Failed, fragile and other terminology pertinent to ‘We got a problem Houston’

In recent times the Fragile State concept and the terminology associated with this has grown immensely. Maybe we feel better being able to put a name to an issue. Under this we can look again (hopefully) at why we are doing certain things, the way we do the what (?) we are doing and the how (?) of processes to achieve the what to achieve the why?

The contention here is:

  • Too many arrive with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ before deciding on the why.
  • The what and how are not being looked at in terms of the consequences and causations of actions

We have long talked on the ‘do no harm’ principle, should we review this since some are now seeing the do no harm as do nothing to truly challenge the status quo as we seek evolutionary, or organic expansive, growth when the manner of reactions to this approach are revolutionary and taking leaps to posture in territories where development is still to tread with certainty. Where gains made in terms of empowerment and inclusion have been simply set aside by the actions of institutions and key individuals able to usurp and broader responsibilities supposedly imposed by the International Community. Imposed is quite possibly a word out of sorts since Global actions have shown we enter power diplomacy times again where blocs are, again, exercising their capabilities to have political agendas usurp internationally agreed protocols, policies and agendas.

The reactions from development workers is then to redouble the rhetoric of Human Rights, inclusion, grass roots/community based and the other factors we know are fundamental to granting longevity for any quality work. The setting in fragile areas riven with conflict means these factors will not find grounds to flourish thus the next reaction is to turn to reactive means for the sustenance of life.

Alas, there are those far removed from the international systems who are acting as if there is impunity and using aid as a weapon or attacking those who seek to reinforce the principles of humanitarianism. The access to water and food are being used to destroy communities. The rhetoric of hate is apparent far too often as despots call for equal access to basic needs of life whilst continuing to deny some the water and food granting strength to speak on behalf of reason let alone opposition.

As this happens, then security and safety are paramount; first and foremost for those who are becoming the innocent victims of war; war by direct combat or, increasingly, war by denial to the basics of life. The international community can be thought of as pious in this as statements of condemnation are issued and posting of efforts to send food and medical supply convoys is there to show the efforts by high profile entities. Note the quiet work by others who are delivering and do not follow either path.

Syria will be in the minds of many reading thus far. Libya may appear in other minds. Then Central African Republic, Congo and possibly Nigeria for those Africa-centric. Keep thinking and the issues of denial resurface in the physical and social geography of Eastern Europe and Asia Minor – the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It goes on with Philippines and Indonesia issues if not problems of separatist movements. The majority of us are aware of Korea, now North and South, and the dichotomy of development and resultant quality of life with related issues as we all want a Samsung phone but do not want rogue regimes fostering the spread of nuclear and biological weaponry.

Alas, there has been, continues to be, the pernicious, ever pervasive, exploitation by those seeking to undermine. It was insidious, but now is quite blatant as differing forces and powers exploit the manner situations have evolved. The contention can be made, and evidence is apparent, situations have been engineered in a number of settings

The last 12 months have witnessed very high profile migration issues. The mixed migration drivers have further evolved with natural issues underpinning human exploitation and conflict of natural issues. Power and influence remain critical and seeking a good part in the worst settings continues to be an agenda for those seeking compromise or specific ends without incorporating wider issues. The Horn of Africa, notably Eritrea and Somalia with notably numbers of Sudan, South Sudan then Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, continues to provide the second largest source of those seeking to cross to Europe. Latest analysis sponsored by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD, brought forward pieces showing how, for example, Sudan’s Government has set up bodies to combat the trafficking of migrants. Meanwhile, work done by Human Rights organisations routinely castigates Sudan’s regime for its role in a number of conflicts within its borders and in the neighbouring states. Conflicts and situations of expropriation or usurpation of fundamental rights itself causing migration when people have the opportunity to leave rather than the situation where they are being killed in situ.