What’s ‘new’ in new deal for fragile states endorsed in Busan?

    A proposal to create compacts that outline priorities and aid modalities jointly drafted by donors, recipient governments and civil society groups.

    This should promote shared understanding among the three parties and help streamline different donors’ development efforts and align these with the recipient countries’ priorities, one of the architects of the deal has said.

    The ”New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States“ seeks to help put fragile states more in charge of their development by encouraging them to conduct their own fragility assessments, which were typically carried out by donors, Marcus Manuel of the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute, who helped write the document, told IRIN. The goal is to develop solutions that are more suitable for each fragile state’s priorities and unique experience, he added.

    The deal also urges donors to streamline aid by, for instance, setting up just one management and monitoring program in each government ministry, IRIN says, noting that the current practice provides for every donor having its own monitoring program.

    But the deal is not without critics, with at least one expert saying that country ownership and addressing corruption are not always among the priorities of governments of fragile states.

    “I think we have to be very careful. We talk about countries taking ownership, but do they want to take ownership?” John Morlu, ex-auditor-general in Liberia, has warned, according to IRIN.

    The deal will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2012. It is set to be piloted in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Liberia, South Sudan and Sierra Leone, with assistance from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The majority of these donors have recently announced increases in their allocated budget for fragile states.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.