Aid strategies in ‘politically estranged’ settings

How donors can stay and deliver in fragile and conflict-affected states
Research paper Published 3 April 2023 Updated 20 July 2023 ISBN: 978 1 78413 548 5 DOI: 10.55317/9781784135485
A female journalist talks to camera while standing in front of a crowd of male supporters and members of the Taliban.

Over the past two decades, fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS) have become a policy priority for international development actors. As a result, a range of new approaches and instruments to FCS have emerged, focused on upstream prevention; building institutions; generating security, justice and jobs; fostering inclusive national ownership; and strengthening international coordination. In a growing subset of FCS, however, these principles and practices cannot be applied. More than 49 percent of people in FCS now live in situations where relations between major donors and national authorities are ‘politically estranged’.

This research paper draws together quantitative analysis, donor interviews and diverse examples from countries where relations between donors and national authorities are or have been estranged. It identifies emerging best practice and strategic shifts in donor approaches to help to reflect the new reality.

The paper and accompanying policy brief were produced as part of a joint project between Chatham House and New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. The project examines the political and practical barriers to staying engaged in politically estranged situations and proposes options for donors and multilateral actors to use in overcoming those barriers.

The accompanying policy brief is also available as a pdf download.