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Symposium 2009

Repairing Failed States

The Challenge

In a number of territories primarily situated in the poorer parts of the world, the state no longer performs its basic security and development functions. Beyond causing hardship for their own citizens, failed states provide breeding grounds of organized crime and terrorism.

The “failed states list” of 2008 of the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy is topped by Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Chad, and Iraq (in this order). These states have failed for different reasons, for example a foreign intervention in Iraq or the presence of a stationary bandit in Zimbabwe, but there are often similarities in the mechanisms that lead to state failure, for example the availability of natural resources.

State failure causes massive movements of refugees and internally displaced peoples, severe economic decline, and the spread of violence and crime. 9/11 has made the world realize that the effects of state failures do not stop at national borders. (Re-) Establishing state authority in these territories is one of the most challenging tasks of our time. In particular in light of the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, pessimism is dominating today’s discourse. This pessimism should be motivation for searching for innovative approaches to state-building in such difficult circumstances. “Repairing failed states” requires solutions that are ultimately driven by the citizens of the respective country. Yet, the global community – governments, international organizations and multinational corporations – can (and sometimes must) assist the citizens in getting into the driver’s seat. From this perspective, this session discusses the following questions:

  1. How to transform disenfranchised populations into stakeholders of a process of state-building? Which are specific mechanisms to reach different groups of these internal stakeholders (political elites, business elites, “ordinary citizens”)?
  2. What is the role of external stakeholders? Do we need a new approach to “development aid”, as its current mode of delivery in weak states hampers state-building? How to improve the interplay between military interventions, humanitarian relief, and development assistance? What is the role of international business in state-building processes? Do we need special supervisory mechanisms for international investors in weak states, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
  3. Can we identify general lessons to be learnt from successes and failures of fixing failed states, for example from Iraq, Afghanistan or former Yugoslavia? Where to put priorities in re-establishing state-functions and how to sequence interventions and policies (security, infrastructure, basic service delivery)? Or are these situations too country-specific for any generalizations?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Transform aid delivery by establishing trust funds co-managed by the state and donors, developing sector-wide approaches where donors pool funds, and giving management of sector programs to the local government.

    Transform aid delivery by establishing trust funds co-managed by the state and donors, developing sector-wide approaches where donors pool funds, and giving management of sector programs to the local ...

    Transform aid delivery by establishing trust funds co-managed by the state and donors, developing sector-wide approaches where donors pool funds, and giving management of sector programs to the local government.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Demand excellence in execution of promised reforms.

    Demand excellence in execution of promised reforms.

    Demand excellence in execution of promised reforms.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Target donor assistance and support at promoting economic production, especially in agriculture.

    Target donor assistance and support at promoting economic production, especially in agriculture.

    Target donor assistance and support at promoting economic production, especially in agriculture.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2009

    Invest into research on the local socio-political context and unify donor assistance to leverage local capacities and social relationships to promote state-building.

    Invest into research on the local socio-political context and unify donor assistance to leverage local capacities and social relationships to promote state-building.

    Invest into research on the local socio-political context and unify donor assistance to leverage local capacities and social relationships to promote state-building.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Repairing Failed States

    There is of course no universally applicable formula how to turn disenfranchised populations into stakeholders of a process of state-building. A natural first step is that such a process should start ...

    There is of course no universally applicable formula how to turn disenfranchised populations into stakeholders of a process of state-building. A natural first step is that such a process should start from the identification of the main obstacles to state-building, such as outstanding legal settlements of past conflicts or ethnic and religious tensions. Then, country-specific processes addressing the main obstacles need to be designed and implemented. In general, these processes need to ensure that internal stakeholders acknowledge each other’s claims within a framework of politics and the rule of law rather than violence, for instance in the form of

    Polity, Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    A Framework for Fixing Fragile States: Leveraging Social Cohesion and Local Institutions

    The Roots of Fragility The illegitimacy and poor governance that debilitate fragile states can be traced to many factors—such as colonialism—that have combined to detach states from their environm ...

    The Roots of Fragility The illegitimacy and poor governance that debilitate fragile states can be traced to many factors—such as colonialism—that have combined to detach states from their environments, governments from their societies, and elites from their citizens. Whereas a robust state uses local identities, local capacities, and local institutions to promote its development, a fragile state’s formal governing structures undermine all of these indigenous assets. As a consequence, a weak state cannot leverage its people’s histories and customs to construct effective formal institutions with wide legitimacy; nor can it draw on the social capital embedded in cohesive groups

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Liberia: Rebuilding for Growth and Development

    Liberia is a case study both of Africa’s terrible tragedy and for the recent emergence of hope. For the past two decades, the world came to know Liberia as a land of political comedy, widespread cor ...

    Liberia is a case study both of Africa’s terrible tragedy and for the recent emergence of hope. For the past two decades, the world came to know Liberia as a land of political comedy, widespread corruption and unimaginable brutality. Liberia became the strange footage that flickered on television screens with terrible images of savagery. The Liberian people became refugees and fled to all corners of the globe for shelter. It was a period of darkness and insanity. But fortunately, things have finally begun to change.   Conflict and Recovery The origins of the Liberian conflict can be traced back to

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2009

    Financial crisis and fragile states

    The Impact of the Financial Crisis on “Fragile States” James Putzel Professor of Development Studies Director of the Crisis States Research Centre London School of Economics The Global Economic Sy ...

    The Impact of the Financial Crisis on “Fragile States” James Putzel Professor of Development Studies Director of the Crisis States Research Centre London School of Economics The Global Economic Symposium needs to be much more concerned with the set of countries which have become known as “fragile states” than with the problem of “failed states” per se. The outright “failure” of states – that is when they cease to function as states at all – as occurred in Somalia or earlier in the Democratic Republic of Congo during what has come to be known as “Africa’s First World War” (1996-2001),

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Implemen- tations

    Implementation
    Symposium 2009

    Liberia’s Health Sector Pool Fund

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society