New Models of Development Cooperation: The g7+ and Fragile-to-Fragile Cooperation
Trends in conflict and fragility are changing. New regions and an increasing number of middle-in- come countries are experiencing instability.1 But many of the problems in conflict-affected and fragile situations remain, including in the g7+ group of fragile states. Several of these countries are still low-income and aid dependent, and a majority of them are not expected to reach the goal of halving poverty by the end of 2015, nor to reach several other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).2 Most continue to experience the same shortfalls of international engagement year after year. Fragility has proven to be resilient, with several countries experiencing recurrent and protracted crises.
Traditional North-South development cooperation, with its formal, highly regulated, risk averse, and high-transaction systems,3 has delivered limited results in conflict-affected and fragile situations. This is despite the volume of aid – which ac- cording to the OECD amounts to over 38 per cent of Official Development Assistance (ODA) – and efforts to make it more effective.4 The practice of South-South Cooperation (SSC) has increased in recent years, partly in response to the limitations of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC)-led approach to aid; that is, one dominated by the global North. In its dominant form, however, SSC is largely practiced by middle-income and emerging economies, which also may not be well placed to represent the poorest and most fragile of contexts.
The g7+ has emerged in the past few years as a group of conflict-affected countries that aim to support each other in addressing their own fragili- ty, including through the idea of Fragile to Fragile (F2F) cooperation. F2F cooperation has emerged partly in response to the perceived deficiencies of existing forms of cooperation. While it remains to be seen whether the g7+ and F2F cooperation can provide a robust and meaningful solution to these issues in practice, it is nonetheless an important evolution within the global development context.
This paper examines the emergence of the g7+ and the F2F approach, and discusses the extent to which, at this early stage, it might provide a different and necessary form of support from the established models of the DAC, SSC and triangular cooperation. It also situates the g7+ and F2F within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, notably in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).