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The Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situation (FCAS) Resource Center aims to share and disseminate knowledge and provide technical information on ADB's field experiences in FCAS. ADB works with a number of developing member countries facing fragility and conflict—circumstances that complicate economic development, and might include political instability, weak governance, economic insecurity, domestic or international conflict, ethnic tensions, vulnerability to natural disasters, or a confluence of these factors. For more information, visit Fragile Situations at ADB.org

 

12 Things to Know: Fragility and Conflict in Asia and the Pacific

 

FCAS Resource Center Photo

     

 Features      Publications           Videos


 

Features

 

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.]

 

High-level forum on building resilience held in Manila

The Asian Development Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development jointly hosted a High-Level Forum on Building Resilience to Fragility in Asia and the Pacific from 6 to 7 June 2013 in Manila. The Manila Forum was designed to exchange ideas on new ways of engagement and what constitutes “working differently” and working better in FCAS to help build resilience to fragility and conflict. In the forum workshop, participants were asked: (i) how stronger partnerships for building resilience could be formed; (ii) how to encourage country ownership and leadership to build on the Dili Consensus and the Washington Communiqué; and (iii) how to contribute to New Deal implementation.

 

Senior government officials from 11 countries (Afghanistan, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Nauru, Nepal, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu); development partners (ADB, AusAID, UNDP, USAID, and World Bank); and civil society organizations (The Asia Foundation, International Alert) joined the forum. See forum documents. Read the forum proceedings.

 


 

Publications

 

What’s New?

 

The Challenges of Doing Business in Papua New Guinea

This report summarizes key results from a 2012 survey of businesses in Papua New Guinea. It compares the results with the 2002 and 2007 surveys and shows that, while the business environment has improved since 2002, doing business in Papua New Guinea remains extremely challenging.

 

Pacific Transport Update 2013
ADB is working to assist the development of the transport sector in 14 Pacific developing members through technical assistance and concessional loan or grant financing. ADB is providing support for land, maritime, and aviation subsectors to improve access to domestic and international markets, delivery of social services, and integrated networks for inclusive development. ADB is currently implementing transport projects in eight Pacific developing member countries: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu.

 

Forum on Building Resilience to Fragility in Asia and the Pacific: Proceedings

This document contains the proceedings from the high-level forum, Building Resilience to Fragility in Asia and the Pacific, that was held by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in Manila in June 2013. The forum aimed to foster stronger partnerships, support new thinking and innovative engagement, and enhance development efforts to better assist countries with fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS).

 

Building Resilient Societies: Evolving Solutions

Countries that may be considered fragile or that have experienced conflict, whether at a national or subnational level, are organizing to unify their voices on the global stage. High-level meetings have been held and declarations of intent have been issued, but this commitment needs to be translated into more effective action on the ground. A forum was held in Manila in June 2013 to translate international intent into in-country actions so that more resilient and more inclusive societies may emerge. This note summarizes the complex story of exclusion and the recommendations for action that emerge from the ADB–Australian Aid Forum on Building Resilience to Fragility in Asia and the Pacific, the recent literature, and the latest international discussions.

 

Assessments

 

Afghanistan

Country Assistance Program Evaluation Report for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

This first country assistance program evaluation report for Afghanistan, provides an independent assessment of ADB's strategy and program in Afghanistan covering the period from ADB's reengagement with the country in 2002 through 2011. During this period, support approved by ADB totaled $2,732 million, 65% of which came from grants. ADB's operations in Afghanistan have continued under highly uncertain, extremely difficult, and risky conditions with the continued dedication and hard work of staff. Initial years called for an emergency approach for infrastructure provision, and ADB responded to this urgency. Situations of emergency call for quick actions. Equally important, they stress the need for protocols and quality standards in order to ensure effectiveness and sustainability of outcomes.

 

Fiji

Re-invigorating Private Sector Investment: A Private Sector Assessment for Fiji

This private sector assessment reviews Fiji's private sector environment in 2006-2012, against recommendations made in ADB's 2005 Promise Unfulfilled: Private Sector Assessment for Fiji.

 

Pilot Fragility Assessment of an Informal Urban Settlement in Fiji
The fragility assessment of an informal urban settlement in Suva, Fiji aims to examine fragility issues and map out appropriate development interventions in consultation with the community. The Caubati Central informal settlement in Suva, locally known as Veiniu and Mama's Place, was a case study for this assessment. Mama's Place and Veiniu settlements are among the 72 informal settlements in the greater Suva area earmarked by the government for upgrading as part of the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment's National Housing Policy.

 

Kiribati

Pilot Fragility Assessment of an Informal Urban Settlement in Kiribati

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has piloted fragility assessments in selected urban settlements in the Pacific using a community-based approach and focusing on the impact of fragility on the delivery of basic services. The fragility assessment of South Tarawa in Kiribati explores patterns of fragility related to urban development including delivery of critical urban services with focus on water and sanitation services. Bairiki Village, an urban settlement in South Tarawa, was a case study for the assessment.

 

Myanmar

Myanmar in Transition: Opportunities and Challenges

Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of isolation, is poised to accelerate its economic growth on the back of its abundant labor force, rich natural resources, and geographical location. But the country faces many development challenges to achieve strong and inclusive growth. To take advantage of its rich potential and endowments, Myanmar can also use its strategic location between the People's Republic of China and India, and act as a conduit between South and Southeast Asia.

 

Nepal

The Role of Women in Peacebuilding in Nepal

This fragility assessment documents how women have contributed to Nepal's economic upliftment and social reconciliation through a number of civil society organizations and development projects, in particular ADB-supported projects.

 

A Peacebuilding Tool for a Conflict-Sensitive Approach to Development: A Pilot Initiative in Nepal
This new ADB publication discusses how the peacebuilding tool is used in Nepal as a conflict-sensitive approach, a key to effective and safe implementation of projects in the country's post-conflict context. The peacebuilding tool is an analytical tool for assisting project team leaders and social experts in understanding the local context, and in identifying potential risks to implementation of development projects that are linked to social conflicts, as well as in formulating mitigation measures for addressing these risks.

 

Papua New Guinea

Pilot Fragility Assessment of an Informal Urban Settlement in Papua New Guinea

The fragility assessment aims to determine how the vulnerable communities in Papua New Guinea can be assisted and empowered to improve their quality of life. The assessment findings should assist the Government of Papua New Guinea's Office of Urbanization in mapping out the urban settlement situation and in developing measures to address urbanization issues.

Papua New Guinea: Critical Development Constraints

Papua New Guinea's economic growth has outpaced the majority of economies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific since 2007. Its development challenges, however, remain daunting, and it lags behind other countries in the region in terms of per capita income and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This raises the question of how the country can make its economic growth high, sustained, inclusive, and broad-based to more effectively improve its population's welfare. This report identifies the critical constraints to these objectives and discusses policy options to help overcome such constraints.

 

Guidelines

 

Operational Plan for Enhancing ADB's Effectiveness in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations
This operational plan identifies a number of actions to mainstream fragility- and conflict-sensitive approaches in Asian Development Bank's (ADB) country strategies and operations to achieve its overall goal of improved development progress and strengthened institutions in developing member countries experiencing fragility and the effects of conflict.

 

Leaflet - Working Differently in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations 

Failure to engage in fragile and conflict-affected situations differently and in an innovative manner is likely to entail major human, social, economic,and security costs. ADB encourages new thinking and mainstreaming of innovative approaches to help development practitioners more effectively plan, design, and implement projects in such situations.

 

Staff Handbook - Working Differently In Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations: The ADB Experience

Fragile and conflict-affected situations deserve special attention. Fragility is costly for a country and its citizens, for neighboring countries, and for the global community. From the view point of development assistance, policies, principles, and operational approaches that development agencies normally apply can be ineffective. They may even risk adding to the difficulties nations already face in establishing the effective and legitimate institutions and leadership needed to transit to stability and sustained development over the long term. Failure to engage in these situations differently and in an innovative manner is likely to entail major human, social, economic, and security costs. For these reasons, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reviewed its experience to identify ways to work effectively in such settings. This handbook answers requests from ADB staff for guidance on what constitutes “working differently.” It encourages new thinking and mainstreamig of innovative engagement in fragile situations. All this aims to enhance the effectiveness of ADB's financing and advisory services in these countries.

 

Operationalizing Experience: Donor Approaches to Service Delivery in Fragile States

This study explores the different approaches to service delivery in fragile states by surveying donors' own evaluations of their existing fragile states policies. Because there is limited understanding of what works in risky environments, monitoring and evaluation are critical components of effective assistance. By highlighting trends in the strategies that donors have developed to implement acknowledged good practices, we can better understand how these experiences might contribute to future project and evaluation design.

 

Asian Development Fund XI Donors' Report: Empowering Asia's Most Vulnerable

This document, adopted by the ADB Board of Directors in June 2012, contains the main understandings and recommendations reached during the ADF XI negotiation meetings.

 

Further Reading

 

Managing Reforms for Development: Political Economy of Reforms and Policy-Based Lending Case Studies
Successful reform has to resolve two separate and conflicting dimensions: people and time. Reforms, by their very nature, challenge the status quo, often threatening those with a stake in the current system—from society's power brokers, to better-off stakeholders who may benefit unintentionally and disproportionately from a policy, through to the intended beneficiaries, even if the status quo is unsustainable over the long term. Their changed influence, incentives, and behavior, as a result of reforms, have to be managed, until the success of the reforms becomes apparent for both them and society more widely.

Impact Stories from the Pacific Region - Breaking Down the Barriers to Business: More Private Sector Reform Stories

Through the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) cofinanced by AusAID, ADB is helping countries in the Pacific region reform their business environments to make it easier for the private sector to conduct business, grow, and create jobs. A vibrant private sector is critical to sustained growth in the Pacific and can play an innovative role in overcoming obstacles to development. PSDI's initiatives are demand and need-structured, so the benefits of economic growth are spread throughout the economies in the region.

    

Supporting Good Governance in the Pacific
In the majority of ADB developing member countries in the Pacific, progress is sluggish on social and economic development objectives, including the MDGs. In a 2011 special evaluation study, the Independent Evaluation Department explored governance and development in the Pacific, assessed ADB's support for governance and public sector management in the past decade, and presented lessons and recommendations.

   

Handle with Care: Impact Stories from Fragile Situations

Extra care is required in handling fragile situations. Developing the tools and expertise needed to deliver this care is an approach that is relatively young at ADB. However, ADB has provided timely assistance to many fragile situations by focusing on affected countries' most urgent needs, by working with other development partners, and by increasing ADB's presence in those countries. ADB's engagement ranges from fragile to conflict affected situations, including subnational situations of fragility, sensitive post-conflict transitions and peace- building situations.

  

In Focus: Fragile Situations
Institutional weaknesses, economic and social vulnerabilities, and conflict or post-conflict situations often combine to create unique and particularly complex development challenges in some of the poorest, smallest, and most isolated countries in Asia and the Pacific. Because doing business in countries experiencing stress involves higher operational risk, ADB takes a flexible, long-term approach to delivering aid by developing customized ways of engagement, and prioritizing partnerships and synergies with development partners.

  


 

Videos

 

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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