Launch of the Independent Review of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding
Five years after being endorsed by over 40 member states and supporters, the International Dialogue’s New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States has delivered progress in countries ranging from Somalia to Sierra Leone. In order to understand the development impacts made under the New Deal, and to reflect on the lessons to be learned, the International Dialogue commissioned an independent review by the New York University's Center on International Cooperation.
The report, by Sarah Hearn, is the most comprehensive piece of research carried out on the International Dialogue and the New Deal, and marks a major moment in the pursuit of this initiative.
The official launch of the Independent Review Report took place on 17 April 2016, at 10h30 (EDT). You can watch the recording of the event below.
A brief presentation of the report’s highlights by CIC/NYU was followed by a panel discussion on what its conclusions and recommendations mean for the International Dialogue partnership. Panellists were also asked to comment on the ‘Stockholm Declaration’ recently endorsed by the International Dialogue members and partners in Stockholm, on 5 April 2016. They will identify what it will take to deliver on its ambition to prevent and address the root causes of conflict and deliver the 2030 Agenda in the fragile and conflict-affected countries of the g7+ group, and beyond.
Summary of the event
On 17 April 2016, the Independent Review of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States was launched at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC. Five years after it was endorsed by over 40 member states and supporters, the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States has delivered progress in countries ranging from Somalia to Sierra Leone. In order to understand the development impacts, and to reflect on lessons learned, the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding commissioned an independent review by the New York University's Centre on International Cooperation (CIC/NYU). The official launch of this report was attended by representatives from International Dialogue member countries, international organisations and the Associate Director of CIC/NYU, David Steven, who presented the overall findings of the Independent Review, conducted by his colleague, Sarah Hearn. Femi Oke moderated the event.
The launch of the Independent Review came at an important historic juncture for the New Deal, with its trial implementation period in eight pilot countries having recently come to an end. Simultaneously, the establishment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has obliged the New Deal’s endorsing countries and organisations to question strategies, and to work more closely to deliver on an ambitious set of objectives. A brief presentation of the Review’s highlights by David Steven was followed by a panel discussion on what its conclusions and recommendations mean for the International Dialogue partnership.
Helder da Costa, the General Secretary of the g7+ Secretariat, welcomed the Independent Review as an important opportunity to reflect on the five years that have elapsed since he worked together with development partners to formulate the New Deal in Busan in 2011. The panellists agreed that the New Deal has played an important role in shaping the 2030 Agenda, most noticeably in SDG 16, whose emphasis on peace, justice and strong institutions closely resembles the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) of the New Deal. With regard to the future direction of the New Deal, Mr. Da Costa also embraced the Independent Review’s recommendation that the g7+ intensify its role as a leading constituency, by reaching out to the UN, middle income countries, the BRICS and other non-traditional donors in its bid to support transitions from fragility. Saroj Jha, the Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank, elaborated on this point, noting that SDG 16 has provided a useful framework for the International Dialogue to link the New Deal with Agenda 2030, which can also help extend the New Deal principles beyond specific Ministries.
Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute of Peace, joined Mr Da Costa in praising the advent of the New Deal and added that its strength lies in its understanding of the relationship between security, politics, diplomacy, but agreed with Mr Jha insofar as the New Deal is not yet being implemented broadly enough. Indeed, Ms Lindborg endorsed one of the conclusions of the Independent Review that the real challenge moving forward is for the New Deal to be embraced not only by governments on both sides of the development partnership, but also within all sectors of governments themselves (meaning that the New Deal principles should reach beyond the Ministry of Finance and Planning, for example, and apply to that of Health, Development, Foreign Affairs, and so on).
Mr. Da Costa acknowledged that the New Deal has indeed struggled to gain traction beyond the Ministries of Finance and Planning in the majority of g7+ countries, but offered the positive example of the fourth g7+ Ministerial meeting in Kabul in March 2016, followed by the Kabul Communiqué, which received the full backing of the Afghan government.
Mr. Steven expanded on this point by noting that in a world marked by crises, government departments must work better together on preventing conflict rather than merely reacting to it. In this respect, the New Deal since 2011 has begun to compile an invaluable body of evidence about what actually works in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Moreover, the strong grouping in the g7+ and the alliance of countries and development partners behind the New Deal can offer a solid platform on which to promote both transitions out of fragility but also to prevent crises before they occur. The Panellists indeed expressed their support for the Independent Review’s third recommendation regarding the need to step up fragile-to-fragile (F2F) and South-South cooperation. The successes of this initiative, they observed, have been demonstrated in Guinea Bissau in 2012, in São Tomé and Príncipe, and more recently in the smooth transition of government in the Central African Republic, assisted by the g7+.
Mr. Jha emphasised several important lessons that the World Bank as an institution has gleaned from the Independent Review. First, the inclusion of all actors in New Deal implementation is crucial; the experience of the World Bank in the 1970s showed that it took many years for development partners to grasp the importance of a joint poverty assessment, but that the development of such tools (national PRSPs) and the contribution of all actors thereto have greatly alleviated poverty in subsequent decades. The New Deal can learn from this model, and in particular its emphasis on collaborations that nonetheless ensure country ownership.
Second, the International Dialogue as a coordinating body has been very international, but in order to help conflict-affected states make the necessary transition, it must engage more with regional players, including key neighbouring countries and regional organisations such as the League of Arab Nations and the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. Lastly, by creating a stronger, more vibrant regional platform, the International Dialogue can also facilitate trade between fragile countries and their neighbours build markets and thus make inroads into the accomplishment of PSG 4, on economic foundations, through the creation of jobs and improvement of livelihoods.
Melanie Greenberg, the President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, stated that one of the revolutionary things about the New Deal is the inclusion of civil society as an equal and central pillar in development efforts. She echoed her co-Panellists comments on the need for a whole-of-government approach, recommending that the whole of civil society needs to be more involved in New Deal implementation. Any kind of political change that takes place should have broad buy-in, and this can be achieved through the inclusion of women, girls and youth, as well as unions, churches and mosques, for example. One promising recent development has been the creation of technical Working Groups following the International Dialogue’s 5th Global Meeting in Stockholm (5 April 2016), several of which are being headed by key leaders from civil society on an equal footing with g7+ and INCAF representatives.
H.E. Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden, and co-Chair of the International Dialogue, concluded the Panel discussion by commenting on the recent fifth Global Meeting in Stockholm, which helped renew international attention towards both the International Dialogue and the New Deal, and was reinforced by the Stockholm Declaration. The Independent Review and the increasingly protracted nature of crises have reaffirmed the importance of the New Deal principles, and of the International Dialogue as the only network in which all actors are meeting with the purpose of finding a pathway out of fragility and towards peace and resilience.
There is now widespread agreement among members on the relevance of the instruments, but as fragile states move beyond the pilot phase of New Deal implementation, such instruments must be used better and more widely, notably by incorporating all actors concerned and instilling country-led, whole-of-government approaches.
- H.E. Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden, and co-Chair of the International Dialogue
- Saroj Jha, Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group at the World Bank
- Nancy Lindborg, President of the United States Institute of Peace
- Helder da Costa, General Secretary of the g7+ Secretariat
- Melanie Greenberg, President and CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding
- David Steven, Senior Fellow and Associate Director, CIC/NYU
Moderator: Femi Oke
Download the Report
To download the Independent Review Report, visit this page.