Glad to see you have been scuffed up and not fled the scene of the crime. I actually have some questions for you about African policy. I am working on a thesis that examines the use of remote sensing data to restart the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) process in southern African nations (focusing initially on conservation then shifting to devolution of power and economic development). Do you have any experince with CBNRM in Africa? If so what is your opinion of the policy approach from your experience. Good luck, stay safe, and say hello to Pumba for me.
Well… Life is funnier when it rains lead. ;-)
About CBNRM, I do not have experience in tat areas as such. Most of my experience in natural resources management is firewood related. Had an experience in Chad with refugee camp and natural resources management in desert environment and also some experience in firewood use reduction in forest environment. But I cannot say I’m qualified in that field. I would need more details on the problematic and policies you’re working on to be in position to help you.
COIN does not target one area or another excepting the different operations/objectives based on what phase its in. Its "holistic" (now doesn't that sound trendy).
As a rule of thump: know your context and who you work with, endogenous and exogenous:
For a long time the DFID (Brits) was very keen on local leadership empowerment but found out eventually that you need to have a deep knowledge of individuals involvement into the previous regime and war if you want that to work out. In Sierra Leone lots of efforts were made to build transitional justice through empowering local chief, It eventually failed because during the conflict, traditional chief did get involved by acting as parties of the conflict and fuelled ethnic tensions.
In South Sudan, neighbouring countries as Uganda pushed a lot for local leader empowerment, arguing that it was they were the roots of legitimacy at local level. From my experience there, does not work so much to strength police capacities and community policing. Part from the fact that South Sudan police is made of former incompetent SPLA, Uganda pushed it to undermine GoSS capacity to build formal police forces and impose formalisation of justice through written law.
In both cases, what made the state building efforts to fail was the absence of knowledge of involved actors. In Sierra Leone, most chiefs were full party to the conflict and aggravated the conflict by setting policies against other ethnic groups.
In Sudan, Uganda, an SPLA ally, was also making sure that a strong neighbour would never rise.
On the 3 military phases, I think one of the key to the problematic has been identifying the path between hold and build. IMO, those phases are mixed rather than sequential.
And your COIN effort has to start from the very beginning of hold and not as a response to failed hold phase. Cause in that case you’re in a “take back” phase.
By the way, I love the word “holistic” but never managed to understand what it means once you’re on the field. Some how, but I have told I’m wrong very often, the field demonstrated me that you need some sequence in your institution/State building efforts like building basement before trying to put a roof.