7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Working together in fragile states for better effectiveness

Working together in fragile states for better effectiveness

A reality check and ways forward from a multistakeholder perspective

EDD16 - Replay - Working together in fragile states for better effectiveness

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 18:00 to 19:30

Key points

•    By 2030, 60 % of the global poor will be living in fragile countries.
•    Tackling fragile states must top the agenda. The cost of inaction can be very high.
•    Each situation is different and one size does not fit all. There must be a shared analysis, a clear division of roles, as well as an understanding of the regional context.
•    Without institutional capacity and good governance, trade and cooperation will be ineffective. International actions must be simultaneous.​
•    While short-term actions are vital, they must be sustainable over the long term


International aid in fragile states has had mixed results. Donors face a dilemma that the most needy countries are those in which aid is least effective. 

But it is a growing problem. By 2030, more than 60 % of the global poor will be living in fragile countries. And these are the states least likely to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Fragility has to be top of the agenda for the international community. If fragility is not tackled early enough, there could be bigger problems to solve.
The cost of inaction can be high as has been seen in Somalia and Mali.
A lack of action can turn a national crisis into a wider regional disaster.

Fragility knows no boundaries and can lead to insecurity which can spread from one country to another. It is a collective condition that needs a collective approach. We must prevent conflict situations before they occur.

The urgency and the scale of the needs of fragile countries require concerted action by all development actors, across all the dimensions of development cooperation.
But action has to be country-specific. One size does not fit all.

A holistic approach is required. Donors need to develop a suite of coordinated instruments that can improve the effectiveness of aid in fragile states. State building must involve all parts of society. Solutions require all the stakeholders to be brought to the table.

In fragile states intervention actions are interdependent and must be simultaneous. We have to combine security and capacity building at the same time. Security is needed for state building. Institutional capacity and good governance is needed for trade and cooperation to be effective. 

While peace and capacity building are both important, prevention must not be forgotten. We need to work on instruments for early warning and analysis.

Urgent action is often vital in the short term but development action must stay engaged for the long run. The structures must remain when donors leave. 

The skills of particular donors have to be matched to the needs of the fragile state. Some, for example, are not qualified for security reform. There has to be a planned sharing of the work according to the added value of each partner.

It is effective to bring together all actors in major gatherings, such as those organised in Brussels for Mali and the Central African Republic. 

Each situation is different and must have a shared analysis, and an understanding of the regional context. Joint analysis, joint programming by international partners is needed. 

So is flexibility. In fragile states the security conditions change every day. Decision-making processes must be streamlined. People on the ground need to be able to change programmes as circumstances change. We need to be quick and adaptable. It is always work in progress.

In building civil society, women must be included. Women are often the most resilient in conflict situations and also have a better understanding of some issues. Women often see things first. The youth agenda should be included in any comprehensive peace process.


Inaction by the international community can have very serious consequences. The complexity of planning simultaneous actions across many fronts which are sustainable long term is a major challenge.

Organised by

    Shada Islam
    Director of Policy
    Friends of Europe
    Mohamed Omer Arteh
    Deputy Prime Minister
    Reuben Barrete
    Young Leader - Working with Fragile States
    Rita Martin
    Executive Director and Co-founder
    Eve Organization for Women Development in Juba
    Sébastien Mosneron-Dupin
    Director General
    Expertise France
    Tertius Zongo
    Former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso and High-level advisor on Fragility in the Sahel Region
    African Development Bank
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