Fragility / Post Conflict Settings
The promotion of decentralisation and local governance in fragile contexts
German Development Institute, Grävingholt, Jörn / Christian von Haldenwang (2016)
The paper provides an overview of the challenges regarding support to decentralisation and local governance in fragile contexts. It discusses risks and opportunities, and develops suggestions on how to rise to the challenges surrounding the promotion of decentralisation in fragile states.
This guide gives an overview of the main literature in the field of fragile states. It recommends articles and books e.g. which regard state-society relations and citizenship in situations of conflict and fragility. It bundles concepts of civic trust, citizenship and socio-political cohesion.
The Global Refugee Crisis: The Key Role of Cities
Eva Dick and Benjamin Schraven; DIE (2016)
More than 80 % of refugees worldwide are located in developing countries and emerging economies and many people are displaced within their own nations. While Syria and its neighbouring countries are affected the most, displacement is also a significant issue in Colombia, Nigeria and Sudan. Contrary to popular belief, it is cities rather than refugee camps that receive most of these displaced persons.
Nepal’s Divisive New Constitution: An Existential Crisis
International Crisis Group (2016)
In 2015, Nepal adopted a new constitution amid deadly protests that continued for months. Protesting groups argued that the statute backtracked on addressing structural discrimination. If implementation begins before contentious issues are addressed, the mainstream parties risk wholesale rejection of the constitution by a large section of the population. Conducting local elections also carries grave risks of violence, boycotts, intimidation and, in some areas, rejection of the state and its political system.
Guidance Note: A Development Approach to Migration and Displacement
UNDP works with partner countries to offset short-term responses to migration and displacement with long-term sustainable development Solutions.
Capacity Development in Situations of Conflict and Fragility: German Approaches and Lessons Learned by GIZ
Countries characterised by fragility and conflict pose significant challenges to programmes engaging in capacity development. The Sector Network Good Governance Asia produced the publication “Capacity Development in Situations Conflict and Fragility – German Approaches and Lessons Learned by GIZ” which presents practically reflected discourse on frequently faced dilemmas. It calls for dialogue and honest reflection on lessons learned, including backlashes and pitfalls, to allow for more realistic and informed project planning and implementation.
States of Fragility 2015. Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions
The OECD’s 2015 States of Fragility report introduces a new approach for the assessment of fragility that goes beyond a single categorisation of fragility and takes into account the diverse risks and vulnerabilities that lead to fragility. It identifies most vulnerable countries and assesses their opportunities to achieve the SDGs. It is argued that addressing fragility is key to the SDGs and that fragility will impede the achievement of the post-2015 agenda if left unaddressed. Although official development assistance (ODA) significantly supports fragile countries, the authors find that it is distributed unevenly amongst fragile states and recommend scaling up ODA to the poorest and most fragile countries. Furthermore, it is called for greater national ownership and international support to more demand-driven and risk-tolerant aid modalities such as support to domestic revenue generation and the use of public finance instruments for attracting foreign direct investment.
Local Governance Associations in Fragile States
VNG International (2015)
The objective of this paper is to provide insights into the challenges that fragility poses to citizens and to explain the crucial role that local government associations (LGAs) play in fragility and its underlying crises. The analysis is based on VNG’s concept of the “fragility circle” that divides fragility into three stages and types, namely stable fragility, prolonged crisis and instability and describes different types of interventions for LGAs, depending on the respective fragility type. Further, the paper introduces VNG International’s approach of supporting LGAs and enabling them to exercise their role vis-à-vis other government layers and the international community.
Building Local Capacity for Peace-Sensitive Development in Nepal
After a decade-long civil conflict, Nepal faces the challenges of a transitional situation wherein conflict sensitivity has been a significant element of development assistance. Since 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been adopting a conflict-sensitive approach (or positively termed as peace-sensitive approach) to development in Nepal. This approach refers to understanding the local context, and identifying and addressing potential risks to development assistance. The peace-sensitive approach, particularly using the peacebuilding tool (PBT), is being used to inform ADB strategies, programs and Projects in Nepal. ADB, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has engaged the government to adopt this approach at the central and local levels through capacity building.
Citizens’ media as a tool for the local construction of peace in Colombia
Lorenzo Vargas (2013)
The role of media in peace-building can be critical. However, citizens’ media, a form of media that is ‘embedded in communities in ways that create opportunities for networking, reaching, communicating, and connecting’ and can lead to active and engaged citizenship, has traditionally been ignored in contexts of peace-building as media has been seen simply as ‘a tool for mass persuasion’. Similarly, youth are often ignored as key actors in processes of peace-building, despite the fact that adolescents and people in their early to mid-twenties may ‘have direct experience of political imprisonment and [may] have witnessed or perpetrated acts of violence’, while at the same often being ‘in the front lines of peace building’ in many cases of armed conflict.
Do elected councils improve governance? Experimental evidence on local institutions in Afghanistan
MIT Political Science Research Paper No. 24 (2013)
Development programmes in Afgahn villages have commonly created new local councils to manage local projects. In an experimental study including 500 villages this paper examines whether externally imposed local democratic institutions have improved or worsened the quality of governance in rural Afghanistan, as measured by aid distribution outcomes. Results indicate that in villages where elected councils exist and manage distributions, aid targeting improves. However, if distribution is not clearly assigned to either the council or to customary leaders, the creation of elected councils increases embezzlement and makes decision-making less inclusive. Similarly, in villages without elected councils, distribution outcomes are better when institutional responsibility is assigned to customary leaders, rather than being shared with village women. The authors conclude that with a clear assignemnt of responsibilities, elected councils can improve local governance. However, overlapping mandates between new and existing institutions may weaken leader accountability and provide opportunities for fraudulent behaviour.
Local Councils in Syria. A Sovereignty Crisis in Liberated Areas
This policy paper analyses and evaluates local administrative councils (LACs), the nascent revolutionary governing structures that began forming across Syria as cities and towns asserted autonomy from the Assad regime. Since 2012 following the retreat of government authorities in various villages and towns, LACs have strived to provide essential public services such as water, electricity, and price stabilization for basic commodities, and in some instances humanitarian relief and military coordination. Although precise numbers are not available, it is estimated that there are hundreds of LACs throughout Syria, at varying degrees of development and effectiveness. In order to understand the development of the LACs, the challenges they face, and identify opportunities for increasing their effectiveness, Menapolis interviewed LAC members from the liberated cities of KafrNabel and Manbej, as well as key activists from across Aleppo, Idlib, Raqqa, and other governorates. The paper offers an overview on the history and evolution of LACs in the liberated areas, factors in their relative effectiveness, their composition and membership selection process, civil military relations, and ties to national level institutions. This background is accompanied by two case studies, and a set of conclusions and recommendations for the Syrian Opposition Coalition and policymakers.
State and Region Governments in Myanmar
MDRI-CESD/ Asia Foundation (2013)
Subnational governance institutions and central-local relations are critical to the future of Myanmar, and they are undergoing significant change. This report aims to inform policy-makers, political actors, donors, and other stakeholders about the new state and region structures created under the 2008 Constitution, and their relationship with broader governance, peace and decentralization processes
Assessing the Institutional Environment of Local Governments in Africa
The Cities Alliance; United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (2013)
Africa’s cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, over 3% per year on average. The continent’s urban population is expected to double over the next 20 to 30 years, with the majority of Africans living in cities. Similar to other regions of the developing world, Africa is transforming from a mostly rural region to an urban one. With the political, social and economic role of cities growing increasingly important, governance has emerged as a major issue. As a result of decentralisation laws, local governments are expected to play a crucial role in the urbanisation process. How effectively they are able to do so, however, depends largely on the transparency of the policy framework and on how much leeway they are given by national governments. Local governments must be empowered with the functions and resources necessary to innovate, promote local development, and be accountable to their citizens. Against this backdrop, the pan-African organisation of local authorities, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A), and the Cities Alliance have come together to produce – for the first time – an assessment of the enabling environment for well-functioning cities and local authorities in African countries. For each country, the report provides a situational analysis, highlights the progress and constraints of decentralisation, and outlines potential ways to improve its implementation. In keeping with the fast-changing cities enabling environment, the report is expected to be published on an ongoing basis every two to three years.
Local Accountabilities in Fragile Contexts: Experiences from Nepal, Bangladesh and Mozambique
This series of research papers was published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Helvetas recently. They are part of a research project on accountability carried out in three countries. The research project aimed at identifying practices and factors contributing to the success of accountability initiatives in fragile contexts. In the case of Nepal, the research focused on the relationship between the state and its citizens and on the accountability mechanisms operating on the supply side and demand side of that relationship. In the case of Bangladesh, the accountability practices studied are local networks formed and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) local governance programme Sharique. The case study of Mozambique explores the possible factors that enable or hinder accountability initiatives in the country, focusing on the Governance, Water and Sanitation Programme (PROGOAS) implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation (HELVETAS) and co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Foreign aid and the fragile consensus on state fragility
Most actors in the field of foreign aid agree with the call for coordinated engagement in fragile states in order to more effectively counter the consequences and origins of state failure. However, despite such demands, governments from OECD countries as well as multilateral agencies that are engaged in fragile states often continue to act in an uncoordinated manner and fail to reach higher levels of harmonisation. Why is effective coordination so hard to achieve? This article argues that three major challenges explain the persistent problems of donor harmonisation in fragile states: (1) the cognitive challenge of explaining the origins of state fragility and deducing effective instruments and interventions; (2) the political challenge of reconciling divergent political motives for engagement; as well as (3) the bureaucratic challenge related to the organisational logic of competing aid agencies.
Can More Aid Stay in Haiti and Other Fragile Settings? How Local Investment can Strengthen Governments and Economies
United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti (2012)
The report provides an account of how aid was delivered in Haiti and on the lessons that were learned in the process. The main finding is that the pattern of aid distribution in Haiti is in fact not unique: it is in line with other fragile nations, which see 91 per cent of their aid volume from the top five donors bypass their national institutions. The report shows how these lessons apply to other fragile settings and closes with recommendations for future aid delivery.
Decentralised local governments as a modality for post-conflict recovery and development: An emerging natural experiment in Northern Uganda
Jamie Boex, Deborah Kimble and Juliana Pigey (2010)
Decentralized Local Governance In Fragile States: Learning From Iraq
Brinkerhoff, Derick W. and Johnson, Ronald W. (2009)
This article examines the role that local governance plays in creating an effective state and in building constructive state—society relations. Reconstruction efforts in fragile, post-conflict states have focused largely on central government, yet decentralized local authorities offer a number of positive features. Looking at the governance reconstruction experience in Iraq, the analysis explores the extent to which these positive features have characterized Iraqi sub national government. The article draws lessons for governance reconstruction more generally, addressing decentralization choices, capacity-building, and political factors.
The Applicability of the Paris Declacation in fragile and conflict-affected situations
OPM / IDL (2008)
Evaluation of the implementation of the Paris declaration.
Whole of Government Approaches to Fragile States – Governance, Peace and Security
In 2005, the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s (DAC) Fragile States Group (FSG) developed a draft set of Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States. These Principles highlight the fact that successful development in a fragile environment depends, at least in part, on wellsequenced and coherent progress across the political, security, economic and administrative domains. Working effectively across these domains requires donor countries to adopt a ‘whole-of-government’ approach (WGA), involving departments responsible for security, and political and economic affairs, as well as those responsible for development aid and humanitarian assistance.