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Securing Legitimate Stability in CAR: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
September, 2019

On 6 February 2019, the Khartoum Agreement was signed between the Government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed groups in Khartoum. Since then, repeated violations of the February agreement, as well as growing demonstrations against peacekeepers, suggest that a pathway out of conflict has yet to be found.

This policy study uses both research and fieldwork to compare the aims of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with the end state that local populations, authorities and other key stakeholders in CAR would like to see. The study focuses on the objectives of stabilization activities in terms of state legitimacy, security sector reform and social cohesion between groups in society. It examines these activities against the perceptions of those that are supposed to benefit from them and asks: Do assumptions match expectations?

The findings highlight key discrepancies and develops recommendations aimed at international actors and the Government of CAR on how best to navigate risks and identify opportunities for achieving legitimacy and stability.

A complementary policy study on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Securing Legitimate Stability in the DRC: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives, is also available. The policy report Towards Legitimate Stability in CAR and the DRC: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives synthesizes the findings of the two studies.


I. Introduction

II. Methodology

III. Ongoing international efforts

IV. The state as the least bad option

V. Explaining the emphasis on the armed forces for reining in security

VI. Reconstituting the social contract

VIII. Conclusions

IX. Recommendations


Dr Jaïr van der Lijn is a Senior Researcher and Director of the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.
Dr Tim Glawion is a political analyst and field researcher on issues of local security and civil war in fragile states.
Nikki de Zwaan is an expert on security and justice at the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID).