DAC Guidelines and Reference Series

1990-0988 (online)
1990-0996 (print)
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This series present internationally-agreed policy guidelines and suggestions from the OECD Development Assistance Committee.
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Supporting Statebuilding in Situations of Conflict and Fragility

Supporting Statebuilding in Situations of Conflict and Fragility

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08 Feb 2011
9789264074989 (PDF) ;9789264074965(print)

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Functioning states are essential for reducing poverty, sustaining peace and achieving agreed development goals. Despite receiving growing international attention in recent years, fragile states are falling behind other low-income countries in human development. Fragility – and its negative consequences – can destabilise entire regions and have global repercussions. Tackling the challenges associated with fragility requires a concerted international effort to support sustainable statebuilding processes, based on robust state-society relations.

Supporting Statebuilding in Situations of Conflict and Fragility: Policy Guidance presents new thinking on statebuilding and clear recommendations for better practice. It provides an internationally accepted conceptual framework for statebuilding, informed by today’s realities of conflict-affected and fragile situations. Building on good practices already being successfully applied on the ground, this guidance lays out how developing and developed countries can better facilitate positive statebuilding processes and strengthen the foundations upon which capable and legitimate states are built. The recommendations in this guidance address critical areas for better international engagement from strategy development and programme design and delivery to day-to-day operations in the field and at headquarters.

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  • Foreword
    State fragility and violent conflict are among the most daunting challenges that face us today in reducing poverty and human suffering – and achieving the development goals we have all signed up to. While there is increasing recognition that functioning states matter for development, international engagement in situations of fragility and conflict has often neglected the foundations upon which strong and legitimate states are built.
  • Acknowledgements
    This policy guidance is the result of a collaborative effort by members of the DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF). The process of preparing the guidance was led by Stephan Massing (OECD DAC Secretariat) under the overall guidance of Bella Bird and Alastair J. McKechnie (Co-Chairs of the INCAF Task Team on Peacebuilding, Statebuilding and Security) and under the supervision of Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval at the OECD Secretariat. The policy guidance is based on a draft prepared by Alison Evans (Overseas Development Institute) with support from Pilar Domingo, Leni Wild and Geraldine Baudienville. Peter Batchelor, Bella Bird, Alastair J. McKechnie, Michael Koros, Stephan Massing, Eugenia Piza-Lopez and Tjip Walker contributed to the elaboration of key policy messages and recommendations. Invaluable contributions to finalising the guidance were made by Sue Unsworth (the Policy Practice), Dan Smith (International Alert) and Heather Baser.
  • Executive Summary
    Effective states matter for development. This book provides guidance to policy makers and programme managers. It addresses the specific challenges of statebuilding in conflictaffected or fragile situations where the lives and livelihoods of millions of people are at stake. Fragile and conflict-affected states are those that have weak capacity to carry out basic functions of governing their population and territory, and lack the ability to develop mutually constructive and reinforcing relations with society.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Concepts of statebuilding and the challenges of fragility

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    • Statebuilding in fragile contexts: key terms and concepts
      This chapter defines the key terms and concepts that are used in this publication, and examines contemporary understanding of the state, the internal process of statebuilding, and the qualities that define fragile and resilient states.
    • History and statebuilding
      Through the history of statebuilding, this chapter explores statebuilding in various contexts including: (i) Western Europe and the post-World War II concept of the state; (ii) fragile contexts and hybrid political orders; and (iii) the contemporary global environment. It also examines historical legacies for statebuilding in fragile contexts.
    • Critical elements underpinning statebuilding
      There are three critical elements of statebuilding that underpin the social contract and are at the core of state-society relations: (i) political settlement and political processes through which state and society are connected; (ii) state capability and responsiveness to effectively perform its principal state functions; and (iii) social expectations. In addition to analysing these three elements, this chapter also examines state legitimacy and its sources.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Policy guidance and recommendations

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    • Making strategic choices and defining overall objectives
      The top priority for development partners is to reconsider and reorient their broader strategies for engagement and define objectives that are consistent with statebuilding. To achieve this, the five main recommendations for development partners are: (i) understand the context and local statebuilding processes and dynamics; (ii) understand your own role and clarify your objectives in relation to statebuilding; (iii) consider who you can work with, and where to work; (iv) work towards greater coherence across your government or organisation; and (v) recognise the global and regional dimensions of statebuilding.
    • Designing and delivering country programmes
      This chapter provides guidance on how donors can design and deliver programmes in support of statebuilding. The three key recommendations for development partners are: (i) adapt programme delivery to fragile contexts; (ii) engage with government and key partners in identifying and agreeing key statebuilding priorities; and (iii) design integrated interventions to foster constructive state-society relations.
    • Choosing tools for analysis and monitoring
      This chapter provides an overview of existing tools available to analyse context and invites development partners to (i) make use of a range of analytical tools to understand the context for statebuilding and (ii) understand and monitor external impact on statebuilding and measure progress
    • Adapting aid delivery modalities and technical assistance
      This chapter discusses how the choice of aid delivery modalities and the delivery of technical assistance impacts statebuilding processes. It invites development partners to align (i) aid modalities and (ii) technical assistance with statebuilding objectives.
    • Improving development partner operations
      Development partners will need to strengthen their own capacity and align internal organisational incentives in order to provide effective support to statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected situations. This chapter recommends that development partners: (i) strengthen field presence and capacity to work on statebuilding in fragile situations; (ii) manage the risks of operating in fragile and conflict-affected situations and learn from failures; (iii) create incentives for collaboration and whole of government co-operation; (iv) review procedures and regulations in the light of statebuilding objectives; (v) be aware how their presence and behaviour affects their legitimacy in the eyes of the local population.
    • Bibliography
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