been extinguished. Each action in the recovery phase must be carefully weighed against its impact on the politics of the conflict. Additionally, the politics between donors, within governments, and in and among international organizations and regional institutions, impact prospects for a political settlement.

3.4.2 Political primacy requires:

  • Using a conflict lens. The perceptions of the population about rewards and punishment, and winners and losers are ultimately what count. A unique assessment and understanding of the political, social and economic “rules of the game” is necessary.
  • Fostering and sustaining a political process. Fostering and sustaining a political process is essential. Negotiating a political settlement can be an intricate and volatile process. How the agreement is written can shape the kinds of challenges that arise in implementing the agreement. Key considerations to remember when negotiating settlements include
    • Relationships among conflicting parties are often unequal.
    • Support those who support the political process and oppose those who oppose it.
    • There is a need to address the unresolved issues that underlie the conflict and other interrelated conflicts.
    • There is often a perceived or real bias of international players.
    • Disagreements over implementation can undermine peace (usually regarding politically sensitive processes such as SSR; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration [DDR]; power sharing; or resource distribution.
    • Agreement on measurable goals to enhance accountability of the parties.
    • Unrealistic goals and timetables can create challenges in implementation.
    • Host nation leadership is critical for the political process and its implementation.
  • Inclusivity of warring parties and marginalized groups. Political processes are more sustainable when they include all parties that have the power to obstruct the process in violent ways if they do not have a substantial stake in it. Equally important is the inclusion of marginalized groups, such as women and minorities, who may have been victimized or excluded in the past.32 This can ensure that their needs are reflected and their rights are protected.
  • Effective strategic communications.33 Political processes should not take place exclusively in the “official” arena. The involvement of the population through public dialogue and civil society underpins the success of any political settlement. Effective strategic communications should aim to
    • Deliver credible messages about the objectives of the peace process.
    • Ensure these messages are articulated in a way that is understandable by the population.
    • Manage expectations by painting a realistic picture of the situation and the capacity of the host nation government and international community to implement agreements.

3.5 Legitimacy

3.5.1 What is legitimacy?

Every actor and every action can contribute to legitimacy. This term has several meanings:

  • The degree to which the local population accepts and supports the mission, its mandate and its behavior over time.
  • The degree to which the local population accepts and supports the host nation government (which can include informal governance structures as well), and the manner in which the government attains power.
  • The extent to which regional neighbors and the international community accept the mission’s mandate and its actions and the host nation government and its actions.

3.5.2 Legitimacy derives from:

  • A bargain between citizens and the government. The generally accepted concept of state legitimacy is based on a bargain between state and citizenry. Legitimacy here is what citizens grant to the state in exchange for security.34 In this century, however, more is required. In addition to the provision of security, legitimacy is also derived from the ability of the state to perform critical functions in the economic, political, and social spheres in an accountable manner.35 Legitimacy also requires the state to observe international law and protect human rights. The bargain today may exist between citizens and subnational entities, both formal and informal.
  • Mandate and authorities. To establish mission and host nation legitimacy, a UN Security Council Resolution and mandate is the preferred route. The mandate or peace agreement should provide clear rules for how the host nation will be managed after war in terms of executive, legislative, and judicial structure and functions; participation (citizens’ rights, civil liberties); and accountability (especially elections).36 Specifying the short-term stability requirements along with provisions for transferring all long-term responsibilities to the host nation helps to ensure ownership and facilitate transition.37 Developing this mandate with all key stakeholders of the peace process aids legitimacy.
  • Matching resources to goals and delivering a timely peace dividend. The goals of a mandate are only achievable when the resources provided are adequate and rapidly distributed to affirm credibility and legitimacy. The early establishment of a credible presence can help to deter spoilers and other threats and diminish the likelihood that force will be needed to implement the mandate.38 Mobilize a minimum of assets to provide immediate security and restore essential services with funded plans for mandated activities such as DDR and the training or retraining of indigenous police that typically accompany DDR.39 Short-term efforts to establish legitimacy can be sustained by fully resourcing longer-term initiatives.
  • Leadership. There are two levels of leadership: (1) that of an international mission typically authorized by the UN and (2) that of the host nation. Those charged with the responsibilities in a mandate should have the authorities to make decisions and implement them. Sometimes, leaders will have to work with a mandate, which may be ambiguous. Navigating this ambiguity and maximizing flexibility is a job for political leaders, not technocrats, and informs what kind of leadership is required for the mission and host nation. A sustainable peace depends on how adeptly the custodian of the peace process can guide the transformation of conflict among warring factions.40
  • Accountability and transparency. Basic systems for accountability—both for the international mission and the host nation—are critical factors for legitimacy. Accountability requires transparency. This means making government transparent to the population through media, civil society, and other reporting mechanisms. Together, these are the basic building blocks for any approach to limit the de-legitimizing corruption that often pervades war-torn environments—both in host nation institutions and those of international actors.
  • Management of expectations and communication. Constant and clear communication helps manage expectations about the realities of donor and state resources and progress of reconstruction. It also dispels rumors and counters spoiler narratives that undermine peace. Local voices and traditional forms of communication deliver messages more effectively and can help sustain support. Communication requires dedicated resources throughout the life of a mission.
  • Constituencies for peace. A peace process will only be successful if the local population is engaged in and committed to peace.41 In the literature, this is often referred to as “buy-in” or “consent,” but the essential ingredient remains the same: Prospects for a durable political settlement rest on active constituencies for peace that must be brought in to the political process. To maintain credibility and to prevent supporters from becoming fence sitters or spoilers, confront those who oppose the political process. Building constituencies for peace requires concerted efforts to tap into capacities across the wider society, including those offered by women, ethnic minorities, youth, and local leaders.42
  • Engagement of the international community. Legitimacy falters when the international community is not engaged. It is not enough to pass a Security Council resolution. Engagement should begin with a UN mandate and continue through the active participation of donors putting qualified personnel and resources to assist the host nation make the transition from violent conflict to peace. Managing this engagement may include mission-specific consultative mechanisms or host nation advisory structures to coordinate efforts and confront challenges.

3.6 Unity of Effort

3.6.1 What is unity of effort?

Unity of effort is the outcome of coordination and cooperation among all actors, even when the participants come from many different organizations with diverse operating cultures.43 This applies to efforts among agencies of the U.S. government, between the U.S. government and the international community, and between the host nation government and the international community. Unity of effort is an important crosscutting principle because the U.S. government will always find itself to be just one player among numerous local and international actors.

3.6.2 Unity of effort is based on:

  • A shared understanding of the situation. Unity of effort begins with a shared understanding of the situation that is derived from an assessment. Within the U.S. government, that shared understanding is based on a whole-of-government assessment of the dynamics driving and mitigating violent conflict within a country.44 The United Nations and agencies of other nations employ similar assessment frameworks. Creating a common picture from these disparate assessments is a challenge confronted frequently in developing UN mandates and shaping country-specific strategies.
  • A shared strategic goal. Based on a shared understanding, an overarching goal is determined to unify the efforts of U.S. agencies behind a strategic plan. This should ideally be linked with the goals of other international and host nation actors.
  • Integration. Integration means that capabilities across the U.S. government will be brought together in a coherent manner to achieve unity of effort. This process of integration is also occurring outside of the U.S. government, within the UN, within other states and among nongovernmental humanitarian organizations. Linking these integrated systems is a challenge that has yet to be met.
  • Cooperation and coherence. Full integration may be achievable within individual states or organizations, but may be very difficult to attain across disparate systems. Cooperation, however, may be a realistic goal to strive for and arrived at through tight or loose forms of coordination.45 Cooperation exists when information is shared and activities are deconflicted as much as possible among independent institutions so as not to undermine a shared strategic goal. The outcome of cooperation should be a coherent effort by multiple actors to establish sustainable peace.
  • Civil-military cooperation. Civil-military cooperation needs to be understood in three ways: cooperation between civilian and military actors of official government and inter-governmental institutions, between the military and NGOs (among international actors), and between the military and host nation government and its population. The size and strength of the military, with its own command and control structure, creates a unique impact that requires specific forms of cooperation. In environments where military forces are engaged in combat and S&R missions simultaneously, consider specific guidelines for relations between the U.S. military and U.S. NGOs.46
  • Recognition of humanitarian space. There are actors who remain outside of the unity of effort campaign for good reason. Maintain clear separation between politically motivated actions to end violent conflict and movement toward development, and apolitical humanitarian assistance based exclusively on impartial response to assessed need.47

3.7 Security

3.7.1 What is security?

The importance of security jumps off every page of every major institutional framework. It is one of the few preconditions for enduring peace. In its broadest sense, security is an “all encompassing condition” that takes freedom, safety, governance, human rights, public health, and access to resources into account.48 This is commonly known as “human security.”49 For the purposes of cross-cutting principles presented here, security is defined as the physical security that permits the freedom necessary to pursue a permanent peace.

3.7.2 Security is the platform for development.

It is a prerequisite for a safe and secure environment, the rule of law, stable governance, a sustainable economy, and social well-being. The human security imperative is addressed in all sections of this manual, but the physical aspect is covered in Section 6. It cannot be delegated only to peacekeepers or military intervention forces or begin and end with a successful DDR program. Many aspects are cross-cutting and are highlighted here.

3.7.3 Security rests on:

  • Information. Sharing timely information about threats and potential threats to the peace process or the population is vital to security. This information may address a potential threat to women foraging for firewood outside the perimeter of a refugee camp, an assassination threat to a government minister, or illicit power structures engaged in arms trafficking. Having access to this kind of information requires deep links with the population. The sharing of information should not jeopardize the work of impartial NGOs or the neutrality of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • Management of spoilers. Spoilers are individuals or parties who believe that the peace process threatens their power and interests and will therefore work to undermine it.50 Understand what gives power brokers power, including their financing, their roles in the previous regime and their standing in the community.51 Recognize that they exist in the economic, political, and security arenas, at both the local and national level. They may have fed off the conflict or emerged in the wake of defeat as new spoilers. If reconcilable, spoilers should be encouraged to change their behavior over time. Depending on their motives and capacity at state and local levels, spoilers may need to be dealt with militarily or through political or economic negotiations.
  • Reform of the security sector. Control of the security apparatus is the basic source of state power and its use will likely have been one of the major drivers of conflict. Its reform therefore is a priority.52 Security sector reform touches every aspect of an S&R mission: actors directly involved in protecting civilians and the state from violence (e.g., police and military forces and internal intelligence agencies), institutions that govern these actors and manage their funding (e.g., ministries of interior, defense, and justice, and national security councils), and oversight bodies (legislative and nongovernmental).53 Reform aims to create a professional security sector that is legitimate, impartial, and accountable to the population.54
  • Protection of human rights55. A human rights-based approach, where all actions uphold human rights, is required to establish the necessary conditions for each end state. This involves a mandate to protect and promote human rights and ensure that the host nation has the will and capacity to do so on its own.56 Rights protected under international law include life, liberty, and security of person; the highest attainable standard of health; a fair trial; just and favorable working conditions; adequate food, housing, and social security; education; equal protection of the law; and a nationality. These also include freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence; arbitrary arrest or detention; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; slavery; and freedom of association, expression, assembly, and movement.57

3.8 Conflict Transformation

3.8.1 What is conflict transformation?58

Conflict will always persist in these environments and affect security, governance, and economic development in ways that threaten peace and undermine legitimacy. The goal of conflict transformation is to reach the point where the host nation is on a “sustainable positive trajectory,” where it can independently manage the dynamics causing violent conflict. Conflict transformation requires reducing the drivers of conflict while supporting those that mitigate conflict across security, economic, and political spheres. For the long term, transformation rests on the ability of the host nation to sustain stability and create conditions for long-term development.

3.8.2 Conflict transformation focuses on:

  • Understanding drivers and mitigators of conflict. Identify key groups that may threaten the peace process, if they do not perceive the benefits of peace, and regions and localities at risk, where visible reconstruction is important.59 Identify sources of institutional resilience and other mitigating factors critical for peace. Understand how upcoming events (elections, transitional justice processes, events in neighboring countries) may have an impact on both drivers and mitigators. Understand what motivates opponents to peace, why they resort to violence, where they derive their support, how they make decisions and what might convince them to support peace and renounce violence.
  • Reducing drivers of conflict and strengthening mitigators. No matter how inclusive the emerging political settlement, powerful groups that want to continue the violence need to be reckoned with either through mediation and co-option or military defeat. Contain spoilers by constraining or removing them, disrupting their flow of resources and channeling the competition for power from bullets to ballots. Enhance the capability for dispute resolution and support institutional and social resilience to transform conflict.
  • Building host nation capacity to manage the drivers of conflict through nonviolent means and support long-term development. This is the end game. It cycles back to the strategic framework and five end states that underpin this manual: a safe and secure environment that enables development; the rule of law that allows grievances to be addressed through a system of justice and confronts impunity; stable governance that permits contestation for power to take place peacefully; a sustainable economy that provides the framework for licit economic competition; and social well-being that affords equal access to basic human needs and the opportunity to live in communities that have mechanisms for peaceful resolution of conflict.

3.9 Regional Engagement

3.9.1 What is regional engagement?

Neighboring countries play a major role—at times positive and negative—in the host nation’s stabilization and reconstruction. Regional interests, issues, and unresolved conflicts can continue to influence and affect the host nation throughout an S&R mission. The host nation may be at risk from its neighbors’ domestic instabilities and foreign policies.60 And conflict within the host nation may have bled across borders through refugee flow and arms trafficking. A long-term solution for the host nation must include a consideration of the effects of both its conflict on the region and the region on its conflict.61 Regional engagement entails encouraging the host nation, its neighboring countries, and other key states in the region to partner in promoting both the host nation’s and the region’s security and economic and political development.

3.9.2 Regional engagement is based on:

  • Comprehensive regional diplomacy. While the host nation’s neighbors should not, at a minimum, sabotage stabilization and reconstruction, their active engagement and cooperation is advantageous. Conduct a comprehensive diplomatic offensive that aims to halt any destabilizing actions by the host nation’s neighbors. Elicit their support for a stable and peaceful host nation and region, and the security of the host nation’s borders. Obtain their cooperation in providing economic and military assistance, giving political support and engaging in trade and commerce.62 The region should continue or restore diplomatic relations with the host nation, where appropriate.
  • A shared regional vision. Left to their own devices, neighbors may act according to their own strategic interests, which could be destabilizing for the host nation and the region. Instead, the neighbors—typically with encouragement and assistance from the international community—should collaborate to develop a shared vision for the region. Be sure to recognize and consider the neighbors’ concerns and interests during this process.63
  • Cooperation. Ensure the neighbors’ ongoing active participation by forming or supporting region-wide structures—necessary in today’s globalized world—that promote the region’s security, economic growth, and social and political development.64 These structures should encourage and solidify mutually beneficial cooperation in fields such as transportation, trade, science and technology, health, natural resources, energy, culture, education, and politics; strengthen goodwill between the states; collaborate to maintain the region’s peace and security by reducing mutual perceptions of threat; and develop common political values and systems.65 For the state emerging from violent conflict, the structures should help the host nation in ways that support its legitimacy and sovereignty, determined with the consent of the host nation.66