pdf Think global, act global: Confronting global factors that influence conflict and fragility

Title: Think global, act global: Confronting global factors that influence conflict and fragility
Author: OECD DAC
Publication Date: September, 2012

Keywords: Conflict




This publication by the OECD-DAC highlights the impact of globalisation on conflict and fragility – particularly with increased integration.  It argues the world has become a more stable and equitable place with increased interdependencies as a result of globalization.  The key lesson from this publication is in an increasingly interdependent and inter-connected world, there is a need to change the way we tackle global drivers of conflict and fragility. The publication argues the impact of these global factors requires effective global processes, regimes and responses in order to tackle them. 

At the same time, the report acknowledges these global factors can also have a profound influence on whether countries grow, remain safe and cooperate with each other.  The publication is useful for policy makers and practitioners who work on/across global, cross border and transnational issues. 

Key Issues 

The report identifies eight ‘global factors’, licit and/or illicit processes operating at the international, regional or cross-border level that influence a state’s risk of fragility and conflict. These are: economic liberalisation policies which have a high likelihood of introducing significant uncertainties, which in turn increase inequality and financial/fiscal risks; international barriers to exports, which lead many fragile states to continue to export low-value goods; the effect of aid on post-conflict growth which must be balanced against other sources of revenue; the spread of radical Islam in parts of the Sahel region, which has delegitimized state institutions and local cultural and religious practices; migration between fragile states – which can be managed with political will and careful regulatory control; transnational organised crime  - which relies on globalisation to connect the global supply and demand for illicit goods and services; the international market in military goods and security services can enable states to provide security for their citizens more effectively; and international engagement with non-state armed groups  - which has been rather simplistic and confused.

The authors argue in order to confront these global factors, stronger and targeted global action along three key priority areas is required: firstly, we need to change the way in which we tackle the global drug trade; we need to consider regulating the international market for security services; and we need to shift our short-term focus to supporting inventive governance partnerships that would form part of a long-term strategy. 

The report concludes by highlighting three tenets of successful global action can be brought to bear to address the drivers of conflict and fragility.  Firstly, creative and collaborative leadership is essential. This is borne out of the realization change is necessary and possible with increased focus, authenticity backed up by rigorous evidence.  Secondly, nation-states need to increasingly have the ability to reduce complexity comes with an interrelated and interdependent world.  This involves placing greater emphasis on the linkages and commonalities while avoiding being held back by non-critical ones.  Thirdly, development actors need to have the ability to build diverse, new coalitions to tackle the global threats to fragility.  This means moving out of their comfort zones, deploying staff and funding to enable intensive engagement with partners across government and international organizations.


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