Conflict and Fragility

2074-3637 (online)
2074-3645 (print)
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This series of books from OECD's Development Co-operation Directorate address the issues of violent conflict and fragile governments in developing countries, and how aid can be designed to reduce violence and strengthen governments.

Also available in: French
International Engagement in Fragile States

International Engagement in Fragile States

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17 Nov 2011
Pages :
9789264086128 (PDF) ; 9789264128477 (print)

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The Monitoring Survey of the Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations provides one of the only sources of evidence of development impact in fragile and conflict-affected states. Based on 13 national consultations and using a mixed methods approach, the survey has catalysed dialogue among national and international stakeholders and contributed to deepening consensus on key goals and priorities. This report synthesises main findings and recommendations from across these 13 countries, providing evidence from the ground of what works and what doesn’t.
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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements
    THIS REPORT WAS PRODUCED BY THE OECD DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION DIRECTORATE and written by Fiona Davies (consultant), Bathylle Missika (OECD) and Charles Petrie (consultant), under the supervision of Bathylle Missika, with support from Nezar Tamine. James Eberlein, Donata Garrasi, Jenny Hedman, Stephan Massing, Robin Ogilvy, Nezar Tamine, Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval, Erwin van Veen and Asbjorn Wee (OECD) provided substantive inputs into the report and supported its development since its inception.
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    THE PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT IN FRAGILE STATES AND SITUATIONS (FSPs) provide a framework to guide international actors in achieving better results in the most challenging development contexts. In 2011, the Second FSP Monitoring Survey was conducted in 13 countries: Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste and Togo. This followed a baseline survey in 2009 covering six countries (Afghanistan, CAR, DRC, Haiti, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste) (OECD, 2010a). This synthesis report reflects the overall picture that has emerged from the second survey. International performance against these Fragile States Principles is seriously off-track. Overall, in the thirteen countries under review in 2011, international stakeholder engagement is partially or fully off-track for eight out of ten of the FSPs.
  • Introduction
    IN 2007, MINISTERS FROM THE OECD DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE COMMITTEE (DAC) MEMBER COUNTRIES adopted ten Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations (FSPs). These principles reflected a growing consensus that fragile states require different responses than those needed in better performing countries. In September 2008, ministers, heads of development agencies and civil society organisations from around the world gathered in Accra for the Third High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Particular attention was given to the issue of improved aid effectiveness in the most challenging contexts, and a group of fragile states coalesced to voice their concerns and priorities. The members of this group decided that: "At country level and on a voluntary basis, donors and developing countries will monitor implementation of the Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations, and will share results as part of progress reports on implementing the Paris Declaration."
  • Take context as the starting point
    IN ORDER FOR DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENT THIS PRINCIPLE, they need two main elements: a sound understanding of country context, including the different constraints to political will, legitimacy and capacity, and a shared view of the strategic response required. FSP 1 highlights the importance of adapting international responses to country and regional contexts and the importance of avoiding blueprint approaches.
  • Do no harm
    FSP 2 HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF BASING INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTIONS ON STRONG CONFLICT ANALYSIS, and designing them with appropriate safeguards to avoid inadvertently causing harm in fragile environments. It also highlights the importance of adopting graduated responses to governance failures, with aid cuts in-year being considered only as a last resort for the most serious situations.
  • Focus on statebuilding as the central objective
    FSP 3 CALLS ON DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS TO USE AID TO STRENGTHEN STRATEGIC STATE FUNCTIONS essential for poverty reduction and to make progress on essential public reforms. It also calls for support to all three pillars of government (the executive, legislature and judiciary), as well as for strengthening political processes and supporting dialogue between the state and civil society. The importance of the latter element to successful statebuilding has been highlighted in recent OECD policy guidance, which notes that, in order to be effective, statebuilding approaches need to move beyond institution building towards fostering greater and deeper interaction between state and society (OECD, 2011a).
  • Prioritise prevention
    THE CENTRAL PREMISE OF FSP 4 IS THAT ACTION TODAY CAN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE RISK OF FUTURE CONFLICT AND OTHER CRISES. Prioritising prevention requires a combination of early warning systems, early response modalities for the purpose of crisis management, and the ability to recognise and address those root causes of fragility that are most likely to trigger crises before they happen. Good (and shared) risk analyses, understanding the political economy and the ability to take rapid action when the risk of conflict and instability appears imminent are essential ingredients to effective prevention. It is also important to strengthen local and regional capacities to prevent and resolve conflicts.
  • Recognise the links between political, security and development objectives
    THIS PRINCIPLE RECOGNISES THAT INCREASING RESILIENCE IN FRAGILE STATES requires political, security and development objectives to be addressed in an integrated manner. Development partners need to adopt a whole-of-government approach. They also need to be able to grasp what trade-offs exist between political, security and development objectives, as well as what the consequences of such trade-offs might be.
  • Promote non-discrimination as a basis for inclusive and stable societies
    FSP 6 RECOGNISES THAT REAL OR PERCEIVED DISCRIMINATION IS ASSOCIATED WITH FRAGILITY AND CONFLICT and can lead to service delivery failures. It calls on development partners to consistently promote gender equality, social inclusion and human rights, and highlights the importance of involving women, youth, minorities and other excluded groups in service delivery and statebuilding strategies from the outset.
  • Align with local priorities in different ways in different contexts
    FSP 7 REQUIRES DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS TO ALIGN THEIR ASSISTANCE TO NATIONAL STRATEGIES as long as governments demonstrate the political will to foster development. Where alignment to national strategies is not possible, development partners should seek opportunities to align partially at the sector or regional level. When government capacity for implementation is limited, development partners should identify appropriate aid arrangements, which can help facilitate shared priorities and responsibility for execution (e.g. pooled funds). Where possible, development partners should seek to avoid developing parallel systems without considering transition mechanisms and long-term capacity development.
  • Agree on practical co-ordination mechanisms
    FSP 8 CAN CLEARLY BE IMPLEMENTED THROUGH PRACTICAL CO-ORDINATION between development partners even in the absence of strong government leadership. Practical initiatives can take the form of establishing joint development partner offices, an agreed division of labour among development partners, delegated co-operation agreements, multi- donor trust funds, and common reporting and financial requirements. Where possible, development partners should seek to work together on upstream analysis, joint assessments, shared strategies and coordination of political engagement.
  • Act fast... But stay engaged long enough to give success a chance
    FSP 9 REQUIRES ASSISTANCE TO FRAGILE STATES TO BE FLEXIBLE ENOUGH TO RESPOND TO CHANGING CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND, while being of sufficient duration to enable capacity development in core institutions, which can take up to ten years or more. It also highlights the importance of aid predictability, and the importance of mitigating the destabilising effect that aid volatility can have in fragile situations. Aid volumes vary over time as a result of political crisis, security concerns or the phasing out of humanitarian aid, but these variations are sometimes not predictable for recipients.
  • Avoid pockets of exclusion
    FSP 10 HIGHLIGHTS THE TWIN PROBLEMS of "aid orphans" (countries where few international actors are engaged and aid volumes are low) and uneven distribution of aid within a country. Development partners are required to avoid unintentional exclusionary effects when they make resource allocation decisions.
  • Conclusions
  • Annex A. The principles for good international engagement in fragile states and situations
    A durable exit from poverty and insecurity for the world’s most fragile states will need to be driven by their own leadership and people. International actors can affect outcomes in fragile states in both positive and negative ways. International engagement will not by itself put an end to state fragility, but the adoption of the following shared Principles can help maximise the positive impact of engagement and minimise unintentional harm. The Principles are intended to help international actors foster constructive engagement between national and international stakeholders in countries with problems of weak governance and conflict, and during episodes of temporary fragility in the stronger performing countries. They are designed to support existing dialogue and coordination processes, not to generate new ones. In particular, they aim to complement the partnership commitments set out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. As experience deepens, the Principles will be reviewed periodically and adjusted as necessary.
  • Annex B. How do fragile states survey countries fare against the paris declaration's indicators of progress?
    Twelve of the countries and territories participating in the 2011 Survey on Monitoring the Fragile States Principles also undertook the Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration. They form part of a larger sample of 78 developing countries that undertook the Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration in 2011. This annex draws on data used in the calculation of the Paris Declaration indicators to draw some tentative conclusions on the state of implementation of the Paris Declaration in the 12 countries that chose to participate in the 2011 Fragile States Principles Survey
  • Annex C. Methodology for the fragile states principles monitoring survey
    The ten Fragile States Principles were developed to guide international engagement in fragile states. Their implementation was initially assessed in six countries in 2009. This first survey set a baseline for a more comprehensive integrated survey in 2011, assessing both the implementation of the Paris Declaration and the Fragile States Principles. The second survey was conducted in 13 countries and territories and aimed to assess change since 2009 and to provide evidence and share recommendations with all development stakeholders on how best to bring about change and make development partnerships more effective in situations of fragility.
  • Bibliography
  • Glossary of key terms
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