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/
Tue, 12 May 2015
This document outlines the UK Government's Approach to Stabilisation. It explains why and when Her Majesty's Government (HMG) engages in Stabilisation and sets out how the stabilisation approach links to other tools and approaches which HMG uses in situations of violent conflict. This document supports the strategic and policy framework comprising HMG's National Security Strategy (2010), Strategic Defence and Security Review (2010) and the Building Stability Overseas Strategy (2011). It draws on evidence and lessons from experience in a range of situations over the past ten years, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and South Sudan.
Mon, 11 May 2015
This article addresses an aspect of Boko Haram's activities: gender-based violence (GBV) and its targeting of women. It argues that 2013 marked a significant evolution in Boko Haram's tactics, with a series of kidnappings, in which one of the main features was the instrumental use of women. This was in response to corresponding tactics by the Nigerian security forces. Additionally the analysis provides evidence of a shift by Boko Haram to include women in its operations, in response to increased pressure on male operatives. The article also considers the gendered rationale for instrumentalizing women within the framework of Boko Haram's ideology and culture, arguing for a greater appreciation of how gender factors in the group's violence.
Wed, 6 May 2015
There has been a growing trend of interest in informal justice systems, primarily based on the idea that they are more accessible and supported by local communities. However, due to a lack of guidance and best practices on how to engage informal justice systems, many practitioners operate under the assumption that its advantages outweigh any failure to comply with human rights standards, particularly those related to women's rights.
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
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