MANILA, PHILIPPINES (15 November 2016) - Development partners need to improve their approach to promote sustainable development in countries that have fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS) through critical analysis of economic, structural, social, political, and institutional issues in each country and by customizing interventions based on the local context, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report published today.
“Every fragile situation calls for a unique response. If the right policies—customized to the local context—are not in place and core institutions are not strong enough to absorb the resources provided by development partners, the vicious cycle of fragility, conflict, and poverty will continue,” said Stephen Groff, ADB Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “Sound structural policies can lead to more effective and efficient governance, while social inclusion and equity are the foundation for political stability and socio-economic growth.”
FCAS countries are generally characterized by political instability, weak governance and institutional capacity, economic and social insecurity, and greater vulnerability to the effects of climate change. They confront complex and multi-faceted issues, and prioritizing development interventions is often challenging.
The study, Mapping Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations in Asia and the Pacific – The ADB Experience, reviews the country performance assessments of ADB’s 12 developing member countries affected by fragility and conflict: Afghanistan, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. According to the report, all of these countries have achieved few gains on economic management, structural policies, social inclusion/equity, and public sector management between 2006 and 2015. The report also includes the Philippines, which is not considered a fragile country, but is affected by a subnational conflict situation in Mindanao.
The report notes that while in some FCAS countries, investments by governments and development partners in transportation, energy, education, health, private sector development, and other areas may have reaped some benefits, much more must be done to ensure sustainability.
A new approach to FCAS countries, the study suggests, should focus on better knowledge and understanding of the political economy context of each sector when designing development programs and projects, including a careful analysis of governance, institutional, political, and social issues.
The study recommends that development partners and governments should include some key areas in their priority list for assistance. They involve mainstreaming gender equality at the local level, strengthening accountability mechanisms for public resource use, increasing investment on health and education, capacity building for environmental institutions, developing an innovative policy framework on land use, and improving regulatory frameworks for trade, finance, and business.