• Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 1/22/2014

Sharing responsibility: governance in the midst of conflict 

At a global level, those seeking to eradicate extreme poverty now recognise the centrality of peace and governance to development. The 2011 World Development Report highlighted the link between weak institutional legitimacy and governance, and pointed to the vulnerability to violence and instability that states and sub-national areas experience as a result. The UN Report of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 Development Framework, published in May 2013, acknowledged that people the world over, not only in conflict-affected societies, “expect governments to be honest, accountable and responsive to their needs” and called for a fundamental shift: “to recognise peace and good governance as core elements of wellbeing, not optional extras”.
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The challenge, as ever, is making such aspirations a reality. This is particularly so in contexts where the practice of violence and confrontation, rather than transparent decision-making and dialogue, has been the prevailing form of governance and has undermined trust at all levels. It is also a challenge where groups most affected by conflict are excluded from decision-making, where governance institutions are weak and dysfunctional, or where their very existence is contested by parties to conflict.


This paper offers some conclusions and practical lessons as to how governance can be transformed or reinvigorated in societies affected by conflict. It focuses on work to improve government accountability and responsiveness through increased public participation carried out by Conciliation Resources with local partners in the Mano River Union subregion, northern Uganda and South Sudan, the Georgian-Abkhaz context and Fiji.