Following our successful NGO Networking Event, focused on Canadian International Development Organizations, our next event on March 26th, Time for a “New Deal”: The g7+ as an Emerging Voice for Fragile States, will engage with development and governance priorities set by fragile states themselves. The g7+, a group of nineteen fragile states, was formed as a way to unite fragile states at the international and global levels, offering them a harmonious voice in development and peace-building negotiations. The ‘New Deal’ was proposed by the g7+ to deal with their own development and governance issues. It still remains to be seen if the g7+ and their international development partners will be able to make the ambitious New Deal a success.
Our first reading is the New Deal document itself, from the g7+ organization. Titled “A New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States,” the reading begins outlining facts concerning the issues, including that “1.5 billion people live in conflict affected and fragile states, basic governance transformations may take 20-40 years, (and) these countries are furthest away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” The g7+ outlines it vision and goals for the New Deal, as the g7+ believes “that a new development architecture and new ways of working, better tailored to the situation and challenges of fragile contexts, are necessary to build peaceful states and societies.” The “new development architecture” is presented in the New Deal and it is focuses on good governance and the g7+ leading the development and peace-building process.
Our second reading is by Julia Shu for the Stimson Foundation and shares the same name as our event, “Time for a “New Deal”: The g7+ as an Emerging Voice for Fragile States.” Shu states that the New Deal is “intended to change the paradigm of international engagement with fragile states” and it is “structured around three pillars: peace-building and state-building goals, inclusive and country-led transition out of fragility, (and) relationship-building with donor partners.” As the g7+ countries receive close to 30% of Overseas Development Assistance, International Organizations and development partners are key for the New Deal. The United Nations (UN) for example, has a peace-building or peacekeeping mission in “nearly every pilot country” of the g7+, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that the “UN will play its part with advocating for New Deal Funding.” However, the g7+ states must lead in order for the New Deal to be fully realized. The document offers a South-South understanding of progress in these areas and also of how to hold each other and themselves accountable. Shu argues that now is the time for the g7+ to push for the New Deal, due to heightened interest in development “in the run up to 2015” and the post-MDG talks. The g7+ has already been successful in making it harder to ignore fragile states and their concerns, successfully “speaking with a clearer, more assertive voice on the international stage.”
Our final reading is by Lidia Leoni for Eurasia Review, titled “The g7+’s ‘New Deal’: A New Approach to State Fragility? – Analysis.” Leoni states that the “New Deal challenges mainstream methodology for rating state weakness through a country-centred and country-led approach to the definition of fragility situations, which allows both analysis and effective solutions.” The New Deal is founded on the UN MDGs and “the so-called Peace-building and State-building goals (PSGs) as the foundation for progress.” Leoni sees the New Deal as an “innovative development in fragility research and in the response to fragile situations”, as it has distinguished itself from other fragility approaches due to the “central role it allocates to fragile states themselves in the assessment of their own weaknesses and in the design of their own path out of instability.” Both Leoni and Shu called the New Deal “ambitious”, as it will be difficult for fragile states to achieve the transparency needed to ensure good governance, and development funding and attention are struggles for many international causes. However, the g7+ has been successful at enhancing their voice at the global and international levels, as well as spearheading new innovation in fragility assessment and South-South development initiatives.
Caitlin Reid, Event Coordinator and Administrator
Canadian International Council – Toronto Branch