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Policy Coherence for Peace in German Government’s actions

Lessons from Mali and Niger

Using country case studies on Mali and Niger as examples, the fifth study by the Advisory Board to the Federal Government for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding analyses the policy coherence for peace in German Government’s actions, both in relation to the operational principles laid down in the Guidelines Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts, Building Peace and to the instruments and mechanisms used for coordination among the ministries. Furthermore, the study investigates how civil society stakeholders in Mali and Niger perceive the German Government’s actions and their (in)coherence with regard to the principles and objectives of the Guidelines. On this basis, the study identifies influencing factors which facilitate or render difficult policy coherence for peace and outlines recommendations on how German government action can be more strongly aligned with the Guidelines.

Policy coherence for peace is not an abstract demand. The German government’s Guidelines Preventing Crises, Resolving Conflicts, Building Peace formulate, among other things, the requirement to be guided by human rights, to take context-specific, inclusive and long-term oriented action, to make risks transparent and to give priority to prevention. The German government aims to improve the joint analysis and planning of all ministries involved to implement the guidelines. From this, concrete questions and empirical experiences can be derived for complex political situations. This study makes the practical test. Using the neighboring countries of Mali and Niger as examples, it examines how coherent the actions of German government actors are on the ground and which factors influence coherence or incoherence.

Policy coherence for peace does not only result from the coordination of the core ministries involved in the formulation of the Guidelines, in which progress and innovations can certainly be observed in recent years. The case studies show that the strategic decisions of at least nine federal ministries have significance for further peaceful development in Mali and Niger. The study is thus also a test of whether the underlying model of policy coherence for peace in the Guidelines is sustainable outside the core ministries and whether coherent action by all relevant ministries has been strengthened.

The study was conducted during a politically tense period in Mali. It is also particularly relevant against the backdrop of the debate about the reasons for the failure of the military engagement in Afghanistan. Will it be possible to learn lessons and prevent similar developments as in Afghanistan? How is German engagement assessed in the context of military missions in pursuit of such diverse goals as sustainable development, counterterrorism and the regulation of migration?

Particularly important for answering these questions is the perception of German government action by representatives of Malian and Nigerien organized civil society as well as the participation of local experts in the study team.

The study provides important indications for improving structures and the use of funds for German peace policy engagement, not only in the Sahel. The results are also relevant for the formulation of interministerial goals within the framework of the future National Security Strategy.

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