Strong institutions, inclusive processes crucial for peace in crisis-affected countries

12 Jan 2012

imageIn Somalia, annual development plans helped improve access to services such as hospitals and water boreholes.

New York —Building responsive institutions that deliver essential services and investing in inclusive political processes are among key ways to restore the social contract between states and citizens in crisis-affected countries, and consolidate peacebuilding gains.

These recommendations are put forward in a new report, Governance for Peace: Securing the Social Contract, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and launched in New York today.

“UNDP has tremendous experience in supporting states in processes of peacebuilding and statebuilding, and the Governance for Peace framework emerged from recognition that practical innovation on the ground had outstripped existing policy and programmatic support,” said Jordan Ryan, Director of the UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

A quarter of the world’s population - some 1.5 billion people—lives in countries that are affected by fragility, armed conflict, organized crime, or volatile political transitions, and these countries are farthest from achieving the Millennium Development Goals – the eight internationally agreed anti-poverty goals that seek to end extreme poverty by 2015.

The report builds on UNDP’s experience in various countries around the world, and provides decision-makers and development actors with recommendations on how to address governance challenges in these post-conflictand fragile contexts.

In Somalia for example, during 2010, UNDP supported local governments to produce, for the first time, annual development plans in partnership with the communities that they represent. This resulted in the rehabilitation of vital community infrastructure that improved access to services such as health centers, water boreholes, irrigation systems, roads, market places and garbage collection points for 140,000 people.

In the run up to Tunisia’s historic 2011 Constituent Assembly elections, UNDP provided technical support to draft new laws with the full participation of non-governmental organizations, and trained 45 women to conduct successful electoral campaigns. In addition, UNDP worked with representatives from more than 50 political parties to promote collaboration and support a more consensus-based transitional process.

The report also notes that ensuring the inclusion of traditionally marginalized and vulnerable groups, particularly women and youth, helps to foster resilience in communities, and consolidate peace. 

The report’s fourth and final recommendation is to support stronger partnerships between national and local governments, civil society and international organisations, to ensure coordinated and coherent programme delivery.

“The report offers an important reminder that governance is a central question in situations of conflict, fragility, and violence”, said Stephen Ndegwa from the World Bank’s Global Center on Conflict, Security and Development in Kenya. “Rebuilding the social contract, and development partner support for efforts by states and citizens to do so, are key to recovery from fragility and crises”.

UNDP’s approach to working in fragile contexts and crisis-affected countries builds on the organisation’s own experiences and the set of principles laid out in the New Deal for engagement in fragile states,which include a commitment to effective use of aid resources, country-led ownership and a focus on key programme areas including improved security and access to justice, and support for livelihoods and capacity to deliver social services.