Executive Summary,

After nine years of its foundation, the g7+ faces a development agenda that is much different from before. If in 2010 the language was that of development effectiveness, now the group seems to have extrapolated that. The g7+ has grown to have 20 member countries and has consistently advocated for a different engagement with fragile states. The way we understand it, the most distinctive aspect of this engagement has been its crucially principled stance towards the way people think and do peace and development. Specific tools such as the New Deal, the PSGs, FOCUS and TRUST seem to be most valuable when they are advanced with the aim to foster new and more inclusive dialogues, redefine the terms of engagement and find space for fragile states in the international scenario. Meanwhile, the key

challenges lie precisely in how these tools can be operationalized without losing
sight of such important principles or turning them into templates. This has not always
been done successfully and on that depends the g7+’s very possibilities of
advocating for fragile states: if the group cannot showcase local successes, they will
always risk losing attention in a world where attention span is most certainly
decreasing. Cases of successes also help maintain the group’s internal cohesion,
offering member countries precisely the kind of hope and confidence the g7+ has
been valued for from the beginning. However, with limited resources, it will always
be a challenge for the g7+ to stretch itself between advocacy and action on the
ground. The key lies in this balance.
This review, commissioned by the g7+ Secretariat as an independent study,
maps out past and present g7+’s achievements and the challenges the group faces
in terms of the core current events in the international scenario: there are more
countries experiencing conflict than at any time in the past 30 years;1 by 2030, it is
estimated up to 80% of the world’s poorest may be living in fragile and conflict-affected states2 and that by 2050, as many as 143 million people could become
climate migrants in just three regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin
America).3
The key recent achievements of the g7+ show the group still counts with its
mains assets: an articulate and effective secretariat; passionate people on the
ground; an extremely relevant and consistent agenda; and some solidly supportive
ears outside. However, even achievements need to be rooted in engaging narratives,
accounted for and communicated. The g7+’s contributions for the approval of SDG16,
for instance, are well acknowledged, yet the group has not taken advantage of that
momentum and symbolic capital. Contributions to changes in resource flows and
allocation, such as seen in the World Bank’s IDA17 and, to some extent, IDA18 and
new Strategy for Fragile States, in turn, are largely known outside the group, but not
well known among members. On the other hand, F2F and the impetus created by the
New Deal and Fragility Assessments are highly valued among members even in
countries that have not quite put these into practice, while externals find these either
not well implemented, or even currently irrelevant – ‘out of fashion’. This is perhaps
much related to the difficulties the group has historically faced to find a place among
other developing countries. Both for internal support to outbound strategies and
external knowledge of inbound processes, we make recommendations that range
from fostering skills for political analyses to rebranding ‘fragility’ internationally.
Indeed, the way the group will choose to address the issue of the very term
‘fragility’ might be key for its capacity to face internal and external problems.
Internally, the term still finds rebuke, especially among African countries; internal
debates and whole-of-government approaches can help foster a consensus. These
would, in addition, address the need to invest in diversifying the image of the
leadership that is convened, inviting more active participation on the part of all
members. Timor-Leste has offered remarkable leadership but clearly now needs
others to step up; moreover, the group would benefit from actively showing their
agenda is common and shared. Externally, ‘fragility’ faces difficulties dialoguing with
the universality and indivisibility encouraged by the 2030 Agenda. The g7+ might
want to address this challenge in a more direct way, positioning itself in terms of
what being fragile means in this scenario; indeed, valuing their own expertise would
be smart now that ‘peace’ is everywhere. However, at the same time, the group needs to seek quality partnerships where they can be found; this expertise, therefore, should
not isolate the g7+ but, on the contrary, serve to foment complementarity.
We also suggest the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda is a perfect entry point for
the g7+’s agenda on solidarity, one that is naturally connected to all that the group
has been defending, especially in the figure of the much-advocated SDG16.
Nevertheless, as the study indicates, there might be pitfalls in this international
inclusiveness discourse, as much as inclusiveness itself is extremely welcome and
part of the g7+’s own advocacy. Changes in the way resources will be allocated, for
instance, are complex and need perhaps to be constantly scrutinized before the group
takes firm stances regarding subjects like terrorism and preventing violent
extremism, to make sure such positions will actually benefit its members, and not
stigmatize, nor indirectly take away resources from other important areas. The
subjects are extremely relevant for fragile states, but a cautious approach is
recommended.
Overall, the balance has been very positive. The group delivered much, even
if not nearly all that it promised. The review showed there is great support still. In
fact, the g7+ seems to be a special case in which the amount of support is not
necessarily attached to a capacity to completely fulfil promises made. While all the
time there are certainly new trends in development politics that constantly defy one’s
focus, the g7+ has shown an incredible capacity to follow up on partnerships and
consolidate a network of optimist supporters. The group’s way of doing things has
certainly found resonance and should be nurtured, which should not, however, steal
away from the motivation to make changes to adapt to this new and challenging
development scenario.

Attachments

File File size
pdf Chronology v1 (1) 134 KB
pdf Road to UN Status 171 KB
pdf Theory of Change_v3 198 KB
pdf Key mentions 698 KB
pdf Taking stock of fragility asessments 151 KB
pdf Independent Review of the g7+_Isabel R Siqueira BPC-IRI_WEBSITE 5 MB