When it comes to eradicating global poverty, there are many obstacles including access to clean water, education, healthcare and a means to earn a living. For people living in poverty in fragile states, these obstacles are even harder to overcome.
The non-profit World Vision defines fragile states as “broken places where governments aren’t able to provide basic services and support to their populations, especially the poor. People in poverty in fragile states can’t depend on public institutions for education, health, and clean water.”
The organization says that by 2030, “two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are estimated to be in fragile states.”
The emergence of fragility comes in the form of disaster, conflict, economic crisis, and social upset. But no matter the cause, the consequences are very similar.
World Vision reports that more than 70 percent of global infant and mother deaths are in fragile states. Sixty-five percent of the world’s population that lacks access to clean water and 58 percent that lacks access to sanitation are in these places. Nearly 80 percent of children not enrolled in primary school around the world are living in fragile states. And children in these contexts have the highest rates of hunger, malnutrition and stunting.
There is a major effort underway to help fragile areas gain the resilience to bounce back after disaster strikes. Founded in November of 2011, the plan is called the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. It is spearheaded by the International Dialogue, which is a group composed of members of the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), the g7+ group of fragile and conflict-affected states, and member organizations of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS).
According to the New Deal website, this is a landmark global policy agreement. “Through the New Deal, development partners committed to supporting nationally-owned and led development plans and greater aid effectiveness in fragile situations,” the site states. “And g7+ governments committed to inclusive planning processes, grounded in context.”
The New Deal focuses on five goals to end poverty in fragile states: politics, justice, security, revenue, and services/economic foundations, with an eye towards finding new means of providing help to these areas.
“The old way of delivering aid simply has not produced the kind of results needed…A new development architecture and new ways of working, better tailored to the situation and challenges of fragile contexts, are necessary to build peaceful states and societies.”
In Somalia, war has left the country in a state of fragility. The Somaliland Press recently announced its new plan to embrace a strategy for recovery.
A report states, “The EU’s long engagement in Somalia is rooted in the desire to build a state, improve stability and reduce poverty…In this context, the Federal Government of Somalia and the EU co-hosted an international conference, ‘The New Deal for Somalia.’”
In Central African Republic, “A fragility matrix was developed in 2015 to inform the Bangui Forum. Two g7+ missions supported the preparations of the Forum leading into the development of five priority areas.”
With this progress, the area is looking to move into phase two of the New Deal as soon as security issues allow such progress to be made.
Other areas that have benefited from the New Deal include Afghanistan, Togo, Liberia, Yemen, Haiti and others.
It is estimated that 1.4 billion people live in places of fragility where it is hardest to overcome poverty in fragile states. To transition these areas out of fragility, a program like the New Deal can be a key resource.