Since the second half of the 1990s, IPIS has conducted numerous research projects related to conflicts and their root causes in African regions south of the Sahara. Conflict is not just armed violence and durable peace is much more than the absence of such violence. Our research, therefore, focuses not only on conflict analysis but also on all aspects of structural violence, such as poverty and its causes, social and economic injustice, and discrimination against women and minorities. Apart from research, we also offer various types of technical support and training to enhance the capacities of (non-) governmental organizations and companies.
What are our research topics and fields of expertise?
However, our fieldwork at the level of communities has shown that armed conflict and structural violence also have causes other than the redistribution of mineral rents. Land use, for example, is often a source of conflict, as is endemic corruption among government officials or poorly executed DDR programs. In our Conflict Mapping program, we use GIS to create maps that visualize information on violent events and their perpetrators, and on the root causes and motives of conflict. Our maps are based on first-hand information collected in remote and conflict-affected areas and offer a detailed picture of conflict-related issues granulated at the level of countless localities.
Our work on Business & Human Rights is based on fieldwork concerning companies and conflict. For example, the arrival of foreign companies in poor areas creates unrest when they engage in opaque deals with corrupt elites and use private militias to guard a concession. This line of work also leads us to analyze the upstream impact of international legal frameworks such as section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation, human rights due diligence requirements for companies, and the Kimberley Process.
Finally, a key conflict variable is the presence of weapons, whether in the hands of state security forces or non-state armed actors. Our research’s Arms Trade & Security component examines irresponsible arms transfers that exacerbate violence and repression. Under this program, we have developed solid expertise related to arms supply chains and logistics, arms brokering, and the impact of illicit transfers.
Why do we conduct our research?
We do not engage in research projects for the sake of theory. We look into real-world problems affecting people and their communities, and formulate recommendations based on solid evidence and analysis. Working closely with in-country stakeholders, we prioritize grassroots perspectives on how to solve problems related to durable peace, sustainable development, and human rights. Click here to find out more about our mission, vision, and values.
How do we conduct research projects?
What outputs do we offer?
Over the last three decades, our research has materialized in a wide variety of outputs. While we used to have a penchant for lengthy text-driven research reports, we nowadays pay much attention to making our research results easier and quicker to digest. To this end, our data science experts use state-of-the-art tools to visualize data and analysis. These outputs include infographics, dashboards, and interactive web maps. We are also dedicated to making our reports accessible to a non-expert audience. This we do, for instance, through report summaries, restitution workshops, webinars, policy briefs, and audiovisual materials.
Further, we publish a series of monthly briefings on topical issues related to our core themes while our arms trade experts issue a separate Arms Trade Bulletin. Both series cater to a wide audience of researchers, journalists, policy makers and other practitioners.
Finally, we have developed training materials and technical support for civil society partners and government staff working in technical services. Our training activities cover themes such as business and human rights, natural resources management, and editing and communication.
Click here to learn more about our technical consultancy options for data collection and analysis, creating maps, and setting up web portals and dashboards.
Whom do we work for?
Our client portfolio includes NGOs, governments, multilateral agencies, and companies in Africa, Europe, the US, and the UK.
Naming just a few of our NGO clients and partners, we have provided research and other support for campaigns of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (diamond governance), the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ASM mapping), Concordis (pastoralism), Amnesty International (arms transfers), ActionAid Uganda (human rights in the oil sector), EurAC/Humanity United (grassroots perspectives on mining reform initiatives), Tanzanian and Congolese NGOs (Voices from the South publications).
We offer policy advice, technical support and research services to institutional clients and donors. Multilateral donors and clients include the United Nations, the OECD (implementation of the Due Diligence Guidance), the European Union, the World Bank and, the Working Group on Alluvial and Artisanal Mining of the Kimberley Process (diamond smuggling). Many governmental partners have entrusted us with research and technical support assignments to inform policies, program design and assist technical agencies. Examples of such partners are USAID (ASM mapping and conflict analysis), the Belgian Development Cooperation DGD, the Congolese Mining Registry (ASM mapping), the mining administration in the Central African Republic (ASM mapping).
Private sector actors have made use of our services to perform analysis on ASM supply chains, due diligence and risk management.