In countries affected by fragility and conflict, state institutions (i.e. public administration) co-exist among formal and informal arrangements that mirror ineffective power arrangements. These arrangements are products from protracted power struggles between elites struggling to remain in power and control the distribution of rents and resources. The challenges facing situations of fragility and violent conflict are daunting and multidimensional. The strengthening of weak public institutions to enable them to perform the core functions of government lies at the heart of the process to start restoration or reform. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda confirms that effective and legitimate institutions are central to provide a secure social, economic and political environment for the broader objectives of poverty reduction, sustaining peace and development.
This note aims to provide practitioners with useful guidance and up to date knowledge as they deliver policy and programme advice to national counterparts; and design and implement evidence-based programming to support countries in conflict-affected settings in restoring and/or reforming the civil service, which is indispensable for restoring or improving basic government functionality. The note does not aim to determine what should be done, when or for what types of governments; rather it lays out a series of priorities and concerns to keep in mind, based on UN learning from experience that will, it is hoped, enable more informed decision-making.
This guidance note was produced in consultation with members of the UN Interagency Platform on Core Government Functions (CGFs) in Countries Impacted by Fragility and Conflict (IPCGF). The Interagency Platform is co-chaired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and comprises of the UN Secretariat and UN agencies, funds, and programmes mandated to and involved in supporting the strengthening of CGFs in fragile and conflict-affected settings. UNDP led the development of this guidance note with the generous support of the Government of Switzerland.