Approach

Mission Statement

IPIS is an independent research institute that provides tailored information, analysis and capacity enhancement 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

The nature of IPIS’ research stands midway between a journalistic and an academic approach. With journalism we share a strong focus on the factual, as opposed to the rather theoretical line of approach of academic research. However, IPIS goes deeper and more thoroughly into its themes of research than is usual within the journalistic profession. By doing so, we come near to investigative journalism and its digging extending to sources outside the public domain.

Our gathering of information is a permanent activity and is done through consulting sources on the internet, studying academic and journalistic publications, analysing confidential documents, fieldwork and interviews within an extensive network of contacts built up over many years. That data stream is processed by our researchers and forms the basis of the research projects that we carry out for external clients.

Depending on our partner’s requirements, IPIS’ output consists of publishable reports or dossiers that are only intended for the client. In the latter case, it can be, for instance, a dossier serving as the basis of an NGO campaign, or one for a public authority to map out its policy options.

The analyses we provide in our dossiers are always accompanied by workable recommendations that have been submitted for review by legal and technical experts and by policy makers. These recommendations are addressed to all the stakeholders involved in the research topic. Besides dossiers and reports, we also compile courses, training modules, and give workshops and lectures.

IPIS often deals with sensitive information and in handling this we pursue deontological principles such as reliability, critical sense, impartiality and check & double-check.

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