The global development community invests more than $100 billion in aid over the course of a year to promote growth and make progress toward development goals. But what happens when a country faces obstacles such as a civil unrest, political transition or natural disaster? Lapses in development due to crises can erase progress in an instant, making mitigation and transition all the more critical.
Every country has its own unique challenges. How can we differentiate the successful transitions we’ve witnessed in Rwanda and Somaliland from the prolonged conflicts in Syria and South Sudan so that we might achieve more stability and peace in the world?
Part of the solution is dialogue and sharing lessons learned in some crises that could be applied to other situations. Starting this week, Devex and our partners will do just that as we launch our monthlong Conflict in Context campaign. This global conversation focuses on understanding the complexities and exploring the opportunities that countries face while in crisis and the development community’s unique role in crisis response.
This week, we look at what happens in the moments just after a crisis occurs, and in the weeks, months and years to follow. Devex interviews Wanalher Ag Alwaly, a project officer in the USAID’s OTI-funded Mali Transition Initiative, about the agency’s program to help the country transition from turmoil to a peace agreement between the government and rebels. And experts like Michael Bowers from Mercy Corps and Jake Harriman at Nuru International share key lessons for dealing with crises in starkly different settings.
While we shouldn’t shy away from the realities, there are positive stories that deserve to be highlighted. Week Two dissects situations in Rwanda, Georgia, Somaliland and other countries that are making progress toward stability even amidst ongoing violence in neighboring countries. Anne Richard, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the U.S. State Department, Chemonics Executive Vice President Eric Reading and others discuss how certain strategies can provide the stability needed to achieve lasting change for local populations.
The complexities of crisis situations call on development implementers, governments, donors and others to intimately understand the country context — its history, politics and culture. In Week Three, we have candid conversations with organizations about the challenges they continue to face when it comes to working in fragile states and humanitarian relief. What are the most affective responses to the prolonged crises in South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, where violence restricts aid entry and operations? How do we approach the Central African Republic where decades of political corruption and spillover violence continue to plague the country?
Just as we look at these complexities, we also look into the future of fragile states as well as prevention and mitigation of crises. Our final week of the campaign focuses on envisioning positive transitions while noting what it will take to get us there. Here the content will note the building blocks that need to be present for a successful transition. We look at the future of U.N. peacekeeping, what you may not know about the role of technology in reducing violent conflict around the world and where youth factor into this equation. Nancy Lindborg, president of the U.S. Institute of Peace, shares her perspective on peace building and the future of fragile states along with other leaders from USAID, Mercy Corps and the World Bank.
The goal of Conflict in Context is to inspire a candid and constructive conversation about ways the global development community can — and should — be focusing its resources, energy and skill to respond to crises, support transitions to peace and ensure a more peaceful world for the next generation. Take part and share your insights here.
Mandy McAnally serves as associate director of marketing and communications for Devex. She has 10 years of experience in journalism and communications with a focus on international health and development. She was previously with Population Services International where she led and executed strategic communications campaigns across digital and print platforms, and edited its flagship publication, Impact Magazine.
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