Dr. Markus Weilenmann,
Head of the Office
All development political interventions aim at societal contexts that are already marked by the legal and political organisation of its social, economic and cultural living conditions.
International development cooperation may therefore directly or indirectly always influence the existing legal and political relationships and change the conditions under which people might make use of their rights.
The Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) required political advise for (i) establishing a routine of political analyses relating to the pact on security, stability and development ("Pact of Nairobi"), signed by ICGLR's 12 Member States (Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia) and (ii) for supporting the Executive Secretary in its efforts to implement the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region ("Addis Agreement").
cf. fateful governance rectangle
All democratization processes are deeply rooted in the political history of the countries of concern. Particular critical is the history of political leadership, which, dependent on the political and legal framework conditions, might be firmly anchored into the feudalistic past.
The cultural heritage might always have a conflicting potential on political and legal ways of decision making, on processes of social and economic development, on the forming of group identities, individual life-styles, religious beliefs and on the varying capabilities to integrate new skills of cooperation and innovation.
Multi- and bilateral development agencies, for their part, do however not dispose of procedures and methods that allow systematic examination of the cultural imprint of their own actions. This lack increases the danger that cultural factors are seen only to be located outside development agencies, and when they are features of their (local) target groups. Therefore, cultural factors are unfortunately often seen as hindrances resulting from the backwardness and traditionalism of 'the other' .
All the more important are thus advisory services, which target the critical interfaces between local and global communities, table the inescabably different world views, problem understandings and solution statements and offer eventually unexplored ways of consensus finding.
The federal governance development project of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) commissioned the office to organise a training workshop on how to deal with cultural conflicts at the state/society interference for governmental staff (Parliament, Ministries) of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.
In collaboration with the project Group Legal Pluralism of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/S (Germany), the bureaucratic logic of development project production was investigated and a new analytical tool, so-called 'project law' developed. The application of this tool helps identifying and clarifying the impact of those legal rules, which guide the entire project making process, from its first ideas to its conceptualization, implementation and evaluation and helps herewith to figure out the cultural imprint as well as the legal pluralistic consequences development projects often entail.