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How donors take account of the World Development Report

August 26, 2011

In earlier blog posts I have referred to the challenges for international organisations including donors working in conflict affected contexts, and how well these were articulated in the 2011 World Development Report. It is good to see at least one donor taking this seriously: DFID included the following text as part of a recent procurement tender. A good step, and an example for others to follow, perhaps?

 “Key lessons from 2011 World Development Report

  • Donors need to be realistic about what their support to peacebuilding and governance can achieve.
  • Change takes time. Creating legitimate institutions that can prevent repeated violence is a slow process which takes at least a generation.
  • Asking fragile states to move forward too quickly, even with very desirable steps, risks creating pressures that collapse what little capability has been created.
  • Reforms need to be carefully sequenced and carried out through systematic and gradual action.
  • When trying to influence institutional transformation in complex conflict settings, perfection should not be the enemy of progress—pragmatic, “best-fit” approaches adapted to local conditions should be used to address immediate challenges.
  • A focus on developing legitimate institutions does not mean converging on Western institutions.
  • Governments and donors should keep an open mind on how institutions will develop, and be ready to respond flexibly to opportunities for reform as they arise.
  • The absence of easily recognisable formal state institutions should not be equated with an absence of institutions altogether. Coexistence and interaction between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ institutions have been key in balancing internal and external demands for legitimacy [….] and represent significant progress in governance.Innovative approaches managing and assessing risk need to be adopted; which allow for flexibility, failure and amendments within a transparent reporting framework.
  • Goals, number of priorities and timeframes need to be more realistic.
  • Donors should adopt targeted approaches which focus on two or three rapid results to build confidence and on narrowly and realistically defined institution-building.
  • A stronger focus needs to be placed on addressing external stresses (such as economic shocks and the infiltration of organised crime and trafficking networks)
  • It is critical to support strong leadership – committed to security, justice and equity.
  • It is critical to establish lines of accountability.”
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