International Cooperation in Fragile Contexts and Situations of Armed Conflict

Principal Collaborators: Achim Wennmann and Thania Paffenholz


The main objective of this policy-oriented research project was to assess the existing knowledge of international engagement in fragile/ conflict situations, both in terms of previous research experiences and donor/agency community practices. It aimed to to gain a better understanding of the various underlying assumptions that guide donor interventions in fragile/ conflict situations, as well as the existing conceptual and empirical knowledge existent in research and practice.


The project resulted in two publications mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC):

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Grasping the Strenghts of Fragile States: Aid Effectiveness Between 'Top-Down' and 'Bottom-Up' Statebuilding.

CCDP Working Paper Number 6 (2010)

Author: Achim Wennmann

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Context-Sensitive Engagement: Lessons Learned from Swiss Engagement in South Asia for Aid Effectiveness in Fragile Scenarios

Report Prepared for the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Accra 2-5 September 2008).

Author: Thania Paffenholz and Oliver Jütersonke


The first report was generated by the SDC upon the initiative of the Conflict Prevention and Transfor­mation Division (COPRET), for the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana, on 2-4 September 2008. Based on Switzerland’s long-term experiences in South Asia—particularly in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan—and in collaboration with SDC’s South Asia Division, CCDP was asked to criti­cally assess the work conducted in these countries, and to distil lessons for engagement in fragile, con­flict countries.

These reports take stock of a diverse selection of scholarly and policy literatures, and makes a contribution to the evolving discussions on state fragility in academia and the donor community.