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Strong engagement in fragile states and conflict-affected areas

Udviklingsministeren sammen med sin medformand for den Internationale Dialog, Emilia Pires fra Øst-Timor og administratoren for USAID, Rajiv Shah.
The Minister for Development Cooperation, together with his co-chair for the International Dialogue, Emilia Pires from Timor-Leste and the administrator for USAID, Rajiv Shah.
Photo: Neal Piper.

Denmark strengthened its focus on fragile states in 2012, for example with a significant increase in the development assistance to fragile states. Working with fragile states, Denmark focuses on integrating stabilisation initiatives and conflict prevention. Development cooperation, stabilisation support and civilian, military and police secondment are all integrated into a joint strategic framework in order to contribute to stabilisation and long-term development. The Government’s Peace and Stabilisation Fund, consisting of both official development assistance (DAC) and funds from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for stabilisation and security were used in the priority countries in the Horn of Africa/East Africa, the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Libya and South Sudan.

The Danish focus on this particular area is also reflected by the Minister for Development Cooperation’s active role in the International Dialogue for Peace-building and State-building, to which he was appointed co-chair together with Timor-Leste’s Minister for Finance, Emilia Pires in the spring of 2012. The International Dialogue is a unique partnership between fragile states and the OECD countries aimed at ensuring the improved effectiveness of development assistance. Denmark’s co-chairmanship contributes to an increased focus on fragile states and peace and security as central themes for the UN’s development goals post-2015.

As the situation in Sahel worsened, not least in Mali, the Government launched the Sahel Initiative with funds from the Peace and Stabilisation Fund and the activities are to be launched in 2013. The initiative will complement the already significant Danish efforts in the region, particularly in the three priority countries, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with a focus on mediation and conflict resolution, security and stability, as well as the prevention of radicalisation. After the coup d’état in Mali in March 2012, the development assistance channelled through government institutions was suspended but support to civil society organisations and the private sector continued. Furthermore, Denmark was actively involved in the subsequent political and humanitarian rebuilding process in Mali.

The Whole-of-Government approach, of which the Sahel Initiative is an example, is also being used with regard to Somalia and the Horn of Africa more broadly, where in 2012 Denmark had a broad and important engagement within the areas of development cooperation, stabilisation mechanisms, humanitarian assistance and combating piracy. The Government increased the efforts significantly in 2011 and has thus contributed DKK 600 million to Somalia in the period 2012-2014. In southern Africa, Danish efforts are contributing to the work of ensuring a peaceful transition to democracy in the politically fragile Zimbabwe and thus to stability in the region.

In South Sudan, the first part of the Danish programme package, which runs through 2015 and focuses on conflict resolution, conflict prevention and good governance, has been completed. South Sudan has joined the New Deal as a pilot country and in December held a meeting for the Steering Group under the International Dialogue for Peace-building and State-building in fragile states, where the Minister for Development Cooperation and Timor-Leste’s Minister for Finance participated as co-chairs. The aim of the New Deal principles is to ensure that the international efforts within peace, stability and development in fragile and conflict-affected states become more effective and build on local ownership.

The development efforts in Afghanistan were strengthened significantly in 2012 at the same time as the number of Danish troops was being reduced. Thus, Denmark continued the gradual restructuring of the Danish engagement in accordance with the Helmand Plan for 2011-2012. In 2012, Denmark’s development assistance to Afghanistan was evaluated. The evaluation showed that good results have been achieved and that Danish development assistance has made a difference. The education programme especially has been a success, just as the Region of Origin Initiatives and the aid to economic growth have created solid results. It has, however, proven more difficult to achieve progress with regard to good governance.

The drafting of a new Afghanistan plan for Denmark’s engagement in Afghanistan in 2013-2014 was also launched by the Government, and the plan was approved by a broad majority in Folketinget in January 2013. The gradual restructuring of the Danish efforts will thus continue, and development assistance will be increased to an average of DKK 530 million in the years 2013-2017, which will make Afghanistan Denmark’s largest development partner.

In the humanitarian field, Denmark contributed with additional resources in light of the serious acute humanitarian crises in, among other places, Syria, Mali and the Horn of Africa. In Mali, Denmark contributed with emergency humanitarian aid to assist the people in northern Mali, the internally displaced people in the country, and the people who have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries because of the crisis.
In Syria, Denmark supported the distribution of emergency aid and the provision of shelter for some of the many internally displaced people in the country and for the Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Apart from the acute crises, funds were also appropriated for building resilience to natural disasters and increased food security on the Horn of Africa.