Conflict and fragility

Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States

 

OECD DAC Development Ministers and Heads of Agencies endorsed a Policy Commitment and set of Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations at the 2007 OECD DAC High Level Meeting.

 

Originally drafted at the January 2005 Senior Level Forum on Development Effectiveness in Fragile States, these Principles reflect a growing consensus that fragile states require responses that are different from better performing countries.


The Principles recognise that:

  • Fragile states confront particularly severe development challenges such as weak governance, limited administrative capacity, chronic humanitarian crisis, persistent social tensions, violence or the legacy of civil war.
  • A durable exit from poverty and insecurity for the world’s most fragile states will need to be driven by their own leadership and people.
  • Although international engagement will not by itself put an end to state fragility, the adoption of the shared principles can help maximize the positive impact of engagement and minimise unintentional harm.

 

The long-term vision for international engagement in fragile states is to help national reformers build legitimate, effective and resilient state institutions. Progress towards this goal requires joined-up and coherent action within and among governments and organisations. The Principles, therefore, emphasise the need to:

  • Take context as the starting point
  • Ensure all activities do no harm
  • Focus on state-building as the central objective
  • Prioritise prevention
  • Recognise the links between, political, security and development objectives
  • Promote non discrimination as a basis for inclusive and stable societies
  • Align with local priorities in different ways in different contexts
  • Agree on practical co-ordination mechanisms between international actors
  • Act fast…but stay engaged long enough to give success a chance
  • Avoid pockets of exclusion (“aid orphans”)
The Principles were field-tested in nine countries over 2006-2007:
  • The Solomon Islands (facilitated by Australia and New Zealand)
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo (facilitated by Belgium)
  • Haiti (facilitated by Canada)
  • Sudan (facilitated by Norway)
  • Guinea Bissau (facilitated by Portugal)
  • Nepal (facilitated by the UK)
  • Somalia (facilitated by the World Bank and the UK)
  • Yemen (facilitated by UNDP and the UK)
 

In these countries the Principles have started to catalyse behavior change among donors. Ongoing work of the Fragile State Group aims to offer more operational guidance consistent with the Principles in order to sharpen donor strategies and programmes in fragile states. The Principles are also being used in DAC Peer Reviews to assess donor engagement in fragile states .

 

The Principles aim to complement and inform the commitments set out in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which notes the need to adapt and apply aid effectiveness principles to differing country situations, particularly fragile states.

 

 

The Principles are also available in English, FrenchGerman and Spanish.

 


 

 

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