Public Group on Fragility and Crisis Situations

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N° 8 - Working with International Actors in Situations of Conflict and Fragility

Page created by
Mihaela Haliciu7 April 2015


Topic overview


  • Coordination between international partners is particularly needed in the absence of strong national counterparts.
  • Coordination is easier in those sectors where the government has the most well-defined responsibilities and clearest policies.
  • Country-specific transition compacts that provide light, flexible agreements between national and international partners are proving useful for joint prioritisation and in improving aid coherence and effectiveness.
  • Fragile and conflict-affected situations need a multi-dimensional response which places further demands in terms of coordinating each agency’s expertise.
  • Working groups organised by sector, theme or geographic area can be effective for structured discussions on coordination.
  • Building on existing coordination arrangements rather than creating new ones allows for swifter reaction to crisis.

From information sharing to use of common strategic frameworks, collective action has proved both feasible and essential in situations of conflict and fragility. Where weak governance or conflict situations make alignment on government strategies difficult, donor coordination is particularly needed.

Better collaboration involves designing common analyses and strategies; effectively sharing information; dividing tasks and responsibilities among actors; maximising complementarities and synergies; avoiding gaps and contradictions; and taking advantage of each other’s expertise, experience and added value.

Principle 8 of the OECD’s 10 Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situationsrecognises the importance of cooperation (Box 1). But this principle was considered one of the four most ‘off-track’ in 2011, according to an OECD monitoring survey.

BOX 1 OECD Principle 8: Agree on practical coordination mechanisms between international actors

  • Coordination between international actors can happen even in the absence of strong government leadership.
  • It is important to work together on upstream analysis, joint assessments, shared strategies and coordination of political engagement.
  • Practical initiatives can take the form of joint donor offices, an agreed division of labour among donors, delegated cooperation arrangements, multi-donor trust funds, and common reporting and financial requirements.
  • Wherever possible, international actors should work jointly with national reformers in government and civil society to develop a shared analysis of challenges and priorities.
  • In the case of countries in transition from conflict or international disengagement, the use of simple integrated planning tools, such as the transitional results matrix, can help to set and monitor realistic priorities.
  • This note looks at how to work in coordination with EU Services — DEVCO, ECHO and FPI at the EC, and EEAS (internal coordination) — as well as with EU Member States and other international actors (external coordination).

To find out more and read the key issues and case study, Download this first note PDF (240,33 KB)

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