On June 15-16, a coalition of seventeen fragile states calling itself the “g7+” came together with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members and multilateral donors in Monrovia, Liberia for the second meeting of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. Born at the 2008 Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the International Dialogue provides a platform for an ongoing exchange between fragile and conflict-affected countries and their development partners.
In Monrovia, the g7+ and their development partners reached a landmark agreement on five interim peacebuilding and statebuilding objectives as pre-conditions to work towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in fragile and conflict-affected states.
• Legitimate politics: foster inclusive political settlements and conflict resolution.
• Security: establish and strengthen citizen security.
• Economic Foundations: generate employment and improve livelihoods.
• Justice: address injustices and support increasing citizen access to justice.
• Revenues and Services: Manage revenues and build capacity for accountable and equitable social service delivery.
The Monrovia Roadmap is being hailed as a “new aid deal” for fragile states, and while the substance of these objectives is not new, agreement on them represents a huge milestone.
There is a new recognition that development as usual doesn’t make sense in countries suffering from repeated cycles of violence, and weak or illegitimate institutions.
Experts and practitioners now agree on the importance of politics, conflict sensitivity, and good governance as keys to achieving longer-term development goals in conflict-affected and fragile states.
The challenge now for donors is in transforming the political commitments generated by the International Dialogue into real changes.
Globally, 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict. International aid to fragile and conflict-affected states accounts for 30% of global ODA flows. However, no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal. Insecurity and violence, weak and illegitimate institutions, and poverty are inter-linked factors that create serious obstacles to peace and development. It has become clear that traditional models of assistance are not working to lift these countries out of conflict and fragility. A new paradigm is needed to address the unique challenges they face: an approach that links security, political, and development actions.
The five objectives laid out in the Monrovia Roadmap represent interim or intermediate objectives to consolidate peace and build state capacity and legitimacy in order to put a country on the path towards “normal” development. These objectives reinforce the findings of a growing body of academic and policy literature on conflict and fragility, most notably the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security, and Development. There is a new recognition that development as usual simply doesn’t make sense in countries suffering from repeated cycles of violence, and weak or illegitimate institutions. Experts and practitioners now agree on the importance of politics, conflict sensitivity, and good governance as keys to achieving longer-term development goals in conflict-affected and fragile states.
While the substance of these objectives is not new, agreement on them represents a huge milestone. Politically, fragile states have sent a clear message that the MDGs are no longer a relevant organizing principle for their development efforts. Collective endorsement of these objectives from a wide range of development actors –major bilateral donors; the UN, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; representatives of civil society organizations; and ministers from the fragile states themselves — carries a strong political message. The Monrovia Roadmap is being hailed as a “new aid deal” for fragile states, and will be carried forward to the next High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, being held in Busan, Korea at the end of this year.
The g7+ ministers have promised to take these objectives forward in their own national development strategies. They are pressing for concrete commitments and indicators of progress, which will be negotiated in the coming months. The challenge that now lies ahead for donors is in transforming the political commitments generated by the International Dialogue into real changes in the way aid is delivered to conflict-affected and fragile states. Otherwise, the Monrovia Roadmap risks becoming one more international agreement that is never put into practice.