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Fixing fragility: Time to rewrite rulebook

Source(s):  Citizen, the - Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL)

By Jonathan Papoulidis

The need for a new approach to help fragile states has never been so urgent. The increased concentration of conflict in these contexts has spurred a global displacement crisis creating more than 20 million refugees and leaving some 40 million people internally displaced.

Vulnerability to climate change, disasters, pandemics, and price shocks is also higher in fragile states and will inevitably spur new waves of displacement, especially if funding for disaster risk reduction (DRR) continues to largely bypass these countries. Moreover, it's estimated that 80 percent of the world's extreme poor will live in fragile contexts by 2010, the endpoint of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Development has traditionally foucsed on promoting economic growth and reducing poverty, rather than helping countries manage complex risks, root causes and crises. This is despite various studies noting that today's most peaceful and advanced economies are where they are today because they avoided or managed major setbacks and crises, rather than solely focusing on growth acceleration. 


Amid broad agreement that the current approach is ill-equipped to deal with the exigencies of fragile states, a new model is beginning to emerge. A so-called "fragility to resilience" paradigm has begun to take root across fragile state governments, donors, and multilateral institutions, including the g7+, the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, the UN, and the OECD.


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  • Publication date 14 Apr 2019

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