Conflict and fragility

Rethinking policy, changing practice: DAC Guidelines on Post-Conflict Transition

 

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ISBN: 9789264168312
Publication date: 18 April 2012

 

1.5 billion people live in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence and insecurity. These countries face tremendous challenges as they transition from conflict to peace. International support can play a crucial role in these contexts, but has so far struggled to deliver transformative results. International Support to Post-Conflict Transition: Rethinking Policy, Changing Practice presents clear policy recommendations for better practice in order to improve the speed, flexibility, predictability and risk management of international support during post-conflict transition.

 

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 Chapters

 

  1. The need for change in a context of risk
    Fragile and conflict-affected states have specific challenges and risks, which current development and humanitarian approaches are not properly designed to meet. This chapter outlines the main reasons why current approaches are inadequate, including: i) a fragmented aid architecture where response is spread across multiple institutional mandates and budget lines; ii) policies and procedures for international engagement and risk management that are not tailored to the context; iii) the inability of international actors to support strict prioritisation due to the absence of national leadership in planning processes and internationally agreed objectives of transition/development strategies; and iv) the duplication and lack of coherence in aid instruments. It provides a number of recommendations on how approaches to risk management can be adapted to enable effective engagement, including through enhanced use of joint approaches for assessing and managing risks and by using simplified procedures for engagement.
     
  2. Coherent planning and prioritisation
    A fundamental principle of development today is that the governments of partner countries should lead and guide planning and prioritisation exercises, rather than the donor country. However, countries in transition face particular challenges that limit government-led planning and prioritisation. This chapter asks how stricter and more realistic prioritisation can be achieved during transition in order to enable countries to move from crisis to peace more effectively. The emphasis is on: i) supporting national transition strategies while allowing governments to take gradual leadership of the prioritisation and planning exercise; ii) keeping objectives and planning processes simple; iii) ensuring a collaborative approach; and iv) creating coherence between international and national planning approaches.
     
  3. Getting the mix of aid instruments right
    No single aid instrument can cover all the priorities of transition. A mix of different aid instruments will allow coherent and effective aid to support shared priorities, plus rapid and flexible delivery. Chapter 3 provides guidance to ensure that aid instruments contribute to the critical objectives of harmonisation, institutional transformation, speed and flexibility, and risk management. The mix should be decided based on the need to provide both rapid and sustained delivery, and should in particular focus on country-specific instruments and pooled funds that allow for a gradual increase in the use of country systems.
     
  4. A way forward: transition compacts
    The chapter pulls together the ideas of the previous chapters to present a way forward for transition. This involves the development of a “transition compact”: a country-specific, light and flexible agreement between national and international partners. A compact allows for agreement on critical transition priorities with an explicit financing strategy through a mix of funding sources and instruments. Compacts can improve the coherence and effectiveness of aid, thus reducing the risk of strategic failure, improving results focus, and providing real steps towards stronger national engagement and leadership. They allow for joint prioritisation between national and international actors and frequent reviews of progress, thus addressing donor concerns about capacity, legitimacy and risks of engagement.

 

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