Impact evaluations in fragile states, 2016, SIPRI.

“In 2015 over $131 billion was spent in official development assistance, an increase of nearly 7% compared to 2014. Similarly, humanitarian aid grew by 11% in real terms to $13.6 billion. However, there is little evidence to suggest that this money is spent on peacebuilding interventions that work—particularly in fragile environments.

To obtain more evidence over the success (or failure) of such interventions, organizations need to conduct impact evaluations. An impact evaluation measures the outcomes—both intended and unintended—of an intervention and compares them to what the outcomes would have been had the intervention not been implemented. In peacebuilding programmes, impact evaluations have four main advantages: they help provide data in conflict environments; they serve as ‘programming by example’ for further project designs; they help prioritize the needs and objectives of policies or interventions; and they develop the epistemology of peacebuilding.

Despite their importance, conducting rigorous impact evaluations is often a luxury that many commissioners, and thus development, humanitarian and peacebuilding programmes, cannot afford due to a lack of vision, budget and time, especially within fragile settings…(read more)”

Conflict and the long-lasting impact on child health, 2016, SIPRI.

“Evidence shows that conflicts have a long-lasting negative impact on the health outcomes of a population. The ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen and other states today may have a long-lasting health impact on the lives of future generations there.

The Demographic and Health Surveys Programme in developing countries estimate that more than 40% of children under the age of five have stunted growth—are too short for their age—with the majority living in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 5.9 million children under the age of five died around the world in 2015 and less than half of all births in sub-Saharan Africa were delivered outside of a healthcare facility. Experts note that poor health outcomes during childhood have a long-lasting impact on educational achievement and are linked to poor future health status in adolescence and adulthood…(read more)”

Cultural diversity for dialogue and development, 2017, SIPRI.

“May 21 is the UN World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Given today’s conflicts, political uncertainties and support for nationalism, it is important to be reminded of the benefits that diversity brings to development.

When it comes to ethnic groups that may represent different cultures, there has been a discussion among scholars about the impact of ethnic diversity on conflict and cooperation, and on economic development. According to these discussions—and setting aside the very real ethical questions such discussions bring—ethnic diversity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it may result in a lack of cooperation between ethnic groups, due to linguistic, cultural or religious differences, which in the worst case may lead to violent conflicts and thus be harmful for economic development. On the other hand, ethnic diversity may act as a ‘melting pot’ of abilities, experiences and cultures, which may lead to increased innovation and creativity…(read more)