The leader of a political party or a party to a conflict.

Common pitfalls:

  • active crafting of communal divisions, banding a community together to compete for scarce resources, access to State power or other instrumental gains;
  • behave as if the power to rule resides in a person rather than an office ("personalistic" type of leadership);
  • practice politics as a zero-sum game, in which the gains of one group translate to losses for other groups;
  • engage in conversations that are dominated by discussion about how parties to a conflict should share power and wealth.

Recommended attitude:

  • commitment to the values underpinning public administration institutions (multiparty competition, the rule of law, separation of powers, ethics and accountability, and professionalism);
  • pursue redistributive policies;
  • commitment to transforming conflict into peaceful coexistence, collaboration, effective leadership and respect for institutions (channel conflict through the appropriate political and legal institutions);
  • model the behaviour of inclusiveness, ensure the inclusion of all members of the population (women, youth, the disabled, all ethnic groups, political groups, religious groups, traditional and cultural leaders, etc.) in all aspects of socio-politico-economic development;
  • pay attention to the development of an inexhaustible pool of capable leaders for the country (succession planning; put the organization in a position to do great things without you).

Types of actors and approaches to building peace

Leaders at different levels contribute to building peace in different ways:

  • Top Leadership: Military/political/religious leaders with high visibility focus on high-level negotiations, emphasise cease-fire, led by highly visible, single mediator
  • Middle Range Leadership: Leaders respected in sectors, ethnic/religious leaders, academics/intellectuals contribute to problem-solving workshops, training in conflict resolution, peace commissions and insider-partial teams

Source: Conflict transformation triangle, page 33 of World Public Sector Report (2010)

When participating in, or preparing institutional reforms of #cofog0111 - Executive and legislative organs (CS) (Regime 1 to Regime 2), the leadership of party leaders is critical. For instance in post-conflict situations to establish appropriate systems and institutions, to enhance human resources, to judiciously manage scarce resources, to promote knowledge and last but not least, to promote innovation and technological usage. Leaders must have a vision of the future in order to implement institutional reforms. Leaders may need to remodel the old institutions or search for new forms that fit the country’s unique needs, taking account of its cultural, historical and political reality.

Often, the perception of politics as a zero-sum game needs to be transformed into a mindset that emphasizes collaboration and respect for the underlying values and principles of agreed-upon governance institutions. Leadership and institutional development are symbiotic. Leaders create institutions, but they must then be willing to accept to submit themselves to those institutions.

Further reading on the challenges in building effective leadership, the capacities needed by post-conflict leaders and strategies for developing those capacities in Chapter 2 of Reconstructing Public Administration after Conflict: Challenges, Practices and Lessons Learned, World Public Sector Report 2010 (United Nations Public Administration Network, UNPAN).


The Fringes

Add a New Comment