Executive summary

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus is a unique, common standard aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of collective action in fragile and conflict-affected settings. In advance of the five-year review due by early 2024, this preliminary stocktaking exercise will facilitate joint learning, and feed the high-level Partnership for Peace roundtable in mid-2022.

Overall, one central message emerges: the strategic momentum around the DAC Recommendation must be seized to achieve its full potential.

Adherents to the DAC Recommendation have made visible efforts to implement it

  • The DAC Recommendation is becoming a widely accepted common standard beyond its original signatories. With the adherence of UN entities, the policy dialogue about implementation is expanding to the multilateral system, allowing for a more consistent and meaningful execution of the nexus approach.

  • Disseminating the DAC Recommendation’s principles widely remains an important priority: they must translate into practical and concrete actions that inform organisational processes, partnerships and programming. Messages should be jargon-free and practice-oriented.

  • The nexus approach has helped adherents to manage change within their organisations, each following different strategies, depending on timing, capacities, political will and individual trajectory.

  • Adherents define success in implementing the nexus in various ways. From an operational standpoint, success may be defined both in terms of change in ways of working, and the achievement of sustainable outcomes improving lives in fragile contexts.

Progress has been made across the three areas of the DAC Recommendation

  • Stakeholders have made significant progress in developing a shared understanding of how to reduce risks and improve resilience at country level, notably through the design of collective outcomes. However, co-ordination challenges remain, and joint analysis and joined-up planning must more meaningfully translate into programming.

  • New operational practices reflecting the programming principles of the Recommendation are emerging. Identifying and scaling up good practices requires sustained collective investment in joint learning and evidence. There is little visible progress, however, in strengthening the voice and participation of people affected by crises and fragility.

  • Similarly, the use of nexus-friendly financing models has increased somewhat over the past five years. It is important to learn from these initiatives and integrate them into the humanitarian and development financing architecture in a sustainable manner.

    Table 1 summarises the status of implementation.

Important areas still need attention

  • Short-term interventions for peace must, and can, be better connected to development objectives by enhancing mutual understanding and information sharing among HDP actors. Improving the “nexus literacy” of all these actors is fundamental in this regard.

  • Achieving truly collective outcomes, with joined-up approaches to planning and programming agreed by all key stakeholders in a given context, would meaningfully advance coherence and complementarity.

  • Inclusive financing strategies at country level could significantly accelerate nexus implementation, if designed to support major national processes, while fitting donor funding cycles as far as possible. Financing strategies are not the same as fundraising: they should include bilateral, multilateral and international financial institutions in a process that links financing and programming.

  • Ensuring appropriate resourcing for cost-effective co-ordination remains a challenge. DAC adherents can do more to jointly support the existing co-ordination architecture and identify the best-fit leadership in every context.

  • Political engagement and other tools, instruments and approaches remain underutilised in joined-up efforts across the nexus to prevent crises, resolve conflicts and build peace.

  • The stakeholders closest to the affected communities should be included in a more meaningful way in joint planning processes, in particular local actors, civil society organisations, and national and international non-governmental organisations involved in implementing programmes.

  • Investing in national and local capacities and systems cannot be an afterthought. Collective support and optimal use of public delivery systems for basic social services at national and local levels must remain a priority, even in times of crisis.

  • The HDP nexus should integrate gender equality, climate change and other relevant considerations. It should not become a new, siloed policy area.


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Photo credits: Cover © UNOCHA/Alioune Ndiaye

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