EU Development Cooperation in fragile states: Challenges and Opportunities

Our latest study, undertaken for the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, analyses the strengths and weaknesses of current EU engagement in fragile states, in particular its support to conflict prevention and periods of transition, within the broader international context. It examines the limitations of the instruments and methods implemented by the EU to address the problems of fragile states, and makes a number of recommendations to improve them.

Key weaknesses of the EU’s programmes in fragile and conflict-affected states include insufficient analysis of the root causes of fragility, ineffective early warning systems, and insufficient coordination with other international actors engaged in fragile and conflict affected states.

Although these challenges are not dissimilar to those experienced by other international actors, the EU’s performance is exacerbated by a number of factors that are specific to its organisational and resourcing arrangements: internal fragmentation of policy responsibility, inadequate translation of policy into programming at country level, and insufficient instrumental coherence. Investing in expertise in fragility and conflict-prevention has not, to date, been a priority, particularly at the operational level.

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