This paper aims to serve as background and analytical guidance for a conflict assessment of the Education for All programme in Nepal. In doing so it:
− Provides an outline of the latest thinking on sectoral approaches and conflict.
− Provides an overview of the relationship between conflict and education as outlined in recent literature.
− Considers the possible interactions between education and conflict in Nepal.
− Proposes an analytical framework for applying a conflict lens to the design and planning, method of implementation and systems for monitoring and evaluation of the Education for All programme.
1. Latest thinking on SWAps and Conflict
Chapter four of the Resource Pack1 provides guidance on integrating conflict sensitivity into sectoral approaches. From an examination of donor policies and operational guidance2 it appears that since its publication, no comprehensive guidance or policy positions have been developed which directly address the integration of conflict sensitivity into sectoral approaches. SIDA does include a section on the sectoral level in its guidance note ‘How to Conduct a Conflict Analysis’ however this draws heavily on chapter four of the Resource Pack.
There have been advances in three areas which could serve to inform the further development and application of guidance on integrating conflict sensitivity into sectoral approaches. These areas are:
− Service delivery in difficult environments/ fragile states
− Aid Instruments in fragile states
− Developing conflict-sensitive poverty reduction strategy (PRS) processes
1.1 Developing conflict-sensitive PRS processes
The World Bank is undertaking a three year programme that aims to contribute to effective poverty reduction strategies (PRSPs) in conflict affected countries. To date retrospective studies of the conflict sensitivity of PRS processes have been undertaken in 9 countries and the lessons disseminated in a World Bank report ‘Toward a Conflict-Sensitive PRS’3. The work has generated lessons and developed a conceptual framework which could be adapted and applied when considering conflict sensitivity at the sector level.
The conceptual framework and approach of the study involved considering three main sets of issues bearing on the PRS processes in a country:
− Conflict sensitivity of the PRS. The extent to which conflict factors are recognised and addressed in the PRS process4 (participation, poverty diagnostic, institutional arrangements and donor behavior) and in recommended policy actions; and key contextual issues that either constrained or facilitated the conflict sensitivity of the process.
− Challenges created by the conflict environment. For example, the extent to which diminished capacity, entrenched power interests, lack of full territorial control, political/social taboos, lack of vertical and horizontal trust, and donor behavior constrained the PRS process.
− Lessons. How the countries addressed these challenges and integrated conflict considerations into the PRS process. How donor behavior affected the process.
Relevant suggestions/ lessons from the World Bank study are outlined in the box below (these could also be adapted for the sector level):
Box: 1 Lessons from World Bank report: ‘Towards a Conflict-Sensitive PRS’
− Base PRS process on a thorough assessment of the country context, including conflict factors.
− Design strategy and process so that countries can respond to changing circumstances.
− Identify and manage risks inherent in the PRS process. Eg. expectation raising.
− Identify ways of ensuring that all groups are engaged in participation and avoid excluding groups.
− Design participation process in a way which increases collaboration between groups which have experienced tensions, to help promote reconciliation.
− Build trust and manage expectations during participatory processes, particularly with conflict affected groups
− Ensure transparency of participation.
− Systematically integrate recognition of conflict factors into policy actions. Selection, prioritisation and design of actions should be based on context analysis that considers conflict factors.
− Assess policies and strategies for their impact on conflict.
− Ensure broad based inclusive institutional arrangements for implementing and monitoring the PRS.
− Prioritise country ownership over donor assertiveness. Donors could strengthen the country’s capacity to prepare a conflict-sensitive PRSP by providing technical assistance, commissioning studies and organising consultation workshops.
1.2 Aid instruments and aid effectiveness in fragile states
1.2.1 ‘Aid Instruments in Fragile States’
The Poverty Reduction in Difficult Environments Team (PRDE) in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Policy Division has produced a draft working paper entitled ‘Aid Instruments in Fragile States’5. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of various aid instruments (including budgetary support and sector basket funding) and how they have been successfully used in the context of fragile (including conflict affected) states6. It takes its starting point as the need to improve and increase aid delivery as opposed to conflict-sensitivity per se, but there are nevertheless some useful findings. These are outlined in the box below.
Box 2: Findings from the study ‘Aid Instruments in Fragile States’
− There is no single approach to aid instruments in fragile states. Development actors should avoid a one size fits all proscription such as ‘ budget support is inappropriate’ and rather focus on the context, policy objectives and imaginative and flexible use of the various instruments.
− Risk related to the use of instruments can be reduced but not eliminated. There will be concerns over state legitimation and fiduciary risk, and minimum conditions for budget support may not be met. However, trust funds, pooled funding and social funds are being used in innovative ways that can manage these concerns, and also meet other objectives such as institutional development and donor harmonisation.
− Budget support instruments have been provided in countries of ‘low capacity/ high will’7 to some effect, specifically in two circumstances: budget support via Trust Funds in the early stages of state formation (eg. Afghanistan), and budget support, direct to government, in more established post-conflict countries with new regimes – eg. Rwanda (a high risk strategy).
− Sector budget support has advantages over other forms of programme aid (ie. debt relief, budget support, balance of payments support). (i) Sector budget support can be used even if overall policy, budgetary and institutional frameworks are considered sub-optimal, provided that sector frameworks are viable, therefore isolating and reducing risk. (ii) sector budget support may be used to cover key recurrent supply-side costs (for teachers and health workers, school textbooks, essential medicines) that may complement demand-side financing provided through social funds and other instruments (iii) sector budget support may be used as a pilot and pre-cursor to general budget support.
− Degrees of alignment of projects to national and local government systems are infinitely variable, and projects can be adjusted to accommodate different contexts and different development objectives. For example, projects can demonstrate principles of aid effectiveness such as alignment, harmonisation and predictability.
1.2.2 Joint donor statements and declarations relating to aid effectiveness and good international engagement in fragile states
In January 2005 the OECD DAC Fragile States Group produced a draft set of principles for international engagement in fragile states. These aim to maximise the positive impact of engagement and minimise unintentional harm. Many of the principles are closely related to those of conflict sensitivity and can inform the integration of conflict sensitive approaches and strategies at the sector level. They include commitments to:
− Take context as a starting point and the importance of sound political analysis in order to adapt international responses to the country context
− Focus on state building as the central objective
− Align with local priorities and/or systems. Behind government strategies where there is political will for development or, where there is weak governance, via partial alignment at the sectoral or regional level.
− Coordination and coherence between international actors and donor government agencies
− Do no harm. This includes avoiding bypassing national budget processes.
− Mix and sequence aid instruments to fit context. Including instruments to provide long-term support to health, education and other services.
These principles are reflected in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of March 2005 by ministers from developed and developing countries.
1.3 Service delivery in difficult environments
The Poverty Reduction in Difficult Environments Team (PRDE) in DFID Policy Division has produced a working paper entitled ‘Approaches to Improving Delivery of Social Services in Difficult Environments’10. It underlines the importance of service delivery in addressing causes of conflict and provides useful guidance for supporting the development social sector strategies/ policies (eg. health and education) and service delivery approaches which address conflict issues (eg. horizontal inequalities in access to services, providing service delivery as a ‘peace dividend’).
The paper outlines the different challenges to supporting pro-poor service delivery in difficult environments including lack of political will on the part of the government, lack of state capacity to supply services. With these challenges in mind, approaches are outlined for the international community to strengthen pro-poor policy making functions (eg. by finding entry points to build pro-poor political will), build service provider capacity, and reduce barriers to poor people’s access and participation (eg. by moving resources to community level).
Further work on the issue is being undertaken by a task team of donors under the umbrella of the OECD DAC Fragile States Group which will examine service delivery in difficult environments covering four sectors: Health, education, policing and potable water. It is not expected that outputs on these sectors will be available until winter 2006.