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Mission Statement

IPIS is an independent research institute that provides tailored information, analysis, capacity enhancement, and policy advice to support those actors who want to realise a vision of durable peace, sustainable development and the fulfilment of human rights.

Throughout the years, IPIS has developed a geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa and a thematic focus on natural resources, conflict motives of armed actors, business and human rights, and international arms transfers. Within this scope, IPIS strives to be a centre of excellence on field-based research.

The research programme Natural Resources brings in-depth research on the exploitation of natural resources. IPIS has a unique expertise on natural resources, its links to conflict and its financing, development, environment, human rights and governance.

The research programme Arms Trade & Security sheds light on facts related to the opaque international arms trade with and in our region of focus. The analysis of these data offers insights into the consequences of arms flows on conflict and underdevelopment, and recommendations to prevent the proliferation of arms in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this respect, IPIS investigates logistical chains and infrastructure that facilitate arms transfers to our focus region.

The research programme Conflict Mapping aims to map the various motives of conflict actors. A significant part of this research is devoted to the collection of reliable data on the field and its visualisation into cartographic material.

The research programme Business & Human Rights deals with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the role of the private sector in our focus region. In the course of many years we have witnessed the potential of private companies to create wealth and promote peace, as well as conflict and inequality. The research focuses on all aspects of sustainable development, respect for human rights, and the implementation of self-regulatory and legal frameworks.

In order to ensure that our research and expertise reach as wide an audience as possible, IPIS often complements research with capacity enhancement. Increasingly, IPIS offers stand-alone capacity enhancement, designed to meet the needs and knowledge gaps identified by partners and clients.



Research methodology

Bringing together social and data science expertise, our multidisciplinary team uses qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct applied, solution-oriented research into problems related to natural resource governance, conflict, and arms trade. A nimble organization, we deploy a mix of methods specific to each project in order to meet the information needs of our clients and donors. We usually give open access to our data to inform civil society, companies and governmental actors but we also engage in confidential investigative research on delicate issues, such as illegal mineral flows and arms transfers.

Our quantitative research revolves around field data collection, often in remote and conflict-affected areas, GIS mapping, data management, statistical and geospatial analysis, the use of satellite imagery, and the development of visualization tools such as interactive web maps and dashboards. We also developed various techniques for surveying artisanal mining sites in cooperation with in-country partners: Using open-source mobile data collection tools, including Open Data Kit questionnaires and Kobo Toolbox, we collect data relevant to international standards for responsible sourcing. Often with a focus on the artisanal mining sector, we have employed similar research techniques in several African regions south of the Sahara.

In cooperation with our in-country partners, we also engage in qualitative data collection through field observations, interview techniques, and focus groups. Further, our team keeps track of secondary sources.