Improving Operations Results in Fragile States

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“3C - coherent, coordinated and complementary” - was the theme of a workshop organized by the Fragile States Unit on Tuesday, April 13, 2011, in Tunis, with a view to improving development results in fragile states. Opening the workshop, Fragile States Unit Head, Sunita Pitamber, explained that it was the first in a series of seminars for Bank experts and task managers aimed at helping them to have a better focus and understanding of result-oriented development. “We need to have a clear understanding of appropriate methodologies to deliver on our mandate, particularly in states affected by conflict and fragility in Africa. We also need to understand the challenges the countries are having at their levels to show results because results matter to us”, Mrs. Pitamber said.   

The core element of the workshop was a presentation by Fragile States Expert, Cristina Hoyos, who revealed that 1.5 billion people – the poorest of the poor – live in more than 40 fragile and conflict-affected countries. Citing the World Development Report on conflict, security and development, she said that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had not been achieved by any single country under these circumstances. “While the impact will be variable, the global financial and economic crisis is likely to increase the number of fragile states and put donor aid budgets under pressure.

Under these circumstances, the impact, accountability and effectiveness of actions undertaken by the international community are of paramount importance,” she said, echoing the report.

Mrs. Hoyos brought into play her vast experience not only in fragile states operations but also in international negotiations on peace and environmental issues. She was a special advisor for development, security and fragility at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, co-vice chair of the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) as well as co-chair of the DAC/ OECD Conflict Prevention and Development Cooperation Network from 2006 – 2008.

In her presentation, Mrs. Hoyos outlined various factors required to improve results in fragile states including the following:

  • A clear mandate built around value addition,
  • Interagency coordination,
  • Clear and joint diagnostics of sources of conflict and fragility as well as their propagating factors,
  • Avoiding duplication of actions by donors by pooling resources where it is feasible and not slow down urgent actions that some donors may undertake requiring quick results.  
  • To be proactive and flexible where necessary to avoid crippling bureaucracies
  • Above all, need to strengthen country ownership.

The presentation was followed by discussions centered on the possibility of adopting the 3c approach in Africa’s post-conflict and fragile states as a work procedure to enhance development results.  Over 40 participants including division and task managers agreed with the proposals, and expressed the need for continuous development dialogue in the countries. They noted that it was not possible to use country systems that may not exist in some of the fragile states, nor is it possible for the Bank to be everywhere because the Bank itself may not have all the requisite capacity. Most participants felt that fragile states should not be treated globally as each state had its peculiar profile, characteristics and particularities. They acknowledged the role of the Bank’s field offices particularly in the area of aid coordination and knowledge development.

Concluding the discussions, Mrs. Pitamber explained that many multilateral organizations were already implementing the coherence, coordination and complementarity (3C) approach. She quoted President Donald Kaberuka’s intervention during the 3C conference in Geneva, Switzerland in March 2009 where he emphasized that “Countries emerging from conflict and with fragile states require all three types of interventions simultaneously (security/peace keeping operations, humanitarian relief effort, development programs) not sequentially.” According to Mr. Kaberuka, this means that potable water must be available, children must receive an education, crops must be harvested, at all times, irrespective of whether there is conflict or not.

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