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Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS)


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Understanding Land Issues and their Impact on Tourism Development

The Government of the FSM is keen to improve the business environment for tourism, setting out an agenda for key tourism development reforms. To guide the planning and implementation of tourism development in the FSM, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted a political economy analysis of the impact of land issues on tourism development, focusing on Pohnpei, one of the FSM’s largely autonomous four states.


Understanding the Political Economy of Vanuatu

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been a development partner of Vanuatu since 1981. In 2014, ADB prepared a macro-level analysis of the political economy of Vanuatu to inform its current and future operations in the country and thereby enhance aid effectiveness.1 ADB’s operational plan for fragile and conflict-affected situations and its Pacific regional approach call for a high level of understanding of the local context through a political economy analysis of its Pacific developing member countries.


Understanding the Local Context: Fragility Assessment of Development Projects in Nepal

ADB’s experience in Nepal shows that fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS) present the most challenging—and, at times, unpredictable—development context. Political and social issues in FCAS can affect implementation of a development project. Considering that FCAS vary and are usually contextual, understanding the local context should be a prerequisite for a coherent and relevant development assistance. This publication presents the how-to’s, experiences, and lessons of fragility assessment on three ADB projects in rural infrastructure, urban infrastructure, and commercial agriculture in Nepal.


Building Local Capacity for Peace-Sensitive Development in Nepal
This publication aims to share the experiences and lessons from the capacity building for peace-sensitive development in Nepal. It also aims to raise awareness of the importance of government leadership and ownership in mainstreaming the peace-sensitive approach in the context of a transitional or postconflict situation. Other countries experiencing fragility and development agencies may replicate or build upon the conflict-sensitive approach in Nepal to increase aid effectiveness in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

Understanding and Responding to a Fragile Situation: A Pilot Assessment in Papua New Guinea

This fragile situation assessment explores the context and implications of fragility in PNG, particularly the two focus areas of ADB operations in the country: transport and energy. The study aims to determine the drivers of fragility in transport and energy sectors, focusing on governance and how ADB and the government respond to these drivers, and to offer practical recommendations for the PNG Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2016-2020.


Fragility Index for a Differentiated Approach

Fragility is a complex and dynamic issue that is very difficult to be captured in one quantitative measure. However, an indicator that can gauge the level, degree, and trend of fragility at a country level is needed as a basis for allocating limited resources and as a guide for a differentiated approach toward engagement in countries with fragile and conflict-affected situations. ADB is developing a fragility index based on the key dimensions of fragility that has been made comparable across countries and time to ensure that evaluation and monitoring of fragility trends can be conducted to see if the fragility situation has improved or worsened. The index serves as a guide to ADB and other similar institutions for engaging in fragile and conflict-affected situations.


Practical Guide to Fragility Assessment

A fragile situation can be a vicious cycle of fragility and conflict and may result from a combination of economic, institutional, political and cultural, and structural issues. This guide provides steps on how to understand the local context of a fragile country and how to come up with practical knowledge that could feed into development strategies, programs, and projects.








Gender-inclusive constitution key to Nepal’s transition from fragility to development

By Sharada Jnawali


For several weeks now, Nepal has seen violent clashes between protestors and government forces over a proposed new constitution that would divide the country into federal states. Read more.








7 symptoms of fragility in Pacific developing countries

By Cyrel San Gabriel


Donors spend billions of dollars on aid to countries with fragile and conflict-affected situations. However, a huge chunk of that money is wasted as resources are mishandled and programs not sustained. According to a 2007 UN study, failing states due to conflict and fragility cost the global economy up to $267 billion a year. We definitely need to rethink how we work in fragile situations, and—as prescribed by the OECD—the first step is identifying dimensions of conflict and fragility within a country before planning for large- or small-scale development programs. Read more.








Infographics Aside, Are Fragility Indices Useful?

By Bryony Lau and Patrick Barron



Devising quantitative measures of state weakness is big business in the development industry. As awareness of the importance of institutions to growth and peace has spread, development practitioners and policymakers have been served an ever-expanding smorgasbord of state fragility indices (see here, here, and here). Countries receive a numerical score based on a range of indicators deemed to capture the ability of states to serve their people. Read more.






Let’s rethink how we work in fragile states

By Patrick Safran, ADB Focal Point for Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations


“Without addressing fragility we cannot achieve sustained development progress.”


This statement was made recently by Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, one of several countries in Asia and the Pacific where development progress has traditionally been hampered by fragile and conflict-affected situations. In fragile states such as Timor-Leste, which gained its independence in 2002, achieving development gains is particularly challenging due to weak institutions, political instability or long exposure to internal conflict, and vulnerability to economic shocks or climate change in the form of natural disasters. Read more.






Working in conflict-affected areas – the Myanmar experience

By Elaine Thomas


A few weeks ago, staff from ADB’s Resident Mission in Myanmar went into the field to share information with communities and key stakeholders about the East-West Economic Corridor project, a road improvement project the Ministry of Construction is planning to implement with ADB financing in 2016. Read more.








Fragile and conflict-affected situations: Why they matter, and how aid can help

By Patrick Barron and Sasiwan Chingchit


Where governments do not function well, growth and sustainable development are rare, and destructive, violent conflicts are more likely. Working in such fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCASs)—common across Asia and the Pacific—requires development agencies, including ADB, to do business differently. This means cultivating a deeper understanding of fragility and conflict risks, and recognizing that successfully delivering assistance in these contexts demands a tailored response. Read more.


This blog was commissioned by ADB as part of a joint ADB-TAF workshop on assessing fragility held in Bangkok on 15-16 June, 2015, and originally published in the In Asia blog.







ADB, Asia Foundation hold experts' meeting on fragility assessment in Bangkok

By Jesusa Dela Cruz


ADB and The Asia Foundation jointly organized the Roundtable Expert’s Meeting on Assessing Fragility for a Differentiated Approach in Dealing with Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations on 15-16 June 2015 in Bangkok. A total of 23 experts and policymakers discussed fragility assessment best practices in subnational and transitional or turnaround situations, and how fragility and conflict assessments can best inform development partners and governments in order to contribute to effective programming and policy responses on the ground. See details and presentations.







What you need to know about the OECD’s new approach to fragile states

By ADB Blog Team on Fri, 29 May 2015


The Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD)’s new approach to fragile states assesses fragility as a universal issue that can affect all countries in different dimensions – not only those traditionally considered “fragile” or conflict-affected. This may lead to a whole new set of development interventions, according to OECD Lead Governance Advisor Sara Fyson, who sat down with us to discuss the findings of the recent report States of Fragility 2015 by the Paris-based organization's Governance for Peace and Development Team led by Jolanda Profos. Read more.






ADB's 5 tips for working in fragile states

By Lean Alfred Santos, Devex


In fragile and conflict-affected states, the rules are different, and international aid implementers need to adapt if they want their programs to be effective and achieve results.


That’s why the Asian Development Bank encourages aid groups, nongovernmental organizations, U.N. agencies and private firms to engage FCAS in a different way to avoid major human, social, economic and security costs. It’s not only that traditional approaches can be ineffective — they can also make it harder for these nations to build their capacity and transition to long-term stability. Read more.




Infrastructure development in fragile states: Is it worth it?

By Patrick Safran, ADB Focal Point for Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations


There is evidence from Cambodia to Afghanistan that taking a risk on infrastructure investment can yield great results, but it takes time to get the balance right.


Transport, energy, information and communication technology, and water infrastructure enable a state to grow its economy and improve the quality of life of its citizens. Infrastructure acts as the backbone of growth and social wellbeing – boosting employment, reducing the high costs of accessing markets, providing ways of reaching isolated communities, and ensuring access to basic services.


But is it really worth investing in infrastructure in situations of political instability, weak governance, economic insecurity, conflict and vulnerability to natural disasters? Our experience in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that infrastructure investment can deliver greater economic returns in fragile states, if the work is done right. Read more.  


[Parts of this article were shared by Patrick Safran, ADB focal point for fragile situations, during the live chat debate on infrastructure development in fragile states organized by the Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network on 7 November 2013.]







Working Differently in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations

ADB encourages new thinking and mainstreaming of innovative approaches to help development practitioners more effectively plan, design, and implement projects in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

Why Do We Need to Work Differently in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations

ADB Vice President Stephen Groff talks about the need for development institutions to work differently in fragile and conflict-afffected situations. He emphasizes that political instability undermines economic growth; understanding political, cultural, and socio-economic issues is critical; and fragility is costly for the country, its citizens, neighboring countries, and the global community.

2007 ADB Approach to Weakly Performing Countries

Kazu Sakai, Chair, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations Steering Committee and Director General, Strategy and Policy Department, talks about the 2007 ADB Approach to Weakly Performing Countries (which ADB now refers to as fragile and conflict-affected situations). The 2007 ADB Approach emphasizes long-term commitment, development partner coordination, and flexibility.

How Do We Operate in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations

Ayumi Konishi, Deputy Director General, Pacific Department, talks about using regional strategy for fragile Pacific countries, using interim strategy for Solomon Islands, and building local capacity for a water supply project in Timor-Leste. Tatsuya Kanai, Senior Advisor, Central and West Asia Department, shares on the infrastructure trust fund in Afghanistan. Claudia Buentjen, Principal Country Specialist, Philippines Country Office, discusses the use of conflict-sensitive approach in Mindanao Philippines. 


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