woman leans over water source during protracted conflict in a fragile country


Breaking the cycle of fragility

Transforming protracted and fragile contexts


As a development actor present before and throughout protracted crisis and fragility, UNDP brings a long-term view towards the governance and socio-economic conditions necessary for countries to break the cycle, exit from fragility, and resume progress towards the SDGs and 2030 Agenda.


Crisis category: Contexts defined as 'fragile and conflict-affected' and 'fragile and extremely fragile' by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


UNDP’s engagements aim to achieve the structural transformations needed to address the underlying and root causes of protracted crises and fragility, strengthen the social contract and promote risk-informed, resilient recovery for the furthest behind, leading to more sustainable pathways from fragility.

UNDP conducts multidimensional risk analyses to inform strategies and programmatic approaches to help countries move out of protracted crises and fragility. In countries facing extraordinary circumstances, where it may not be possible to deliver through traditional means, UNDP is able to implement area and community development programmes at scale to reach the most vulnerable directly, focusing on addressing inequalities and exclusions which often underlie crises.


What we offer

    UNDP supports countries on multidimensional risk, fragility, and resilience analyses, including conflict, disaster, climate and other multidimensional risks.

    These risk-informed analyses and assessments are available to national actors to advance policy dialogue and policy making. They are leveraged to develop and implement integrated risk-informed development solutions whether in terms of prevention, response or recovery.

    In priority countries, UNDP conducts multidimensional analysis across its six Signature Solutions.

    UNDP supports countries to develop and implement ‘Out of Fragility strategies’. Each 2030 Out of Fragility strategy will be context-specific, multidimensional and provide an integrated approach bringing together UNDP’s six Signature Solutions of poverty and inequality, governance, resilience, energy, environment, governance, and gender equality.

    The strategy will aim to build the foundations of stable societies and provide choice and opportunity. The Out of Fragility strategies include programming entry points, expected results, financing strategy and partnerships.

    UNDP actively works with peace and political missions to deliver Security Council mandates on support to elections, political transitions, constitutions, insider mediation, rule of law/security/policing and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.

    In most protracted crisis and fragile settings, development challenges are complex, multidimensional, and often inter-related. Adopting sector-specific approaches isn't enough — a holistic approach addresses root causes and delivers sustainable solutions to the people.

    In these contexts, UNDP can target specific geographic areas directly with an integrated, inclusive, participatory and flexible approach. These interventions, informed by multidimentional analysis, usually include a livelihood component, a local-level institutional component, social cohesion interventions and resilience building.

    Due to the interconnectedness of current and future threats, area-based development programmes offer integrated solutions which can include large scale employment programmes for those furthest behind, climate change adaptation/mitigation, access to clean and renewable energy, rebuilding of local economies and markets, access to health in fighting pandemics, access to legal aid and support to sexual and gender-based violence.

    In situations where UNDP is not able to work directly with national governments, such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, UNDP has developed means of delivering area-and community-based programmes directly in support of affected communities, through non-state, civil society and other means.

    In protracted crisis and fragile contexts, UNDP plays a central role in ensuring that core government functions are strengthened, and that local governance is responsive, inclusive and resilient. Interventions include extending local government presence, supporting citizen voice and participation, ensuring appropriate land and natural resources governance, strengthening local political processes and establishing local conflict management and security structures.

    Weak rule of law, impunity, inequality and injustice are at the root of most protracted conflicts. UNDP provides assistance in rule of law and human rights promotion, constitution al support, anti-discrimination, people-centered justice and security, transitional justice, armed violence reduction, accountability, and support to human rights defenders and national human rights systems.

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    UNDP supports public authorities in the design and implementation of a range of inclusive and gender-responsive measures to foster the socio-economic integration and reintegration of people on the move.

    UNDP helps provide services with durable development solutions to internally displaced people (IDPs), refugees and returnees by supporting the formulation of national and local strategies; providing access to basic services, housing, social protection and sustainable energy; helping create livelihood and job opportunities, including through digitally enabled livelihoods; and building the capacity of local community leaders for integration and preparedness.

    UNDP supports countries to re/build inclusive local economies through market systems recovery and development, strengthening new and existing micro-, small and medium enterprises, and livelihoods and job creation in the private sector.

    This support is linked to strengthening economic drivers (infrastructure, trade, financial services, skills, opportunities, services, institutions, governance, rule of law and care facilities) and includes support to community infrastructure re/construction, and a transition to a healthier, resource efficient green and circular economy, founded on sustainable consumption and production patterns anchored to sustainable value chains.

    UNDP supports regional cooperation on trade policy to coordinate and harmonize trade measures that impact supply chains and connectivity and contribute to lowering the cost of fighting the crisis. This sets the stage for a quicker economic recovery, while ensuring that trade policy initiatives “do no harm.”

    This highlights the potential of regional platforms, such as Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Pan Arab FTA, to generate significant economic gains and contribute to structural transformation and rebuilding economies, including, for example, through the opportunities they provide for pooled procurement.

    UNDP is also conducting a Regional Connectivity Study between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, to identify cross-border value chains where jobs and livelihoods can be generated for Afghan refugees and host communities across the three countries.

    Through its new Gender and Crisis Engagement Facility, and working closely with UN Women and other partners, UNDP supports the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda and Security Council Resolution 1325 to support countries to implement policies and programmes that better focus on women’s leadership, economic empowerment, human rights and access to justice.

    The Facility opens new avenues for collective social and economic empowerment, strengthening understanding and response to intersectional inequalities, including how gender equality, climate and security are linked. The Facility has developed a new 10 Point Action Agenda (10PAA) for gender equality in crisis contexts.