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Change and the State: an INGO perspective. Duncan Green Oxfam July 2012. What's needed:. Active Citizens. What's needed:. Effective States . INGO role depends on kind of state. Stable Middle Income v Low Income Democratic institutions Autocratic but Effective ( eg rule of law)

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Change and the state an ingo perspective

Change and the State: an INGO perspective

Duncan Green


July 2012

What s needed
What's needed:



What s needed1
What's needed:



Ingo role depends on kind of state
INGO role depends on kind of state

  • Stable

    • Middle Income v Low Income

    • Democratic institutions

    • Autocratic but Effective (eg rule of law)

    • Autocratic and nasty

    • Centralized v Decentralized

  • Unstable (FRACAS)

    • Unable but willing

    • Vampire

    • Absent

    • Aid dependent v non aid-dependent

Working in stable states
Working in Stable States

  • Supporting civil society strengthening (Tanzania)

  • Often engage at local/decentralized level

  • Convening and Brokering (Tajikistan)

  • Growth of advocacy work

  • Use international networks to exert leverage (Cambodia)

  • Even in stable states, conflict often part of change

Lessons from success gaventa and mcgee 2010
Lessons from Success: Gaventa and McGee (2010)

  • Windows of opportunity open and close

  • Competition for political power essential counterparts to Civ Soc activism

  • External pressure double-edged sword

  • Deep social roots and time required (forget twitter)

  • State insiders need civ soc outsiders and vice versa (and often same people)

  • Cycles of nasty and nice (see Fox)

  • How you win matters for long term

The conflict cooperation cycle fox
The conflict-cooperation cycle (Fox)

Social Conflict

Events and Moments

Reforms run out of steam or new problems arise

Reforms and Cooperation

A more recent example
A more recent example…….

  • “If you get permission, you go and march. If you don’t – you have no right to. Go without permission, and you will be hit on the head with batons. That’s all there is to it.”

How do autocratic states interact with citizens
How do Autocratic States interact with citizens?

  • Nation builders are often undemocratic, but autocrats often fail and societies may be becoming less tolerant of ‘benevolent dictators’

  • Are ‘democratic developmental states’ feasible in early stages of development (‘inclusive embeddedness’ Edigheji)

  • Or is it only in later stages – Brazil? South Korea? Botswana?

My tentative and uncomfortable conclusion
My (tentative and uncomfortable) conclusion

  • There are probably trade-offs in early stage development between achieving the kind of developmental state best suited to achieving fast economic take-off and the ‘democratic developmental state’ that can achieve wider development – freedoms ‘to do and to be’

  • But those trade-offs are likely to change over time, hopefully in a positive direction – growth and freedom will become more aligned

Working in fracas fragile and conflict affected states
Working in FRACAS: Fragile and Conflict Affected States

  • The ultimate tough nut to crack - hardest place to work, and the hardest place to recruit

  • Increasing focus for aid over next 20 years

    • ODI Horizon 2025 paper reckons 460m/560m by 2025

    • Others say more like 50%

Key features of fracas
Key Features of FRACAS

  • More power in hands of multiple non-state actors (FBOs, private sector, trad authorities, Diasporas)

  • Parallel systems v long term state building

  • Pockets of functionality (education in DRC)

  • Complex, emergent change constantly messes with your planning

Two examples of fracas programmes
Two examples of FRACAS programmes

  • Territorial rights in Colombia

    • Indigenous and Afro-Colombians under threat from ‘armed actors’ and companies

    • Cautious trust-building via customary authorities began with trad programmes

  • Safe age of marriage in Yemen

    • Shift away from gender rights discourse to health perspective

    • Respect institutions and language

    • Engage with mosques and imam training

Future directions
Future Directions

  • Focus on building legitimacy/trust/social contract between citizens and state (accountability comes later)

  • Convening local to national conversations possible niche for Oxfam

  • Riding complexity and political economy analysis in a ‘coalition of the unexpected’

  • Promote ‘community conversations’

  • Work with non state actors

The power and change cycle
The power and change cycle

Power Analysis

Change Hypothesis

Implement and Evaluate

Select Change Strategies