In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of  “Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

Data Collection in Fragile states
The World Bank, January 2020

Quality statistics are critical for development interventions to be effective. However, they are hard to obtain in fragile situations as fragility affects the ability to collect data in many ways. From exposure to violence or to other dangers, such as disease, collecting information isn’t possible using traditional means without putting enumerators at risk. There is also the association of conflict with poor-quality roads, inadequate telecommunication infrastructure and, at times, populations that are hostile to representatives of the central government. Fragile situations can also complicate data collection in other ways such as people being displaced or the lack of sampling frames. A new report, Data Collection in Fragile States, presents innovations developed to deal with common challenges. The report presents innovations, both methodological as well in data collection, to address the data gaps in fragile situations. Through examples, the book shows that it is possible to collect high-quality data in fragile settings and such data collection need not be expensive but also warns that technology is not a panacea for all data collection issues.

Focusing on Fragility: The Future of US Assistance to Fragile States
Center for Global Development, October 2019

It has been nearly two decades since the 9/11 attacks thrust fragile states into a central space in American foreign and development policy. Though this fateful date, and the subsequent massive US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, is gradually receding into history, fragile states still feature prominently in US—and global—development efforts. In our time, the world has seen incredible, sweeping improvements in global living standards. But progress has been uneven, and poverty is now largely concentrated in fragile states. Today, to be serious about development, tackling the causes and consequences of fragility has become imperative. Donor organizations around the world are increasingly reorganizing and reorienting policies to better support fragile states’ pathways to increased peace, stability, and resilience to cope with complex risks. The United States, a top donor to fragile states, is among them. But while these efforts are critical and commendable, they do not promise to be easy. Grappling with the political incentives of fragile state elites; promoting the inclusive governance that lays the foundation for lasting peace; aligning the efforts of different US agencies toward a common objective; constructively bringing in local partners; and revamping the “nuts and bolts” of how development programs are funded, procured, and staffed are age-old, long-term problems. As is organizing a coordinated response among donors, each with its own culture and way of working. But as development becomes increasingly intertwined with fragility, attention is strategically shifting toward these issues.

Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture, July 2019

The Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It provides a quarterly forward-looking analysis of major disaster risks to food security and agriculture, specifically highlighting: potential new emergencies resulting from imminent disaster threats; and new developments in countries already affected by protracted crises which are likely to cause a further deterioration of food insecurity. By providing specific early action recommendations for each country, the report aims to prompt FAO and partners to proactively mitigate and/or prevent disasters before they start to adversely impact food security.

Aid’s fragile state problem – why is it so hard to even think about?, 06/11/2018

I’ve spotted a recurring problem with the way the aid sector talks about fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). FCAS are characterized by states that are either absent or predatory – in terms of development, governments and officials are as likely to be part of the problem as part of the solution. But the aid sector, especially the official world of bilateral and multilateral organizations, traditionally relies on the state as the main channel for spending aid dollars to provide education, health or the rule of law. Its instincts are statist. Aid wallahs can’t seem to cope when that recipe doesn’t work, and when confronted with FCAS, it often suffers some kind of intellectual loss of nerve where it ends up ‘assuming a state’ when discussing the role of aid. With a functioning (if imaginary) state, suddenly we can have all those comforting aid discussions about how it should best spend money, build schools etc etc. Most odd. I mentioned this phenomenon in my review of a recent LSE-hosted ‘Commission on Fragility and Growth’, but it cropped up again in a recent ODI report on ‘financing the end of extreme poverty’.

Recognising the Debilitating Nature Conflict Has on Food Security, 21/09/2018

Nyalen Kuong and her daughters fled to safety after an attack on their village in South Sudan in which Kuong’s husband and two sons where killed and the family’s cattle lost. Kuong, her daughters and other families from their village fled to islands surrounded by swamp land. There, she had little to eat. And soon began suffering from diarrhoea, brought on by acute malnutrition. Eventually she was taken to a hospital camp where she was treated and was placed on an intravenous feeding drip. This is Kuong’s story as told by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). When she recovered she was given fishing equipment by FAO, which she now uses to supply her own food. South Sudan is Africa’s newest state, but it has been mired in civil conflict since December 2013. Some 2.8 million people, a majority of whom depend on livestock for their livelihoods, are now facing acute food and nutrition insecurity, according to FAO. The debilitating nature of conflict: Kuong’s experiences continue to be replicated in conflict zones around the world. Conflicts cost livelihoods and drive hunger and malnutrition, some of the most pressing development challenges today. In May 2018, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2417 (2018), explicitly acknowledging the link between conflict and hunger and calling on all partners to protect civilians as well as their means to produce and access food. Hunger has been on the rise for three years in a row, the U.N. found in a new report published this September. The global body says 821 million people are now hungry and over 150 million children stunted, putting the goal of hunger eradication at risk.

States of Fragility 2018, 17/07/2018

Three years into the 2030 Agenda it is already apparent that those living in fragile contexts are the furthest behind. Not all forms of fragility make it to the public’s eye: fragility is an intricate beast, sometimes exposed, often lurking underneath, but always holding progress back. Conflict, forced displacement, violent extremism, famine etc. are all causes and consequences of fragility. Hence the need to better understand, anticipate and respond to fragility. States of Fragility 2018 exposes the critical challenge posed by fragility in achieving the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda, sustainable development and peace. It highlights twelve key aspects of fragility, defying common assumptions and simplistic categorisation. It documents progress made in fragile situations on attaining sustainable development, unveiling exit doors from the fragility trap. It then illustrates the current state of financing to address fragility and suggests more effective approaches, accounting for its multidimensionality. Above all, the report aims to strike a balance between fragility’s inherent complexity and the degree of simplicity that is required for efficient policy and decision making, namely through systems-based thinking; longer-term, consistent aid plans; the financing of peace; and a persistent focus on human beings.

International community strengthens support for Somalia’s plans for stability & development
European Commission,  17/07/2018

Somalia will benefit from renewed international support, both politically and financially, as the country implements key reforms to overcome years of conflict and secure a better future for the Somali people. Today, international stakeholders gathered in Brussels for the Somalia Partnership Forum, organised by the European Union together with the Federal Government of Somalia and Sweden. Over 60 delegations took part and agreed on joint commitments in key areas for inclusive politics, peace and security and economic recovery in Somalia. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The European Union is leading the international partnership to strengthen Somalia’s political, economic and security reform agenda. Today, I announced that the EU will provide additional €200 million to support Somalia’s overall stabilisation to create a better future for its people. I also signed the EU’s contribution of €114.2 million for the African Union Mission to Somalia until the end of this year. The stability and development of the country is also critical for the stability of the broader region and for Europe.”

Supporting resilience building is key to reducing humanitarian needs in Somalia
Prevention Web , 10/07/2018

There is a proverb attributed to the ancient Greeks that says, ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.’ Few such trees have been planted in Somalia in the past three decades leading to a population rated one of the most vulnerable in the world to severe climactic shocks and conflict. Somalia is at a critical juncture, where it has made true progress on the political and governance fronts, but where these significant, yet fragile, gains have yet to translate into sustainable development – mainly due to a lack of strong governmental institutions since in 1991. Proof of the improved conditions came in 2017, when the collaborative efforts of aid agencies and authorities, aided by timely and historic levels of support from donors, staved off the threat of famine. But the damage caused by recent flooding has attenuated communities’ ability to recover from prolonged drought. In addition, protracted conflict that defines the protection crisis at the heart of the Somali experience continues to cause mass displacement and disrupt livelihoods across the country. Malnutrition and disease continue to stalk the population. Some 5.4 million people need assistance in 2018. Meanwhile, the cost of delivering aid continues to spike. In 2017, $1.3 billion was provided to avert famine in Somalia. Another $1.5 billion is needed in 2018 for aid. Between 2010 and 2017, $7 billion was provided for aid – an average of $875 million per year. The vast majority of this funding saved lives but has not strengthened the resilience of disaster-prone communities, despite the idea having been a standing agenda item since 2012.

US Aid to Fragile States: Where Does the Money Go?
Center for global development , 11/06/2018

By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s poor will be concentrated in fragile states, a shift that has prompted the United States (and other donors) to rethink how to confront the particular challenges of these environments and support a path to greater country resilience. To contribute to that conversation, CGD recently launched a working group that will look at the future of US development assistance to fragile states, with a report forthcoming later this year. This blog post takes stock of the current landscape of US foreign aid to fragile states and gives an overview of where the money is going, what agencies are involved, and for what purpose(s) the money is given.  Even as US government engagement with fragile states has grown in prominence over the last decade, development success has been mixed at best. Several new initiatives and proposed reforms seek to take stock of the lessons of the past to address shortcomings in how the US government delivers aid to address fragility. For example, USAID, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense just completed the first-ever Stabilization Assistance Review in order to streamline interagency coordination efforts in conflict-affected areas, with a focus on learning lessons from Iraq and Syria.

Economic development in fragile contexts: learning from success and failure, May 2018

Fragile and conflict-affected developing countries face major challenges in transforming their economies. As with low-income countries generally, some countries affected by fragility experience periods of rapid economic growth – particularly at the end of a conflict – but this growth is typically unsustainable and of low quality. Promotion of economic transformation is not typically a priority in such states, despite the fact that it may help reduce the risk of future conflict and increase resilience to shocks. As a result, governments of the G7+ group of fragile states are becoming increasing critical of the lack of attention paid by their development partners to issues such as job creation and infrastructure investment. There have been a number of success cases in some fragile states – such as where political opportunities have arisen in specific sectors at the conclusion of armed conflict. Notable examples include the growth of the telecommunications sector (specifically mobile phones) in Afghanistan after 2001 and the development of cocoa farming in Sierra Leone after 2003.