Working Differently in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations: The ADB Experience

Developing Asia on the whole has enjoyed a couple of decades of high economic growth and significant transformation. In the midst of this growing wealth and prosperity, however, abject poverty remains in poor countries as well as in pockets of emerging middle income ones. Many poor people in Asia and the Pacific live in countries with weak governance, ineffective public administration and rule of law, and civil unrest. These countries have been referred to variously as weakly performing countries, fragile states, low-income countries under stress, and countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCAS).

FCAS deserve special attention. Fragility is costly for a country and its citizens, for neighboring countries, and for the global community. From the view point of development assistance, policies, principles, and operational approaches that development agencies normally apply can be ineffective. They may even risk adding to the difficulties nations already face in establishing the effective and legitimate institutions and leadership needed to transit to stability and sustained development over the long term. Failure to engage in these situations differently and in an innovative manner is likely to entail major human, social, economic, and security costs. For these reasons, ADB has reviewed its experience to identify ways to work effectively in such settings.

This handbook answers requests from ADB staff for guidance on what constitutes "working differently." It encourages new thinking and mainstreamig of innovative engagement in fragile situations. All this aims to enhance the effectiveness of ADB's financing and advisory services in these countries.


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