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International Strategies in Fragile States: Expanding the Toolbox?

C·A·P Policy Analysis · 1 · 2006

Kurt Klotzle: International Strategies in Fragile States: Expanding the Toolbox?
C·A·P Policy Analysis · 1 · 2006

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29.03.2006 · Kurt Klotzle

In recent years, international actors have taken significant strides in attempting to develop strategies and instruments that effectively address the problem of weak and failing states. On the one hand, the intensified focus on state failure has to do with general, fundamental shifts in the international security environment since the end of the Cold War. On the other hand, however, the sharpened concern with fragile states arises from the specific challenges, experiences, and interests of key international actors – particularly the United Nations, the United States, and the European Union.

This paper provides a brief overview of current efforts to improve and expand the "toolbox" of state-building instruments and strategies. These include (a) the refinement of existing instruments through greater policy coherence in the fields of conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction, and development assistance, as well as (b) theoretical elaborations and practical advances regarding a set of more innovative, targeted, and sometimes controversial strategies, including "shared" or "conditional" sovereignty, "security first" approaches, the potential recognition of new states, and regional solutions.

While constructive steps have been taken to improve strategies and policies directed toward fragile states, it is not clear how long the international community and its publics will be willing to bear the material and human costs of long-term, comprehensive post-conflict reconstruction projects and "big pushes"in foreign aid. As a result, more targeted instruments deserve closer consideration from policy-makers seeking to make good policy decisions with scarce resources. Regardless of whether the selected instruments are comprehensive or targeted in nature, the way forward must be characterized by enhanced coordination and coherence among national, regional, and international actors.

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