Democratic Republic of the Congo

About the Fragile States Principles


French version

What are the Fragile States Principles?

The Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations – often referred to as the Fragile States Principles (FSPs) – provide a set of guidelines to improve involvement of the international community in situations of conflict and fragility. They were approved in 2007 by ministers of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The FSPs were originally drafted at the 2005 Senior Level Forum on Development Effectiveness in Fragile States. These initial principles were tested in nine fragile states over 2005-2006 (Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe) and revised.


Factsheet (pdf, 538 kB)

What is a fragile state?

It is a state with weak capacity to carry out the basic state functions of governing a population and its territory and that lacks the ability or political will to develop mutually constructive and reinforcing relations with society.


Why is there a need for Fragile States Principles?

In the world’s most challenging development situations, poorly conceived involvement can do more harm than good. Fragile and conflict-affected situations require different responses than those applied in better performing countries. These states face severe development challenges such as lack of security, weak governance, limited administrative capacity, chronic humanitarian crises, persistent social tensions, violence or the legacy of civil war.

The Fragile States Principles are intended to guide international engagement in fragile states as a whole, touching on issues that include:

  • Development co-operation
  • Diplomacy and peacebuilidng
  • Economic affairs
  • Humanitarian action
  • State institutions and state-society relations

Fragile states are the furthest away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals, accounting for 75% of the MDG deficit. Without better engagement, fragile states will only continue to fall behind.


Who should adopt the Fragile States Principles?

The FSPs are a point of reference for all actors involved in development co-operation, peacebuilding and statebuilding in fragile states. While their application will not by itself put an end to state fragility, their adoption can help maximise the positive impact of engagement and minimise unintentional harm.


How is the implementation of the FSPs monitored?

The implementation of the FSPs is monitored through multi-stakeholder dialogues in fragile states. The survey is organised in co-ordination with the monitoring survey of the Paris Declaration by the OECD’s International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF). The first round was carried out in 2009, and preparations for the 2011 FSP survey are underway. Read more…


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