TWP Community of Practice meeting, Washington DC, 29 February 2016

Download this workshop report (PDF, 10 pages, 227KB)


A few themes that recurred throughout the day are highlighted:

  • Realigning incentives and skills for staff at aid agencies to promote adaptive management as well as giving space and training to implementers to feel empowered to do so in actual programs
  • Defining TWP and its relationship to PDIA and DDD, and management philosophies thereby reducing the cacophony of voices
  • Changing donor contracting requirements and conditions, M&E and other procedures to better suit adaptive programming
  • Learning from experience and building such learning into development organisations as well as conducting more research and studies to make the case that TWP leads to better development outcomes
  • Recognizing that TWP is critical to FC&V-affected states but more work needed to explain the relationship and how it can work in practice alongside state-building
  • Analysis like PEA will help demystify situation but will not directly lead to answers of how to conduct work better

Welcome and introductions

Carnegie co-hosted workshop with USAID and other partners on Feb. 3rd to discuss TWP issues, found notable progress within U.S. assistance

Overall state of TWP field: Areas of progress:

  • Have given TWP idea more specific content with idea of flexible, iterative, adaptive programming
  • Have achieved real changes in some important aid orgs, including DFID, World Bank, DFAT, USAID and a few others
  • Real movement on TWP integration beyond governance sector


  • Still building evidence base to demonstrate that changed approaches produce better outcomes
  • Still are some large donor actors that are not part of TWP community—Japan, France, China, Germany, other MDBs
  • Upsurge in conflict and violent extremism, refugees and other pressing issues sometimes create pressures toward solutions and timetables that do not draw on TWP
  • Increased competition among aid actors creates incentives to lower aid standards and ignore TWP issues

TWP is not at a tipping point yet in terms of overall aid enterprise

  • People are here in individual capacities, interested in TWP, what does it look like in practice? Hence the creation of the community of practice and how to apply TWP to individual institutions, each with different challenges
  • All making progress whether in program design, implementation, program side and institution side
  • Have some Chief Economists as champions of this agenda eg in DFAT and DFID so making progress

Agency and organization updates: USAID, DFAT, World Bank, UN

USAID Update:

The International Community of Practice on TWP has helped USAID learn lessons from other agencies’ deep experience around drivers of change and PEA and to avoid pitfalls of the last decade, such as long reports that do not affect programming. Rather, USAID has been able to focus on looking for a balance between enough political economy understanding/analysis and adapting programming to context – a dynamic process that is underway. This is all emerging at a time when many organizations and academics are working together to explore how aid bureaucracies can think and work politically which is also giving momentum to efforts toward adaptive programming which accounts for political realities. In USAID this new practice is just emerging in a variety of avenues and humility in this endeavor is as important as learning by doing. Three Pilots, Colombia, Ukraine, Indonesia:

Colombia: A little over a year ago, had request to do PEA to think about local governance activity, 6 months before deployed. Political economy was included in statement notes etc. Interviewed private sector, mayor, NGOs, judiciary. Assumptions being made by USAID were not fitting with reality of ground. Paramilitaries permeated everything, realized service delivery wasn’t possible. When FARC demobilizes will be an issue of traditional justice, so rethought own assumptions, and realized it would be more useful. Developed PEA tools and questions and test waters every 2 months, mission has taken initiative. Fragility and conflict-affected place.

Ukraine: Been asked multiple times to look at health sector, originally thought it was people not understanding how to treat individuals with tuberculosis. But instead incentive was to fill beds rather than treat patients. Also conflict-affected.

Indonesia: Asked to work with during design and how to think about PEA going forward. More abstract but need to figure out how to support in long-term fashion. Maternal health levels been same for long-time.

Institutional Barriers and Questions

Hard deadlines, lots of money: Presenting to health managers workshop at USAID, but have huge hard fast deadlines, lots of money. Health officers began to ask questions and now reaching back to ask for support, though not at missions with big PEPFAR funds. Trying to help officers as they ask for support.

Contracting: Energy and interest from bottom up, but how to change contracts to make easier?

Ground up and bottom down change: Serious conversation within USAID to think differently and looking at PEA is one way, allowed to pressure people to move in one way, local systems. There are individuals who are pushing forward change, people want to do PEA, technical solutions aren’t working perfectly, huge shift within agency, going to take time to build a cadre, biggest challenge, getting enough people up to speed at missions and to support missions.

TWP and SDG 16: How does TWP fit into conflict and fragility? Government partners doing work differently and how can aid actors try to bring that about

Skillset needed: a lots of thinking has been done about skills needs to be governance advisor, 700 DFID advisors have been trained in PEA, don’t have that in USAID. Relatively young and new officers, lots of individuals who need support, how to teach more effectively? Skills lie in work in conflict-affected countries, similar urgency to think about how work since Rwanda, how to be more politically smart ways?

Building in learning: Not doing a good job learning from pilots, needs to build learning base, and make it sticky. Roadmap to change: Trying to map out what can do at each stage.

DFAT Update:

First phase of the TWP movement was angry, revolutionary. Second phase, now have practice, messy, going in fits and starts, becoming more mainstreamed. Example of TWP in practice: Big education program in conflict area in a country going through peace process, some people who had PEA understanding presented a massive logframe, made argument that dealing with central, autonomous governments and fluid environment, but how can one plan it out when changing environment?
Need to give less emphasis to output and activities, and structure it but make activities more dependent on what actually happens. The implementer group wasn’t sure if they were allowed to do that? Told them yes and became too lacking in structure. Now finding middle ground of how to do flexible program with large budget.

DFAT TWP updates:

Integrating governance: Minister approved strategy program, governance approach to development, using governance as something to apply across programming, not just a sector. Integrating governance into sectors, know technical challenges, but how to get policy changes, sector specialists admitting that not just technical and making real progress integrating.

TWP-like learning: How to get TWP into large programs? Revolutionary vs. evolutionary, Cambodia and Southern Philippines, elements are incredibly political but not spoken about politically, regularized processes that adjusted to local context but not in design or being talked about, so not being captured, large TWP-like practice within big programs just need to look for it.

TWP in large programs: In largest program coming up, $450m governance facility in PNG, inherits big legacy governance work, but trying to do in a big way and big priority country. See it as having a big aircraft carrier that steams ahead with little destroyers to do smaller, more nuanced work.

TWP language in RFPs and training: RFP now use TWP language and putting onus on contractors to do it, uncomfortable at first. Trying to work with corporate and contractors to figure out limits, but aren’t many strict limits, more about operating culture and individual incentives, have procurement rules but not compared to some donors, challenge is trying to give people space to program in this way, support them, and take examples and proliferate. It was noted how (pleasantly) shocked the group was at how much TWP language permeated DFAT bid documents.

TWP training: Predeployment training now focused on TWP.

What has been done:

TWP from foreign affairs perspective: He was first surprised when came to TWP idea from foreign affairs side because all work political. Foreign affairs officers are naturally trained to find iterative changes in country. So second nature but see ambition that comes from aid programs. More robust than foreign affairs working with civil society etc.

Focus, not resources: Work requires political effort, primary focus of work needs to be political, don’t need to bring resources to Philippines, need to bring targeted cooperation to solve particular problems, work is about bringing technical advice and doing it in conjunction with political problems.

Where department is going:

World Bank collaboration: Working with World Bank with business-government collaboration to draw out to create economic policy reforms, fairly obvious about reforms needed, project is to build agenda and support and where needed can bring technical experts and advice, trying to help advance political-economic reforms.

Rapid mobilization of programs: Known technical solutions to issues where trying to build relationships with agencies and partners, some projects are well defined, but most are undefined and hard to define with uncertainty regarding elections so trying to create tools, need to be able to tap “program” fast when needed.

Flexible programming: Going to select programs depending on where political openings area, can’t choose now when don’t know where we’ll be in a few years. Program design and contracting need rigor but need flexibility to figure out what going to work on, has implications for working, need to remain engaged on quality assurance.

Skills for officers and staffing: Staffing, no longer have aid agency and political and trade, combined, officers doing both trade and foreign policy as well as aid policy, trying to put tools in front of them to be agents to solve problems, face challenges in staffing, went through integration, AusAid had a way of staffing a program and country, how to marry local and international and sectoral expertise to marry with foreign affairs focuses officers.

Corruption and sensitive PEA: Aid operation integrated into foreign ministry, political weight on certain issues, AusAid would talk about corruption in ways that a foreign ministry never would, haven’t faced a lot of issues because been aligned with current administration. Asia Foundation or Philippine NGO is doing sensitive work so not apparent it’s Australian money, but want to be more open about owning certain policies, find ways to talk about it and own it. But always difficult, depends on country context, harder in Indonesia where Australia has a more critical relationship.

World Bank Update

More PEA than ever before: More PEA work undertaken than ever before in power, energy, extractives, water, Nigeria and elsewhere. Thinking about regional PEA, south Asia and regional integration. Also elite capture country diagnostics, see: “All in the Family: State Capture in Tunisia”1 Lack of strategic support: Struggling with high-level support, strategic, no locus of knowledge. It’s no secret that there have been difficulties around governance practice. Among the six strategic perspectives, PEA is referred to twice, but nothing ensuring it at lower levels, exacerbates issue of highly decentralized institution. In MENA region see very high quality work coming out but no consistency. WDR is an opportunity for knowledge curation and hope the institution can take it up.

Staffing and skills: Huge and constant demand for PEA, and not something can be delegated to consulted and need history and experience, maybe 40 in 800 person governance group to do this type of work, struggle, younger recruits have only known development from this perspective.

Multilateral and bilateral donors bring different advantages in TWP: Haven’t connected World Bank and bilateral, each can do things the other can’t, World Bank not independent but owned by countries, if use regional organizations can help each other, PEA interventions in Latin America help USAID because of sensitive history. Open space but no resources: DFID and governance partnership has given World Bank an ability to work in an open away and have 44 country directors, change happening, being done and see outcomes, irony is have space but no money or structure to work on it.

Staff cutbacks: Basically in governance, people’s positions are at risk and ones who work on this, positions being eliminated, governance and other part where mandated to work on this. Have demand but don’t have a way to deliver. GPF: Governance Partnership Facility, funded by DFID, Norway, AusAID, the Dutch, fizzled out – largely due to lack of interest from DFID.

Language embedded but not implementation: Country team perspective at WB, country directors asking questions but lack of understanding on how to do the work, have language to do it but no clarity on picking reform objective and doing hard work. Risk of language capture, how do ideas become embedded? Need for people to put together work on guidance that already exists and coalesce and build upon. How to develop differentiation between politics and political economy?

Fragile and conflict-affected states ripe for TWP: Fragility and conflict, fertile ground, inherently political, not much technical that can do in isolation.

UNDP Update:

No home for PEA at the UN: Been on periphery of what other donors have been doing, have secretariat, peacebuilding, when say PEA eyes glaze over. When say TWP, UN says it does it every day, but talking about big “P” politics not small “p” politics.

High interest but slow uptake: Been a lot of interest, but level of awareness is growing slowly on secretariat end, recent lessons learned review in post-conflict, too little, too late, not doing well, need to bring back into policy and implementation. Moving forward, having examples of where TWP, PEA and improved outcomes, but need to bring to country offices.

Lack of incentives: Development partnerships with UN secretariat and World Bank to create PE questions, how to take to an in country office, so few incentives, very limited capacity, don’t have time, money or expertise, and if it is done right, will be too politically sensitive and take too long.

WRI Update:

Mainstreamed PEA in DFID: PEA work becoming more mainstreamed in DFID, all officers have to use PEA in Country Poverty Reduction Diagnostic (CPRD).

Implementation barriers: Issue is implementation, building into program design, scale of funding, pressures on staff to allocate large quantities so time for analysis been compromised. Other than large scale disbursements, questions over impact, despite research and policy. Excellent capacity with DFID, not just governance, fund good research as well just not always clear that can tap staff to do the work. USAID though is better positioned to operationalize its knowledge.

Whole of government approach to aid: Whole of government approaches, double edged, at one level creating more effective machinery to integrate foreign affairs, development etc. but politics often understood as individuals and not PEA, strongly driven by security imperatives. Militarisation of aid under OECD: OECD aid guidelines will allow military spending to be classed as aid is particularly troubling.

PEA for climate: WRI, governance brought more consistent focus on politics and PEA, beginning initial work on PEA and energy access, climate, climate finance, adaptation. Rife for PEA approaches, so few people work on the issue so hope to do early analyses.

Asia Foundation Update

Politically-informed peacebuilding: On the political dimension of conflict and peacebuilding, see the Asia Foundation’s report “Beyond the Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia”2 Paper summarizes experiences in area over last three years, how to frame problem, length between action and outcomes in a way that allows to operate in searching way. Feedback loops, linking relationship and knowledge building and exploratory actions that helps drive achievement of outcome.

Need to focus on implementers: Tended to focus on donors, workforce changes to allow more flexible approach, focuses on bottom level, tend not to focus and assume will be fine on implementing organization, assumption is if can get flexibility and outsource, everything will be fine, uneven at program implementation level. Need to do strategy testing, summarizing how to structure communications between teams, method to help drive more entrepreneurial approach and stop implementing team from setting up program and then just implementing. Have capable intermediaries, but have adapted over time to donor-centered industry around programs and projects type of work, not PEA.

Politically-informed peacebuilding: On the political dimension of conflict and peacebuilding, see the Asia Foundation’s report “Beyond the Toolkit: Supporting Peace Processes in Asia.”3

Palladium Update:

TWP learning embedded in design: Put learning at center of design, structures and management, and based on strong analytic foundations, M&E tied into learning.

Questions remaining:

  • How programs create double feedback, not just feedback to learn and refine what doing, but refined whole basis of program?
  • Progressive learning, can be replicated?
  • How to foster accountability, curiosity, when people adapt, fundamentally curious about doing things in a different way?
  • How to actively monitor projects?

Doing Development Differently: Another workshop in east Africa in early summer 2016 to bring together practitioners, but government counterparts, local civil society and civic actors, be practical.


Earmarks: One person from USAID asked about how earmarks affected TWP as money is directly allocated by Congress without USAID’s input so it cannot choose not to work in a country if the PEA says it shouldn’t. Another person responded that they believed earmarks were not important because you can use PEA in any situation and find avenues to work in regardless.

Progress so far: It was noted that it appeared that progress been made at more organizations thanks to the efforts of a number of relentless individuals. There is now a real sense of results, prosecuting an agenda that seems to resonate with people.

WDR 2017 Law and Governance

Shift in TWP: 2011 WDR discretely integrated political issues into the report. Indicative of the shift is how much politics is integrated into this WDR. Governance is not a sector but affects everything, power of politics sets up for difficult conversations with the board.

Soundbite for 2017: What sound bite will move agenda forward in 2017? Examples: 2011: Security justice, jobs; 2004: accountability triangle.

World Bank Panel

Currently closing first draft

Key fact is heterogeneity: Heterogeneity, not just across countries but within countries. Countries that have been growing have been converging with U.S. have very different government types. Constraints, prioritize for advancement:

  • Report will unveil underlying determinants, if want to be successful must understanding underlying governance process.
  • Not about SDG 16 but about how governance can help achieve other SDGs.


  • Intrinsic value of laws, regulations etc. but what is instrumental value?
  • All societies want to free citizens from violence, spread and create prosperity
  • Way power is allocated and exercised

Rethinking governance for development

  • Think about functions, not just form
  • Think about power, not only capacity
  • Think about norms, not just law
  • Think about change, not just persistence
  • Think of policy principles, not just recipes

WDR 2017 Framework

  • Policymaking arena: Policy bargaining arena and development outcomes, how commitment and collective actions leads to function.
  • Capacity vs. incentives: Capacity is the minimum ability to do something, need incentive structure to implement, elite negotiation as well as citizen-elite negotiation can lead to outcomes.
  • Social behavior and norms: Socially acceptable behavior is the norm, i.e. corruption, can affect effectiveness of programs.
  • Power distribution: Power redistributed back into structures, i.e. lobbying showing middle class empowerment, demand on government.
  • Rule of law: Deals-based to rules-based interaction with actors, key is the changing rules in the policy arena.

Rule of Law: Has many names, law, rule of law, justice, courts. Report looks at rule of law, how do societies move to deal based to rule based? Law as a tool, state law. Not simply used as a good tool to hold power accountable, formal law exists with other norms and legal forms. Roles of law:

  • Law that orders behavior, (command role)
  • Ordering power, law in allocating power
  • Ordering contestation, law is used to order the way law is contested

Why Rule of Law:

  • Internal legitimation, trust
  • Constitution provides incentive that everyone is better within than outside, other elite bargains may undermine, create commitments and coordination to eliminate violence
  • Legal change and law diffusion, holding people accountable to law, changing roles of contestation

Last chapter is about international influence for change, accelerated flows of goods, ideas, capital etc, how does this affect domestic situation? Want to look at aid and capital, aid good or bad for governance, what are the mechanisms? Curious what group thinks, how can do aid without undercutting local governance?


Direction of WDR chart flows: Can one use outcomes to explain the process? Go other direction in the chart? Doing too much to deliver to practitioners and at a simple level? Power in both directions? Or is power nested at different levels rather than linear? WDR chart want to find entry points for policy intervention. Adaptation and learning is the key to feedback.

Bargains and accountability: Elite vs. bottom up bargains’ effectiveness differs significantly over short and long-term. Accountability not just about voting and service delivery, more complex. Balancing power through accountability. Nature of agreements among actors determines ability of institutions to be more effective. Practicality of WDR chart: How to apply to desk officer? Makes intuitive sense, but where do officers come in with technical solutions, where are interventions? Practical applied level?

Fractures within governments: There is huge elite capture in south Sudan, so why some service delivery able to occur? Coalitions within ministries despite elites, opportunities for engagement because boxes and lines not as clear, fractures in all of it. Drive for accountability, come through Min. Finance, fractures below elite bargain. WDR trying to have the right explanatory variables, learning journey, don’t look at actors and bureaucratic elites mainly abroad, depth of understanding of those actors varies, operationally people don’t have depth in understanding, WDR can’t do the job for all sectors, but collective action key to emphasize. Applicability of framework is broad. Studying implementation of law or trajectory over time and what actors one must understand?

Possible soundbite: Don’t think about capacity, think about power.

WDR on the ground: Frameworks become more exciting, more robust, so what? What does it look like when the rubber hits the road? Moving away from linear concept of policy-making. How to translate WDR into practice? Organizational and bureaucratic mechanisms of aid agencies, change length of postings, incentives for officers? WDR can be used to push own agencies on these issues. Transition from elite-bargains to rule-based systems: The process is messy, contested, compromise, unpredictable, TWP can bring better analysis though.

Plan for sailboats, not trains

There is a need to bring high, conceptual level issues down to earth. Example: whooping cough and MMR, not a technical problem but a political one.


  • Reform is political: Reform are inherently political, opponents to goals
  • Non-linear change: Non-linear progress in development, not trains, but sailboats
  • Long-term change: How to keep up momentum? Need to change the question being asked. How to use 3-5 year intervention to spur or affect the course of 50 year change? Won’t change much in 3-5 years but can lay groundwork
  • People not programs: Think of movements and people, not programs, who will make it their life mission. Example: Training in Georgia, was failure at the time vs. 10 years later when trainees became president looked much different? Look at shape of local coalition.
  • Shifting power dynamic: Is intervention looking at points of leverage? Promotion, new voice to have power


  • Act and learn: Not about planning for long time, can’t find all knowledge, never will have enough, need understanding but not necessarily planning, once have understanding can create building and learning and building
  • Hypotheses not answers: Don’t pick answer, create hypotheses, getting good numbers is important, if gets rid of observatory, testing allows to better diagnose

How to measure?

Measure change, not result: Need baseline, not endpoint, what is size and strength of coalition, have rules of the game changes? Need impact but from complexity theory, hard to measure what’s coming next, metaphor used is a water faucet, need to look when faucet moves. Looking for structural changes, can’t measure impact based on one point, need to look for phase shift

Learning and implementing TWP

  • 15 top level lessons repeated again – Bob Lamb. In 1949 said same things: have to be sensitive to local experiences and norms.
  • TWP concepts not perfect, but got basic ideas, need to drive home, recognize how to implement ideas, put into how agencies work.
  • Still have logframe analysis, planning 3-5 years in advance, M&E that doesn’t make sense, as long as have incentives in the field, will be hard to switch.
  • Authoritarian countries perform well on metrics and time frames, Rwanda and Ethiopia, measurements essentially say that authoritarianism is the right way to go
  • How to institutionalized knowledge of TWP?

Conceptual barriers

  • Accessibility, Can normal people think about it and understand? How to relate to where people are? PEA not priestly knowledge, take understanding of power dynamics that you know from gut, and assume happening in other systems and treat with similar respect, how to navigate with them?
  • Cultural approval, Do people think they can do it? Depending on the situations can be legal, but do people culturally feel they can do it? And what is rewarded, is there a reason to do this extra work?
  • Incentives, Are people using standard operating procedures once they actually do programming? Move into programming so it is easy and normal, align with interests and incentives.

Functional barriers

  • Planning, what can we create for planning that has enough flexibility but way to do planning other than logframes? Need to please overseers,
  • Budgeting, create hypotheses, need to change budgeting, budgets that have less earmarked and reallocate in real time or allow single contractor across various contracts?
  • Human resources, higher people who ramp up and down, give human resources time to think.
  • Evaluation, outputs and impacts to outcomes, if RCTs aren’t the best measure, how do we find the best measure, not fight against measurement, but different pathway.
  • Leadership, real accountability started when cancelling programs that didn’t comply with corruption, do we have leadership and people who care enough that are willing to make those decisions?

Legal barriers

Most congressional staff want things to go well, need to work with them to create legislation that can give oversight and flexible programming, very small number of legal issues, largely worried, cultural and interpretative issue. Fence around the Torah example.


Do PEA of own systems, what is keeping us from doing what we know we need to do? How to tear down conceptual, functional and legal barriers in own organizations.


TWP vs. simply working in politics: When ask people, they want to work politically, problem is if don’t define it then will mean anything to anyone, practice needs to be more than jargon or acronym but defined. TWP means taking politics into account. It does not mean doing Politics. M&E must change for TWP to work: M&E rules still same at DFID, can’t monitor adaptive programming differently than normal programs, incentive frameworks, momentum for M&E is very important or adaptive programming will fizzle out

Staff and incentives: A person from USAID say the agency doesn’t have a way to reward staff and skills that bring to effort and need to reform that if it’s all about staff? Another person noted that every time the group meets it talks about internal PEA, but this person didn’t think internal barriers were the issue at all, around incentives at individual level, self-confidence, can no longer hide behind PEA of organizations, staffing. One speaker noted that the group could create an award for people working hard and doing good programming, would help highlight some individuals to be vanguard and be recognized and spread. Need to start collecting what is working and doing good that we can spread to other agencies, Smart rules hasn’t made it into USAID.

Working with governments: Under imperative to work closer with governments, OGP, SDGs, means of implementation to support a country’s national implementation plan, work plan, how to do TWP, adaptively, when helping own country’s implementation when may have different ideas of how to do so?

Grants not projects? From the Georgia example, one conclusion might be non-projectized approach is one way to do it, if funding is projectized can we not do projects? Used to obligate not against strategic objectives, but inputs, every six months to do what was next, USAID has mechanism, the grant? Hasn’t been used more many years. Incentives, so many that make it hard to TWP, only way to push through is from a high-level that mandates as opposed to incremental from bottom up? Blend donors and intermediaries, need to create environment for space and hold intermediaries accountable, and intermediaries need to use the space to be flexible.

Cacophony of terms for TWP: Aid agencies operate in different political spaces, but ultimately successful or failure only about evidence, won’t carry the field. Increasingly worried about adaptive management, TWP, PDIA, collaboration, local solutions, all related and understand local context, everyone wants a brand and to be recognized and own field, cacophony, then people will turn all off. TWP can mitigate or account for political changes: Longer-term time frames, but about how long-term change happens, bad ones happen quickly, why TWP can deal with unexpected changes and undesirable. Need more than rewards, takes way too much time even though like. Cacophony also important.

TWP and Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FC&V)

FC&V and TWP go together: Fragility and conflict and TWP have gone hand in hand for many years. It was one of the first contexts to work because couldn’t work any other way, in Afghanistan, PNG, haven’t been able to simple programming. Focus on failure of state-building: There have been different themes over time, grappling with similar issues like TWP to get at the failures of state-building and peacebuilding. Deconstructing TWP: One of challenges and concerns, TWP is a bit of a pseudo technical framework or problem, my career has been to deconstruct and call it what it is. There’s been a resurgence of research and many of those people in the room today.


TWP and high-level development priorities: In fragile contexts, in South Sudan, the decision of the “what” and “how” was outside the scope of development agencies at higher-level, do you pay recurrent costs of a country, how to wed TWP approach in context where decisions made in a different space?

Fragility as a macro development issue: Addressing fragility is necessarily a political issue, but tend to be macro but don’t go to high enough level to deal with the issues, if only think politically in specific sector might miss entire issue causing conflict, one critique has, could be doing small things well but need to think bigger in order to deal with fragility which is necessarily macro issue, often fail to do. Also have end goals so thinking too cookie cutter that may think politically along way but not big enough or end goals would be different.

Inclusion and peacebuilding: A lot of UNDP work comes in countries with peacekeepers, UNDP be transparent and accountable, but then TWP every peace agreement is inherently exclusive of people who are important in other development contexts?

PEA for the long-term?: Any type of PEA is inherently time stamped, for programming for long-term, how then bridge gap of context changing and can’t do again and again, need to simplify

TWP and security: If talking about fragility and conflict, need to think about DRC, places where always doing TWP, not as much overlap with security as there should be.

Analysis won’t lead to solutions: Tendency to think better analysis will lead to better solutions to problems, can’t analyze self to solution, analysis may help understand dynamics but may be beyond third parties to address the issues involved in such a society. In such circumstances, how to use insights, which may be to do nothing. Another person commented that the impact of development work is not necessarily two poles, doing a less terrible job is a reasonable goal, not feel embarrassed about work, can say we didn’t get it all right but tried to do best and failure but gave it the best. One person noted that analysis is supposed to help one understand the problem, want quick silver bullet to everything, fault is not analysis but being overly ambitious. A further person argued that development professionals should abide by Hippocratic oath, do no harm. But failure of analysis is not often that it’s not good but haven’t brought people together to track what could go wrong and right and then bring the right people together to do the work.

Peacebuilding and public administration in FC&V states: UN did lessons learned in public administration reform in post-conflict and how well or poorly, one of main conclusions is work has done next to nothing and mostly wrong. Key development issues make political people’s eyes roll back in heads, need to get development issues on political agenda, world shifting because use to have thick peace agreements, not getting those types of peace agreements anymore, Example: CAR, caretaker government to look bigger, Libya, South Sudan, very political elite agreements. Challenge is to work with states where state-building low on the agenda, more on are political actors or regional actors going to undermine, assumption that if wait, then the public administration will come, most stakeholder management. Development professionals need to get into conversation as soon as possible so the political is on the agenda, get moved into development box if not on ambassador’s agenda early. Nothing unpredicted in South Sudan, spent billions but on getting parties to agree, never got there. Failure of South Sudan is not development failure, presidential decision to remove funding from government and bureaucracy, institutions function. What’s important on development side and getting registered on political side? What do we need the state to look like? Broaden dialogue to improve analysis but find a common language with political pillars that is made for today’s context, Mali, Syria, Libya, Somalia, actors who don’t want to drive political settlement. Another person noted that the people who need to be in the room (political elites) have different mandates and different timelines than donors.

Projection of authority and state-building: Basic political concepts of distribution of political power and economic benefits not in the equation for World Bank economists. All know don’t want technocratic states but need a state in order to project authority, need functional institutional structures to deliver some public goods to build credible signs of change, “gotta fake it until you make it for a bit,” isomorphism.

State-building as political priority: Most state building projects have been manifest failure, failed to appreciate PEA risks around the agenda, one piece missing was rapid response to rebuilding a capable state as a main political priority, all know the examples, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan etc. political project too focused on peacebuilding rather than state-building. What about frameworks or sequencing wrong? Even if analysis sound, had little influence in building institutions.

Transnational actors affecting FC&V states: Also encounter bad actors to domestic politics and internationally, criminals, transnational crime, gangs, human traffickers etc.

Operating in FC&V states: Budget Strengthening Initiative (BSI) has been successful in South Sudan, have people in ministry of finance and people who have been engaged with South Sudan political leaders for 30 years. Can bridge political and technical divide. Has a lot to do with the people, working between the two sides, multidisciplinary. And becoming trusted advisors of government and donors, gives flexibility to operate independently because trusted by both.

Effects of violence on service delivery: Looking at Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. Trying to understand good and bad indicators of service delivery and link to patterns and levels of violence in those areas. Most health service through NGOs, while education through government, different outcomes in different areas, what is driving that? One thing is the nature and distribution of violence. In Afghanistan have insurgency where communities have a level of predictable violence along highway and ethnic groups, can negotiate access for children to education, can overcome. In other areas, have roving bandits, no negotiation possible for access, afraid to send to school. Breaking down patterns of violence, some connection of service delivery outcomes? There is to a degree, not based on intensity of violence, but who protagonists and what the predictability of violence is, especially difficult when not from local community. Nepal similar, bandits vs. Maoists who coopted government. Another person asked what the effects of the fragmentation of service delivery itself was, being divided between NGOs and the government. The original speaker responded that it was difficult to disentangle that variable and its effect.

DFID and FC&V states: Connection between TWP and conflict and state-building, trying to reframe how to say to DFID and other departments, want to make something stick, service delivery interesting because it shows that it’s important to other parts of DFID. Evidence showing service delivery not as simple as creating service delivery and that leading to better states. Harder to achieve results in conflict affect areas, but allocating 50% towards it, and want more results.

Links between TWP and state-building in literature: TWP and state-building and peacebuilding fit together but not much in literature to bring them together, important of local context, things are political, TWP literature speaks to it but paper beginning of new project to provide concise critique of standard approach and tries to sketch out framework of how to do, what does it look like in practice? What have we missed? What have worked? Critiques of paper, points to local knowledge, expertise, fine for Asia Foundation but would like to commission a paper looking from large multilateral perspective.

Political settlements: six years ago DFID put a paper on Politial settlements into policy but didn’t understand what it meant. Idea that donors had to work in fragile contexts and how to do it, political settlement was placed at center as term, understanding processes of state formation and state-society relations overtime, contested relationship between actors over how to shape polity, process. Questioned liberal model of state building and managing tensions that emerge, can’t be solved but can be managed. Sobering point, there is a danger of theorizing to death, has to fit everyone’s needs for whatever answer, frameworks allow to ask difficult questions that can’t answer, can’t be answering questions but framing. Right now trying to figure out what inclusive political settlements mean, whether or not have peace processes or negotiations that are thin or thick but doesn’t matter if not grounded in society, also people’s expectations are changing quickly, how to problematize what inclusive solutions. Another person noted that the issue of inclusivity is so important, gotten women to negotiating table but few to rebuilding and state building aspect, not there for fragile and conflict affect states.

Development needs to focus on middle income countries: Focus on how development applies to middle income countries, not just where no state, but where states are exclusionary, subnational conflicts more in middle income countries than low income, important to keep in mind.

Concluding remarks

TWP reflections


  • We have principles, (some, increasing?) space.
  • Big organizational shifts driven by individuals leading a change in the RoG
  • An emerging body of evidence
  • Draft WDR 2017 includes TWP at its core!


  • When to adopt TWP – not always and everywhere relevant
  • Use in large programs – still a big gap here?
  • How to bring together in real time: implementation, design and redesign, monitoring, learning and (hence) ToC
  • Broad principles may be don’t have sufficient operational content?

Issues arising

  • Addressing cacophony: what do we do re PDIA, DDD and TWP? Try to bring together family under common identity? Should we codify and say what isn’t TWP?
  • Reiterate importance of inclusion (sectors, foreign affairs for bilats)
  • Conflict in MICs too
  • Next: steering committee, website

Fragility, conflict and violence and TWP reflections


  • Danger of micro-use of TWP in conflict / fragility assessments where big structural issues are key
  • Cannot “analyze ourselves to a solution” in many cases (TW)
  • Peace-building is TWP in extremis (coalitions, adaptation, deals, seizing opportunities)
  • Post-conflict states often not interested in state-building: issue is ‘stakeholder’ management (containment?)
  • Function not form yes but some form is needed. It’s the mimicry that is the problem….
  • Predictability of violence matters

Issues arising

  • How to get development issues into peace agreements and wider political dialogue
  • Differing timetables, mandates, more actors
  • What do we say to sector colleagues when services don’t seem to generate legitimacy?
  • Early work on applying TWP in FCS (right things, right time, right responses?)