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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 post is co-authored with CGD senior fellow David Wheeler
Today's Washington Post column by David Ignatius finally inches popular understanding in the U.S. a bit further in the right direction on why climate change could be so costly to human society. It isn't just the direct costs of seawalls and more destructive hurricanes that climate change will bring. It's the risk that institutional arrangements to deal with those costs will not be resilient and will collapse under the resulting pressure--so that, as Chinua Achebe suggested about post-colonial West Africa, things do literally "fall apart".
*This post is co-authored by Kaysie Brown
The World Bank's Operations Evaluation Division has just released a lengthy report documenting a rise in the world's "fragile states" and drawing a direct connection between state weakness and transnational threats. As Karen DeYoung reports in today's Washington Post,
“Fragile" countries, whose deepening poverty puts them at risk from terrorism, armed conflict and epidemic disease, have jumped to 26 from 17 since the report was last issued in 2000.
Increased attention to development and stability in fragile states by both the World Bank and the U.S. Government signals the importance of and challenges associated with providing assistance in these critical yet vulnerable states. CGD recently launched the Engaging Fragile States initiative to focus on key unanswered questions for the development community working in these tough environments. A quick read of the Bank report raises a number of issues that our work is focusing on:
A frustrated David Ignatius chided Congress in yesterday’s Washington Post for its dithering in passing legislation that would create “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” (ROZs) in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Ignatius calls the ROZ initiative a “modest boost for the good guys” and laments that it is caught up in a partisan food fight in the Senate. We share his frustration over the Senate’s inaction, but we are less optimistic about the bill’s potential impact. In the legislation’s current form (details below), ROZs would at best be a token gesture that would be well received in Pakistan; at worst, they risk having little (if any) economic impact and creating expectations that cannot be met. If Senators are serious about promoting U.S. national security interests through economic progress in Pakistan, they should be prepared to go to the mat for something that will actually make a difference. Expanded trade access for all Pakistani exports from all of Pakistan is the best way to ensure a meaningful economic boost to Pakistan’s “good guys.”
Today on ForeignPolicy.com, we’ve written an op/ed with our colleague Molly Kinder that makes the case for why the United States should do everything possible to help Pakistan rebuild basic infrastructure in the areas devastated by this summer’s catastrophic floods. Here, we wanted to expand on one of the points from that op/ed—the debate over repurposing money from the existing $7.5 U.S. aid commitment, authorized a year ago by what’s called the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill.
The question of how much can and should be repurposed from Kerry-Lugar-Berman is dividing policymakers in Congress and in the Obama administration. The House of Representatives has already passed a resolution that, among other things, “supports the use of funds authorized by [Kerry-Lugar-Berman] for the purposes of providing long-term recovery and rehabilitation for flood-affected areas and populations.”
*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
Yesterday in an interview with NPR, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a strong and smart argument for supporting American troops. No surprises there, right? Except for the fact that he is defending the build-up of civilian troops -- our diplomatic and development corps -- to be America's front line of defense in fighting global poverty and insecurity. Much as he did in his brilliant speech at Kansas State University in November, Gates encourages the United States to devote more resources and create new institutions for nonmilitary means of influence abroad: diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development. His message:
If we are to meet the myriad challenges around the world in the coming decades, this country must strengthen other important elements of national power both institutionally and financially, and create the capability to integrate and apply all of the elements of national power to problems and challenges abroad.
And, how specifically do we elevate global development policy in the national interest? Says Gates:
What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security -- diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development....The way to institutionalize these capabilities is probably not to recreate or repopulate institutions of the past such as AID or USIA. On the other hand, just adding more people to existing government departments such as Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and so on is not a sufficient answer either -- even if they were to be more deployable overseas. New institutions are needed for the 21st century, new organizations with a 21st century mind-set.