Fragility is a widespread phenomenon. In seven out of the nine countries where fragility is currently considered particularly alarming, women give birth to more than four children on average. If you compare colour-coded world maps for fragility and fertility (number of children per female), the similarity of the geographical distribution is immediately striking. In fact, the “demographic pressure” factor is one of the twelve criteria that are taken into account when compiling the Fragile States Index.
How exactly do crises and the number of children relate to one another and what needs to happen in order to break the downward spiral of fragility and population growth?
These are some of the questions addressed in the current issue of Development in Brief.
Great expectations are attached to the humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) nexus. Initiated by the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the HDP nexus was not only intended to meet humanitarian needs more efficiently and effectively. Above all, it should "strengthen the capacity of the international system to prevent crises from occurring and to develop early solutions to reduce humanitarian needs and preserve development progress". However, the implementation of the nexus by humanitarian, development and peace actors still poses a multitude of challenges.
The current issue of "Development in Brief" explains these challenges in implementation and outlines possible solutions.
It is not a particularly new or original idea that the future is uncertain and can sometimes bring surprises. However, the degree of uncertainty and unpredictability has steadily increased in recent decades. Especially in fragile contexts, it has long been the case that “development” is more a succession of crises, structural disruptions and temporary surges than a continuous process that could even remotely be reliably depicted with traditional point forecasts.
The current issue of “Development in Brief” features “strategic foresight”, an alternative way of dealing with a high degree of uncertainty about future developments, which makes it possible to respond flexibly and remain capable of taking action even in widely varying circumstances.
In 2020, more than three quarters of the world’s extreme poor were living in fragile, conflict-ridden countries, with the trend continuing to rise. Poverty and fragility can interact to reinforce each other, but extreme poverty is rarely the main trigger of conflict. On the contrary, recent academic research indicates that “inequality” between different segments of populations is in many cases a decisive driver of conflict.
The current issue of Development in Brief summarises some of the key findings from conflict research and indicates the areas in which international development cooperation could provide support.
In light of the recent rise in violent conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world, the crisis prevention approach has attracted increasing attention from the international donor community in the past few years. Its aim is not just to spare human suffering, but also to save money – because preventing crises is demonstrably more cost-effective than coping with them.
The current edition of “Development in Brief” tackles the question of which approaches international development cooperation can use to stop conflicts from turning violent. Even if this throws up numerous challenges and limitations, there are still concrete approaches available with the potential to help prevent crises.
Peace building is becoming increasingly relevant as an approach to international development cooperation, especially since recent years have seen increased commitment in fragile contexts. The need for the provision of basic services is generally high. However, a lasting improvement in living conditions can hardly be achieved without transformation and conflict resolution. Especially in the context of reconstruction measures, the restoration of socio-political relationships is just as important as physical reconstruction. The question therefore arises as to whether and how infrastructure measures can contribute to peace.
This edition of "Development in Brief" examines the risks, but also the potential for peace-building associated with infrastructure projects. It becomes clear that the way in which projects are implemented is much more decisive than the type of infrastructure.
Security is an important prerequisite for sustainable development and guaranteeing security is one of the state’s fundamental duties. Nevertheless, those involved in international development cooperation find it difficult to support states with the development and reform of their security sectors.
The current edition of Development in Brief explains the wider understanding of the security sector in today’s world, why those involved in international development cooperation often have fear of contact with this area, and where they are still able to help strengthen the security sector on a sustainable basis.
Cities are regarded as motors of economic and social development in many developing countries and emerging economies, thus exerting an enormous pull on people from surrounding areas. However, reality looks sometimes different: many newcomers are confronted not only with poverty, but also violence, insecurity and lawlessness.
The current issue of Development in Brief discusses the causes of urban violence and reveals possible activities for development cooperation to help prevent and curb violence in urban areas.
The growing number of international crises and failed states increases the need for better ‘state building’ measures.
Today’s edition of Development in Brief explains what the term state building means and which specific foreign policy, security and development policy measures can help to support state building processes in partner countries.
Development cooperation is increasingly operating in fragile countries and contexts. But there is no universal definition of what characterises a fragile state. The various approaches incorporate different aspects of fragility which necessarily leads to different country classifications.
The current version of Development in Brief describes the three most common international classifications of fragile states, outlines their differences and similarities and compares the resulting country lists of fragile states.