Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2012

Aid Effectiveness in Fragile States: Lessons from the First Generation of Transition Compacts

Christina Bennett

April 2012

International Peace Institute


The policy report draws lessons-learned for the UN and others from the first generation of transition compacts in support of postconflict peacebuilding, focusing on case studies from Afghanistan, the DRC, Iraq, Liberia, and Timor-Leste. It finds that transition compacts can be effective but their effectiveness has been mixed. In order to improve their effectiveness the report makes the following recommendations among others: • Compacts should be considered only when a peace accord is agreed upon and where basic security is in place. • Civil society should be given the opportunity to participate in both compact creation and implementation. • Compact commitments should be specific, balanced, and focused on short timelines. • Compacts should reinforce and coordinate with ongoing international and national processes. • Compacts should include specific mechanisms for implementation, oversight, and enforcement, with host governments in the lead. The report also recommends that the UN among other things should: • continue to support transition compacts and should continue to work with the OECD-DAC INCAF to support the provisions in its guidance on transition financing; • improve its technical support for compact development, implementation, and capacity building; • improve mechanisms for ensuring the timeliness and flexibility of transition support by donors, including through global and country-level pooled funds; and • work with host governments to strengthen capacity building and work with donors and IFIs to improve donor coordination.