Fragility: Peace & Statebuilding

Fragility: Peace & Statebuilding


"Fragility is a global problem that hits hardest those who are least able to cope with it. States of Fragility 2022 identifies 60 fragile contexts, the largest number since the States of Fragility multidimensional framework was introduced. Of these, 15 are extremely fragile. Today, 24% of the world’s population and 73% of the world’s extreme poor live in fragile places. By 2030, these alarming numbers will have risen to at least 26% of the world’s population and 86% of the world’s extreme poor​" OECD DAC States of fragility report 2022

According to the OECD DAC, fragility is defined as the combination of exposure to risk and insufficient coping capacity of the state, system and/or communities to manage, absorb or mitigate those risks. Fragility can exacerbate negative outcomes like conflict and violence, the weakening of institutions, displacement or humanitarian crises. The reduction of fragility factors is key for supporting countries paths out of poverty. Therefore, it is a core task for any development actor to work with governments and other stakeholders with the objective to influence systemic reforms that address the deeply rooted fragility factors such as marginalization, exclusion or discrimination.

Addressing fragility requires the acceptance of all its nuances by tailoring differentiated approaches to specific contexts and working across the full spectrum of issues, and using all available instruments.  

Swiss policy​​ engageme​​​nt

Switzerland is an active member of the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), a network of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of bilateral donors and multilateral agencies working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. It focuses on the challenges of delivering results in fragile contexts, encourages learning and shares good examples among members. The OECD leads on the bi-annual publication of the States of fragility report, what makes it a strong voice on key and emerging trends in relation to fragility. As an active INCAF member Switzerland is contributing to the implementation of the OECD DAC Recommendation on the triple nexus, a process that correlated with SDCs internal learning journey on the triple nexus.

By taking the multidimensional fragility definition provided by the OECD DAC as a starting point for its own fragility assessment – a key document of FCHRs CSPM Toolkit – and by adhering to the triple nexus definition as outlined in the OECD DAC Nexus Recommendation Switzerland closely aligns its policy engagement in fragile and conflict affected contexts with the OECD.


​​Implementation of​ Swiss Policy Engagements

On an operational level, the Peace and Statebuilding Strategy for SDC's work in fragile and conflict contexts outlines SDC's operational dimensions of the policy commitments. It spells out the strategic principles, thematic priorities, working modalities, institutional set-up and aid modalities that guide the work of SDC and its partners in these contexts. It builds on the rationale to support countries in their path out of fragility and recognizes that situations of violent conflict are directly impacting on development cooperation and humanitarian aid. As such, this strategy contributes to the overall Swiss foreign policy goals and aims at contributing to positive change against structural violence in an era of an unprecedented level of crises, and at reducing global risks and challenges.

Switzerland's contribution to reduce root causes of fragility continue to happen by strengthening political and social reform as well as resilience (social cohesion and inclusion), and to the application of a human rights based approach (HRBA) to development. Moreover, SDCs 2022 restructuring helps to accelerate nexus implementation within the organization.

With the objective to develop consistent theories of change "out of fragility" the Peace, Governance and Equality (PGE) Section developed “Aggregated- and Thematic Reference Indicators (ARI / TRI) valid for the IZA Dispatch 2021-2024.

Conflict Sensitive Program Management (CSPM) is a key competency offered by the FCHR Unit to all SDC staff operating in fragile and conflict affected contexts. CSPM, mainstreamed in the SDC Fieldhandbook, allows to understand the context and the interaction between the intervention and the context in order to maximize the potential of SDC contribution in strengthening social cohesion and peace.​

Triple Nexus (Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus)

After having concluded an independent evaluation of the linkage of humanitarian aid and development cooperation at SDC between 2017 and 2019 the PGE Section carried out a learning process on the Triple Nexus. It aimed at developing a common understanding of the triple nexus for Swiss Cooperation and a way forward. Therefore, we assessed the benefits of the nexus approach and identified conducive factors for its implementation. The process illustrated that nexus calls for an open mindset that helps to achieve greater impact and make results more sustainable. There is no one size fits all nexus, but various nexuses according to the reality on the ground. The advantage of working in the nexus relies on the specific expertise in each instrument,  and a merger of instruments is never the objective. For its operationalization we need to create an environment that enables joint reflection, analysis, collaboration and synergies using the strengths of each instrument. Working towards collective outcomes is possible when we can rely on a mutual understanding and recognition of each other's strength, expertise and modalities of work (“nexus literacy") enhanced through concrete accompanying measures. In order to align processes and timelines, and to respond to volatile situations, “adaptive management" is the key to success.

The PGE section will, together with colleagues from other sections and cooperation offices, continue to work on nexus implementation, with a special focus on the peace component and its operationalisation within SDC. It will strive to contribute to “nexus literacy" among staff and create incentives to analyse, plan and implement programs in a nexus approach.