Aid That Works: Successful Development in Fragile States

Aid That Works: Successful Development in Fragile States

Aid That Works: Successful Development in Fragile States

Aid That Works: Successful Development in Fragile States

Synopsis

Research in recent years on aid effectiveness shows that significant obstacles in fragile states--insecurity, poor governance and weak implementation capacity--usually prevent aid from achieving the desired results in these environments. This study investigates the attributes and effectiveness of donor-supported programmes and projects that worked well under difficult conditions in fragile states. Presented in this study are nine development initiatives in six less developed countries Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste and Uganda. The cases show that development initiatives, which engage local communities and local level governments, are often able to have significant impact. However, for more substantial improvements to take places, localized gains need to be scaled up either horizontally (other localities) or vertically (to higher levels). Given the advantages of working at the local level and the difficulty of working through mainstream bureaucratic agencies at higher levels in these countries, donors often prefer to create 'parallel-agencies' to reach out to larger numbers of beneficiaries. However, this may in the long run weaken the legitimacy of mainstream government institutions, and donor agencies may therefore choose to work as closely as possible with government officials from the beginning to build trust and demonstrating that new initiatives are non-threatening and help prepare the eventual mainstreaming of 'parallel agencies'.

Excerpt

This book is about achieving development success in states that represent some of the most intractable development challenges. Fragile states are those suffering from multiple points of stress—weak institutions and capacity, and vulnerability to conflict. They are home to some of the world’s poorest citizens, with twice the income poverty and child mortality rates of other low-income countries. In addition to the poverty of their own citizens, these countries also pose a risk of negative spillovers for their neighbors and the wider global community, through spread of conflict and organized crime, refugee flows, epidemic diseases, and barriers to trade and investment.

While the challenge is clear, the means to resolve the complex web of problems facing fragile states is far from clear. This is partly the result of their other key characteristics: a dearth of institutional capacity with which to deliver basic services such as health care and education, to control corruption, or to inspire confidence among the citizenry in the state. Insecurity in remote regions of fragile states can also obstruct nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from substituting for this state capacity and can lead to deteriorating human vulnerability in these areas. Furthermore, poorly performing states risk becoming “aid orphans” in a world that rewards good performers. Development policy makers in headquarters do . . .

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