Crisis governance and statebuilding

Fragility, in its many dimensions, has emerged as a central issue on the 21st century development agenda. Over 1.5 billion people live in a place affected by war, violence, or disasters caused by natural hazards. Constant political, social and economic turmoil destroys communities and imposes economic burdens on countries that can’t afford them. It also extinguishes any hope of eliminating poverty for millions of people.


UNDP and the EU share the belief that achieving governance results in fragile environments requires a renewed focus on capacity development, guided by the principle of national leadership and ownership. We have both endorsed the “New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States”, which is an outcome of the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that took place in Busan in 2011. The New Deal recognizes that transitioning out of fragility is long-term, political work that requires country leadership and ownership. But capacity development in countries emerging from conflict presents complex challenges. The environments tend to be hyper-politicized and chaotic; stakeholders have ambitious and sometimes varying agendas; and physical security is often lacking.


An important part of the work that UNDP and the EU do in fragile states is therefore supporting the mobilization and empowerment of national partners to lead the recovery process and rebuild the state-society linkages required for sustainable peace. We provide long-term assistance to countries, building the skills of authorities so that they in turn can deliver essential public services and guarantee basic security for the citizens.


Linked to this, another key component is the importance of building trust between the State and its citizens. To help increasing this trust, UNDP and the EU work together in supporting countries not only to restore State functions and political processes, but doing so in a manner that promotes inclusiveness and political dialogue. The partnership supports government institutions to become more transparent, accountable, responsive to their citizens, and respectful of human rights.


Together with the EU, we have worked in several conflict and fragile countries over the years, such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Georgia, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Sudan and more recently also South Sudan.


In Somalia, to increase transparency and citizens’ insight into government business, we supported the Offices of the Auditor General to improve the quality and depth of Government audits in Somaliland and Puntland. For the first time in 2011, the auditor generals in both regions completed central government and local government audits.

Constitution-making in Somalia

Members of the National Constitutional Assembly vote on the provisional constitution. Photo UNDP Somalia

For many years, UNDP has supported an emerging constitution-making process in Somalia. An early focus of this initiative, supported by the EU and other partners, was on providing models of federalism and training of legal professionals in constitution-making processes, including the drafting of a new charter.

We organized study tours so that constitutional commissions could visit and learn from other contexts and engage in “learning by doing” with counterparts in similar situations. A provisional constitution, developed with UNDP support (with financing by EU and other donors), was adopted in August 2012.

With the provisional constitution as a foundation, Somalia will be able to introduce governance that is more responsive, representative and accountable to its people. Fundamental issues such as human rights and women’s participation in the political arena are included in the provisional constitution.

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