Tomorrow Today: Development Frontiers in an Insecure World: International Security and the Implications for Development

Development has long been linked with security. However, in recent years development and security have been linked in new ways. These new ties reflect changing conceptualisations of threats originating from aid-recipient contexts in an interdependent world and the expectation that development should help to prevent the spread of these risks.

This securitisation, or the convergence of development with security institutions, instruments and resources, is driving the rapid evolution of development policy. It is also shaping a field of interventions whose purpose is to contribute to a broader regime of security, whether in combating piracy in Somalia, preventing the radicalisation of Muslim youth in Kenya or supporting the expansion of public education in Pakistan as alternatives to madrassas.

The securitisation of development policy and practice is shifting the expectations of what development should achieve, how it should be delivered and by whom. The project has three main objectives:

  • To develop new grounded knowledge on how securitisation is affecting the actors and spaces of development; 
  • To provide critical insights into the distinctiveness of development in unstable areas where development actors and initiatives are explicitly linked into a wider regime of security; 
  • To outline key challenges and offer practical insights into how “traditional” development actors can most effectively work alongside non-traditional development actors in unstable environments.

The project explores the following questions:

  1. How is the intertwining of development with security affecting the spaces and actors for development action in fragile states?
  2. How is development different in unstable areas such as Somalia, Darfur and the DRC where the resources of development are deployed as part of security regimes? Who are the key actors that are shaping the field of development in these contexts?
  3. How can development actors most effectively contribute to broader security strategies and work alongside non-traditional development actors in unstable environments?

The Institute of Development Studies is working with partners in Kenya and Sierra Leone to develop case studies of development-security linkages in particular political contexts.

Project details

start date
1 December 2010

Recent work