Donor and NGO approaches

Statebuilding and peacebuilding are long-term, internal processes. Local ownership is essential. Although international development actors are often limited in their ability to influence outcomes, they can be vital in facilitating statebuilding and peacebuilding processes. External assistance may prove essential in enabling transitions and in helping to generate the right conditions and incentives for reform. Some of the major donors and international NGOs involved in the promotion of a combined statebuilding and peacebuilding approach include:

United Nations

The vast majority of UN peace operations since 1990 have followed internal conflicts in weak states without credible or effective state institutions. The movement toward pursuit of both peacebuilding and statebuilding is evident in UN policy reports and in practice. Missions are now complex, multidimensional and political in nature – spanning a broad range of tasks. This includes the extension of state authority in the short-term, and rebuilding national institutions in the longer term.

Sherman, J. and Tortolani, B., 2009, ‘Implications of Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in United Nations Mandates’, Centre on International Cooperation, New York University, New York
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The UNDP has launched a global initiative on ‘Statebuilding for peace’, which aims to develop the capacities of national and local actors to implement strategies that address fragilities, enhance responsiveness and promote conflict prevention, management and transformation. Outcomes are measured based on progress toward building sustainable peace.

Sisk, T., n.d. ‘Statebuilding for Peace: Lessons Learned for Capacity Development’, Presentation, UNDP
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Berdal, M. and Zaum, D (Eds). 2013. Political economy of statebuilding: Power after peace. Abingdon: Routledge
How have statebuilding interventions over the last 20 years had an impact on the political economies of conflict-affected countries? This edited volume looks at a range of international and regional donor approaches to statebuilding in order to answer this question
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The OECD’s International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding facilitates a global exchange of views on good practice and limitations in effective international support for peacebuilding and statebuilding.


The top priorities identified in country consultations include the promotion of successful political settlements and political processes and the cessation of violence. Other priorities considered important in peacebuilding and statebuilding strategies include rule of law; mechanisms for peaceful dispute resolution; state capacity to raise revenues and provide services according to people’s expectations; effective management of natural resources; and inclusive growth.

Critical gaps in national and international peacebuilding and statebuilding efforts identified include strategies to build positive state-citizen relations and capacities and opportunities for peaceful coexistence and social reconciliation within and across communities.

OECD, 2010, ‘Peacebuilding and Statebuilding – Priorities and Challenges: A Synthesis of Findings from Seven Multi-Stakeholder Consultations’, International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, OECD, Paris
What are the current priorities and challenges for peacebuilding and statebuilding? This report synthesises the findings of seven multi-stakeholder consultations designed to identify key priorities, bottlenecks and good practices in national and international support for peacebuilding and statebuilding. The consultations found that stronger and more coherent national and international engagement is needed to support peacebuilding and statebuilding in the short, medium and long term.
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OECD, 2009, ‘International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding’, Fact Sheet, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris
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See also The International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), established to help improve international responses and document results in challenging environments.

The International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding led to the establishment of the G7+, a group of 18 fragile states formed in 2010. The G7+ published a ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ at the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011, which was endorsed by more than thirty governments and a range of donor institutions. The New Deal commits members of the Dialogue to support country-led and country-owned transitions out of fragility.

International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, 2011, ‘A New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’, OECD
This new framework for working in fragile contexts proposes five key peacebuilding and statebuilding goals: legitimate politics, security, justice, economic foundations, and revenues and services. It focuses on country-led, inclusive ways of engaging that increase harmonisation and donor co-ordination. It seeks to build mutual trust and achieve better results in fragile states through increased transparency in both donor and national systems, capacity-building, joint donor risk-sharing, and quicker, more predictable aid delivery.
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Wyeth, V. 2013. Knights in fragile armor: The rise of the “G7+.” Global Governance, 18:1, 7-12.
What is the G7+ and what is its role in peacebuilding and statebuilding? This paper argues that societies and elites, and not donors, build states. It finds that there are many opportunities for the G7+ to play an important role in peacebuilding and statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states. However, it also notes that the grouping is still young and should be given space to decide on its own identity and agenda in order to avoid being suffocated by reform-minded donors.
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DFID’s integrated approach to statebuilding and peacebuilding in situations of conflict and fragility is based on four objectives: (i) addressing the causes and effects of conflict and fragility, and building conflict resolution mechanisms; (ii) supporting inclusive political settlements and processes; (iii) developing core state functions; and (iv) responding to public expectations.

The political settlement is considered a crucial element that links statebuilding and peacebuilding and lies at the centre of DFID’s approach. During the aftermath of conflict, there is an opportunity to create a new framework for the political settlement that can lead to a more responsive state. The aim is to transform power relations and to promote inclusiveness in order to counter fragility and the likelihood of renewed violence.

DFID, 2010, ‘Building Peaceful States and Societies: A DFID Practice Paper’, Department for International Development, London
How can support for statebuilding and peacebuilding be integrated? This paper outlines a strategic framework for DFID’s engagement in situations of conflict and fragility, plus operational implications. DFID’s integrated approach to statebuilding and peacebuilding focuses on addressing the (root) causes of conflict and fragility and building resolution mechanisms. This facilitates the further goals of: promoting inclusive political settlements and processes; developing state survival functions; and responding to public expectations. Support across all of these interrelated areas is necessary to help create a positive peace- and statebuilding dynamic.
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Richmond, O.P. and Tellidis, I. 2013. The BRICS and international peacebuilding and statebuilding (NOREF report). Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre.
What role can the BRICS play in statebuilding and peacebuilding? This policy brief shows that in peacebuilding and statebuilding the BRICS can be both “status-quo” and “critical” actors. On the one hand, they all engage with the liberal peace paradigm and its often-neoliberal agenda. On the other hand, their involvement has challenged peacebuilding and development’s Euro-Atlantic character through the unfolding of their own donor and peace agendas. This report highlights where traditional and emerging actors’ agendas converge and diverge and looks at the motivations behind these agendas.
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Interpeace’s approach to statebuilding and peacebuilding focuses on state-society relations. It stresses the importance of working not only with the state or with civil society organisations exclusively, but engaging both sides and wider society. Interpeace programmes seek to create multiple spaces for inclusive public debate, discussion, negotiation. They pursue collaborative work in which priorities for a peaceful society are collectively identified and consensus is built on how to address them. The premise is that public participation and debate combined with capacities for negotiation and collaboration are most likely to lead to compromises and moderation and to avoid violence. It can also shape governance relations and contribute to more inclusive and responsive governance institutions.

Van Brabant, K., 2008, ‘Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. An Invitation for Reflection: Interpeace’s Experiences’, Interpeace, Geneva
How can international actors accelerate the socio-political processes of state formation in fragile states? This paper examines the experience of the organisation in statebuilding, focusing on statesociety relations as the core concept of state formation. Building democratic culture to support longterm socio-political negotiations is the most effective means of securing peace and building strong states.
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The following report presents findings from Interpeace’s consultations with 49 civil society organisations (CSOs) working on peacebuilding and statebuilding. Regarding peacebuilding, CSOs advocated for greater focus on conflict prevention, root causes of conflict, conflict transformation and reconciliation. Regarding statebuilding, they stressed the need to recognise different understandings of the ‘state’, beyond the Western model. CSOs emphasised the importance of process in both and of more attention to how concepts are translated into reality.

Interpeace, 2010, ‘Voices of Civil Society Organisations on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding’, Background Paper, prepared as an input into the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Interpeace, Geneva
What are the views of civil society organisations (CSOs) on statebuilding and peacebuilding? This report presents the findings of a consultation designed to input into the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (Timor-Leste, April 2010). CSOs argue that the way that peacebuilding and statebuilding processes are undertaken is critically important: there is a need to focus not only on what is done, but how things are done. Inclusive and participatory processes are essential in order to address conflict and to ensure that statebuilding and peacebuilding can be complementary.
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