Building resilience in Asia-Pacific's fragile states

Internally displaced persons in Maguindanao. Building resilience to conflict-afflicted countries in Asia-Pacific is the center of discussion at a high-level forum to be hosted by the Asian Development Bank and AusAID. Photo by: Veejay Villafranca/IRIN / CC BY-NC-ND

How to build resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries? Aid effectiveness, say participants at a high-level forum hosted by ADB and AusAID in Manila.

The Asian Development Bank and AusAID are hosting from June 6-7 a high-level forum on building resilience to fragility in Asia-Pacific, counting leaders from governments and civil society of countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations — Afghanistan, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

In situations riddled with development challenges and volatile aid, the forum aims to promote stronger partnerships among countries with similar backgrounds and their partner multilateral bodies. “Working differently” is the focus of discussions, as delegates exchange experiences and best practices in addressing fragility and the success of development efforts.

Afghan Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Mustafa Mastoor called for a more effective disbursement of aid to FCAS countries, with a focus on conflict resolution and boosting stability.

There is no “universal panacea,” he said, urging other fragile and conflict-affected countries in the region to join the g7+ initiative. So far, only Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor are members of this group that pushes for a country-owned and country-led global mechanism to monitor, report and draw attention to the problems facing fragile states.

A 2013 OECDreport predicts that most FCAS countries in Asia-Pacific and beyond will not achieve a single Millennium Development Goal by 2015, even when as much as $50 billion or 38 percent of total official development assistance per year is given to them.

Speaking at the same event, ADB President Takehiko Nakao pledged the institution’s continuous assistance to FCAS countries as they undergo statebuilding and peacebuilding efforts.

He outlined the ADB’s five lessons in doing resiliency work in fragile states:

  • Deep understanding of the local context

  • Carefully-selected target sectors

  • Long-term commitment to working in these sectors

  • Encouraging broad ownership of development efforts

  • Fostering strategic partnerships

Nakao said the biggest barrier to helping FCAS countries grow resilient was indeed ensuring that aid is effective. With this in mind, expect ADB to put a spotlight on FCAS countries in the run-up to the end of the MDGs in 2015.

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About the author

  • Johanna Morden

    Johanna Morden is a community development worker by training and a global development journalist by profession. As a former Devex staff writer based in Manila, she covered the Asian Development Bank as well as Asia-Pacific's aid community at large. Johanna has written for a variety of international publications, covering social issues, disasters, government, ICT, business, and the law.