2. Peace, fragility and fragile contexts

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for the creation of peaceful, just and inclusive societies that leave no one behind. As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development affirms, “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development” (UN, 2015, p. 2[1]). This is particularly true in fragile contexts, which are the most affected by conflict and, as the analysis in Chapter 1 suggests, face the biggest risk of being left behind on the SDGs. Shortly after adopting Agenda 2030, the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council adopted joint resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in which they pledged to work towards a “common vision of society” (UN, 2018, p. 1[2]) free from violent conflict, using all available tools at their disposal. They reaffirmed that addressing violence in all its forms requires a nationally led, collective political process involving national governments, local authorities and communities with support from external partners. In this way, the sustaining peace resolutions embrace the same principles of universality and positive peace as the SDGs. Since their adoption, various joint initiatives and policy frameworks have reaffirmed the importance of this agenda. Among them is the DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, adopted in February 2019 and calling for “prevention always, development wherever possible, humanitarian action when necessary” (OECD DAC, 2019[3]).

Sustaining peace in fragile contexts is not a simple or linear task. Nor can it be achieved in isolation or by any one actor or approach. Violent conflict is multidimensional, and addressing it requires a sound analysis of the underlying root causes of conflict and fragility, coupled with complementary, coherent and co-ordinated responses. This chapter explores the range of approaches and challenges to supporting peace in fragile contexts, outlines good practices in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and reviews how diplomats and security actors can contribute to peace in such environments. These actors are at the front lines of efforts to address violent conflict, each equipped with a distinct set of tools and approaches within a broader ecosystem of actors. The DAC Recommendation recognises their unique contributions to sustainable peace while also stresses that they need to collaborate with and complement the work of humanitarian and development actors in support of mutually agreed, collective outcomes. However, the activities and approaches of peace actors are relatively less understood than those of their counterparts (Redvers and Parker, 2020[4]), and one of the goals of this chapter is to demystify the work of peace actors and solidify their importance as actors in their own right. The chapter concludes with a discussion of avenues to improve the international community’s support for peace in fragile contexts, with an emphasis on promoting coherence and investing in analysis. Doing so can help shift the focus away from responding to crises and instead encourage early, proactive action to prevent them.

Violent conflict and its consequences are more concentrated in fragile contexts than ever before (Pettersson and Öberg, 2020[5]). The character of conflict has also changed, with an increasing prevalence of non-state actors and organised armed groups alongside other regional, transnational and global actors who combine and compete in a wide variety of ways in pursuit of their interests. While violent conflict and fragility are not the same, they are linked inextricably (Chapter 1). More than three-quarters of the casualties from violent conflict in 2019 occurred in the 57 fragile contexts on the 2020 fragility framework. Additionally, from 2010 to 2019, the number of active violent conflicts in fragile contexts increased by 128%. While the share of global deaths from violent conflict in fragile contexts has declined since its peak in 2013, it still amounted to 79% in 2019 and underscores that violent conflict is concentrated in fragile contexts (Figure 2.1).

Such violence is cyclical and persistent, creating a conflict trap that is difficult to escape (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). An example is Afghanistan, where reported deaths from violent conflict have increased every year since 2008. Because these violent conflicts are becoming protracted, the lives and money saved from a preventive approach are multiplied over many years (Milante et al., 2020[8]). The consequences of violent conflict are not confined to fragile contexts. Rather, it has implications for fragile and non-fragile contexts alike, as illustrated in Figure 2.2. DAC members spent USD 5.1 trillion on containing violence globally in 2017, which amounted to 86% of the global economic impact of violence on members (Iqbal, Bardwell and Hammond, 2019[9]). Indeed, trends in violence and violent conflict in fragile contexts have shaped DAC members’ foreign policy priorities and development co-operation objectives. A recent, notable example is the Global Fragility Act, a new United States strategy focused on conflict prevention (Welsh, 2019[10]).

DAC members are using a range of development, diplomatic and security tools to address violent conflict and fragility and foster peace. These include UN peacekeeping, as shown in Figure 2.3, which is one of the most effective tools to mitigate the risk and impact of violent conflict (Howard, 2019[11]). However, as the costs of crisis response rise, the UN peacekeeping budget has fallen by almost 30% in the past five years and is likely to continue to decline, especially in light of additional fiscal constraints imposed by COVID-19 (de Coning, 2020[12]).

Those who are engaged in violence compound its physical and psychological trauma by exposing and targeting fragility in opposing peoples, communities, institutions and states. This is the case whether the violence is competitive, embedded or permissive (Cheng, Goodhand and Meehan, 2018, p. 2[14]). Notwithstanding international laws on armed conflict and other treaties, contemporary conflicts are replete with examples of state and non-state attacks on hospitals, schools and critical infrastructure. UNICEF sounded an alarm in 2019, noting a “three-fold rise in verified attacks on children since 2010, an average of 45 violations a day” (UNICEF, 2019[15]). Violent conflict impedes DAC members’ efforts to address fragility and support sustainable development. It also impacts humanitarian assistance and the longevity of investments in infrastructure. Attacks on healthcare facilities, for instance, have been a striking feature of conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Yemen (Briody et al., 2018[16]). In 2019, there were 277 attacks on aid workers globally, a 75% increase over 2017, resulting in 125 causalities. Of these attacks, 94% (260 incidents) occurred in fragile contexts, resulting in 123 casualties, or 98% of the global total (Stoddard et al., 2020[17]). Conflict economies can bring official state, non-state and criminal organisations together in relationships of convenience and often self-interest, undermining the integrity of economic systems in fragile contexts and eroding the basis for recovery. The economic issues of fragility that may give rise to conflict often take on new meaning during conflict. As a recent study for Chatham House notes, “Even if economic motivations did not spark the wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen initially, it is clear that such factors now play a critical role in the persistence of open fighting, localized violence and coercion” (Eaton et al., 2019, p. iv[18]).

Arbitrary justice, the targeting of vulnerable groups and particularly women, and the instrumentalisation of forced displacement for conflict goals cynically target social cohesion. For example, armed groups seeking to leverage economic, societal, political and security advantage often seek to strategically cause forced displacement to pressurize displaced populations and host communities as a means to affect bargaining “between governments and opposition actors along social, religious and political lines” (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2019[19]). Using force to displace populations is also used to “provide cover for militants and their arms to enter new territories and cross international boundaries, placing host communities at risk of conflict diffusion” (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2019[19]).

As evidenced by these examples, the exploitation of fragility for the violent pursuit of political objectives devalues human security and distorts local and regional politics, undermining the capacity for compromise and peace. This poses a series of policy dilemmas for actors across the nexus where the “aspiration to ‘do no harm’” meets the reality of calculated policy and operational risks in highly complex environments that are frequently conducive to “unforeseen and/or negative consequences” (Eaton et al., 2019, p. v[18]). Multidimensional analysis for peace must therefore balance consideration of the root causes of fragility that give rise to conflict against the manipulation and aggravation of issues of fragility to sustain conflict. Box 2.1 discusses the added stressor of the COVID-19 pandemic on fragile conflicts at risk of or experiencing violent conflict.

External support for peacebuilding and conflict prevention takes a variety of forms. Bilateral and multilateral diplomatic actors, humanitarian actors, development agencies, and security actors all inform, shape and participate in peace processes from prevention to reconstruction. This plethora of actors is often necessary to ensure comprehensive and effective support for multidimensional peacebuilding and conflict prevention processes while simultaneously addressing the direct consequences of violence and conflict and the underlying causes of conflict, violence and fragility. However, this multiplicity of actors also risks contributing to fragmentation of international support for peace, with negative and unintended consequences that compromise often delicate local processes. This risk is further amplified by the decline in international co-operation in recent years (UN, 2020[23]).

The approaches taken by external security actors to support peace in fragile contexts vary significantly and are often fragmented, even within a single context. A multitude of multilateral and bilateral security actors operate in several fragile contexts, each with its own mandate, approach and agenda. Multilateral peace operations alone can range from large-scale peace enforcement and stabilisation missions to unarmed military observation missions and capacity building. Non-DAC donors such as China and the Russian Federation are also increasingly involved in security in fragile contexts. The Central African Republic, Iraq, the Sahel region, Somalia and several other contexts are presently hosting multilateral, regional and bilateral deployments by a variety of security actors, all of which have different mandates, tasks and priorities. These trends pose a challenge to global governance of peace and security, increasing the urgency to find new avenues for effective support for peace in fragile contexts.

Security actors can also be isolated from other contributors to peace support. There remain both a wide cultural rift and significant lack of trust between security actors and other actors across the humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) nexus. For humanitarian actors, co-operating with security actors carries the risk of compromising the integrity and operational value of humanitarian principles. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), both UN and non-UN humanitarian actors have been reluctant to share information with staff of the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO because of insufficient trust in the mission’s personnel (Metcalfe, Giffen and Elhawary, 2011[24]). For political and development actors, interacting with security actors, particularly in frameworks where the voice of security actors is leading a political response, can lead to a securitised approach that often fails to account for the full spectrum of causes of fragility and conflict. For example, the comprehensive military planning approach meant to inform military interventions by the Force Intervention Brigades in the DRC was criticised for not fully working as intended because military commanders preferred to take final decisions among themselves based on their own military intelligence (International Crisis Group, 2019[25]). The current rigidity of silos between security actors and other actors across the nexus thus fosters inefficiency, negatively impacting on the integrity of humanitarian, development and peace actions in a variety of ways.

Despite robust evidence on what works to prevent violent conflict, the application of these lessons is limited both in terms of funding and prioritisation (Cheng, Goodhand and Meehan, 2018[14]; Wolff et al., 2020[26]). Transitioning from violent conflict to peace, just as moving from fragility to resilience (Chapter 1), is not linear or inevitable (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). External actors can only do so much to support internal processes for peace that are shaped by power dynamics and elite behaviour, and in fact they can do much harm.

The implication is that efforts to prevent violent conflict must eschew the language of best practice and agendas of good governance in favour of engaging with underlying power relations that shape incentives for or against violence (World Bank, 2017[27]). Doing so requires problem-driven approaches that adapt to the evolving context and capitalise on windows of opportunity to address risks and sources of resilience to violent conflict and fragility. To do this, analysis is critical. Analysis of the political context and conflict environment that encourages politically informed and conflict-sensitive approaches is a prerequisite to effective strategies for prevention and peacebuilding.

However, current approaches to analysis, which tend to focus on specific sectors or thematic priorities, offer only a partial and provisional picture of the sources of risk and resilience in the broader context (Swelam, 2020[28]). Additionally, such analysis is not deployed across all stages of programming cycles and remains divorced from broader, strategic frameworks that inform decision making on prevention priorities at different geographic and thematic levels (Desai, 2020[29]). These issues contribute to a misalignment between high-level political commitments to prevention, of which there are many, and strategic engagement on and resourcing for them.

Official financing, including both official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA sources, can be an important enabler of peaceful and resilient outcomes (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). However, at present, its focus remains on responding to crises rather than preventing them. DAC members spent 25% of their ODA to fragile contexts on humanitarian assistance but only 4% and 13% on prevention and peacebuilding, respectively, in 2018. Additionally, the share of DAC ODA that is humanitarian has doubled from 12% in 2007 to 25% in 2018. This disparity between investments in prevention relative to response is notable given the return on investment to prevention. According to Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict, every USD 1 invested in prevention generates USD 16 from the averted costs of violent conflict (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). Similarly, recent estimates from Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies suggest a cumulative net benefit of USD 6.6 trillion from 2020 through 2030 (Milante et al., 2020[8]). This analysis presents a clear business case for investments in prevention. However, the low amount of financing for prevention relative to response is only part of the issue. Even when such financing exists, it is scattered and misaligned to agreed collective outcomes, which limits its return on investment (Day and Caus, 2020[30]). It also tends to be insufficiently flexible and risk-averse, and it focuses on small-scale programmes with limited impact rather than on medium-sized ones that are more difficult to secure funding for (UN, 2020[31]; UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). These challenges, in terms of both volume and programme design, limit the ability of official financing to contribute to peace, an issue that is also emphasised in the UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review (Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, 2019, p. 4[32]).

The importance of local ownership for peacebuilding and conflict prevention processes is broadly accepted. In practice, it has proven difficult to establish. External actors supporting peacebuilding often find it difficult to identify local stakeholders, local participation can be inconsistent, and the concept and process of conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives can themselves be a source of tensions, as external and local actors compete to address the needs and political aspirations of their respective communities (Bojicic-Dzelilovic and Martin, 2016, p. 7[33]).

Collins and Thiessen (2019[34]), analysing the nature of ownership for peace initiatives, note that “shallow ownership” where local actors are encouraged to “buy into externally designed reform strategies” is much more common than more substantive versions of ownership where local actors “decide for themselves what sort of state-building should be prioritised, and how it should be implemented”. This is highly context specific and almost always includes politically charged conversations around future governance structures and the balance of power within them. For example, the peacebuilding process in Afghanistan must balance the expectations of the central government alongside “local power brokers, rebels and insurgents” who have established parallel or competing structures of governance, including the provision of public services, that shape the local populations’ choices, loyalty and expectations of peace (Collins and Thiessen, 2019, p. 221[34]). The question of who is asking whom to own what peace needs to be carefully considered and appropriately informed.

Preventing violent conflict and building peace are messy, political and difficult processes that happen over a long time horizon. There are no quick fixes or templates (Cheng, Goodhand and Meehan, 2018[14]). And yet it is important for development actors to engage in this hard work, both in addressing the drivers of violent conflict and fragility and in building resilience against the impact of such drivers in the long term.

The effectiveness of conflict prevention and peacebuilding varies according to the broader context and type of activity (Cramer, Goodhand and Morris, 2016[35]). There is limited evidence that investments in any single area or programme, detached from other approaches, will yield successful outcomes. Different tools for and approaches to preventing violent conflict can work but only when deployed together and coherently (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). However, such joint interventions are not without cost, and there is always a possibility that they can exacerbate risks to conflict, which underscores the importance of conflict-sensitive and politically informed analysis and ways of working. The evidence on what does not work for prevention is clear: interventions that neglect the political and social drivers of violent conflict tend to reproduce or create new drivers, leading to failed peace processes (Cramer, Goodhand and Morris, 2016[35]).

Despite the varied nature of successes, broader lessons are emerging from the available evidence to support peer learning and inform DAC members’ strategies. The remainder of this section elaborates on lessons drawn from a Survey of DAC members’ strategic approaches to conflict prevention, conducted from January to March 2020.

One of the lessons that emerged involves confronting politics, particularly the way in which political settlements are ordered and contested to induce or mitigate conflict. The interaction between these political settlements, elite bargains and formal peace agreements affects trajectories from violent conflict to peace (Cheng, Goodhand and Meehan, 2018[14]). The extent of inclusion or marginalisation that results from these interactions, particularly in the distribution of goods and services, is a key determinant of incentives towards peace or conflict (Wolff et al., 2020[26]). Indeed, systematic exclusion from political governance or livelihoods is associated with higher levels of conflict (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). This finding also underscores the importance of investments in justice and security to address such exclusion (Task Force on Justice, 2019[36]).

In each case, it is important to ask who is being excluded and how that exclusion affects the underlying political settlement (Cheng, Goodhand and Meehan, 2018[14]). Political settlements analysis provides an approach to do so by understanding the institutions and power relations that preserve a tacit political settlement (Kelsall, 2018[37]). It can help identify the political incentives of actors, including leaders and vulnerable groups, and subsequently adapt approaches based on how their interventions affect these political arrangements, rather than relying on pre-conceived objectives or technical fixes. Such adaptation is a process of listening to various stakeholders, learning iteratively and being willing to adjust the design of prevention strategies. It is important to emphasise that political engagement takes a long time and thus requires programme cycles that accommodate such time horizons.

A prominent example of such a politically informed approach identified in the survey responses is the multi-donor Somalia Stability Fund for local governance (Laws, 2018[38]). The Fund used a politically smart and adaptive approach whereby it considered power relations within formal and customary institutions at the regional level and invested in politically attuned staff who involved political leadership in decision making at important times. The Fund also exercised a flexible approach that shifted resources based on what was and was not working, which also allowed it to capitalise on emerging opportunities to affect political processes.

Another example is DAC members’ joint efforts to support the implementation of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, particularly for the conduct of the referendum on Bougainville’s future political status in late 2019. The success of this process in yielding a peaceful referendum reflected a strongly co-ordinated effort among international partners, led by Australia, New Zealand, and the UN, to support national actors and other local institutions essential to the referendum, including the Bougainville Referendum Commission; the International Foundation for Electoral Systems; the multi-country Bougainville Referendum Regional Police Support Mission (consisting of representatives from Pacific island small states); the National Research Institute; and civil society organisations and non-state actors, especially women’s groups and ex-combatants. Such support also complemented bilateral assistance from other international partners in service delivery and community cohesion and stability (specifically support for women and youth), and it represented a culmination of long-term support and engagement with the Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville governments to implement the Peace Agreement.

Another lesson from the survey findings is the importance of building resilience, particularly at the community level, and of reinforcing the bonding, building and linking functions of social capital (OECD, 2018[39]). As COVID-19 and other black swan events have shown, shocks are inevitable and there is a need to scale up programming to build the resilience of populations, institutions and systems. At the same time, not all forms of resilience contribute to sustainable development; often, negative forms of resilience can entrench exclusionary structures. It is important to identify sources of positive resilience that respond to needs among vulnerable populations and strengthen their adaptive, absorptive and transformative capacities (Ingram and Papoulidis, 2018[40]; OECD, 2014[41]). To do so effectively requires an emphasis on conflict sensitivity and political awareness.

There are many examples of conflict prevention and peacebuilding to resolve disputes within communities. A prominent one is the success of peace huts in communities across Liberia in which women activists mediated grievances and supported the development of local peacebuilding priorities (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). Another example involves Japan’s New Approach for Peace and Security in Africa (NAPSA), which proposes a framework for co-operating with regional organisations to support prevention and peacebuilding across the African continent (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet, 2019[42]). As part of NAPSA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency supported the development of guidelines for local councils in the northern regions of Sierra Leone to encourage community participation and build trust between communities and local governments for the broader purpose of building resilience to future shocks after the Ebola epidemic.

Communities play a vital role in fragile contexts (Myint and Pattison, 2018[43]). They are not homogenous but involve a diverse set of actors with different social positions and consequently varying incentives for engaging in or ending violence. The structures that govern communities are also not neutral constructs but rather have historical, social and political roots that may be a source of contestation or compromise. While supporting community resilience is important, it also has the potential to entrench exclusionary structures. It is therefore crucial to recognise the socio-historical roots of success stories, such as the examples presented here. The success of peace huts in Liberia, for instance, built on the foundation of women peace activists who were instrumental in the movement to end Liberia’s last civil war (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). The issue, then, lies in identifying which lessons work and where, as supporting resilience within communities and promoting social capital are highly contingent, agent-based approaches. They require a more holistic and conflict-sensitive understanding of the context, which further underscores the need for an adaptive and iterative approach. Practitioners and policymakers can learn from positive examples. They can also embrace experimentation and trial and error based on their operating environment and theories of change.

The two lessons highlighted in this sub-section underscore that prevention and resilience are complementary processes, both of which inform a risk reduction approach to violent conflict and fragility. They are urgently needed to shift the focus of international institutions away from responding to crises to addressing risks before they have materialised.

Prevention and resilience are urgently needed to shift the focus of international institutions away from responding to crises to addressing risks before they have materialised  

Peacebuilding thinking and practice are evolving. In 2015, the UN’s sustaining peace agenda acknowledged peacebuilding as a political activity that requires context-specific responses, shifting the discussion on conflict prevention and peacebuilding approaches and encouraging the exploration of new options. The importance of building trust with and among political elites is universally accepted. But the technical preparation, management and implementation of peacebuilding processes can leave political elites detached. Working with civil society organisations (CSOs) can serve to extend the space for public engagement in peacebuilding dialogue and encourage political elites to engage. For example, in Sudan, though narrowly conceptualised, CSOs were found to have played an important role in “putting pressure on track-one parties; providing actual input; and selling peace agreements to grassroots” (Assal, 2016[44]). However, it is also worth noting that CSOs can be politically aligned and viewed as party to a conflict (Assal, 2016, p. 3[44]).

Where political elites are themselves party to a conflict – where they have chosen to pursue their goals through violent means – the challenge is to provide or support the search for alternative political means. This is not always possible; for example, the trend in long-term civil wars (such as Syria) is increasingly towards a one-sided victory rather than compromise and peace (Howard and Stark, 2018[45]). This trend must be challenged as the evidence also exists to show that “the seeds of war are often sown during war” and failure to address unresolved grievances “leads to a pattern of conflict recurrence” (World Bank, 2017[46]).

Approaches such as adaptive peacebuilding can bring actors together in a “structured effort to sustain peace” that focuses on process and local resilience over predetermined end states (de Coning, 2018, p. 317[47]). Altering the terms of ownership and support among local political leaders and external peacebuilders can also help build more politically inclusive and sustainable processes. This addresses an issue found in many fragile contexts whereby “local stakeholders are not authorised to hold global actors accountable for achieving their local level aims” (Campbell, 2018, p. 48[48]) A decision to build local accountability by ensuring local actors’ authority over the design, direction and content of peacebuilding activities alters the power dynamics of relationships between actors and can serve to empower and incentivise local political actors to take more visible roles in the process. While not adhering to all these features, the Truth, Reparations and Reconciliation Commission (TRRC) established in Gambia stands out as a locally designed and led transitional justice process. The TRRC design draws on the local Bantaba tradition for community dialogue blended with an extensive communications strategy that includes live radio and television broadcasts of the TRRC sessions, social media, and community and victims outreach initiatives to encourage public engagement and build legitimacy for the process (Ceesay, 2020[49]). Though the Commission has yet to reach the more contentious reparations part of its mandate, it is generally considered to be successful in establishing an accepted picture of the atrocities committed under the previous regime (Darboe, 2019[50]).

Analysing fragility can build the evidence base to empower local ownership. By design, most peacebuilding processes focus on local ownership, management and implementation (Peace Direct, 2019, p. 3[51]). However, from community to national levels, local peacebuilding actors often struggle (or lack the capacity) to gather data and conduct analysis to inform the design and effectiveness of peacebuilding approaches. At the community level, where issues are intimately understood and where engagement with CSOs can alleviate knowledge gaps and facilitate dialogue, this may not be a problem (Peace Direct, 2019, p. 36[51]). Larger-scale peacebuilding initiatives that encompass a broader range of issues require more careful consideration. Guaranteeing local ownership and leadership at the earliest stages of programme analysis permits local oversight of the analysis of the root causes of fragility and conflict. This can establish the evidence base for change, build the credibility and legitimacy of a process, and ensure local political knowledge and awareness are built into peacebuilding design.

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives at the community level are often short-term and issue-specific – focused, for example, on local patterns of armed conflict and violence – and frequently leave root causes of conflict unaltered. It may not be possible to patch them together to form a larger-scale process, as “in their variety, local peace agreements represent the diversity but also the splintered nature and patchiness of what is contemporary armed conflict” (Pospisil, Wise and Bell, 2020, p. 4[52]). Though they may not be part of a national process, these types of initiatives can offer national-level value, particularly by sustaining periods of “negative peace” (Galtung, 1969[53]) to allow time for longer-term conflict prevention and peacebuilding to take hold.

National-level processes are more complex and often require the establishment of institutional frameworks that may remain in existence for extended periods. This poses a number of short- and long-term challenges. In the short term, external peace support must be mindful not to overburden or distract domestic capacities. In many conflict-affected fragile contexts, state and non-state capacity to manage and lead conflict prevention and peacebuilding processes is limited; it is also often disproportionately focused on managing relations with external partners at the expense of local priorities, on occasion inadvertently contributing to instability and fragility (de Coning, 2013, p. 1[54]).

At the national level, peacebuilding is almost always a generational process with implications for local institutions, civil society and education. It requires “long-term commitment and adequate human and financial resources” (Greve, 2019[55]), which implies that strategic approaches for sustaining peace are needed across dimensions of fragility. Investing in and supporting local capacity to build and sustain peace also entails addressing the societal, human capital and political means to deliver an often highly complex process. This requires building partnerships across national and local governments, CSOs, political parties, religious groups and, where possible, parties to a conflict. For example, the importance of engaging youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in fragile contexts is recognised in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security. The resolution sets out five pillars for engagement – participation, protection, prevention, partnerships, and disengagement and reintegration – that speak to different aspects of the challenges affecting youth in conflict-affected fragile contexts (UN, 2015[56]). Implementation of the recommendations is notably lacking in some contexts where youth peacebuilders face challenges associated with shrinking civic engagement space, limited access to individual economic opportunities or organisational funding, and a lack of transparency from governments. Short-sightedness regarding the role of youth “can exacerbate the risk of violence and radicalisation in certain contexts” (Peace Direct, 2019, p. 5[57]).

The DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus encourages “collaborative, coherent and complementary humanitarian, development and peace actions, particularly in fragile and conflict affected situations” (OECD DAC, 2019[3]). It promotes approaches that bring together actors from different pillars of engagement and organisations – multilateral and bilateral – to ensure effective collective efforts. Fully embraced, the Recommendation can help drive better-informed and more aware, efficient and locally responsive approaches to addressing fragility. While it will inevitably mean different things to different communities and create frustrations, it can be seen as much a call for adjusting organisational cultures and mindsets as for technical forms of change (Redvers, 2019[58]; Schreiber and Loudon, 2020[59]).

The DAC Recommendation should not compromise humanitarian competence or principles. It should, though, challenge the thinking of all actors across the nexus on the implications of their activities. In fragile contexts, addressing people’s needs often aligns with addressing root causes of conflict. As crises in fragile contexts persist for extended periods, humanitarian responses have increasingly moved beyond filling the gaps and addressing people’s immediate needs (International Peace Institute, 2018, p. 2[60]). Humanitarian moves to “increase people power in new modes of participatory programming, localization and ‘accountability to affected people’” (Slim, 2020[61]) will pose questions for their interactions with local and external actors. While there are necessary risks associated with the concept, most notably where aid or activities get politicised (NGO VOICE, 2019, p. 5[62]), there is significant potential, too. For fragile contexts, localised approaches can have a multiplier effect to the extent that where addressing people’s needs aligns with root causes of conflict – notably in the economic and societal dimensions of fragility – humanitarian activities can have a peace and resilience value by alleviating pressure and building capacity, particularly at local levels. A joint study for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the World Food Programme (WFP) found that WFP’s school meal programmes in Mali can contribute to mitigating the effects of conflict on education and improve stability in communities because it helps keep schools open and improves class attendance (Goldwyn et al., 2019[63]).

While conflict sensitivity and the “do no harm” framework are important aspects of humanitarian planning, adopting a nexus mindset should also include the evaluation of humanitarian actions for other actors across the nexus (International Peace Institute, 2018[60]). This can help test operational assumptions, mitigate perceived hierarchies and ensure inclusivity of local actors, but it requires a cohesive and balanced engagement from all actors. Where peace and security approaches are perceived as narrowly defined or unhelpfully blurred and where self-interests are seen to have adverse effects on policy development, the potential of the nexus will not be realised (Tronc, Grace and Nhaikian, 2019, pp. 27-29[64]). Humanitarian, development and peace actors may not always manage to agree on or achieve co-ordination. However, the starting point for their respective actions must be an awareness of their shared operational space and of the implications of their actions for each other.

Development actors, too, can provide leverage and incentives to prevent conflict and to chart paths from negative to positive peace outcomes, as they are able to address fragility across dimensions (Galtung, 1969, p. 170[53]). At a macro level, initiatives such as the World Trade Organization’s Trade for Peace are designed specifically for fragile and conflict-affected contexts with the goal of improving their chances to sustain peace by integrating them into the world economy and boosting their trade. World trade is projected to decline by between 13% and 32% in 2020, making the early warning and collective action aspects of such initiatives particularly timely (Wolff, 2020[65]). At regional and national levels, development can be used to sustain peace through such processes as the United Nations Development Programme-funded Wan Fambul National Framework in Sierra Leone, which aims to “facilitate inclusive, community-centred, sustainable rural development leading to resilient and cohesive communities across Sierra Leone” (Paris Peace Forum, 2019[66]). Aligning more closely with the work of peace and security actors, programmes such as the French Development Agency’s Minka Lake Chad Initiative target issues of fragility that cause conflict by supporting the delivery of public services in a fair and inclusive manner, strengthening local governance and community mediation, and supporting the protection of women and youth (AFD, 2019[67]).

To support peace in fragile contexts is a whole-of-government endeavour. Local peacebuilders, development actors and sometimes humanitarian actors play important roles in addressing the underlying causes of conflicts and the root causes of fragility. But they cannot do this in isolation. This publication focuses on external security actors, but the roles and actions of internal actors are equally important. Diplomatic and security actors, for instance, are equipped with tools and skills to assume several roles in the international community’s efforts to support peace and security in fragile contexts. They contribute to several critical aspects of effective peacebuilding and conflict prevention processes and greatly affect the potential for effective external support for peace in fragile contexts.

The core strength and competency of diplomats and other diplomatic actors is that of continuous communication and dialogue. Through dialogue, diplomats provide political assistance and apply pressure to address the political root causes of armed conflict and violence, thereby complementing development and peacebuilding approaches and ensuring that the political dynamics of conflict are addressed in peace processes.

DAC members have 571 resident embassies and permanent delegations deployed in fragile contexts, covering 56 of the 57 fragile contexts  

The diplomatic presence in fragile contexts is comprised of bilateral diplomatic missions and embassies, multilateral political missions, and various ad hoc and informal arrangements. DAC members have 571 resident embassies and permanent delegations deployed in fragile contexts, covering 56 of the 57 fragile contexts1 (Figure 2.4) (Lowy Institute, 2019[68]). Embassies are concentrated in contexts that are of particular economic and security interest to the respective members, in line with their primary objective of implementing their government’s foreign policy. However, they are also present in some of the contexts most affected by armed conflict, and they often contribute implicitly and explicitly to peace through their political engagement. In addition, 60 active multilateral political missions are currently operating around the world. Of these, 31 operate to some extent in fragile contexts (Figure 2.5) and engage in activities such as short-term preventive diplomacy, providing good office functions, promoting rule of law, and advising on socio-economic and political issues. The UN deploys the largest number of political missions of any multilateral organisation, particularly in fragile contexts. Of the 31 political missions active in fragile contexts, 20 are UN missions, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa (Figure 2.5). However, other organisations including regional organisations also deploy political missions to support peace. For instance, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe provides political support through 16 missions in Europe and Central Asia. Multilateral political missions thus have a geographical presence and expertise to provide cost-effective support for peace in fragile contexts and beyond (OECD, 2018[39]).

The political dialogue that is inherent to diplomatic practice is of particular relevance for the promotion of inclusive governance. Inclusive governance refers to “a normative sensibility that stands in favour of inclusion as the benchmark against which institutions can be judged and also promoted” (Hickey, 2015[69]). There is strong agreement on the centrality of inclusive governance to achieve sustainable development (OECD, 2020[70]) and sustained peace (UN, 2015[1]). Inclusive governance can be promoted through development assistance and support for CSOs and other inclusive institutions. Diplomats can also contribute through inclusive dialogues with different national stakeholders, amplifying voices that are otherwise marginalised, and through political dialogue, engagement and persuasion with ruling elites (Forsberg and Marley, 2020[71]).

Several countries have launched initiatives to improve the complementarity of development and diplomatic practices in long-term processes contributing to peace. Canada, France and Sweden have adopted feminist foreign policies and international assistance policies that bring together different tools, including political dialogue and pressure, to further gender equality around the world (Thomson, 2020[72]). Sweden’s Drive for Democracy initiative, launched in 2019, is another example of an integrated development-diplomatic approach, supporting democratic institutions through the joint use of development aid and political influence to encourage inclusive political settlements (Wallström, 2019[73]).

Diplomatic actors’ contribution to peace extends beyond long-term political engagement. Mediation is the type of diplomacy most closely related to peace making and peacebuilding. It is used in all stages of peace processes – even in the heat of full-scale war where parties are locked in mutually exclusive and fixed positions with high levels of distrust and resentment – in order to prevent conflict from emerging, escalating and recurring (Boutros-Ghali, 1992[76]). Mediation involves bridging information gaps and resolving commitment problems but can also involve more coercive strategies such as promised benefits and threats of punishment (Wallensteen and Svensson, 2014[77]). Of the 165 negotiated settlements reached in conflicts in fragile contexts between 1991 and 2017, only 19 were concluded without any involvement by a third-party mediator (Duursma, 2020[78]). The success rate of mediation varies significantly according to the context, type of mediator and conflict dynamics, and reaching a politically negotiated peace agreement is only the first stage in a longer peace process. Nonetheless, mediation that creates conditions for necessary political settlements among elites and between groups in society remains an essential, flexible and effective tool for peace (UN, 2017[79]).

The immediate preventive power of mediation is not enough to ensure sustained peace in fragile contexts around the world. Efforts to build resilience and address the root causes of conflict are needed to achieve just, peaceful and inclusive societies. However, as violent conflict spurs further conflict, mediation that prohibits disputes from escalating into conflict does contribute to long-term stability and peace.

States and multilateral organisations are not the only actors engaged in third-party diplomacy and mediation. Non-official actors, including individuals and non-governmental organisations, intervene as third-party mediators in conflicts in what is often referred to as Track II and Track III diplomacy. This type of diplomacy generally complements that of official actors, as it allows more flexible, subtle and personal approaches that are free from the constraints of official policies and positions (Böhmelt, 2010[80]). Track II and III mediation can be as important as negotiations among political elites. Conflicts are disruptive and destructive, breaking down social capital, entrenching hostile attitudes among groups and creating fear in the affected populations. Such attitudes and feelings are not resolved in political settlements; they require deeper, longer-term and personal engagement (Mac Ginty, 2014[81]).

Security actors’ main role in support of peace in fragile contexts is to contribute to conditions conducive for political and societal peace processes and to support institutions that are critical to sustaining peace. In short, they help create the space and time needed for peacebuilding (Forsberg, 2020[13]). This main function of security actors in peacebuilding is important. The effects of peacebuilding and development co-operation on violence and conflict are dependent on sufficient security and stability (World Bank, 2020[82]). The presence of peacekeeping has a positive and statistically significant effect on containing the spread of civil war, increasing the success of negotiated settlements and increasing the duration of peace once a war has ended (Howard, 2019[11]). The risk of conflict recurrence drops by as much as 75% where UN peacekeepers are deployed (Gates, Mokleiv Nygård and Trappeniers, 2016[83]). These relationships do not look the same for all types of security actor operations in all contexts, and there are risks involved in external security interventions in fragile contexts. However, they do suggest that security actor operations, when done right, are instrumental to successful peacebuilding processes, in that they provide the basic conditions needed for addressing and transforming underlying causes of conflict. They can also serve to unlock the potential of other avenues for peacebuilding associated with supporting gender and youth empowerment Box 2.2.

The 13 fragile contexts that hosted peace operations in 2019 had a total continuous presence of more than 100 000 military personnel deployed and more than 10 000 police  

In several fragile and extremely fragile contexts, security actors are the main international presence. The 13 fragile contexts that hosted peace operations in 2019 had a total continuous presence of more than 100 000 military personnel deployed and more than 10 000 police. Furthermore, DAC members spent an estimated USD 12 billion on multilateral peace operations in the 23 contexts that hosted peace operations in 2019 through troop contributions and direct financial support, the vast majority of which was directed towards fragile contexts (Figure 2.6). The international community is highly dependent on these missions’ contributions to support peace, especially where large multilateral peace operations (such as UN multidimensional peace operations) are deployed. To disregard their effect on peace in fragile contexts would be to ignore the largest component of international engagement in support of peace, particularly in extremely fragile contexts.

As discussed, basic security conditions are not enough to establish sustained peace and prevent conflict from recurring. To ensure security actors make a sustained impact that contributes to peace over the long term, their activities need to be complemented and co-ordinated with appropriate and well-resourced peacebuilding and conflict prevention efforts that encourage inclusive political settlements and societal reconciliation and address the underlying causes of conflict. There are several examples of approaches that bring together security actor engagement for peace with more long-term solutions to conflict. They have in common that they do not propose a blending of responsibilities or joint programming where these are neither relevant nor feasible (Forsberg, 2020[13]). Instead, their starting point is the different comparative advantages, mandates and principles of the relevant actors, and they build from these.

The most prominent and scaled example of approaches that bring together political support, peacebuilding efforts, development co-operation and security actor operations is UN integration. In all cases where the UN has a country team and a multidimensional peacekeeping operation, the UN presence is strategically integrated. This is achieved through sharing of strategic objectives, closely aligned or joint planning, a shared set of collective outcomes, agreed-upon responsibilities, and commonly agreed mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation (UN, 2013[90]). Such integration serves as an instrument to help countries transition from war to lasting and sustainable peace in complex contexts that require system-wide UN support (Eide et al., 2005[91]).

However, the UN is not alone in implementing approaches that seek to improve coherence between different pillars of international support in crises and conflict. The European Union (EU) Crisis Response System, led by the European External Action Service (EEAS) Crisis Response and Operational Coordination Department, was established to ensure timely and coherent responses to crises by actors and instruments across the EU system. It also contributes to the coherence of policies and actions throughout the different phases of crises, from prevention and preparedness to response and recovery. The system brings together the EEAS, the diplomatic arm of the EU, with humanitarian (DG ECHO), development (DG DEVCO) and military (EU Military Staff) components of the EU system (European Union, 2020[92]).

The French strategy in the Sahel also promotes a coherent approach to peace through a 3D approach that brings together French development, diplomatic and defence capacities in the region. The strategy recognises that while each actor has an individual role to play, the different pillars of engagement are interconnected and complementary. The strategy calls for the French armed forces to assist in restoring conditions for political solutions and development, while the diplomatic branch maintains a constant dialogue with all stakeholders to foster local, political dispute settlement initiatives. Simultaneously, under this approach, French development agencies work to seize opportunities for development projects in the region that will address underlying conditions of the conflict with the aim of building sustainable, long-term peace (AFD, 2020[93]). Following military progress in Liptarko-Gourma in 2019, the French Development Agency and the French diplomatic branch initiated a joint project in the region, the Three Borders Project (Projet Trois Frontières), that seeks to consolidate the security gains through socio-economic development and strengthened social cohesion between communities across and within Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger (The Sahel Alliance, 2019[94]).

In addition to contributing to basic security conditions, security actors directly contribute to processes and institutions that sustain peace through electoral assistance, human rights monitoring, security sector reform (SSR), and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes. Support for these activities is shared endeavours between international bodies, including development, peacebuilding and political actors, and different types of security actors. During its 15-year deployment in Liberia, the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, disarmed more than 100 000 combatants, secured about 21 000 weapons, and assisted in the holding of three peaceful presidential and legislative elections (Ighobor, 2018[95]), thereby directly contributing to the inclusive political settlement of the Liberian civil war. Free and fair elections; an absence of human rights abuses; the government monopoly on the legitimate use of force; and a strong, effective and inclusive security sector are all key factors in establishing sustained peace.

SSR and DDR are particularly important in some fragile contexts where the capacity of the domestic security actors is limited, though it also has been noted that moving from framework agreements on conflict prevention and peacebuilding to implementation is a persistent challenge across security sector governance and reform processes where details on implementation of SSR and DDR are not clearly outlined from the start of a process (Linke, 2020, p. 8[96]). The total budget of peace operations in extremely fragile contexts currently hosting peace operations corresponds to approximately three-quarters of their total domestic military expenditure. The budgets of peace operations amount to more than twice the domestic military expenditure in five contexts – the Central African Republic, the DRC, Somalia and South Sudan, all of which are extremely fragile, and Mali, which is fragile (Forsberg, 2020[13]). Sustaining peace in these contexts requires efforts to support the development of strong, effective and inclusive domestic security institutions, both through military and police capacity building, as well as strengthened governance and rule of law.

Violent conflict and fragility are multidimensional, and each emerges from a complex interaction of risks and coping capacities. The implication is that effective development co-operation that targets the root causes of violent conflict and strengthens coping capacities to manage them is instrumental to sustaining peace. This involves focusing attention on both prevention and resilience, which are two sides of the same coin: one is focused on mitigating the occurrence of risks (prevention) while the other involves mitigating their impact on socio-economic outcomes (resilience). Both of these risk reduction strategies require coherent, complementary and co-ordinated approaches across the triple nexus that involve the full spectrum of peace actors discussed in this chapter, alongside their humanitarian and development counterparts.

As noted, a starting point for these approaches is analysis that provides a holistic perspective on the sources of these risks and their counterbalancing sources of resilience to inform politically sensitive and adaptive ways of working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. There is value in widening the lens of analysis to consider the entirety of the context rather than focusing on specific sectors or programmes, especially when individual activities are limited in their impact on broader peace processes (UN/World Bank, 2018[7]). That narrower focus would mean that risks are analysed in operational terms, purely based on their effects on programmes, rather than to inform broader, adaptive strategies for effective engagement.

The OECD multidimensional fragility framework offers a tool for this holistic analysis of risk and resilience to violent conflict and fragility (OECD, 2016[97]; OECD, 2018[39]). It is not a programmatic or prescriptive tool. Instead, it is meant to provide a nuanced overview of a context across the dimensions of fragility. Such analysis can help actors identify windows of opportunity to prevent risks and strengthen resilience and thereby contribute to sustaining peace. It is a starting point, and it has the added value of providing a common language to articulate risks and resilience that can appeal to a diverse group of actors, each with different mandates, political incentives and ways of working. In doing so, the framework can facilitate joint, risk-informed analysis, which is a cornerstone of the DAC Recommendation on the HDP nexus. As shown in Chapter 1, the framework is adaptive and malleable across geographic levels. DAC members are testing applications of the framework to inform strategic approaches to building resilience in fragile contexts. Two examples are Belgium’s Fragility Resilience Management Exercise and Denmark’s Fragility Risk and Resilience Analysis Tool pilots. Moving forward, there is an opportunity to scale these approaches.

One of the main challenges to conflict prevention and peacebuilding in fragile contexts today is the fragmentation of efforts between the different pillars of engagement. The humanitarian-development-peace nexus is an approach whereby actors from the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding, diplomatic and security communities strive to improve their mutual collaboration, coherence and complementarity. Diplomatic actors operating in fragile contexts have unique mobility to engage with actors across the triple nexus, including multiple official and non-official actors; political, security and business leaders; civil society; and other individuals and groups. Thanks to this access, their appreciation of the local character of fragility and their official status combining legal authority, legitimacy and power of influence frequently place diplomats in positions to assume convening or facilitating roles that link national and international actors on issues of fragility. Through their knowledge of political dynamics at different levels and access to multiple actors, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic actors can and do provide leadership across all pillars of engagement in fragile contexts. They are frequently best placed to be nexus trilingual with the ability to bring actors and partners together on a range of issues.

This function assumed by diplomats is critical to the implementation of the triple nexus to guarantee both communication and awareness across the pillars of engagement in fragile contexts and also to ensure activities across the nexus are aligned with national priorities for conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The broad political network that diplomatic actors possess, which encompasses engagement with governments, opposition parties, CSOs and the plethora of external actors in fragile contexts, positions them as a nodal point for effective and inclusive humanitarian, development and peace actions.

There is great potential in integrated diplomatic-development approaches, not only to facilitate co-operation and coherence across the HDP nexus but also to achieve better results when addressing political root causes of fragility and armed conflict. Leveraging the multilayered political knowledge of diplomatic actors and the political networks they are part of can ensure political factors are taken into account and addressed in development co-operation, peacebuilding and conflict prevention in fragile contexts. This can produce results that are more likely to be sustained and transformative. Without using such synergies, prevention, peacebuilding and development co-operation risk becoming too process-driven and can lack a sustainable theory of change, with the result that they overlook key political causes of armed conflict, violence and fragility. It is important, however, not to sacrifice development co-operation principles, priorities or competencies to achieve integration (Gulrajani et al., 2020[98]).

Similarly, mediation should be seen as part of a broader engagement to support peace. In many cases, it is conducted in conjuncture with military efforts to provide the stability and security needed for fruitful peace negotiations (Forsberg, 2020[13]) and with development programmes and various forms of peacebuilding (Cole and Koppell, 2017[99]). Security actor operations, development co-operation and peacebuilding efforts all have an impact on the dynamics of conflict and incentives for peace. Mediators use the leverage and dynamics of security and development engagement to craft peace agreements, and the implementation of such agreements requires sustained assistance, both financial and political. The actions and inaction of development, peacebuilding and security actors can help reinforce a mediated solution or undermine its success (UN, 2017[79]). It is therefore important to ensure that the full range of support for peace is mobilised and co-ordinated, seizing the opportunities for sustained peace that mediators facilitate.

Enhancing awareness among civilian and security actors is fundamental for the full implementation of the DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (Forsberg, 2020[13]). Engaging with security actors carries a degree of risk that civilian activities do not (Forsberg, 2020[13]). However, greater awareness of the role of security actors in fragile contexts, stronger dialogue with and among security actors, and co-ordination at the right levels would allow DAC members to mitigate the risks associated with security actor engagement by ensuring that each actor operates with respect to the others’ principles and mandates. Where relevant and possible, co-ordinated and joint analysis and planning across development, humanitarian, peacebuilding, security and political dimensions can integrate development into peace processes from the outset, ensure access for humanitarians to people most in need, promote politically informed decision making, and anchor peace processes in trust and cohesion at the local level – thereby contributing to better results for all.

Some organisations have come further than others in their implementation of nexus approaches that include security actors, particularly the UN. However, as the dynamics of conflict and global governance are changing, diplomats and other peace and development actors need to find new avenues for agreements and co-ordination where they are possible and effective for the particular conflict or effort at hand. Particularly, with the proliferation of peace actors in fragile contexts with differing roles and responsibilities, it is vital to ensure that security actors from different organisations and countries are included in country-level discussions on conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Country co-ordination platforms provide an opportunity to bring together analysis, programmes, monitoring and financing to inform efforts for sustaining peace in fragile contexts (Papoulidis, Graff and Beckelman, 2020[100]). Although country platforms are not the only option for doing so, recent commitments by the UN, World Bank and Group of Twenty (G20) to strengthen such platforms in fragile contexts point to their potential, as do examples of success in contexts such as the DRC, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda and Somalia (Papoulidis, 2020[101]; G20 Eminent Persons Group, 2020[102]).

While their structure can vary, a defining feature of them is high-level engagement among host government officials alongside international partners and CSOs (Box 3.3). For this reason, country platforms can help instil political weight to drive momentum for co-ordination in a way that is aligned with national priorities for prevention and peacebuilding. For example, they can provide a forum for international partners to adapt their financing and programming mechanisms to respond to changing needs, especially if they can leverage centralised trust funds such as the Peacebuilding Fund or Instrument for Stability. They can also give partners access to transversal capacities at the country level, such as strategic planning, communications, co-ordination support and pre-positioned resources.

These platforms are thus an important mechanism for coherence across the triple nexus and adaptation to the political and conflict realities of fragile contexts. It is important that they be informed by a sound analysis of fragility that can help identify sources of risk and resilience and help actors monitor outcomes and impacts at a systemic, rather than projectised, level. The OECD fragility framework can serve this function by offering a high-level technical input for the secretariat of these platforms. In doing so, it can help country platforms hold actors accountable for mutually agreed collective outcomes, thereby driving triple nexus approaches that encompass the full spectrum of actors contributing to peace, including diplomatic and security actors in fragile contexts. Country platforms thus provide an avenue to translate high-level commitments to sustaining peace into co-ordinated, complementary and coherent engagement in fragile contexts.


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← 1. The West Bank and Gaza Strip does not host any resident embassies. Nor is there an EU delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, there are a number of other diplomatic missions directed towards relations with the Palestinian Authority, including an EU support office, several consulates and other representative offices of a number of DAC members.

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