What approaches contribute to sustainable capacity development in fragile state contexts? Stabilizing the governance infrastructure in post-conflict situations sometimes requires the outsourcing of nearly all government roles in the early stages of recovery. With many development initiatives driven by external actors, it is nonetheless critical for such interventions to support the transition to country-owned and country-led development by strengthening emerging capacity where it crystallizes.
Building on Issue 32 of Capacity.org, this page aims to showcase best practice by development organizations and donors, as well as inspiring casestudies that highlight the importance of strengthening community-led initiatives to foster peace and development in such contexts.
Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC): Strengthening capacity in the area of governance, conflict and social development
Funded by the UK Department for International Development, GSDRC aims to help reduce poverty by informing policymaking and enhancing professional knowledge in relation to governance, conflict and social development. Services provided by the Resource Centre include an extensive publications database with helpful policy-oriented summaries of each document highlighting the major findings. An interesting feature is a Q&A section where detailed responses to research helpdesk enquiries are published.
The GSDRC topic guide on fragile states introduces some of the best literature on the causes, characteristics and impact of state fragility and the challenge of aid effectiveness and lessons learned from international engagement in these contexts. It is intended primarily as a reference guide for policymakers.
Below, you can read the latest resources in this area, drawn from GSDRC's topic feed.Website:http://www.gsdrc.org/
Wed, 22 Apr 2015
What are the practical and legal consequences of counterterrorism laws for humanitarian action? This paper provides an overview of some of the most salient questions that humanitarian actors are grappling with in planning effective, principled, and lawful operations in high-risk environments. The paper begins by outlining the legal bases for both counterterrorism law and humanitarian action, and then discusses the challenges and possible consequences of legislation for humanitarian actors. It also outlines some of the key challenges anti-terrorism laws and regulations pose to humanitarian action, and provides some questions and approaches humanitarian actors may wish to consider when facing these challenges
Wed, 22 Apr 2015
This report offers a new tool for assessing fragility that is more comprehensive than the traditional single categorisation of "fragile states", and recognises the diversity of risks and vulnerabilities that lead to fragility. It identifies countries the most vulnerable in five dimensions of risk and vulnerability linked to fragility, and asks how likely they are to achieve the UN Open Working Group's post-2015 goals and targets in those five dimensions: 1) violence (peaceful societies); 2) access to justice for all; 3) effective, accountable and inclusive institutions; 4) economic foundations; 5) capacity to adapt to social, economic and environmental shocks and disasters.
Tue, 21 Apr 2015
Fragile Reforms: World Bank and Asian Development Bank financing in fragile and conflict-affected situations
Drawing from research into the delivery of five bank-financed projects covering infrastructure and other sectors, this study highlights a range of insights and opportunities to enhance how the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approach project financing in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The study documents how conflict-sensitive approaches are and are not used by the banks to minimise risks and support local peace and development outcomes, as well as some of the consequences for bank investments and project-affected communities. The study argues that bank strategic commitments create the space for conflict-sensitivity to a degree; and that pockets of technical expertise for conflict-sensitive project financing exist within the banks, but that these capacities are insufficient as the banks prepare to scale up lending in fragile and conflict-affected situations. Specifically, the paper argues that improved capacity for conflict-sensitivity is constrained by political dynamics. In effect, a conflict-sensitive approach to project financing is not automatically adopted in fragile and conflict-affected situations. In instances where conflict-sensitivity is adopted, it can be restricted to project design and may not be applied throughout project cycles.
Sat, 18 Apr 2015
To be well at heart: women's perceptions of psychosocial wellbeing in three conflict affected countries
This article presents the results of a participatory study utilising ethnographic methods to develop a phenomenological understanding of how women in three conflict-affected settings understand, experience and operationalise the term 'psychosocial well-being'. The study was conducted in three countries (Burundi, Nepal and Uganda), where CARE Österreich (an international relief and development organisation) has been implementing the programme Claiming Rights-Promoting Peace: Women's Empowerment in Conflict-Affected Areas.
Sat, 18 Apr 2015
This lessons brief is a summary of a workshop given by Dr. Robert Lamb in conjunction with the Stabilisation Unit. The workshop discussed how to identify recurrent systemic failures in lesson learning within fragile states and consider how they can best be addressed.
Wed, 15 Apr 2015
This study considers why conflict and fragility matter-for the World Bank and for bilateral donors that are contributing larger than ever amounts to its budgets. It outlines the particular development challenges confronting international actors in fragile and conflict-affected countries, and gives a summary of the Bank's evolving approach to those challenges. The study then sets out certain key problems which, despite recent improvements, continue to reduce the quality of the Bank's impacts. Noting the inconsistencies in the Bank's approaches, it assesses the factors that determine the Bank's ability to deal with, and help address, the immense complexity of its operating environments. It concludes with recommendations for improving approaches to those complexities.
Thu, 9 Apr 2015
What factors cause Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps to become militarised? This paper looks at the case of Darfur and finds that different contexts of its IDP and refugee gatherings determine the extent and nature of militaristic activity within them. The paper draws on information from a wide range of sources including human rights reports, humanitarian overviews and political analyses. Interviews were also conducted with Darfurians and staff of national and international organizations working in Darfur, security and incident reports were also consulted
Thu, 2 Apr 2015
Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in the Arab World: The Work of Civil Society Organisations in Lebanon and Morocco
This article explores crucial civil society functions - strengthening civic engagement and community-empowerment - in the specific context of the Arab world, and introduces the work of a number of organisations in this region. The article reflects on traditional conflict resolution and reconciliation methods and their relation to the "Western field" of conflict resolution and presents cases from Lebanon and Morocco, looking at concrete projects, objectives and achievements of organisations. It then discusses common challenges civil societies face and identifies possible next steps in light of current political developments in the region.
Wed, 1 Apr 2015
What role can religion play in building peace? This paper analyses 27 Christian, Muslim and multi-faith organizations that are working on peace-building in conflict situations. By studying how they operate as peace-builders, the paper aims to shed more light on the peace-building potential of faith-based organizations. It particularly aims to advise donors on how they can deal with faith-based peace-building in policy.
Tue, 31 Mar 2015
This chapter argues that current debates on state building are flawed because they employ a European and Weberian conception of state building premised on the conception of the state as a legal personality, an ordering power, and a set of formal arrangements that institutionalize power. This conception is not well adapted to service delivery and state building in most contemporary post-conflict situations, because it does not take informal governance and service provision into account.
Annotated bibliography on capacity development in fragile situations (LenCD)
GSDRC Topic Guide on Fragile States
Derick Brinkerhoff (2007) Capacity Development in Fragile States, ECDPM Discussion Paper 58D
Capacity.org Issue 32 (December 2007) Fragile States