Post 2015 and New Deal
Rarely have the topics of conflict and fragility been such a focus of interest in global development discussions as they are today. The main reason is the recognition that “fragile” states face the greatest difficulties achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Within the framework of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), a group of fragile states (the g7+) therefore met with international donors and defined a new set of goals and new ways of engaging in fragile states. The result is a document entitled "A New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States", which was endorsed at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan at late 2011.
According to the New Deal, periodic fragility assessments should be conducted as a basis for a shared vision of the future, to be fleshed out in a joint plan and a compact for its implementation (“one vision, one plan”). One of the most innovative aspects of the New Deal is that the fragile states themselves – notwithstanding all their reservations about defining themselves as “fragile” – have taken the initiative. This “spirit” of the New Deal creates an unprecedented obligation for fragile states to address the task of achieving political settlements.
Five “Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals” (PSGs) shall provide the foundation for cooperation with fragile states:
- Legitimate Politics – Foster inclusive political settlements and conflict resolution
- Security – Establish and strengthen people’s security
- Justice – Address injustices and increase people’s access to justice
- Economic Foundations – Generate employment and improve livelihoods
- Revenues & Services – Manage revenue and build capacity for accountable and fair service delivery
Despite all the enthusiasm, there are still some concerns: for example, that the New Deal could be regarded, wrongly, as a blueprint, leading to the misguided expectation that long-term transition processes can deliver rapid results. The relationship between the fragility assessments and other instruments is still unclear, and there is a concern that the proposed strategies could lead to the emergence of parallel processes (e.g. in the development of national poverty reduction strategies or the implementation of peace agreements) and hence to inefficiency.The New Deal was meant to usher in nothing less than a paradigm shift in the cooperation with fragile and conflict-affected countries, away from the traditional donor-recipient relationship towards aligning international support behind locally-led processes, more transparency and donor harmonisation. However, the New Deal’s potential has not been utilised to the full: this, at least, was the tenor of many inputs at various FriEnt events.
It is an open question whether the New Deal will be interlinked with the implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in fragile and conflict affected countries. The 2030 agenda lays out a comprehensive framework to govern global development until 2030. Peaceful and inclusive societies are part of the agenda (Goal 16), recognising that protracted conflict prevented the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many countries. Peace is also among the five key areas for the whole agenda (along with people, planet, prosperity and partnership) which gives rise to hope for a more integrated approach to peace and development which would require a new culture of collaboration between different actors.
It is also crucial that the principle of universality of the 2030 Agenda – including Goal 16 – is taken seriously. In an interconnected world, the causes of conflict can never be entirely local. The dynamics of violent conflict are influenced by regional and global factors. At the same time, conflicts have impacts on global developments. Hopefully with the 2030 Agenda more consideration will be given to the impacts of globalised processes on local conflict situations and encourage a much-needed shift from reaction to prevention.
However, it is important to recognise where the limits of the new agenda lie. Goal 16 is far from perfect from a genuine peacebuilding perspective. For example, while the headline of the goal focuses on peaceful and inclusive societies, the targets pay special attention to the role of effective institutions. While transparent, fair and effective institutions are important for peacebuilding, issues like social cohesion, reconciliation or trust are missing in the targets but are nonetheless prerequisites for achieving the SDGs in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
FriEnt explores the peace dimensions of global development debates through publications, various events and networking. FriEnt is also a member of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) a South-North coalition of peacebuilding organisations that coordinates and supports civil society participation in the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS).
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