The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 614–628

EU Donor Policies in Situations of Fragility: Promoting ‘Resilience’?

Original Article


In recent policy papers on developmental statebuilding, for example in the European Report on Development in 2009, the concept of ‘resilience’ has been introduced as an alternative to ‘fragility’ and ‘fragile states’. This concept even offers the possibility of forging a ‘common European approach’. Although a considerable number of donor agencies (and, in particular, the European Commission since 2012) have adopted the concept and are applying it in some of their guidelines and strategies, the state of implementation in concrete interventions is unclear at present. Taking the development cooperation of the European Union and its member states in South Sudan as an example, this article assesses the current status of resilience in statebuilding efforts to be ambivalent: although there is little explicit reference to the concept in current country strategies and concrete programming, some components of resilience inform interventions.


resilience fragility statebuilding European development policy South Sudan 


Dans les récents documents sur le ‘state-building’ dans le contexte du développement, par exemple dans le Rapport sur le Développement 2009, le concept de résilience a été formulé comme un concept qui s’oppose à la fragilité et aux ‘Etats fragiles’. Ce concept pourrait offrir la possibilité de créer une ‘approche européenne commune’. Alors qu’un nombre considérable de bailleurs (et en particulier la Commission Européenne depuis 2012) se sont, depuis, emparés du concept et le déclinent dans leurs stratégies et documents d’orientation de l’aide, l’état des lieux de sa mise en œuvre pratique reste difficile à faire. En examinant de plus près l’exemple de la coopération de l’UE et de ses Etats-membres au Sud Soudan, cet article évalue l’importance de la résilience dans leurs tentatives de ‘state-building’ et conclue à une ambivalence: tandis qu’il y a peu de références très explicites dans les stratégies-pays et les programmes concrets, certaines composantes de la résilience transparaissent dans les interventions des bailleurs.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.oiip – Austrian Institute for International AffairsViennaAustria
  2. 2.European University InstituteSan Domenico di Fiesole (FI)Italy

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