Multi-track diplomacy in security governance

Non-state organisations and local actors, such as NGOs and think tanks, can be part of the so-called alternative tracks of diplomacy, i.e. unofficial channels of diplomacy which can feed into and complement Track 1 diplomatic actions (Chataway 1998). While, traditionally, Track 1 diplomacy is assumed to be most efficient, recent findings (Bohmelt 2010) reveal that ‘multi-track diplomacy’, understood as interaction between several track activities and combined efforts (Montville 1991; Diamond and McDonald 1996; Mapendere 2000; D’Estree et al. 2001), can be more effective than Track 1 efforts alone, particularly in cases of third-party interventions and mediation (Bohmelt 2010: 175). In this book, the role of non-state actors and local actors in multi-track diplomacy in security governance is conceptually replicated based on Lederach’s (1997) multi-track conflict resolution approach implying the involvement of multiple actors and types of interactions. Following a similar logic, 1 argue that, multi-track security governance is underpinned by an understanding of‘positive peace’ (Galtung 1967), and involves actors ranging from IOs to local actors such as NGOs, academia and think tanks, and the interaction between them. In this setting, non-state and local actors foster civic and political participation and democratic change (Edwards and Foley 2001: 6) at grassroots (Track 3) or middle level (Track 2) and/or transfer the preferences of specific social groups, e.g. women, ethnic groups, people from rural areas or different zones of conflict, at institutional level (Track 1.5).

Overall, non-state actors can trigger institutional change and transformation by providing: input legitimacy, output legitimacy, diagonal accountability or ‘elite pacting’ (bridging function) (see also Baciu 2019).

First, civil society organisations can play a role in the democratisation of security governance by increasing input legitimacy, i.e. citizens’ participation (Scharpf 1997; Ziirn 2000: 183-4). Civil society and non-profit groups could act as communication networks, which through their work in one of three broad categories of action, service delivery, advocacy or education (Goel 2004: 29) can aggregate the needs and interests of the community at institutional level, exerting thus “representative or contestatory functions of social organizations outside the state” (Edwards and Foley 2001: 6).

Particularly in countries in which democratic mechanisms are not well established, non-state actors animating citizen involvement can democratise public decision-making by enabling participation. In this case, the institutionalisation of the democratic change - which is sine qua non for the sustainable consolidation of democratic structures - is likely to depend on the local actors’ performance and “ability to build networks and alliances that include reformers inside government” (Shankland 2006: 3). In particular NGOs doing advocacy work are expected to have greater interest in communicating, transferring or integrating their preferences at policy level. By articulating the preferences of local communities, NGOs can foster an inclusive and democratic system, in opposition to a democracy “depending] almost exclusively on elite interactions” (Mainwaring 1989: 11). This type of role is potentially crucial in societies like Pakistan, where the formal role of elected institutions in providing oversight of the military is almost meaningless, and seeking to empirically measure the actual impact of international reforms in democratising civil-military relations is therefore important.

Second, non-state organisations, particularly those specialised in certain thematic areas, can increase system effectiveness or output legitimacy, i.e. the amount of ‘beneficial consequences’ or citizens’ ‘utility gains’ by promoting the Velfare of the constituency in question’ (Sternberg 2015: 615; see also Scharpf 1997). Academic scholars as w'ell as research-oriented organisations can play a role in initiating or animating public policy debates and reforming the security sector by shifting the normative focus (Caw'thra and Luckham 2003: 309) to human security and more sustainable inclusivist security approaches, while highlighting the shortcomings and side-effects of purely militaristic strategies in efficiently eliminating security risks, as evidence from South Africa demonstrated (Cawthra 2003: 41). An active CSO role in democratisation by providing output legitimacy transcends a purely proceduralist understanding of democracy, in which decisions are taken based on democratic principles, i.e. “everyone affected by a decision should have a chance to participate”, “regardless of the content of the decision” (Ziirn 2000: 186), and it adds conditions that can enhance the quality of outcomes and increase the effectiveness of the “solutions provided to societal problems” (Bernauer et al. 2016). This post-national, post-Westphalian understanding of democracy integrates the logic of consequentialism and value added to the sustainable advancement of the state and society. For example, a preference might be democratic in the sense that it was based on the choice of the majority of the people, but might be non-compliant with democratic content, e.g. human rights, based on “values of rationality and impartiality” (Ziirn 2000: 186). A comprehensive understanding of strategic democracy, encompassing both input and output legitimacy, enables to transcend the (potential) zero-sum relationship between efficiency and democracy (Dahl 1994) into a trade-up. It follow's that ‘democratic legitimacy’, which is based on inclusive models and can maximise citizens’ welfare, encompasses both input and output elements, and “can only be achieved by a mixed constitution comprising majority procedures and negotiated mechanisms” (Ziirn 2000: 183). It is thus the process of negotiation in which local actors can play a crucial role in fragile systems by facilitating social learning processes and information exchange between different stakeholders and levels of governance.

Third, non-state actors can play a role in democratisation of the security and defence sector by strengthening accountability. In a post-Westphalian understanding of democracy, authority is shared among multiple centres of power (Kreuder-Sonnen and Zangl 2014; Slaughter 2004) such as IOs, e.g. UN, EU, NATO, civil society groups like NGOs and think tanks, but also academia, private actors and other domestic or international stakeholders, e.g. media. Consequently, accountability has shifted its meaning from mechanisms “by which individuals and organizations report to recognized authority or authorities and are held responsible for their actions” (Edwards and Hulme 1995: 9) to a broader concept. It is rather “a reciprocal process” that “does not just mean reporting”, but “it is a process of information exchange, consultation and joint decision-making” (Biswas 2009: 4).

Diagonal or societal accountability (via civil society) is a major component of multi-track and comprehensive security approaches. Diagonal accountability encompasses “hybrid combinations of vertical and horizontal oversight, involving direct citizen engagement within state institutions” (Fox 2015: 347; see also Goetz and Jenkins 2001). These ‘hybrid’ forms of accountability can thus take the form of ‘state-society synergies’ (Evans 1996: 1119), ‘co-governance’ (Ackerman 2004: 447) in the case of official bodies, or ‘state-society power-sharing’ mechanisms (Fox 2015: 347) in the case of less institutionalised forms of hybridity. The presence of these concepts in everyday life and specific illustrations of how multi-track peace and security looks like in practice are provided in the empirical chapters of this book (Chapters 6-8). Diagonal accountability has a distinct relevance for achieving civilian control, and NGOs can play a role in the institutionalisation of civilian oversight by increasing awareness and empowering the existing monitoring and oversight bodies (horizontal accountability). Moreover, through processes of social learning and participation, local actors can empower citizens to exert their monitoring, oversight and ‘sanctioning’ functions such as ‘sanctioning the incumbent’ (Przeworski 1991), enabling thus dynamics of vertical accountability. In hybrid environments such as Pakistan, “voters have incomplete information” and might not be able to fully exert their ‘sanctioning’ function (vertical accountability). Through mechanisms of collective action, shaping the ‘public narrative’ and other forms of participatory (informal) governance, CSOs can contribute to enhancing accountability through participation and social learning processes (Odugbemi and Lee 2011). To summarise, non-state actors can foster diagonal accountability through (1) “empowering public oversight institutions to act” (Fox 2015: 348) (horizontal accountability) and/or (2) empowering citizens to act (vertical accountability). 1 argue that in particular in hybrid orders, with poor rule of law and weak political/institutional leadership, non-state actors, e.g. NGOs, think tanks, academia or media, have a significant potential to contribute to processes of social, security and political development and this book explores what impact are those involved in peacebuilding perceived to have.

Fourth, in hybrid orders, non-state actors are anticipated to play a role in ‘elite pacting’ processes, i.e. the controlled transfer of power and authority as well as agreement about the new model of governance between the old and new nomenclatures (Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 309). A ‘strong civil society’ and actors from the international community can play a significant role in facilitating dialogue, capacity and negotiation between the two ‘orders’ (Cawthra 2003: 35; Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 309). NGOs are anticipated to play a role in ‘elite pacting’ by establishing a liaison, through formal and informal connections, between the two political orders - military and civilian. Interactions and contact are central premises to establish confidence and trust and to enter dialogue and negotiation processes. Interaction at institutional or personal level and addressing issues related to human rights and legacies of the past (Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 312) can transform relationships by reducing the potential for prejudice and increasing trust (Allport 1979). This amplifies the likelihood of dialogue, partnership and collaboration and can contribute to developing ‘a common understanding’ or consensus about the design of ‘democratic institutions and politics’ (Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 312). As Adam Przeworski (1991: 80) puts it, “democracy cannot be dictated” and transition to democracy emerges from negotiations with representatives from the old nomenclature and the new, ‘pro-democratic forces’. Thus, civil-military interaction can be seen as forms of ‘bargaining’, in which civil groups and other non-state actors epitomise ‘pro-democratic forces’ and the military represents the ‘old regime’ (Przeworski 1991: 80). Evidence from countries that experienced transition from military to democratic regime suggests that civil society groups can play a role in mobilising dialogue and helping “articulate a democratic security strategy” based on an “adequate understanding of (...) specific problems and needs, as well as on building national consensus on political and military reform” (Cawthra and Luckham 2003: 315). Through interaction, civil society actors can play an active role for change at personal, societal and political-institutional level (Goel 2004).

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