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Absorptive Capacity in the Security and Justice Sectors

Assessing Obstacles to Success in the Donor-Recipient Relationship

Robert D. Lamb; Kathryn Mixon and Andrew Halterman

In development, stabilization, and peace building, donors increasingly recognize the importance of being sensitive to the local contexts of their efforts. Yet the use of “blueprints” remains widespread. Even when standard approaches are modified for particular aid partners, there often remains a poor fit between donor efforts and local conditions. When recipients cannot absorb the aid and attention they are offered, the common response is “capacity building.” While it is true that many aid recipients do not have adequate capacity for implementation, this report presents the results of a case study demonstrating that some security and justice programs are designed and implemented without an adequate appreciation of local desires, resources, capabilities, and challenges. Absorptive capacity, in other words, is a byproduct of the donor-recipient relationship. An earlier study by the authors introduced a new framework for measuring absorptive capacity. This volume applies it to security and justice sector programs that did not meet all of their objectives in Lebanon, Cambodia, and Colombia. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / Center for Strategic & International Studies
Pages: 52Size: 8 1/2 x 11
978-1-4422-2513-8 • Paperback • July 2013 • $41.00 • (£27.95)
978-1-4422-2514-5 • eBook • July 2013 • $39.00 • (£24.95)
Series: CSIS Reports
Robert D. Lamb is a senior fellow and director of the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation.

Kathryn Mixon is program coordinator and research assistant with the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation at CSIS.

Andrew Halterman is a research intern with the Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation at CSIS.