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Supporting fragile states

Over recent years, we have increased our focus on the humanitarian and development needs of people in conflict-affected or fragile contexts where an estimated 1.8 billion people live.

Our country programmes in LiberiaSierra Leone, occupied Palestinian territory, Ethiopia and Uganda all have a strong focus on addressing the causes and impacts of conflict, weak governance, and extreme poverty. We also support the work of our partners in many other fragile states including Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen.

Challenges facing people living in fragile contexts

Fragile contexts struggle to provide stability or security to their citizens because of weak institutions, poor governance, and lack of accountability.  These context and regions have often suffered from prolonged violence and conflict, manifest high levels of inequality and are in a state of extreme poverty. The lack of stability and security can increase the likelihood of human rights violations, and women and girls can be particularly vulnerable to sexual violence.

People living in fragile contexts are falling further behind.  The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed the modest gains fragile contexts had made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As the world tackles the dual public health and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on fragility is now more important than ever before.

We are helping to strengthen essential state institutions like courts, police and health and education systems.

Our approach

We are helping to strengthen essential state institutions like courts, police and health and education systems. In addition to this essential state-building work, we also engage in support of efforts to build peace and strengthen human rights and democracy. We also support essential social protection programmes that provide vital income to the poorest households. In doing so, we work closely with a range of UN agencies, governments and non-governmental organisations. Our approach recognises the importance of coordinating efforts across humanitarian, development and peace activities.

Our commitment to delivering better results

In 2011, Ireland signed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. This agreement between a number of countries and international organisations, lays out key peace-building and state-building goals, focuses on new ways of engaging, and identifies commitments to build mutual trust and achieve better results in fragile states. In 2019, Ireland committed to the OECD DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. This recognises that achieving results in fragile contexts requires a coordinated and joined up approach.