What role for security in development progress?

In this series, a range of experts will contribute their thoughts on the links between security and development and what role security plays (or does not) in development progress. The debates on these relationships are (and should be) very much alive. Many questions remain on how security supports development in other dimensions of well-being; whether policies and programming to support improved security may risk securitising development; how to determine whether security progress has taken place; and who benefits from security progress – and who gets left behind. As our bloggers reflect on such issues, we encourage readers to contribute their own comments throughout the series.

Future landscapes of conflict and violence

What trends can we expect to emerge in conflict and security over the coming decades? Robert Muggah draws the conclusion that whilst we must not be complacent, there is evidence to expect continued declines in organised violence, as well as in other forms of violence such as homicide.

Holding Bangladesh together: putting people over politics

What does the security landscape look like in Bangladesh following January's turbulent elections? Will Bennett looks at both the political elite level and the community level, noting that at the community level peace in Bangladesh largely held. He attributes this to community security approaches that are helping to find solutions to end and prevent violence.

Seeing is not always believing: perceptions of security progress in Timor-Leste

How do you actually measure progress in security? Fragile states often present a lack of reliable data - but there are ways to gain a clear perspective, such as perception surveys. Taking Timor-Leste as an example, Todd Wassel talks through the process of running a perception survey there and the conclusions that can be drawn from it.

Can ‘context-specific’ security programming handle the reality of dynamic circumstances?

While it’s important to ensure security programming is ‘context specific’ – programmers need to be aware of their role in shaping this context, and how it constantly changes, argues Mareike Schomerus. Drawing a parallel with computer science, it is also ‘end users’ of security, and not external actors, that should judge whether programmes respond effectively to context.

Negotiating security in Ethiopia’s lowlands

Security progress cannot be pursued without a deep understanding of the political conflicts underlying instability in the places we work. Using Ethiopia as an example, Sophie Stevens shows how the different views of what security means at various levels of state and society – and in particular the views of ordinary citizens – need to be what informs security sector reform programmes.

Security progress for all or some? The continuing challenge of violence against women and girls

Drawing on forthcoming Development Progress research, Karen Barnes Robinson writes that while we are seeing ‘overall’ progress in Liberia, women and girls remain vulnerable to specific types of insecurity and violence that remain invisible and unaddressed. She draws out the issues that need action, including political will and equity, and wonders whether we can really claim progress whilst such issues remain.