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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.

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Ways forward: taking appropriate risks

Chapter 4 looks at some practical options to help donors take appropriate risks in fragile and transitional contexts. It begins by looking at some of the approaches adopted in the private sector (particularly the financial and commercial sectors) and the parts of the public sector not dealing with aid, and considers their relevance for the aid sector and fragile and transitional settings. It then looks at some of the lessons from two areas of practice where risk management is central: working with politically corrupt systems and undertaking local procurement. Case studies of donors’ approaches to corruption and local procurement provide a wealth of ideas for how these important issues can be dealt with in fragile and post-conflict situations.

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