International Alert

London, United Kingdom

International Alert

London, United Kingdom
Time filter
Source Type

Mitra S.,International Alert | Mulligan J.,Kounkuey Design Initiative | Schilling J.,International Alert | Schilling J.,University of Koblenz-Landau | And 4 more authors.
Environment and Urbanization | Year: 2017

In Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, major development efforts are underway – namely, the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (Kibera Pilot), the Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan, and the National Youth Service-led Kibera Slum Upgrade Initiative. This paper assesses how such interventions affect the social contract and social cohesion, and hence the resilience of Kibera residents. We examine the extent to which different types of slum upgrading efforts address risks in Kibera, particularly around conflict and flooding. Our findings show that these interventions can reduce conflict, crime, insecurity and flood risks, and subsequently strengthen resilience in highly dense and complex urban environments, if they do three things: first, include processes that build the social contract (such as meaningful consultation of residents and social accountability mechanisms); second, build bridging social capital between ethnic groups and avoid reducing bonding capital within groups; and third, integrate different sectoral interventions. © 2017, © 2017 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Opiyo F.,University of Nairobi | Opiyo F.,Global Policy Center | Wasonga O.,University of Nairobi | Nyangito M.,University of Nairobi | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Science | Year: 2015

This study highlights drought characteristics and the many responses to drought stresses employed by Turkana pastoralists of northwestern Kenya. Multiple data sources, including socioeconomic interviews with 302 households, focus group discussions, and informal interviews with pastoralists were used to capture various aspects of drought and drought adaptation and coping practices. Standardized precipitation index derived from long-term rainfall data obtained from the Kenya Meteorological Service was used to quantify different degrees of drought intensity between 1950 and 2012. Results revealed that extreme drought events were increasingly frequent, and have impacted negatively on pastoral livelihoods. In order to adapt to or cope with climatic anomalies, households are using a variety of strategies. In addition to the traditional short-term coping mechanisms, the long-term adaptation strategies used include diversification of livelihood sources; livestock mobility to track forage and water resources; diversification of herd composition to benefit from the varied drought and disease tolerance, as well as fecundity of diverse livestock species; and sending children to school for formal education as a long term investment expected to pay back through income from employment. Policies and development interventions that reduce risks, diminish livelihood constraints, and expand opportunities for increased household resilience to drought are critical complements to the existing pastoral strategies. © 2015, The Author(s).

Cleland R.,International Alert | Orsini Y.,International Alert
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility | Year: 2016

Objectives/Scope: International Alert (Alert), a leading peacebuilding NGO, is updating its seminal Conflict Sensitive Business Practice (CSBP). Originally published in 2005, CSBP guides companies on how to operate in conflict-affected settings in a way that mitigates business risk while reducing any negative impacts arising from operations. A key focus area for the update is the alignment between the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and CSBP; the update explores the opportunities and limitations of human rights due diligence in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS) and the value of integrating with conflict-sensitive approaches. Methods, Procedures, Process: The research set the following questions as an entry point into exploring how human rights and conflict sensitivity align: • What characteristics of FCAS (such as corruption or economic neglect) are most challenging in relation to due diligence? • What is the relationship between enjoyment of human rights, improved social and economic conditions and a more stable operating environment? • What are the differences between performing due diligence in FCAS and a relatively stable environment? Is it enough to do "more of the same" or is a different methodology required? Results, Observations, Conclusions: The research identifies three areas that require particular attention when conducting human rights due diligence in FCAS: • Accumulation of factors: the nature of fragility requires consideration in relation due diligence; Alert posits that Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) fail to capture the interlocking complexities of this environment, and conflict analyses bring in a different subject matter and framing of the issues. Therefore, integrating conflict analysis with HRIAs is necessary in order to achieve a more integrated business response. • Stakeholder engagement: in a fragile environment, the disproportionate distribution of risk onto the most vulnerable members of society, rapidly changing and unclear context, and power imbalances between companies and communities call for better integration of stakeholder views into due diligence. Alert believes it is most practical to do this during the design and monitoring stages. • Balancing positive with negative: human rights due diligence primarily focuses on prevention of negative human rights impacts. Nevertheless, companies should understand the full potential for both positive and negative impacts in the environments where they operate, and Alert believes due diligence processes can also inform maximization of positive benefits. In FCAS, this it is particularly pertinent to structure this around business contributions to peace and stability. Novel/Additive Information: While there have been significant efforts to undertake more rigorous human rights due diligence in line with the UNGPs, there is little practical guidance on what this means for companies operating in FCAS. Given that human rights violations are particularly pertinent in FCAS, practical guidelines are highly relevant and bridge the gap between the conflict sensitivity and human rights debates. Copyright 2016, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Orsini Y.,International Alert
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility | Year: 2016

Are conflicts between extractive companies and communities on the rise? Or are they simply more visible now? The answer seems to be both. For the past year, International Alert has been working with companies in the mining sector in order to better understand the practical dilemmas faced by operational staff with respect to company/community conflict. The objective now is to bring this discussion to the oil and gas sector in order to share learnings as well as best practices in the field, with the aim of building a community of practice within the extractive sector. The research process included the following activities: • Survey of mining companies leading to the identification of 5 conflict drivers (water, land, consultations, distribution of benefits and community economic issues) • Identification of practical challenges companies face when managing conflicts as well as ways in which some of them have responded to such • Workshop in Chile with companies and NGOs to present and discuss findings and feed this into current thinking The results of the research yield a set of dilemmas, all of which were grouped in six different categories mainly related to: stakeholder perceptions, issues of representation and information, legacy issues, others more process-oriented and a number of dilemmas related to specific contexts of operations. When responding to community-company conflicts, the research also identifies some emerging trends that are slowly becoming standard practice. Some of those include: • Grievance mechanisms consistent with the UN Guiding Principles' effectiveness criteria; • Participatory approaches to performance monitoring complemented with capacity building on technical issues; • Independent third parties to serve as experts, monitors/auditors, facilitators or mediators; • Multi stakeholder dialogue processes. It is widely recognised that many resources already exist to provide high-level guidance on management systems and approaches to understand and manage community-company conflict; where companies feel a gap exists is in responding to the type of practical challenges faced by operational staff in the course of their work. This research process seeks to contribute to fill that gap. Copyright 2016, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Vivekananda J.,International Alert | Schilling J.,International Alert | Schilling J.,University of Hamburg | Mitra S.,International Alert | Pandey N.,International Alert
Environment, Development and Sustainability | Year: 2014

Bangladesh and India are among the world’s most populous but also most vulnerable countries to environmental risks. In addition to storms, sea-level rise, floods and droughts, local communities face a multitude of pre-existing and concomitant economic and socio-political risks. To understand these risks and how communities respond to them is critical in securing community livelihoods. We therefore ask what are the livelihood risks; how do they impact the human security of environment sensitive communities in Satkhira, Bangladesh and in Odisha, India; and, what are the responses of these communities to the livelihood risks? The communities studied in Bangladesh depend mainly on the shrimp and fish resources of the Sundarbans mangrove forest. The two communities researched at Lake Chilika in India depend on fishing and salt farming, respectively. The field research, conducted in 2012 and 2013, shows that the communities face multiple and interacting livelihood risks. While storms and floods are common environmental risks in both countries, related livelihood risks are case-specific. In Bangladesh, attacks by criminals are the major threat to human well-being, while in India, it is violent conflict between lake users. Unsustainable resource extraction is found in both study countries. In Bangladesh, shrimp farming weakens the flood protection, while in India, illegal prawn farming marginalizes poorer lake users. Accessing loans and labor migration are responses observed in both countries. We conclude that adaptation to environmental changes needs to be sensitive to the interaction between governance, local institutions and socio-economic developments. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Vivekananda J.,International Alert | Schilling J.,International Alert | Schilling J.,University of Hamburg | Smith D.,International Alert
Geopolitics | Year: 2014

In the face of global climate change, strengthening community resilience becomes increasingly important, especially in conflict affected countries with fragile governance. Nepal is such a country, recovering from a decade of civil war while facing several climate and environmental risks, including floods, droughts and landslides. We aim to contribute to the understanding of resilience building by drawing on case studies from Banke, Dang and Rolpa districts in Nepal. To compare the resilience of the districts we conduct field research. None of the analysed approaches to strengthen the resilience are without unintended consequences. The provision of rice in Rolpa increases food security but also creates local preferences for rice that cannot be met sustainably. In Dang and Banke aid resources themselves have become a source of conflict. We conclude that a more holistic understanding of local realities is needed to minimise unintended effects and strengthen resilience under challenging governance and (post)conflict conditions. © , Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Schilling J.,University of Hamburg | Locham R.,Danish Demining Group | Weinzierl T.,University of Hamburg | Vivekananda J.,International Alert | Scheffran J.,University of Hamburg
Earth System Dynamics | Year: 2015

Turkana, in northwest Kenya, is the country's poorest and least developed county. Pastoralism in Turkana is well adapted to the harsh climatic conditions, but an increase in drought frequency associated with global climate change and intensifying violent conflicts between pastoral groups poses significant challenges for local communities. The conflicts are especially violent in the border region between the Turkana and the Pokot communities. In this very region significant oil reserves have recently been found. The first aim of this paper is to analyse how the oil exploration affects the communities' vulnerability to climate change. Secondly, the paper explores the risk of the oil explorations creating new conflicts or aggravating existing ones. The primary method of the study is qualitative field research supplemented with a geo-spatial analysis of conflict data. The field research was conducted in October 2013 and April 2014 in three villages with different levels of engagement with the oil exploration. At the time of the research, oil exploration was expected close to Lokwamosing, while it had recently started in the vicinity of Lopii and had been ongoing for a longer time close to Nakukulas. The findings suggest that the oil exploration increases the community's vulnerability to climate change. Further, unmet community expectations for water, employment and development pose a significant risk for violent conflict between local communities and the operating oil company. Intercommunal conflict over water and land could increase as well. © Author(s) 2015.

Smith D.,International Alert
Public Policy Research | Year: 2011

Dan Smith addresses the question of whether and how outside powers, including UK should intervene in another country's violent conflict in the post-Cold War period. The experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq have raised the threshold of reluctance for supporting armed intervention. Accordingly, some of the advocates of intervention in Libya, while arguing strenuously that Iraq and Afghanistan should not distract from the argument today, stressed that intervention in Libya was to be much more limited than occurred in those cases. Regarding the current situation in Libya, Britain, France and the US have reaffirmed that no outcome that includes Qaddafi remaining in power is acceptable, and the UK has pledged to send a handful of military advisers to eastern Libya. The interventionist argument needs to remember the tenet in moral philosophy that ought implies can in other words, there is no duty if there really is no capability to carry it out.

Loading International Alert collaborators
Loading International Alert collaborators