EDUC42940 Development & Societal Transition in complex, post-conflict situations

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module is an option for those registered for the UCD MSc. in Sustainable Development in partnership with UN SDSN; it takes its basis and direction from SDG16; Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.
Dramatic and far-reaching changes have taken place over the two decades in how the international community views and responds to the incredibly complex development issues and challenges presented by societies emerging from conflict and related disaster. ‘Post-conflict’ or 'fragile' societies as they are often termed require multi-sectoral, multi-agency action on a scale that is easily underestimated. Disastrous consequences can result from misjudgements of the temporal, spatial and systems dimensions of the transition to normalcy.
Those with a critical interest in development and reconstruction work within the framework of SDG 16, need a deep understanding of societies in post-conflict transition and, more specifically, of the roles, practices and value systems of a variety of key actors and institutions at the supranational, national and sub-national levels within this transition process.
This module provides an introduction to the core understandings and capabilities necessary to engage successfully in comprehensive-approach framed transitional analysis, principled crisis response action, and effective post-intervention review and policy learning.
All students registered to this module have full access to all of the digital resources on the SDG Academy and access to the UN SDSN Network.

NOTE: This module will be delivered wholly online.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Design and complete an informed and critical transition analysis through the study of research / literature which locates societies in transition within a theoretical and comparative perspective.
-Understand more fully convergences between the world of development action theory and ‘real-world’ /situated practice through engagement with readings from the field of post-conflict / fragile state intervention.
-Possess a deeper understanding in relation to operating in the (re)development space within a complex, early-stage, peace operation.
-Display a strong grasp of the tensions and possibilities involved in inter-organisational cooperation and coordination within a complex, early-stage, peace operation.
In Summary: The students will gain valuable insight into, and develop practical skills relating to, procedures and protocols which increasingly characterise interventions and missions premised on a ‘comprehensive approach’ to peace and societal reconstruction under the framework of SDG 16.

Indicative Module Content:

Security and Development
An Introduction
• Evolution of Environment, Peace, and Conflict Linkages
• A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Environmental Peacebuilding
• Criticality & Analysis: getting value from this module

Natural Resources and the Environment during Armed Conflict
• Natural Resources and Conflict
• Environmental Impacts and Pillage

Environmental Peacebuilding in Fragile & post-conflict settings
• Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Assessments
• Natural Resources in Security and Stabilization

Peace, Development, Human Rights, Equity and Gender Equality
• SIPRI Lectures
• The SIPRI Forum

The Context of Humanitarian Action
• Humanitarian Space
• Humanitarian Action

Societal transition; a sociology of changing regimes & development action
• Phases and concerns in ST
• Legitimate stakeholders

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is designed to be participatory, interactive and hands-on. The module is taught in a way that facilitates and encourages the development of capability, in context and in collaboration with others in the module group.
The online nature of the course requires a willingness on the part of the student to develop familiarity with the use of learning technologies to support individual and small-group based learning on-line and/or at-distance. This includes an openness to posting work and commenting on the work of other participants in mediated course fora and other spaces that are private to the course and having an interest in developing the skills and capabilities to learn and share learning through online activities and events.
Essentially; the module which has its roots in the values and principles of SDG 16 is designed to be driven by relevant input, and strongly activity-based. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Portfolio: A portfolio of responses to tasks and activities based on the week-to-week work of the programme - accompanied by an overall, reflective summary. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Learning in this module is based on continuous, task-based activity with learning opportunities built into every session of the course. Feedback to these tasks is informal. The formal module assignment is designed to reflect the necessity to study and tackle short-individualised assignments across the full teaching-run of the module. These assignments take account of (a) the complexities of working for sustainable development within fragile and unsettled contexts, and (b) the individual interests of the student. To this end, a portfolio of work is developed over the course of the module, representing a balance between these understandings and interests. This portfolio is assessed on completion and feedback made available in written or oral form to the individual student, as appropriate.

Name Role
Professor Patrick Paul Walsh Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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