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Governance challenges in countries in transition

Inclusive and effective governance is essential for the achievement of sustainable human development. It is particularly important for countries emerging from crisis and/or undergoing transition towards new political settlements.

UNDP-OGC is engaged in researching on the governance challenges in countries in transition to inform policy options that put inclusive and effective governance at the heart of development programming and policies. It is also committed to a further understanding on how to open up the space for broader engagement in shaping more inclusive, just and peaceful societies.


Past events on governance challenges in countries in transition

Sarah_ArendalsukaPhoto: Sarah Lister at the event; Photo credit: Endre Stiansen, OGC

UNDP at Arendalsuka 2017

UNDP's Oslo Governance Centre (OGC), Nordic Represenation Office and other UN-affiliated partners organized a panel on ‘How to Achieve Development Results in Fragile Contexts’ at Arendalsuka on 15th August, 2017. During the panel, State Secretary Tone Skogen stressed the importance of security and building resilience by involving local people.  She emphasized the role of the UN and the need for close collaboration in the field.  Former minister of international cooperation Hilde Frafjord Johnson said that the primary lesson from Norway’s aid to Afghanistan is that it is not possible to fight a war and build a state at the same time. She argued that politics is the most important instrument in the toolkit, and that aid to fragile states will not succeed if donors do not get the politics right. Sarah Lister, Director of UNDP's OGC argued that sustainable development and peace is dependent on functioning domestic political processes. Working politically means working with the power structures on the ground. The universal endorsement of Agenda 2030 means that the international community has a commitment make resources available for prevention and to sustain peace.

The event, which was hosted by GRID Arendal, a UNEP-affiliated organization, was well attended.

Arendalsuka is the largest political happening in Norway with close to 800 different events with several well known politicians taking part.  This year there were several well attended panels on issues relating to aid and development, international cooperation and the SDGs.


Achieving the SDGs and Sustainable Peace: Development Programming in Complex and Fragile Settings

This joint Norwegian Government / UNDP seminar on the 23rd November, 2016 examined how addressing fragility and sustaining peace was essential for inclusive development and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially in countries in transition.

It built on the past lessons of achieving the Millennium Development Goals and closely examined development programming in the context of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development that aims to build more resilient, inclusive and cohesive societies.

The first half saw a high-level panel comprising Tone Skogen, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP and Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council.

The second half of the seminar saw speakers drawing on experiences of development programming challenges and opportunities in fragile environments and asking questions related to specific gaps in analysis and/or resources; application of lessons learned from one context to another and modalities to be used for inclusive development.

This event also marked UNDP’s 50th anniversary and the close collaboration between Norway and UNDP.



Nordic Consultation on United Nations and World Bank report on development and conflict prevention

On the 20th and 21st October, 2016, UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) organised Nordic consultations on a joint United Nations (PBSO, DPA, DPKO and UNDP) and World Bank study which examines the evidence base on how development policies and programs contribute to the prevention of violent conflict. This study will be presented at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in 2017.

On the morning of the 20th, the study core team gave an overview of the purpose, analytical framework and structure of the study which was followed by discussants and plenary discussions. This was followed by another panel discussion on the challenges of operationalising the study.

Complementing the discussions on the first day, the following morning saw the organisation of a research meeting to delve further into research issues around the main components of a prevention agenda in terms of development, security, politics and inclusion. Some of the issues that were explored included: prevention at the local level and the evidence of the effectiveness of conflict resolution mechanisms; how is development for growth different from development for prevention and peace; evidence around issues of trauma, trust and reconciliation; and how a prevention agenda reconciles issues of institutions and agency as well as political dynamics. 



NOREF - UNDP Breakfast Seminar: Societies and Conflict - UNDP's approach in times of crises

On 22 April, 2016, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and NOREF hosted a seminar on social contract in the context of fragile states. 

The development sector needs to adapt to a fast changing world. While some important successes have been registered, many more challenges remain, including the scourges of inequality and fragility. The 2030 development agenda for sustainable development also marks a new era with universal applicable goals. In order to confront tomorrow´s threats, the United Nations is reviewing its approach to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development. Ongoing and recently completed high-level reviews are advocating for greater investment in conflict prevention and a revitalized development paradigm with sustainable peace, security, justice and governance at its core. United Nations agencies are therefore retooling and upgrading their abilities to better serve their partners.

In this context the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has reconceptualised its support to state and civil society institutions, especially in settings where fragility, conflict and violence threaten to roll-back hard won development gains. A key priority is to build resilient social contracts that both strengthen institutions and simultaneously facilitate dialogue, mediation and a shared sense of responsibility. A significant support to this reconceptualisation was provided by NOREF and its authorship of a concept note “Engaged Societies, Responsive States: The Social Contract in Situations of Conflict and Fragility”.

Invitation and program available HERE

For any questions or queries related to this event please contact:info@peacebuilding.no



Workshop: Politics and Governance: Making Development Cooperation More Effective in Fragile Contexts

UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre along with Norad and the OECD-DAC Development Cooperation Directorate organized a half – day seminar on 28 October, 2015, on how to work more effectively in countries affected by fragility. This event explored multiple but inter-connected questions relating to the challenges of thinking and working politically in development cooperation and operationalizing country context knowledge into programmatic work. It also addressed governance issues in sector work and explored the impact of governance structures and the political economy of development organisations.  With sessions chaired by OGC and Norad, and presentations from OECD, BBC Media Action and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there was focus on how the changing nature of accessing information, role of media and people’s capacity to communicate was influencing development cooperation. The event also saw the launch of the OECD-DAC GOVNET Governance practitioner’s notebook on ‘Alternative Ideas and Approaches’  in which expert commentators speak on the major governance issues facing today’s practitioners. This event came against the backdrop of Norway consolidating development cooperation efforts especially in its focus countries and UNDP adopting an integrated approach to building inclusive societies and sustaining peace through democratic governance and conflict prevention.


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