The New Deal

The New Deal is a key agreement between fragile and conflict-affected states, development partners, and civil society to improve the current development policy and practice in fragile and conflict-affected states. It was developed through the forum of the International Dialogue and signed by more than 40 countries and organizations at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness on November 30th 2011 at Busan, Korea.

The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States is a landmark global policy agreement. Through the New Deal, development partners committed to supporting nationally-owned and led development plans and greater aid effectiveness in fragile situations (the TRUST principles), and g7+ governments committed to inclusive planning processes, grounded in context (the FOCUS principles). Both parties committed to pursuing the five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs): legitimate politics, justice, security, revenue and services and economic foundations.

The New Deal was designed to deliver change: Change in “what” is done and change in “how” things are done to support countries’ transitions from conflict and fragility, and the building of peaceful states and societies. In practice, this means three main things: i) focus on the right priorities; ii) transitions from fragility must be country-owned and led; ii) resources must be used effectively and build local capacities and systems.

Moving forward, development cooperation has to shift from past donor-to-recipient transfer models, policies and practices – or using blueprint approaches to institutional reform – to an equal partnership between governments and development partners, based on dialogue and collaboration. 

The New Deal: Why do we need it?

Today, about 1.4 billion people live in fragile states. Fragile and transitional situations comprise a broad spectrum of contexts – from middle income countries with strong institutions, such as in the Middle East and North Africa – to low-income aid-dependent countries like Haiti and the Solomon Islands. Many fragile states are lagging behind in making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They also risk missing the opportunity to tap into the wider trends of economic growth and the overall “rise of the south”. Peace, security and development are heavily interlinked. Societies need a resilient and responsive state with the legitimacy and capacities to deliver basic services, security and justice to the population, and to create an enabling environment for equitable growth.

Transitioning out of fragility is a long, political work that requires country leadership and ownership. Processes of political dialogue have often failed due to lack of trust, inclusiveness and leadership. International partners often bypass national interests and actors, providing aid in overly technocratic ways that underestimate the importance of harmonizing with the national and local context, and support short-term results at the expense of medium-to-long-term sustainable results brought about by building capacity and systems.

The old way of delivering aid simply has not produced the kind of results needed for fragile states to get on a clear path to resilience. A new development architecture and new ways of working, better tailored to the situation and challenges of fragile contexts, are necessary to build peaceful states and societies.