Over the last four decades, donor-driven justice reform efforts have largely followed two parallel paradigms: one primarily concerned with promoting development and economic growth, the other centered on state-building and the consolidation of peace in countries emerging from violent conflict. Operationally, however, these models face the same conundrum: they draw on a broad consensus that justice institutions are intrinsically and instrumentally important for development, and yet have a track record demonstrating that much remains to be learned. These paradigms have increasingly converged in recent years, as exemplified in the World Development Report 2011 (on conflict and security), providing a basis for rethinking approaches to justice reform in fragile and conflict-affected states. These approaches are based on an alternative theory of change, a long-term commitment to investing in research to understand the idiosyncrasies of local contexts, and a more nuanced approach to building locally legitimate justice institutions capable of mitigating the societal stresses that feed cycles of conflict.
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