Risk Pathways

2. Relations with host nation stakeholders


Interactions between international interveners and host nation stakeholders can result in change for the better, but can also empower corrupt and criminal networks.  International interventions can become significant sources of tangible resources and intangible political legitimacy: they can provide concrete resources through sustainment, reconstruction, humanitarian aid, development contracts, and training of the host nation armed forces, and can bestow political legitimacy on local stakeholders. In fragile and conflict environments, relationships with international stakeholders can become a source of political power and influence.

Impact of mission activities

As missions establish relationships with host nation stakeholders, the tangible and intangible resources they can offer – from money to equipment to political support and recognition – can be used by malign actors to support criminal and corrupt networks. This wastes mission resources, directs them toward adversaries, and makes supporting peace- and security-related goals more difficult.

Risk Areas within Risk Pathway 2. Relations with host nation stakeholders

These risk areas provide further information on corruption risks related to mission interaction with host nation stakeholders, including specific guidance how to identify these risks and what measures can be implemented to mitigate them.

2.1 State capture and criminal patronage networks

Military operations intervene with significant resources at their disposal. Such extensive resources can have unintended consequences if they are allowed to strengthen malign networks.

Explore Risk Area

2.2 Intelligence dependence

Working with the local community is a necessity for obtaining intelligence in the operational theatre, however there are significant risks for corruption involved in relying heavily on one or a few sources.

Explore Risk Area

2.3 Support for private militia and security companies

Employment of private militia and security companies can have long term consequences as resources and support can enable them to comete with state structures.

Explore Risk Area

2.4 Mission involvement in illegal trade, including natural resources

Privileged access and the mandate to control shipments are necessary for international missions to do their jobs; however, they can also create opportunities for corruption and abuse of entrusted position, often for private gain.

Explore Risk Area

2.5 Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)

The access that international missions have to basic resources such as food, water and medication has in the past opened door to sexual abuse. This involves an abuse of entrusted powers – distribution of resources and keeping of peace – for private gratification.

Explore Risk Area

Mitigations within Risk Pathway 2. Relations with host nation stakeholders

Promoting strong integrity standards among mission personnel can help set expectations for relations with the host nation, and prevent creation of new opportunities for corrupt networks.

Supporting those who are willing to join legitimate, inclusive governance structures can help create an alternative to the power of corrupt networks.

Ensuring political support and resource flows to those with an interest in a peaceful, stable solution to the conflict.

Ensuring that financial flows do not exceed the host nation’s absorptive capacity will diminish the risk of diversion by corrupt networks; tying funding and assistance to improvements in governance can help create momentum for reform.

Supporting civilian initiatives such as reform of the judiciary can help create counter-balance to state capture, and using a full spectrum to shape incentives could render corruption less attractive at strategic, operational and tactical levels.

Civil society organisations can be valuable allies in the fight against corruption, at a strategy-setting level and when attempting to limit low-level corruption that feeds higher-level networks.

Stronger oversight of mission resources will help limit opportunities for corrupt networks, and helping develop host nation or civil society oversight mechanisms will help create longer-term accountability of host nation forces.

Ensuring that the international mission is able to receive and process signals of wrongdoing increases the likelihood of detection and diminishes the appeal of corruption.