Resisting ownership : the paralysis of EU peacebuilding in the CongoResisting ownership : the paralysis of EU peacebuilding in the Congo
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Development processes, actors and policies
7(2014):2, p. 24-44
This article analyzes how the idea of local ownership is functioning in the context of security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a focus on European Union's efforts in the area. The authors argue that despite discursive emphasis on ownership, in practice local resistance in combination with the notion of security sector reform and the idea of ownership being externally constructed concepts with vague definitions create counterproductive dynamics between local and international actors. The result has been a paralysis of the security sector reform efforts in the Congo. Real progress in security sector reform is possible only if the local authorities own the reforms, but if progress means less power for these authorities, they are unlikely to sustain it. While the literature traditionally emphasizes the role of external inconsistency in ownership's shortcomings, this article demonstrates that a full picture also requires highlighting the local dynamics of ownership resistance.