Table of Contents

  • OECD member countries provided USD 46.7 billion in official development assistance to fragile states in 2009. This is a significant investment, but we still struggle to work with our partners in ways that support transformative results in fragile states. The fact that no low-income fragile state has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is a stark reminder both of the needs that drive all sides to focus on fragility, and of the daunting challenges that remain.

  • Around 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence and insecurity. These countries represent a central challenge for development and are a priority for many states’ national security interests. Sustained and co-ordinated support is required to tackle the risks and vulnerabilities inherent in such situations. The continued relevance and influence of OECD governments will in part depend on their ability to deliver results and make a difference in these most challenging of environments.

  • The DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) is a unique decision-making forum that brings together diverse stakeholders to support development in the world’s most challenging situations — such as Afghanistan, Haiti and South Sudan. INCAF was established in 2009 as a subsidiary body of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Following its establishment, the DAC and the Secretary-General of the United Nations asked INCAF to provide guidance on how to make international financial support to countries emerging from conflict (i.e. in transition) more rapid, flexible and risk-tolerant. To accomplish this, INCAF has explored the opportunities and challenges in current international responses during transition to develop guidance on making aid more effective in these situations. This guidance is for policymakers, diplomats and staff of agencies in OECD and non-OECD countries, multilateral organisations, and civil society organisations in fragile and conflict-affected contexts that are working to achieve coherence across humanitarian, mediation, security, human rights, justice and development operations.

  • Fragile and conflict-affected states have specific challenges and risks, which current development and humanitarian approaches are not properly designed to meet. This chapter outlines the main reasons why current approaches are inadequate, including: i) a fragmented aid architecture where response is spread across multiple institutional mandates and budget lines; ii) policies and procedures for international engagement and risk management that are not tailored to the context; iii) the inability of international actors to support strict prioritisation due to the absence of national leadership in planning processes and internationally agreed objectives of transition/development strategies; and iv) the duplication and lack of coherence in aid instruments. It provides a number of recommendations on how approaches to risk management can be adapted to enable effective engagement, including through enhanced use of joint approaches for assessing and managing risks and by using simplified procedures for engagement.

  • A fundamental principle of development today is that the governments of partner countries should lead and guide planning and prioritisation exercises, rather than the donor country. However, countries in transition face particular challenges that limit government-led planning and prioritisation. This chapter asks how stricter and more realistic prioritisation can be achieved during transition in order to enable countries to move from crisis to peace more effectively. The emphasis is on: i) supporting national transition strategies while allowing governments to take gradual leadership of the prioritisation and planning exercise; ii) keeping objectives and planning processes simple; iii) ensuring a collaborative approach; and iv) creating coherence between international and national planning approaches.

  • No single aid instrument can cover all the priorities of transition. A mix of different aid instruments will allow coherent and effective aid to support shared priorities, plus rapid and fl exible delivery. Chapter 3 provides guidance to ensure that aid instruments contribute to the critical objectives of harmonisation, institutional transformation, speed and fl exibility, and risk management. The mix should be decided based on the need to provide both rapid and sustained delivery, and should in particular focus on country-specific instruments and pooled funds that allow for a gradual increase in the use of country systems.

  • The chapter pulls together the ideas of the previous chapters to present a way forward for transition. This involves the development of a “transition compact”: a country-specific, light and flexible agreement between national and international partners. A compact allows for agreement on critical transition priorities with an explicit financing strategy through a mix of funding sources and instruments. Compacts can improve the coherence and effectiveness of aid, thus reducing the risk of strategic failure, improving results focus, and providing real steps towards stronger national engagement and leadership. They allow for joint prioritisation between national and international actors and frequent reviews of progress, thus addressing donor concerns about capacity, legitimacy and risks of engagement.