Academic journal article Global Governance

Wicked Problems in Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Making Progress in Measuring Progress through the New Deal

Academic journal article Global Governance

Wicked Problems in Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Making Progress in Measuring Progress through the New Deal

Article excerpt

Peacebuilding and its relatively new partner in international policy discourse and practice--statebuilding--are moving in increasingly larger circles with the recognition that business cannot be done as usual in fragile and conflict-affected states where 1.5 billion of the world's population resides. With rising prominence comes ever greater scrutiny about their nature and means for their practical realization. This article reflects on a question central to this scrutinizing that has befuddled scholars, practitioners, and policymakers alike over the past decade--how should progress out of fragility and conflict, or toward peacebuilding and statebuilding, be measured? Investigating a related question--are we making progress on this profoundly challenging task?--the article considers how international actors are endeavoring to make right on their promise to put national actors at the helm of these projects, which is increasingly assumed to be the primary driver for success in both. Examining these questions in light of scholarship, practice, and a topical policy dialogue case--the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding--the article argues that, while the process and emerging outputs are messy and challenge established norms of what constitutes good assessment, they are manifesting profound changes in policy and practice, with potentially radical implications for the ways that peacebuilding and statebuilding are measured and aid decisions are undertaken. KEYWORDS: international dialogue on peace-building and statebuilding, fragility, resilience, monitoring and evaluation, aid effectiveness, international dialogue, policy development.

THERE IS NOW OPEN RECOGNITION THAT POLICIES AND PRACTICES THAT FRAME action in countries emerging from war have been dominated by Northern actors, and that this needs to change. Through this evolution of awareness, peacebuilding, statebuilding, and the various activities they encompass have been roundly critiqued for being Northern and template-driven, liberally rooted processes. Critiques have focused on how these agendas have not adequately responded to the priorities, interests, and traditions of local actors. This recognition has prompted a search for approaches that better respond to a local context and build national ownership over process and products. The International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (ID)--a major policy effort since 2008 of fragile states, international partners, and civil society--reflects this shift, as it aims to put fragile and conflict-affected states in the driver's seat to conceptualize and map strategy for how countries can transition out of fragility and aid should be implemented to promote this. Through the process, eighteen fragile and conflict-affected states have come together to form the "g7+," which endeavors to support "state-led transitions from fragility to agility" and place powerful demands on the international aid system to improve aid mechanisms, relevance, and results. (1) This will involve transforming the post-2015 development agenda--dominated for the past fifteen years by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)--to recognize the realities faced by conflict affected and fragile states, and to incorporate a wider set of concerns.

The lofty challenge of how to measure progress in peacebuilding and statebuilding lies at the heart of the g7+ as well as wider efforts of the ID. In June 2011, five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs; outlined below) were agreed on in Monrovia, setting the framework for the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States (New Deal). This was endorsed at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in November 2011 by over forty countries and international organizations. To measure progress, the New Deal set out two strategic tools: (1) a set of indicators for each of the five PSGs that would be developed by the ID to track progress at the global and the country levels; and (2) a fragility assessment with a diagnostic tool--the "fragility spectrum"--to assist fragile and conflict affected states to assess and map their way out of fragility. …

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