Fragile situations: Key resources

Trying to identify appropriate articles for this section opens questions about what do we mean by capacity and capacity development. Indeed there are different definitions and the selection of articles reflects that. It also reflects the complicated relationships among several interrelated concepts including peacebuilding, statebuilding, capacity development and institutional development.

We included a number of articles in this section that do not focus specifically on capacity but which provide important background for readers interested in capacity in fragile situations. In this regard, we have given particular consideration to state building because of its current importance in the development community. 

Editor's Choice

Some Findings on Donor Support to Capacity Development in Two Post-Conflict States Peter Morgan, 2010, Washington: The World Bank. (70 pages)

This focuses on two questions: Are the challenges to achieving effective capacity development in post-conflict states much the same as they are in other low-income countries? and If there are differences, what are the implications for donors in the way they approach capacity issues? The author describes the 7 areas of significant differences mentioned above in the introduction to this section and their implications.  He also discusses the challenges for donors.

Building Post Crisis Capacity in the Solomon Islands Laura Bailey, Operations Policy and Country Services, The World Bank, May 2009, Capacity Development Brief, Issue No. 32. (4 pages)

This Capacity Development Brief summarizes the results of a multi-donor team review of four examples of post-crisis capacity development interventions in the Solomon Islands in 2005–08 whose performance was frequently cited as successful by local stakeholders. Although not based on post-project evaluations, the review found a number of patterns and potential lessons: (1) responding to immediate needs fosters national ownership, (2) “quick wins” can lay the basis for wider system impact, (3) being clear on “capacity for what” is key to project success, (4) critical mass in capacity means taking a team approach, (5) training must be grounded in time-relevant and actively operational tasks, (6) a coaching and partnering style is essential and, certainly, not optional, (7) leadership becomes catalytic in capacity development when a broader coalition is engaged, and in some cases supports a “heroic individual” as its leader.

Timor Leste Ten Years After: What have we learned? Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance of Timor Leste, In Development Outreach, October 2009. Washington: World Bank. (3 pages)

This article addresses the transition from a military environment focused on conflict with a common public enemy to a civilian administration facing complexity and uncertainty. While calling into question some of the nostrums of the development community such as the need for holistic solutions which she sees as unrealistic, Pires raises a number of contextual issues for actors involved in capacity development to take into account.

Assessing Governance and Strengthening Capacity in Haiti Susana Carillo, World Bank Institute, Capacity Development Briefs, December 2007, Number 25 (4 pages)

In 2005, the Government of Haiti asked the World Bank Institute for support in Haiti’s efforts to address institutional vulnerabilities and improve governance. The government created a semi-autonomous anticorruption agency – Unité de lutte contre la corruption – and a multi-stakeholder steering committee to lead the process of a governance and corruption diagnostic. This 4 page paper explores the experience of that exercise and describes some of the findings of the diagnostic. It also highlights some of the positive changes that began to take hold following dissemination of the diagnostic report as well as some of the challenges that remain.

Do No Harm: International Engagement for Statebuilding James Putzel, London School of Economics, prepared for the OECD/INCAF, 2010 (196 pages) Paris: OECD/DAC/INCAF

This report addresses two questions: what are the negative impacts that donor interventions can have on statebuilding and what measures should donors adopt to avoid them. Based on six country case studies, the report argues that donors need a sophisticated understanding of political processes, patterns of state-society relations and sources of legitimacy in the countries where they operate. The Executive Summary is thorough and addresses capacity issues in a number of areas.  Topics such as Technical assistance and statebuilding, State capacity to manage economic development and the environment and Donor impact on capacity building to carry out basic state functions are discussed in more detail in the main text (see pages 74, 107 and 115).  

Capacity Development in Fragile States Derick Brinkerhoff, 2007, Discussion Paper 58D, Maastricht: European Centre for Development Policy Management  (32 pages)

This paper clarifies key concepts, reviews selected experience and addresses some of the issues and dilemmas confronted by members of the international community in dealing with capacity and capacity development in fragile states.  Assessment frameworks are provided to enable actors to begin to address some of these issues. Tables, including one comparing capacity development in fragile and non-fragile states, suggest starting points for thinking about CD interventions.

Building Capacity to Move Past Conflict and Fragility: An Agenda for Action Sanjay Pradhan in Development Outreach. October 2009, (7 pages)

Sanjay Pradhan sees lack of capacity as being at the forefront of the many challenges facing countries coming out of conflict but that pressure for “quick wins” and results-on-the-ground push the capacity development agenda to the margin. He recommends fostering and focusing leadership capacity and multi-stakeholder coalitions to achieve tangible results in the short run while rebuilding longer-term institutional capacity. His article identifies five priorities: 1) focusing leadership capacity to achieve rapid results, 2) choosing strategic entry points and forging multi-stakeholder coalitions around them, 3) rebuilding professional associations, 4) building local institutions for sustainable capacity building, and 5) integrating crucial aspects of cohesion and inclusion in leadership capacity and coalition building at different levels.

State Capacity and Non-state Service Provision in Fragile and Conflict-affected States 2009, R Batley and C Mcloughlin, Birmingham, England: Governance and Social Development Resource Centre. (43 pages)

This paper set out to identify how states with weak capacity can effectively fulfil the „indirect‟ service provider roles of co-ordinating, financing, and setting and applying standards for the provision of basic services by non-state providers (NSPs). Four categories of indirect role are identified: 1) setting the policy environment and engaging in policy dialogue, 2) regulating and facilitating, 3) contracting, and 4) entering into mutual and informal agreements. Through these indirect roles, the state can in principle assume responsibility for the provision of basic services without necessarily being involved in direct provision.

Good Practice / Case Materials

Dilemmas and directions 2009, Derick Brinkerhoff in Capacity.Org, Issue 38, December 2009. (3? pages)

How can donors and their partners support sustainable capacity development in fragile states? This article addresses key issues and dilemmas that members of the international community confront in answering this question.

Parallel Implementation Systems, Capacity and Performance in Sierra Leone 2009, Peter Morgan, Washington: World Bank.  (30 pages)

This report was initially meant to be on the operation and effects of program implementation units in Sierra Leone but it was expanded to include other elements of the country’s capacity system.  It suggests four approaches to address the effects of the parallel system: 1) mapping the system, 2) crafting a strategy to address the system, 3) moving to transition and reintegration, and 4) giving more attention to capacity issues

Building the State and Securing the Peace 2009, Emerging Policy Paper, DFID. (32 pages)

This paper sets out the strategic framework for DFID’s engagement in situations of conflict and fragility. It covers three issues:  the conceptual understanding of statebuilding and peace building, an integrated approach to statebuilding and peacebuilding, and the operational implications of this approach. It concludes with lessons for DFIS staff on how to engage in peacebuilding and statebuilding.

U.N. Peace Operations and State-Building: A Case Study of Haiti 2009, Charles T. Call with Gigja Sorensen, Center on International Cooperation, New York University (25 pages)

This study examines the processes by which the UN system engages Haitian institutions and society. The analysis emphasizes three issues: 1) planning, 2) legitimacy and 3) capacity.  In terms of the latter, it looks at questions such as: Is the international effort pressing to develop local and national capacities as far as appropriate? and In what areas should donors focus on direct state provision of public services or transparent state monitoring of state delivery? The dilemma of trying to build a state through state officials who have a stake in the survival of the status quo poses the question of whether the UN can do more to create incentives and political space for reform.

Making Capacity Development Work in a Post-Conflict Context: Experience and Lessons Learnt in Liberia Cleophas Torori and Lisa Reinarz, Capacity Development Team, UNDP Liberia. In AFRICAVIEWPOINT, November 2009 (2 pages)

This article looks at Liberia’s two-pronged approach to capacity development: 1) the infusion of skilled expertise, both national and international, with incentives and systems to support them and 2) support to the formulation of a long-term capacity development strategy. 

Bridging State Capacity Gaps in Situations of Fragility 2009, Partnership for Democratic Governance (PDG), Paris: OECD (57 pages)

This first volume of the PDG Experts’ Series investigates whether using technical assistance in core government functions and services has been conducive to capacity development. Each case study (Afghanistan, Haiti, South Sudan and Timor-Leste) identifies specific bottlenecks and successes and aims to find new ways of thinking about the use of interim personnel for service delivery in core government functions.

Democracy and Peace-building: Re-thinking the Conventional Wisdom 2008, Howard Wolpe and Steve McDonald, African Program and Leadership Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in The Round Table, vol 97, no.394, - 137-145, February 2008. Routledge (8 pages)

This article is about building the capacity for peacebuilding. In their work in resolving conflicts in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, the authors and their team have developed new training techniques that are based on experiential learning. They organize workshops that bring key leaders together in a long-term process designed to resolve the tensions and mistrust that are the inevitable by-product of conflict and war, and to build (or rebuild) their capacity to work effectively together across ethnic and political division. They try to develop a deeper understanding among the parties to the conflict that they have shared interests, a common vision and must learn to work in collaboration with one another.

Service Delivery in Fragile Situations: Key Concepts, Findings and Lessons  2008, Paris: OECD/DAC. (54 pages)

This publication, based on the work of the DAC Fragile States Group, identifies the challenges and dilemmas the international community and its partners face in delivering services in fragile situations and offers practical guidance on how to overcome such challenges. In Chapter IV, Policy Implications, the section Long-term focus on governance and state-building (page 41-2) looks at how aid programs should be structured to promote sustainable service delivery.

Reconstructing a Fragile State: Institutional Strengthening of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development in the Solomon Islands  2008, Samson Maeniuta Rihuoha, Manila: Asian Development Bank (20 pages)

The capacity of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development’s (MID) declined significantly after independence, because of localization, rightsizing of the public service, and the impact of ethnic tensions. The capacity development interventions under the ADB-funded program Institutional Strengthening of Ministry of Infrastructure Development (ISMID) has provided the ministry the opportunity to restructure, take on new resources and encourage the private sector to grow and take on an enhanced role in infrastructure service delivery. 

Concepts and Dilemmas of State Building in Fragile Situations: From Fragility to Resilience 2008, Paris: OECD/DAC. (80 pages)

This report aims to bring greater clarity to policy discussions on fragility, resilience and state building. It sees state building as a support for the state-society contract and its gradual institutionalization and that this needs to be seen in a broader context of state formation processes and state-society relations. The central contention of the paper is that fragility arises primarily from weaknesses in the dynamic political process through which citizens’ expectations of the state and state expectations of citizens are reconciled and brought into equilibrium with the state’s capacity to deliver services. The paper elaborates a series of policy implications related to interventions around various facets of fragility, including weak capacity, illegitimacy and political division. Please also note the brief history of state formation in Annex 1.

Community-Driven Development in Conflict and Post-conflict Conditions: The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund 2007, Mark Robinson, Institute of Development Studies in Manor, J (eds), Aid that Works: Successful Development in Fragile States. Washington: World Bank, Low Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) Initiative (38 pages)

How appropriate is it to work through local governments and communities as a response to endemic poverty, weak capacity and the legacy of violent conflict? This study by the Institute of Development Studies reviews the lessons arising from the design and implementation of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund Project (NUSAF) in conditions of ongoing conflict and post-conflict recovery. It argues that considerable demand from communities for project resources and rapid implementation of infrastructure and income generation projects confirms the validity of working through local communities.

Technical Assistance Personnel in the Solomon Islands: What can we learn from the RAMSI experience?  2007, Heather Baser, Maastricht, The Netherlands: European Centre for Development Policy Management. (62 pages)

The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has two aims: stabilization, and strengthening the state, particularly through reforming the core institutions of government. This reports explores the features of capacity in fragile states, the use of whole-of-government responses to delivering assistance in RAMSI, and the implications of the continuing dominance in the program of technical assistance and it impact on local capacity.

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building, 2007, Patricia Lyon and Sue Emmott, Discussion Paper for AusAID. (17 pages)

This paper grew out of an evaluation of the Australia-East Timor Capacity Building Facility (CBF) which ran from 2002-2006 and offered a flexible facility to provide technical assistance (TA) to a range of ministries and departments. AusAID wanted to take the opportunity of the evaluation to elaborate on some of the key lessons learned. Other donors expressed a similar interest and this paper is accordingly offered in the spirit of information sharing and learning.

Building Capacities for Public Service in Post-Conflict Countries 2007,United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Public Administration and Development Management  (144 pages)

This focuses on some of the most fundamental and earliest elements to be addressed in the conflict/post-conflict/reconstruction spectrum, namely: constitutional enshrinement of the character of government institutions, political will and leadership, and the necessity of inclusive and participatory processes for the articulation of national aspirations followed by their translation into an organizational structure for the new public service to fulfill them. The volume presents side-by-side a conceptual approach followed by in-depth descriptions by practitioners of how this has been achieved in a variety of post-conflict situations. 

Health Service Delivery in Early Recovery Fragile States: Lessons from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Timor Leste 2006, Laurie Zivetz, BASICS (Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival) project, Washington: USAID (51pages)

This case study explores some key themes in the emerging literature on service delivery in fragile states in light of the health sector experience in four early recovery countries—Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Timor Leste. The analysis considers the various impacts of foreign assistance on state stewardship of the health sector and the programming implications. The investigation starts with state effectiveness and legitimacy.

Engaging with Fragile State: An IEG Report of World Bank Support to Low Income Countries under Stress, 2006. Washington: World Bank: Independent Evaluation Group. (258 pages)

By adopting state building as a central objective of its programming, the World Bank has made an area of traditional weakness (capacity development and governance) a part of its main focus in low income countries under stress (LICUS). This extensive report suggests that the Bank needs to clarify its areas of comparative advantage and the scope and content of its agenda. The Bank also needs to identify innovative approaches to improve its weak capacity development and governance record, and performance indicators to measure state-building outcomes. Increased field presence needs to be complemented by stronger communications between the Bank’s field and headquarters staff. An adequate number of field staff with the appropriate authority and skills is also required.

Education in Fragile States: Capturing Lessons and Identifying Good Practice 2006 Pauline Rose and Martin Greely, Institute for Development Studies Paris: OECD/DAC/Fragile States Group (41 pages)

This paper examines how in fragile situations development assistance can enhance access to quality basic education for the poor and vulnerable, at the same time improving governance and thereby mitigating the risks of fragility, and increasing the effectiveness of future aid.

Strengthening the Institutions of Governance in Timor-Leste, 2006, World Bank. (32 pages)

Timor-Leste’s National Development Plan (NDP) lays out a vision of a democratic country where state resources are managed efficiently, transparently, and free from corruption, and where the rule of law is respected and office holders are accountable to those by whom they are elected or appointed. Timor-Leste's achievements are remarkable but there are still risks to be addressed.  This paper looks at both progress and challenges.

Rebuilding governance in failed states and post-conflict societies: Core concepts and cross-cutting themes Derick W. Brinkerhoff, Research Triangle Institute, Washington DC, USA, in Public Administration and Development 25, 3-14 (2005) (12 pages)

This article, the overview to a special issue on fragile states, discusses governance reconstruction in terms of three dimensions: reconstituting legitimacy, re-establishing security and rebuilding effectiveness. It also summarizes key points made by the contributors to the issue and identifies several common themes: similarities between development and post-conflict assistance; linkages among governance’s legitimacy, effectiveness and security dimensions; rebuilding versus creating governance systems; local versus national governance reconstruction; and formal versus informal governance.

Democratic Governance in Iraq: Progress and Peril in Reforming State-Society Relations, Derick W. Brinkerhoff and James B. Mayfield, in Public Administration and Development 25, 59-73 (2005). (15 pages)

This article examines the experience of the USAID-funded Local Governance Project (LGP) in Iraq. LGP activities included: 1) establishment of representative councils, 2) service delivery capacity-building, 3) civil society strengthening, 4) decentralisation policy development and 5) civic dialogue. The article documents how these activities contributed to changing interactions between citizens and government, reaching across individual social and ethnic groups. It also suggests a number of insightful lessons from the experience.

Building Capacity in Post-Conflict Countries 2004, Alistair Mc Kechnie, Country Director for Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Regional in the South-East Asia Region, World Bank, Capacity Development Brief Number 5, March 2004. Washington: World Bank Institute. (4 pages) 

This brief looks at the challenge of building capacity in post-conflict countries, reviews options for creating capacity, and identifies trade-offs between a rapid result and longer-term impacts of capacity strategies. Six lessons for more sustainable approaches to capacity building are identified: (a) leadership matters, (b) incentives also matter, (c) build on what exists, (d) arrange learning activities within a country wherever possible, (e) training needs to be defined in its strategic capacity, and (f) training should build on the comparative advantage of international partners. 

Studies in Reconstruction and Capacity Building in Post-Conflict Countries in Africa: Some Lessons of Experience from Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda. 2003, Prof. Severine Rugumamu and Dr. Osman Gbla, Harare: African Capacity Building Foundation (23 pages)

This study seeks to examine capacity-building experiences from four post-conflict African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique and Sierra Leone. Its main objective is to draw conclusions and present recommendations that would provide a guide to policies, strategies and instruments for post-conflict capacity-building initiatives by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). In addition, the study aims at contributing to an informed dialogue on the Foundation’s ability to respond more effectively and efficiently to the needs of societies rebuilding after the conflict.

Building Capacity in Post-Conflict Countries 2003, Social Development Notes, Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction, Washington: World Bank. (4 pages)

This note looks at the challenge of capacity building in post conflict countries, including options for creating capacity and the trade-offs between speed and longer-term impact and the need to ensure that aid management agencies include sunset provisions. It also includes six proposed general lessons for more sustainable capacity building.

Rebuilding the Civil Service in a Post-Conflict Setting: Key Issues and Lessons of Experience Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit, The World Bank, March 2002. (4 pages)

This article is based on experience in recreating a professional and meritocratic civil service in East Timor and Kosovo. It begins by identifying the international experience with several key issues including capacity and absorptive capacity and suggests how these might be addressed in the context fragile states.

What can be done? 1999 Meas Nee from his book Towards Restoring Life in Cambodian Villages published on the Community Development Resources Association website  (4 pages)

This article is about finding ways to restore the confidence and trust of individual people, of families, and whole communities post war. War makes people hopeless. Minds are paralyzed and it is difficult to think of the future. Restoring the confidence and trust of individual people, of families, and whole communities takes time. The first thing is to make relationships, not projects.  The major goal of the redevelopment of the community is to help people to regain dignity and unity.

Useful Web-sites and partners

Development Gateway Communities – CD and Fragile States

A listing of articles on capacity development and fragile states

Capacity.Org Resource Corner on Fragile Environments

How can the international community support sustainable capacity development in fragile state contexts? Stabilising the governance infrastructure in post-conflict situations sometimes requires the outsourcing of nearly all government roles in the early stages of recovery. It is nonetheless critical for external interventions to support the transition to country-owned and country-led development by strengthening emerging capacity where it crystallises. This resource corner builds on Issue 32 of Capacity.Org journal to highlight the latest debates and emerging best practice in this area.

World Bank: Capacity Development Resource Centre: Stimulating Good Governance in Fragile States

Capacity development is fundamental to the broader objective of transforming fragile states into stable nations. A growing body of research on these issues is emerging, pointing to the lessons that have been learned in recent years. In general, these lessons are outlined in a series of papers and documents produced by the Bank, bilateral donors such as DFID and a working group at the level of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee. 

World Bank: Capacity Development Resource Centre: Capacity Development Briefs

This World Bank Institute (WBI) site provides short papers about the efforts of the World Bank to build the skills of individuals involved in performing tasks, to strengthen the organizations in which they work, and to enhance the sociopolitical environment in which they operate. Some of these come out of fragile and post-conflict states.

GSDRC Topic Guide on Fragile States

This topic guide provides links to some of the most recent donor, practitioner and academic literature in this area. The central questions explored in the guide are 'what do we know about fragile states?' and 'how can this knowledge be used so that the international community can best engage in fragile states?'

Partnership for Democratic Governance

Partnership for Democratic Governance (PDG) is a multilateral group of like-minded countries and organisations whose goal is to assist states in fragile situations, post-conflict nations and emerging democracies in building their governance capacity and in improving service delivery to their citizens. A hub for knowledge and a clearing house for good practice, the PDG assists developing countries to get a “governance kick start” in key sectors where the provision of interim international and regional personnel makes good sense. 

OECD/DAC Conflict and Fragility: Publications and Documents

A listing of knowledge resources on conflict and fragility

ALNAP – ODI – Aid on the Edge of Chaos

The Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) was established in 1997, following the multi-agency evaluation of the Rwanda genocide. Its website Aid on the Edge of Chaos is designed to explore complexity sciences in international development and humanitarian aid. Complexity sciences are increasingly being seen as a way of understanding and addressing the dilemmas of fragile situations. See for recent reports.

DAC - Capacity Development

The DAC Secretariat has begun collaboration with member countries and relevant partners toward a more co-ordinated effort in capacity development, with the primary objective of helping to implement the capacity development priorities of the Accra Agenda for Action through the next High Level Forum in 2011. Based on its analysis of the AAA agenda, the DAC Secretariat has identified six general areas of priority focus for its efforts through 2011, including capacity in fragile situations.

European Centre for Development Policy Management – Capacity Development

In 2008, ECDPM completed a five year research programme entitled “Capacity, Change and Performance". The research provides fresh perspectives on the topic of capacity and its development. It does so by highlighting endogenous perspectives: how capacity develops from within, rather than focusing on what outsiders do to induce it. Some of the 16 case studies on which the main report is based address fragile situations.

Asian Development Bank  - Capacity Development in the Pacific

A Pacific Capacity Development (CD) study, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), was undertaken in 2007. Pacific country case studies were written by Pacific island consultants. These studies, which appear on this website, examine what developments have been relatively successful and why, and what capacity challenges are particular to the Pacific.

European Union -

This is a general information centre for the EU.

Opinion pieces / discussion platforms

Fixing Fragile States: a new paradigm for development? 2008, Seth Kaplan, Praeger Security International  (232 pages)

How to engage more effectively in fragile states is now a key concern in the international development community, and several new books outline different diagnoses and recommendations. Kaplan brings a fresh, if not entirely new, perspective to the discussion on fragile states that has, to a large extent, been missing in international development debates. He offers a critique of the existing aid paradigm in fragile states, and proposes an alternative strategy to bring security and development to such settings.

Fixing Fragile States, 2009, Seth Kaplan (14 pages)

This article proposes a new paradigm for addressing the problems of fragile states – by building social cohesion. It contends that the nation-state has become the driver of political and economic modernization because of cohesion – one community of people in one territory. Fragile states are plagued by two structural problems - political identity fragmentation and weak national institutions – that preclude the formation of a cohesive population, leading to political orders that are highly unstable and hard to reform.  The article contends that the key to fixing fragile states is to deeply enmesh government within society. Building unity among disparate peoples also needs to be a major focus.

‘State-building for peace’: Navigating an arena of contradictions. ODI Briefing Paper 52, August 2009. London: Overseas Development Institute. (4 pages)

Although this paper is not specifically on capacity or capacity development, the discussion of statebuilding raises similar issues to those coming out of some of the capacity literature, such as the importance of legitimacy and of “facilitating existing domestic processes and … leveraging local capacities” (page 30). The paper concludes that effective donor engagement requires humility, better political understanding, greater sensitivity to context, and sustained, long-term commitment.

Challenges for New Leadership Teams in Fragile States 2007  Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, Capacity Development Brief, Issue No. 21  (4 pages)

Fragile states pose a challenge for good leadership—for renewal and reform. States in the grip of poverty, with broken socioeconomic infrastructure and a political culture of impunity, require courageous leadership, one that is unafraid of risks and able to challenge itself to be innovative and look toward the future. In this brief, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, shares lessons learned from her experience in leading a post-conflict country.

Interview with Liberia’s Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs

The Liberian government faces the challenge of stabilising and rebuilding the nation after two civil wars. interviewed Dr Toga McIntosh, Liberia’s Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs.

Other knowledge resources

Signposts to more effective States 2005 Institute of Development Studies, Centre for the Future State (54 pages)

This paper highlights findings from a five-year research programme undertaken by the Center for the Future State, based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex. The research addresses the question: how to get more effective, accountable states and public institutions? What processes are involved? What are the obstacles to building effective institutions, and what are the underlying causes of bad governance in so many countries?

Rethinking Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries: Conceptual Clarity, Policy Guidance, and Practical Implications 2009 Vanessa Wyeth and Timothy Sisk, Discussion note for the OEDC-DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility. Paris: OECD/DAC (28 pages)

This paper explores the theories and practice of two concepts that guide international efforts to promote peace in conflict-affected countries – peacebuilding and statebuilding – and highlights some of the doubts around the assumptions an points-of-departure that underlie each approach. It argues that the two concepts are related and sometimes overlapping but distinct. Peacebuilding is about ending or preventing violent conflict and supporting sustainable peace, with a focus on the transitional process form war to peace, whereas statebuilding is about establishing effective, legitimate and responsive states.

The Dilemmas of Statebuilding: Confronting the Contradictions of Postwar Peace Operations 2009 Edited by Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk, Routledge (366 pages)

This book explores the contradictions that emerge in international statebuilding efforts in war-torn societies. It argues that international efforts to construct effective, legitimate governmental structures in these countries are necessary but fraught with vexing dilemmas arising from the challenges of coordination, security, political economy, institutional design, and autonomy.  Chapter 13, Confronting the contradictions, resumes the key tensions and contradictions coming out of the various papers and case studies in the book and groups the dilemmas identified into five categories: footprint, duration, participation, dependency and coherence. It then goes on to suggest that they can only be managed, not resolved, and that dilemma analyses is a critical step in this process.

Aid Instruments in Fragile States 2005, N. Leader and P. Colenso Poverty Reduction in Difficult Environments Team (PRDE) working paper no. 5, Department for International Development, London (57 pages)

What type and mix of aid instruments are currently being used in difficult environments? How can donors work more effectively in fragile states? This paper describes the limitations of current approaches to aid instruments and discusses the emerging understanding of their use within fragile states. In addition, a selection of aid instruments that may be more effective in achieving objectives in difficult environments is highlighted. 

Harmonisation and Alignment in Fragile States 2004, K. Christiansen, E. Coyle and C. Lockhart, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, Report prepared for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Development Assistance Committee  (7 pages)

This paper explores the relevance of harmonisation and alignment for assistance in fragile states. The report concludes that the agenda is of even more relevance in difficult partnerships or fragile states and highlights the main obstacles. It goes on to outline specific policy recommendations for external actors and donors.

Untangling early recovery 2009, Sarah Bailey and Sara Pavanello. ODI Humanitarian Policy Group (hpg) Policy Brief 38, October 2009. (4 pages)

The concept of ‘early recovery’ has generated attention in policy circles as a potential way of fostering recovery from an early stage, with governments and aid agencies examining how it might fit into their current ways of responding to conflict. This article suggests that policy-makers should understand the opportunities and tensions presented by different approaches, including humanitarian assistance, development, and stabilisation, peace-building and state-building. It also suggests that policy-makers and practitioners must be specific in portraying problems and proposed solutions; early recovery has served as a catch-all term for very different issues related to recovery. 

Fragile States  2009 Frances Stewart and Graham Brown, Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.   (117 pages)

What constitutes a fragile state and how can the concept be operationalised for development policy? This working paper from the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security, and Ethnicity proposes a three-pronged definition of fragility: states may be fragile because they lack authority, fail to provide services or lack legitimacy. Reversing these interrelated dimensions of fragility requires a tailored, comprehensive and long-term approach based on careful contextual analysis.

Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states, 2005, UK Department for International Development (DFID) (28 pages)  

This policy paper brings together the latest analysis by DFID and others on how to make development more effective in fragile states. It sets out some objectives and makes commitments about how DFID will work differently in future. 

Situations of Fragility: Challenges for a European Response Strategy 2007, Fernanda Feria and Patricia Magalhaes Ferreira. Maastricht: European Centre for Development Policy Management.

The objective of this study is to explore how to improve the EU approach and response to crisis prevention and situations of fragility, taking into account lessons learnt and the discussions within the OECD-DAC on the principles of good international engagement with fragile states. 

Establishing Human Resource Systems for Health during Post-conflict Reconstruction 2006 Joyce H. Smith, Cambridge, MA: Management  Sciences for Heath, Occasional Papers Number 3. (28 pages)

Health services are severely fragmented in countries emerging from a prolonged period of conflict. Developing the health workforce and restoring health services are essential components of any major nation rebuilding, helping to reduce morbidity and mortality and providing an important entry point for engagement between the government and civil society. 

Greater Than the Sum Of Its Parts? Assessing "Whole of Government" Approaches to Fragile States 2007 Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown, Centre for Global Development. (151 pages)

This book represents the first independent, comparative assessment of recent efforts by individual donor governments to integrate their defense, diplomatic, development and other policies in weak, failing and war-torn countries. The authors look at how seven governments -- the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France and Sweden -- are seeking to rise to the challenge of "whole of government" approaches. Despite a few promising innovations and pilot projects, individual governments continue to struggle in their efforts to define the purposes of policy integration.

African Development Management Professionals: Towards Strategies and Instruments for Skills Retention and Utilization, 2004, Professor Moses Kiggundu and Professor Bankole Oni, Harare: African Capacity Building Foundation (87 pages)

The flight of highly skilled African professionals to the industrialized countries of the West is one of the major development constraints of most African countries. Both the public and private sectors of these countries are suffering from the flight of human capital, as their best and brightest professionals migrate, a large number of whom do not return to their countries of origin.

Framing paper on Political Settlements in Peacebuilding and Statebuilding 2009 Dr. Stephan Browne and Dr. John Gravingholt,  Done for INCAF Task Team on Peacebuilding, Statebuilding, Security. Paris: OECD/DAC. (36 pages)

The concept of political settlement has two different dimensions: the fixed outcome of an historical event and a particular characteristic or property of a society, reflected in the conduct of political actors. Settlements are the result of power struggles. In terms of building viable states, settlements are required to root an institutional arrangement in a solid agreement. Donors should help ensure that the process of institutional building is inclusive and that mechanisms for the future adaptation of institutions are agreed.

Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States 2005. Paris: OECD/DAC

Development Ministers and Agency Heads agreed at the Senior Level Forum on Development Effectiveness in Fragile States, held in London, 13-14 January 2005, to pilot draft a short list of principles for good international engagement in fragile states to be field tested. These Principles are the result of that agreement. (3 pages)

The applicability of the Paris Declaration in fragile and conflict-affected situations 2008 Oxford Policy Management and the IDL Group (123 pages)

The DAC High Level Forum (HLF) in Accra in September 2008 provides an opportunity for a wide range of countries to consider the challenges of applying both the Paris Declaration and the Fragile States Principles in fragile situations and conflict-affected countries. This thematic study was intended as a contribution to the Accra discussions, as well as to the ongoing work of the DAC Fragile States Group and the DAC Network on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation (CPDC). It was also the first phase of the development of a framework for evaluating aid effectiveness in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The 2010 report on the monitoring of the Principles will be available shortly. 

Seminar on Capacity Development during Political Transitions 2005 UNDP Seminar in Senec, Slovak Republic. UNDP.

The objectives of this seminar were to 1) share information and spot lessons, 2) discuss comparative advantages and reach common understanding for UNDP involvement and 3) streamline corporate guidance and improve UNDP programming. There were six case studies presented in the seminar – Afghanistan, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Timor-Leste. 

The Challenges of Restoring Governance in Crisis and Post-Conflict Countries 2007 Dennis Rondinelli, background document for the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government, Building Trust in Government 26-29 June 2007, Vienna, Austria; United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and United Nations Development Programme (152 pages)

This book examines the tasks and challenges of restoring effective governance in crisis and post-conflict countries. It explores the types of functions and roles that governments must carry out in conflicted societies and the approaches to assistance that have been used by international organizations and bilateral donors. It seeks to provide insights from experience into the types of governance capacities needed in crisis and post-conflict countries to promote political stability, trust in government, and reconstruction. It reviews the types of assistance international organizations, donor countries, and development finance agencies are providing in post-conflict and crisis countries and the factors that affect implementation.