Managing Risks in Fragile and Transitional Contexts

The Price of Success?

image of Managing Risks in Fragile and Transitional Contexts

From the anarchy of Somalia to the relative stability of Nepal, fragile and transitional situations represent a broad spectrum of contexts. However, they share some common features: these are risky environments – for the people who live there, for their governments, for neighbouring countries, and for those who seek to provide assistance. Positive outcomes are hard to achieve and the risk of regression in countries emerging from armed conflict is high.

International engagement in these situations presents significant risks for donors and implementing partners, but also holds the potential for substantial rewards in terms of improved results and outcomes. Indeed, more often than not, the risks associated with not engaging in these contexts – both for the countries themselves and for the international community – outweigh most of the risks of engaging in the first place. The question therefore is not whether to engage but how to engage in ways that are context-specific and do not come at an unacceptable cost.

This publication provides the evidence to help donors understand how to balance risks and opportunities in order to protect the integrity of their institutions while delivering better results to those who need it most.



Risk perceptions and analysis

Chapter 2 addresses three questions: (1) How are risks dealt with in aid policy?; (2) How do donors currently assess risks and report on successes versus failures?; and (3) How do perceptions of risk vary and how can differences be bridged? It looks at whether taking risk and reporting results are compatible, and asks how we can break down vague and over-ambitious objectives into more realistic and tangible goals. It also points out that one of the greatest challenges in adopting a whole-of-government approach to fragile states is to bridge differences in organisational cultures. It concludes by describing how the donors who are more willing to take risks can lead the way, later to be followed by more cautious donors. It also emphasises that individuals need the support and backing of senior managers if they are to be encouraged to take appropriate risk.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error