Background

The search for a strategic and operational approach toward effective joint, coherent actions and interventions in the key pillar areas of peace/security, development, and humanitarianism resulted in the Three-Pillar Interlinkages approach also known as the Triple Nexus. This was endorsed by the 2016 Humanitarian World Summit in Turkey as a New Way of Working (NWoW). The NWoW seeks to drum up support for the application of the Nexus or Interlinkages approach1The New Way of Working (NWoW), as outlined in the Secretary-General’s Report of the WHS. Available at https://www.agendaforhumanity.org/sites/default/files/A-71-353%20-%20SG%20Report%20on%20the%20Outcome%20of%20the%20WHS.pdf to sustainable development. However, this unfortunately left out a human rights focus that Kofi Annan had rightly insisted on as a sine qua non for all support to countries by the United Nations. A four-pillar interlinkage focus, or quadruple nexus, rectifies this conceptual problem. The collaboration between the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has been pivotal to the quadruple nexus or the four-pillars interlinkages approach. Realizing that the quadruple nexus is not self-implementing, we suggest the simultaneous focus on the four interlinkages implementation context for understanding and offering support to countries.

Understanding the Situational Quadruple Nexus (SQN)

The recently released OSAA study on “Strengthening the Nexus between Peace, Development, Humanitarian Affairs and Human Rights for an Accelerated Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” and the ECA study on the four-pillar interlinkages in West and Central Africa establish the salience of the quadruple nexus approach as an analytic framework and a model for the implementation of efforts toward the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The OSAA study unequivocally submits that governance is core in and across the interlinkages of pillars for the successful design, implementation, and integration of policies to accelerate the SDGs and Agenda 2063. This position cannot be contested. However, it is inadequate as it fails to consider three other crucial foundational issues.

The SQN analysis as conceptualized by Badejo provides a more effective approach to the four pillar issues, the 2030 SDGs, and Agenda 2063 on “the Africa We Want.” The SQN approach, which centers freedom from fear and poverty, the realization of basic human needs, and widespread improved quality of life,2Badejo, Babafemi Adesina. “Draft Report” Study on the Interlinkages between the Development, Peace and Security, Human Rights and Humanitarian.” United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, December 14, 2020, https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-documents/Subregional-studies/ECA%20Four-Pillar%20Interlinkages%20first%20draft20201215.pdf. Accessed March 27, 2022. aims at achieving “Utmost Freedom”: a perfect, idealistic, but pursuable desired state of human existence.

Conceptually, “quadruple” is the aggregation of the four pillars, while nexus connotes interlinkages. The Situational Foundation represents the ecosystem for the operationalization of the four critical pillars. The SQN provides a critical analytical framework for explaining the interlocking relationships amongst the four pillars: development, peace and security, human rights, and humanitarianism, all of which are situated within the foundationally important situation of governance, external dynamics, institutions, and resources as overarching issues.3The Interlinkages between the Development, Peace and Security, Human Rights and Humanitarian Pillars in the West and Central Africa Subregions. A study report presented to the UNECA, by Prof. Babafemi Badejo. P.8. See also Babafemi A. Badejo, Nigerians’ on National Turmoil: A Situational Quadruple Analysis, (Lagos: Yintab Books, 2022).

The SQN is growing in usage, following significant findings after the UNECA studies on the operationalization of the four pillars in West, Central, North, East, and Southern Africa.4Read more: https://www.uneca.org/events/regional-integration-and-trade/virtual-expert-group-meeting-subregional-studies-interlinkages The study on the West and Central African subregions5Read more: https://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-documents/Subregional-studies/ECA%20Four-Pillar%20Interlinkages%20first%20draft20201215.pdf builds on the analysis of the quadruple nexus as used in Badejo’s presentation at the 2020 International Peace Day organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)6Babafemi A. Badejo., “Peace & Security Operate Within a Quadruple Nexus.” Presentation at the International peace day town hall & community gathering, September 21, 2020. http://yintabstrategyconsults.com/peace-security-operate-within-a-quadruple-nexus/ in Nigeria.

Aside from usefulness in strategic analysis, SQN as an operational approach strengthens collaboration, coherence, and complementarity among the four pillars of development: peace, security, human rights, and humanitarianism. This is intended to improve national, sub-regional, regional, and international assistance.7Ibid. It seeks to maximize the advantages of each pillar in order to reduce overall vulnerabilities and the number of unmet needs. When applied to the conflict-prone context of Africa, the situational quadruple nexus helps in making the analysis easier and understanding the root causes of conflicts with a view to proffering effective and lasting solutions.8OECD, DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development­ Peace Nexus, OECD/LEGAL/5019

The core of governance in this framework are leadership deficit and corruption. To tackle corruption successfully is to solve the problem of rule of law. Corruption has an inverse relationship with the rule of law.

External dynamics are the totality of influences—positive and negative—that affect policy choices, especially from the point of the relationships between African states with major international interests that could potentially be beneficial or destructive.9Babafemi A. Badejo, (2022) External dynamics go beyond neo-colonial as well as post-World War II structures to include others like climate change issues and the impact of terror franchises. External dynamics are often ignored by scholars in the liberal orientation,10Chipaike, Ronald, and Matarutse H. Knowledge. “The question of African agency in international relations.” Cogent Social Sciences vol. 4, no. 1 (2018): pp. 1-17. Taylor & Francis Online, https://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2018.1487257. whereas the structuralist dependency theorists over-focus on it and ignore leadership deficits.

Institutions handle the aggregation and articulation of interests in society. Institutions go beyond pressure groups and parties in the political arena and include others like civil society organizations (CSOs), religious/faith-based entities, traditional and primordial institutions, the media, etc.

Resources are always crucial. Availability of human and material resources is important for any effort aimed at successfully using SQN.

Graphic Framework of the SQN

Conclusion

Maximizing the interlinkages of the pillars of peace/security, development, human rights, and humanitarianism while being fully cognizant of governance, external dynamics, institutions, and resources are conceptualized as the Situational Quadruple Nexus (SQN). It is both an analytical framework and an operational modality for developmental delivery efforts. It addresses both theoretical and methodological gaps in understanding the root causes of conflict and obstacles to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SQN provides a rounded approach that cuts across layers of relevant stakeholders toward the realization of the best state of development for humanity, conceptualized as utmost freedom. Beyond the theoretical usage, the SQN analysis helps the humanistic drive for the practical implementation (praxis) toward improving the quality of life.

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