16/03/2017 |

New report from the Institute for Economics and Peace: Measuring Peacebuilding Cost-Effectiveness

The New report from the Institute for Economics and Peace: ‘Measuring Peacebuilding Cost-Effectiveness’ is now on-line.

In the executive summary we can read:

This research brief by the Institute for Economics and Peace, supported by Milt Lauenstein philanthropy is the first in a series of research briefs aiming to quantify and measure the cost-effectiveness of peacebuilding activities.

It presents new and important findings and data on the positive cost-effectiveness of peacebuilding activities. Measuring peacebuilding cost-effectiveness is a methodological and practical challenge that has significant consequences for the international community.

Today, the world faces a historic decline in global peace; reaching a 25- year peak in violence and conflict in 2016. The past two years have seen the highest number of global battle deaths for 25 years, record levels of terrorism and the highest number of refugees and displaced people since World War II.

[…]Peacebuilding in its preventative focus is distinct from peacekeeping and peacemaking activities — which broadly involve the activities aimed at ending violence and establishing security — peacebuilding is a prerequisite for sustainable peace. The need to understand what works in peacebuilding, how to measure its impact and cost-effectiveness is essential to long-term efforts to prevent violence and build peace.

This paper provides five critical answers and approaches to address this important question:

1) It provides a conceptual framework for counting and categorising peacebuilding activities as well as a hard working-definition of the actions that count as peacebuilding.

2) A comprehensive accounting of global peacebuilding expenditures from 2002 to 2013, using the working definition that was developed in partnership with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and Peacebuilding Support Group.

3) A detailed case study of peacebuilding expenditures is presented to analyse an example of peacebuilding success — Rwanda from the wake of genocide to 2014.

4) A global model of the cost-effectiveness of peacebuilding, based on the case study findings and the data generated from them. Using 20 years of peacebuilding expenditure, Rwanda’s experience as a baseline, and combining this with IEP’s research on the global cost of conflict, the paper presents scenario analysis and a model of peacebuilding cost-effectiveness. It finds that using conservative assumptions, the cost-effectiveness ratio of peacebuilding is 1:16, showing that increased funding for peacebuilding would be hugely beneficial not only to peacebuilding outcomes but in terms of the potential economic returns to the global economy. 5) In order to take this research forward, this paper also provides detailed approaches for a future research agenda to look deeper into the ultimate aim of assessing the cost-effectiveness of particular peacebuilding interventions.

This paper introduces and examines the major issues with regard to measuring the cost-effectiveness of peacebuilding, and details practical approaches to overcome key stumbling blocks in the field. Measuring the impact of peacebuilding, let alone its cost-effectiveness, is a research problem still in its infancy, but it is an absolutely critical practical pathway to understanding how the international community, policymakers, the private sector and philanthropic actors can best prevent conflict and violence. It is hoped through further research, advocacy and collaboration with other key partners, this research can be furthered and the ultimate aim of realising more efficient investments in building peace be realised.