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CGD research on fragile states examines how rich countries and other development actors can best assist fragile states and their citizens; related work focuses on understanding the transition from immediate post-conflict assistance to longer-term development assistance.
Program goals include
understanding the causes and consequences of state fragility;
determining opportunities for policy intervention and the sequencing of such interventions;
finding ways to improve the effectiveness of aid to fragile states; and,
identifying turning points that signal when donors should shift from post-conflict to longer-term development assistance.
CGD senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran leads this research to help inform and influence policymakers and practitioners working on post-conflict reconstruction and development in difficult environments.
Together with CGD visiting fellow Satish Chand, professor of economics at the University of New South Wales, Ramachandran has commissioned a series of papers by currently or recently active aid practitioners in post-conflict assistance programs. Drawing upon these papers, Ramachandran and Chand plan to develop practical guidelines to help policymakers and practitioners examine and respond to on-the-ground challenges. Areas of interest include an analysis of donor relationships with the military, the sequencing and coordination of donor activity in post-conflict settings, the value of the European Union’s Stability Instrument, the revival of basic public services in post-conflict countries, and the incentives of government actors in various post-conflict settings.
Previous CGD work on weak and fragile states includes the following working papers, books and reports:
Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research, a working paper by Christopher Blattman, a non-resident fellow and former CGD post-doctoral fellow currently at Yale University, and Edward Miguel of the University of California at Berkeley. The paper investigates how civil wars begin, how the actors are organized, and what economic effects civil wars have on their societies.
This paper examines how the lack of recognition of Somaliland by the international community—and the consequent ineligibility for foreign financial assistance—has shaped the region's political development. It finds evidence that Somaliland’s ineligibility for foreign aid facilitated the development of accountable political institutions and contributed to the willingness of Somalilanders to engage constructively in the state-building process.
Does foreign military assistance strengthen or further weaken fragile states facing internal conflict? In a new working paper, CGD post-doctoral fellow Oeindrila Dube and co-author Suresh Naidu find that U.S. military assistance to Colombia may increase violence and decrease voter turnout, undermining the perceived value of foreign military assistance.
CGD visiting fellow Ruhu Ribadu testifies before the House Financial Services Committee about the effects of corruption on democracy, global markets, and the poor in developing countries. He suggests how the United States could help put an end to corrupt practices.
Previous research on post-conflict reconstruction holds that sustainable institution building is an indigenous process. This paper, however, contributes to a new understanding of small-scale external interventions. Through a randomized field study in Liberia, the authors find that the IRC’s community-driven development projects positively impact social cohesion and democratic decision-making in villages.
Since the coup ousting Honduran president Manuel Zelaya last June, the international community has responded with strong words and a mix of mostly mild actions. The Organization of American States (OAS) unanimously voted to suspend Honduras when the de facto regime ignored its demand for the immediate reinstatement of Zelaya, and the UN General Assembly has also adopted a resolution denouncing the coup. The United States and European Union have halted some forms of non-humanitarian aid. But despite some calls for action , the United States and other major trade partners have yet to adopt trade sanctions or to freeze the coup leaders' assets.
Continuing CGD’s work on weak and fragile states, Aila Matanock of Stanford University investigates why and when states delegate governance functions to others—and why the other agrees to take on the responsibilities. A survey of what works in Melanesia points toward potential solutions to promote stability worldwide.
Senior fellow Todd Moss investigates how the aftershocks of the global economic downturn are affecting Africa. African countries that take the right steps to mitigate the pain will be poised to benefit from the eventual recovery; those that don't will be left behind.
On February 7th, 2007 Stewart Patrick spoke on a panel at an event sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace event on
“Haiti: No Longer a Failed State?”. In his remarks, he offers reflections from his first visit to Haiti.
During his remarks, he addresses four main points:
The marginal utility of describing Haiti as a “Failed State”
The inter-relationship among the main sets of challenges facing Haiti: (a) Security and the Rule of Law; (b) Institutions of Governance; (c) Development, including growth and social welfare
The need for donors to end their dysfunctional approach to Haiti, which has kept it a dependent ward of the international community, by embracing state building.
The transnational spillovers resulting from Haiti’s endemic state weakness, notably the reciprocal relationship between (a) drug trafficking and (b) Haiti’s insecurity, dysfunctional governance and stalled development.
Today, the World Bank announced that Jim Yong Kim will be the institution’s next president. As the dust settles from the leadership selection debate, the focus will necessarily shift to the issues that confront Kim and the world’s leading development institution. One of the most difficult and important questions is: how can the bank more effectively engage in fragile and conflict-affected countries?