Side Event: Statement by Ambassador Thoms at a Meeting on Fragility and Aid: What Works?

Oct 25, 2013

"Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the German Permanent Mission and thank you for attending this meeting on this very pressing issue: Fragility and Aid! What works?

Let me also thank Dr. David Malone, Rector of the United Nations University and Under-Secretary General of the UN and his team at the UNU who have organized this event.

I feel you have done a terrific job to gather an outstanding list of contributors and experts that can share with us some success stories, but also identify challenges that we need to address in the future.

Context: Where do we stand today?

The World Bank’s World Development Report of 2011 has left no doubt about why fragility is such an important issue for development:

There are more than 1.5 billion people in the world who are living in fragile or conflict-affected countries. War, violence and human rights violations mean that people suffer and social and economic development stalls. They take a huge toll on security, the rule of law, and the provision of basic services such as education and health.

Once a state is no longer able to provide these fundamentals, it is called fragile.

Compared to other developing countries, people in fragile states are more than twice as likely to be undernourished. The ratio of out-of-school children is more than three times as high. So fragility and conflict are not only a short-term problem, they also have a long-term negative effect on national development.

It also shows that fragile states form a special group of countries where priorities for development have to be sequenced differently. We have to re-establish five core state functions: Security, Legitimate Institutions, Justice, Economic foundations and Basic Service Delivery!

Fragile States confront us with the most formidable challenges in crisis prevention, stabilization and state-building as well as development aid. More than in any other context they call for a comprehensive approach – the right mix of military, police and civilian means of stabilization; and the right mix of diplomacy, short-term political stabilization and long-term socio-economic development.

The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States: A New Start!

The five core functions I mentioned before also form the five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States that has been approved by the signatories of the Busan Partnership in 2011.

Donors, international organizations including the UN, and the g7+, a group of 18 fragile states, have entered into the New Deal as a partnership that should form a new framework for development cooperation in fragile contexts.

Most recently, Somalia has become a member and has developed under the lead of the EU Commission and with significant help from UNDP its new transition compact that will serve as basis for development and re-engagement of the donor community.

German approach to Fragile States

Based on the “Guidelines for a coherent approach towards fragile states”, which were adopted in 2012, the German Government is pursuing a holistic approach towards stabilizing fragile states.

Through measures and projects of civilian crisis prevention, the German Foreign Office puts special emphasis on fragile states. Roughly 90% of stabilization funds (2013: ca. 350 Mio. EUR) are directed towards the most volatile countries – be it Afghanistan, North Africa and the Middle East or Mali.

Germany is also a key partner for supporting the implementation of the New Deal and for engagement in fragile states.

More than half of our partner countries in development cooperation are fragile or conflict-affected states and 25% of our bilateral ODA are directed to this group.

Working in fragile contexts is one of five key areas of our development policy. This is why the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has developed a new concept “Development for Peace and Security” in 2013 that builds upon lessons learned and the principles entailed in the New Deal through which we have established new standards and monitoring for our engagement in fragile contexts.

This new concept, in particular, calls for a new approach to risks. We have to accept more risks when working in these contexts. We can manage them, but we need to be honest and open in our communication. And we have to expect failures always taking into account that the greatest risk is the risk of non-action.

This has been a very clear lesson from our involvement in Afghanistan – which is one of the greatest challenges for international stabilization efforts.

A coherent and well-coordinated engagement from Diplomacy, Defense, Police and Development actors is therefore required.

Fragility on the Global Agenda: Post-2015

Conflict and fragility is not just a development challenge: It is also a challenge to regional or even global security!

Conflict quickly spills over into other countries. We are urgently concerned about this right now with regard to Syria in the Middle East Region.

Fragile states may also turn into hubs for international drugs and arms trafficking. They offer a safe haven and a recruitment base for terrorists. At that point at the latest, nobody will deny anymore that our own security is at stake.

This is why Germany and others conclude that Peace and Security is a part of the global agenda and should be a center-piece of the Post-2015 framework.

The UN Secretary General pointed out in his Report in preparation of the Special Event of the General Assembly on the Progress towards the MDGs that peace and governance are both, a key outcome and an enabler of development.

Hence, Germany welcomes the recommendations of the High-Level Panel Report of Eminent Persons that proposed “Stable and peaceful societies” as a goal for a new framework.

The High-Level Panel also recognized “Stable and peaceful societies” together with effective, open and accountable institutions as a transformative shift for global development, thereby underlining its cross-cutting character for other core goals.

Let me conclude with this final observation and wish you fruitful discussions and exchange around this very complex issue! Enjoy your day here at the German Permanent Mission."

© GermanyUN

Development, Environment and Sustainability

The loss of natural habitat for species continues

More than one billion people in the world – almost one in five – have to live on less than 1.25 US dollars per day. Every day thousands of young children die of hunger and illnesses. Poverty reduction is therefore a cornerstone of Germany's engagement at the UN.

Peace and Security

Regional conflicts, fragile or collapsed states, armed conflicts, terrorism and organized crime – all have grave consequences for the people who suffer under them. They also threaten the security and stability of entire regions and peoples.