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Illicit drugs and tough trade-offs in war-to-peace transitions

Millions of marginalised people rely on illicit drug economies - often deeply intertwined with armed conflicts - for their survival. But Agenda 2030, particularly Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, makes no mention of illicit drug economies. It is clear that the war on drugs has not worked, and it is increasingly recognised that a new, development-based approach to tackling illicit economies is needed. But at present, the evidence base to inform such policies is weak. This report presents evidence on why illicit drugs are a development issue and why they matter for peacebuilding, before discussing the problem with current approaches, and the implications for drugs, peacebuilding and development policy. Report authors: Ross Eventon and Eric Gutierrez

Use and abuse of tax breaks: how tax incentives become harmful

Taxation is essential to raise sufficient, equitable and accountable financing for development. Only through taxation can governments fund public spending on the essential services at the quality and scale necessary to realise the rights of all citizens. Yet many Southern governments decide not to tax certain corporations and companies in the hope that this will attract cross-border investment. Despite mounting evidence that the practice of offering tax incentives is both largely ineffective and detrimental to development, it is widespread. This report explains how tax incentives can become harmful, and discusses what can be done to stop their abuse.

Syrian Civil Society: A closing door report

This report seeks to give a truer view of Syrian civil society, giving a voice to people who have often been mentioned only as a footnote to atrocities, as aid workers killed in a shelling, or vilified as terrorists in the narratives of the government and its allies. Since March 2011, Syria has experienced one of the bloodiest and cruellest conflicts of recent times. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands more injured.  But while these grim figures have been repeated in the western media frequently, less often told is the story of the Syrians who did everything in their power to counter this.  Against the backdrop of conflict arose an active Syrian civil society – Syrians on the ground who, more often than not, had no previous experience in this sector. Syrians who came from a society whose government allowed no space for civil society to grow: and yet it did. But as civil society’s space is being squeezed worldwide, to grasp the potential for Syrian civil society we must act now. The door is already closing and it will slam shut, returning the country to the pre-2011 hostile environment where civil society groups faced being shut down and their members and volunteers risked being arrested or imprisoned if they were perceived to challenge the state. This report is an appeal and a challenge. Will the international community support the Syrians who recognise the difficulty of the task they face?

Peace, illicit drugs and the SDGs - a development gap

The SDGs barely reach the places where peacebuilding is most urgent. Here, the illicit drug economy plays a complex, overlooked role in survival. 

Report: Resourcing war and peace

While there is much to celebrate about the UK’s role in aid, development and peacebuilding, undermining these efforts are areas of double standards and complicity. Christian Aid's report, 'Resourcing war and peace: time to address the UK Government’s double standards' highlights the urgent need for a renewed focus on peacebuilding globally. It calls on the UK Government to address its foreign policy double standards and lead as a peacemaker.  

Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management

Governance, gender, peace building and human rights Tackling the problems of poverty, vulnerability and exclusion that persist in parts of the world that continue to be affected by violence or political insecurity is difficult for several reasons. For one, because of the complexity of the prevailing social, economic and political systems, solutions to chronic problems are far from obvious. One response to this aspect of the challenge is adaptive programme design and management. This paper, 'Learning to make a difference: Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management in governance, gender, peace building and human rights', is the product of a multi-year collaboration between ODI and the core team of Christian Aid Ireland to assess the relevance of adaptive or trial-and-error approaches to the field of governance, peace building and human rights. It explains the basis on which Christian Aid Ireland’s current five-year programme funded by Irish Aid has become committed to an adaptive approach. It then describes and seeks to draw lessons from the programme’s first year of experience, considering the possible implications for implementation over the coming years.

In it for the long haul? Lessons on peacebuilding in South Sudan

This report analyses approaches to conflict transformation and peacebuilding in South Sudan. It identifies overarching lessons from outside South Sudan, from the country’s own history, and based on the wisdom of local peacebuilders, long-term practitioners and citizens affected by their work. The reports outlines 10 lessons or principles which provide some guidance to those who wish to understand or support peacebuilding in South Sudan. These are each accompanied by short case studies which explore why these principles can make an important difference. In illuminating the role of ‘local’ or ‘sub-national’ peacebuilding, the report also demonstrates the interlinkages between national and local interests, making the case for why analysis which spans multiple levels is critical to inform understanding, strategies and approaches to building national peace in South Sudan. This report is also accompanied by a policy and practice summary 

Policy and practice summary: Lessons on peacebuilding in South Sudan

This policy and practice summary accompanies a longer report which identifies overarching lessons contributing to the effectiveness of peacebuilding in South Sudan. It aims to provide some guidance for those wishing to understand or support peacebuilding in South Sudan, particularly donor agencies and practitioners within the peacebuilding sector. The summary includes:  Why we should learn from the ‘local’ and engage in multi-level approaches What we found out Conclusion and methodology Read the full report here

Questionable Values? Policy Report

Why we believe that it is time to stop defending the indefensible across all the world’s tax havens. Following the hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated a number of Caribbean islands in September this year, the focus has rightly been on supporting the hardest hit and those in greatest need. But as the rebuilding effort develops, many are starting to think more deeply about the long-term sustainability of these islands’ economies, and their ability to protect and provide for their populations in an economically and climatically uncertain future. What type of jobs, and what type of economy, should places such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI) be looking to build? This is a question that extends beyond the storm-hit Caribbean. Defensive measures against tax evasion and avoidance are on the rise in the US, the EU and emerging economies, driven in part by the exposure of these activities in successive leaks of information (most recently, the Paradise Papers). Such developments call into question the sustainability of any economic model that relies on providing various combinations of secrecy and low taxation. So far, many small offshore centres, and their supporters, have largely reacted defensively to the threat of change, arguing that media coverage has unfairly maligned ‘tax havens’; that the problem is not as large as portrayed; and that they are already instituting tax and transparency standards better than many large ‘onshore’ economies. However, careful scrutiny of one of the most comprehensive efforts to explain the role of international finance centres and to illustrate the impact that such a territory has on the global economy – the prominent report that the government-backed financial lobby group, BVI Finance, commissioned this year from consultancy firm Capital Economics – demonstrates major weaknesses in the arguments and conclusions presented, and suggests to us that such defences are more concerned with maintaining the status quo than a genuine concern for the wider global economy. Our analysis of the Capital Economics report is an example of why we believe that it is time to stop defending the indefensible across all the world’s tax havens. With public demand building for new regulation, and the ever-present threat of further mass leaks, the UK Government needs to initiate a serious discussion about alternative economic pathways for the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. Alternative futures for offshore tax havens are not only vital for the poorest countries of the world that lose tax revenues each year to the offshore system, but also for the ordinary women and men in places like the BVI, for whom a secure future is dependent on the creation of robust, equitable and sustainable economies.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire (Part 1)

In this policy briefing, Christian Aid examines the links between climate change and conflict, and begins to elaborate on its argument that the best form of climate security is climate justice.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire (Part 2)

A debilitating drought may bring riots and social unrest in one country, but in a neighbouring country, the same problem may be dealt with by citizen mobilisation towards collective action solutions. To a large extent, governance capacity and community resilience explains the nature and structure of the response. In this report, three case studies – from Angola, Mali, and Honduras – of actual responses to climate change and conflict are presented.

Challenges in the Sahel: Implications for peace and development

A ‘perfect storm’ - an extraordinary combination of poverty, violent conflict, corruption, criminality, and climate change - is blowing over Mali and across the Sahel. Within this storm, some unusual actors have emerged. Politicians are known to be corrupt but still get elected and smugglers are criminalised by authorities but are also the only providers of employment in disintegrating local economies. This report is part of a series that Christian Aid is producing to understand what ought to be done differently in tackling violence and building peace.

Benefits? Tax Incentives in Latin America and the Caribbean (Spanish)

Overview of the use of tax incentives that analyses whether or not tax incentives bring benefits to countries and communities.(Spanish)

Sierra Leone - strengthening health systems parliamentary briefing

Discussed during parliamentary debate in 2014 on strengthening health systems in developing countries and development in Sierra Leone and Liberia.