We, the representatives from Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Nepal, the Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan and Timor-Leste, assembled for the g7+ Partners Meeting, gathered to signify the will of fragile states and regions to reduce poverty, deter conflict and provide better conditions for our people.

We thank the international community for giving us the space to conduct this dialogue, share our experiences and learn from our lessons. This gives us a stronger voice to speak to the international community about our needs and circumstances.

Therefore, we recognise that to assist the development partners in designing their assistance to fragile states and situations, we must take leadership and express a strong, long-term vision. This vision should be reflected in our national plans, which must guide donor intervention in our countries. We should also recognise that this transformation is a long process that takes time and requires flexible approaches that are sensitive to the stages of fragility and political context. The long-term vision will be set out in our development plans, frameworks and strategies. These plans will prioritise the following areas:

1.Governance „„

  • Political „„
  • Public administration and decentralisation „„
  • Economic, financial.

We recognise the need for good governance that empowers the people through open and transparent public administration and financial management, political representation and leadership. It is through the principles of good governance that effective and efficient public administration can be achieved. Leadership and effective systems of political empowerment are also essential to ensure development and social inclusion. There is recognition that democracy must be implemented in accordance with local circumstances.

It was agreed that in some fragile nations the needs of good governance require the implementation of a programme of decentralisation to bring service delivery and representation closer to citizens.

2. Economic development „„

  • Infrastructure development (highlighting roads, telecommunications,
  • transport, energy) „„
  • Natural resource management „„
  • Land issues and agriculture „„
  • Poverty reduction „„
  • Environment and climate change „„
  • Job creation

With widespread poverty experienced by our nations and as a root cause of our conflicts, we agree that economic development is central to our stable futures. To achieve economic development, the importance of infrastructure development is a priority. Among infrastructure needs, connectivity through telecommunications, quality roads, water and sanitation, and electricity and energy are basic requirements for our development.

Greater emphasis must be focused on aid effectiveness, which can contribute to these core infrastructure needs that will deliver immediate relief and economic development.

3. Human and social development „„

  • Health „„
  • Education „„
  • Human resources,
  • capacity „„ Vulnerable citizens „„
  • Gender equality

Our societies cannot develop without basic conditions that allow our citizens a good quality of life that sustains the human and collective spirit. Education, health, water and sanitation, gender equality and job creation are fundamental to human and social development. Effective programmes that protect and strengthen the most vulnerable and reach the most remote and inaccessible areas are critical to both sustainability and stability.

Aid must be distributed fairly across the country to reduce the risk of conflict, and ensure social inclusion and a common national identity that is respected by international partners.

4. Security „„

  • Conflict resolution and prevention „„
  • Reconciliation „„
  • Social inclusion „„
  • Peacebuilding, dialogue „„
  • Rule of law

There was a shared recognition that without security there can be no development. We acknowledge that we have a responsibility to address and resolve our internal conflicts. Common to the experiences of fragile states and situations is the occurrence of conflict and the existence of latent tensions and disagreement.

We have all dealt with what have often seemed intractable problems and social division. We acknowledged these problems and agreed on the approaches that are necessary to bring peace and security. This includes the need for reconciliation, social inclusion, dialogue, the institution of the rule of law, and for an honest examination of the root causes of conflict and our national mentality. There must be recognition that a change of national mentality is a long process that takes time. As we have all experienced conflict, there was agreement that we can learn from our individual and collective experiences and discuss together how we addressed our problems.

Resolution of conflict takes time due to the internal dynamic and complexities of our circumstances. Security and stability require the integration of all groups in society which should engage in a process of self-examination leading to a common purpose. International partners must integrate their intervention accordingly.

Action must be taken to operationalise these priorities. There is a strong spirit of solidarity between our countries and a strong desire to continue to work together in the g7+ group to share experiences, challenges, failures and successes, to make a rapid transition to sustainable peace and development, and to bring tangible results for the people of all our nations.

We believe this dialogue has provided clarity in our shared challenges in nation building. We recognise our collective responsibility given the urgency of the situation, and given the effect of conflict. We are the furthest away from reaching the MDGs and we recognise we will not achieve them within the current time frame.

In order to work effectively with donors, fragile nations must develop and communicate their own planning, programmes, models and strategies of development through strong leadership. The fragile nations acknowledge that each country must take ownership by developing these frameworks to address individual circumstances and within the national context. We recognise that ownership comes with a responsibility to define our needs and be accountable for delivery. We want donors to adhere to this principle and align accordingly.

When considering these circumstances, we agree there are common themes through shared characteristics and challenges amongst fragile states. All must be addressed with action and aid assistance that is effective.

We recognise fragile states are in a transitional stage – in order to further explore the above themes and to discuss our common and collective issues, it is necessary for the g7+ Partner Meetings to continue. It is through this dialogue and institutional grouping that we can discuss our priorities and our approaches, and in doing so, allow for empowered and effective communication with the donor communities.

We believe fragile states are characterised and classified through the lens of the developed rather than through the eyes of the developing; and that in order to make long-lasting change and implement the principles of good engagement; the national context must guide each distinctive path to sustainable development, and donors must first harmonise to this concept and then implement without undue process. Although we all accept international standards, the donor community must be aware of our conditions and needs. That is why we must give ourselves a transitional period to reinforce our capabilities and systems and not have complex and slow procedural requirements and conditions imposed upon us.

Fragile nations, above all states, understand the meaning of urgent action, that a government’s responsibility to address the needs of the people is a priority which often requires swift, immediate, and decisive responses to avoid potential or escalating threats to national stability. International partnerships are critical at this time. A two-pronged approach is necessary, requiring flexibility in systems and untying restraints that could prevent aid delivery while establishing medium- to long-term planning.

We realise the need to have a collective voice as members of countries in a formal forum, supported and accepted by the international community.