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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 week, as world leaders meet in Washington, DC for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, they will be discussing ways to reduce global poverty and inequality. At the Center for Global Development we're addressing the question, what are the next frontiers in global development?
When a new refugee flow emerges, there is a short window of a few months for stopping the violence and enabling people to return home. It that window is missed, a new refugee population will likely remain displaced for decades. That’s where the US comes in—a large and coordinated push on the Burmese government can help stop the violence, allow Rohingya refugees to return, and recognize their rights.
3.5 million children around the world are refugees, many with little or no access to schooling. That means we won’t come anywhere near our targets for the fourth Sustainable Development Goal—quality education for all—unless we can address the refugee crisis. Save the Children International president Helle Thorning-Schmidt joins the CGD podcast to discuss how donor countries can help.
This paper evaluates an intervention aimed at improving road safety in Kenya, in which long-distance minibus passengers were encouraged to speak up and admonish their driver when they felt their safety was being compromised. Evocative messages designed to empower passengers were placed in a random sample of more than 1,000 minibuses. Comprehensive insurance claims data suggest the stickers reduced accidents by between one-half and two-thirds, and driver and passenger surveys indicate that passenger heckling contributed to this reduction.
In this report, Benjamin Leo, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Ross Thuotte assess the bank’s private-sector interventions in African fragile states. They summarize and analyze project-level data from IDA, IFC, and MIGA, and introduce a new framework to assist in the design and implementation of projects in fragile states.
Give a man a fish, the old adage runs, and he’ll eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever. Professor Chris Blattman doesn’t think we should do either. “We’re saying don’t give a man a fish. Don’t teach a man to fish. Give them the capital to decide, first of all, whether they want to be a fisherman or something else. And if they want to be a fisherman, they can use that capital to decide, do they need a rod, do they need someone to teach them how to fish.”
US strategy in the Middle East and North Africa has not changed in the past 40 years, favoring security approaches over political and economic development, narrow partnerships with select regime elements over broader engagement with governments and people, and short-term responses and interventions over long-term vision. Symptomatic of this strategy is the fact that US security assistance vastly outstrips economic assistance.
The world, as they say, is moving “beyond aid.” As true as that may be in aggregate, however, the trend doesn’t apply evenly across groups of countries. While fairly significant data gaps prevent a complete and unbiased picture, the available data show that ODA remains a comparatively prominent source of external financing for fragile states.
Experience shows that outside efforts to help reform or reconstruct fragile states must simultaneously address issues of security, governance, and economic growth. Greater than the Sum of Its Parts? looks at how seven governments—the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, and Sweden—are seeking to integrate their approach to fragile states. The authors find that "whole of government" approaches remain a work in progress and provide recommendations for how donors can best engage weak countries, including by experimenting with pooled funding arrangements, developing unified national strategies and by evaluating the impact of their interventions.