Where is DG INTPA's approach to fragile contexts?

Brussels 29 April 2024 – VOICE expresses its concerns about the direction being proposed for the EU’s external action.

The recently leaked draft Briefing Book from the Department for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) for the next European Commission raises serious concerns for VOICE about the capacity of the EU to uphold its values and meet the Sustainable Development Goals principle of leaving no one behind.

VOICE believes that Global Gateway should not be the only lens through which to look at the future of the EU's external action and its commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges we are currently witnessing across the world.

The EU does not operate exclusively in contexts where investments should be the sole way of working. VOICE believes that the EU must also be a reliable partner in fragile contexts and in those in which there is no reasonable expectation of a return on investment.

A quarter of the world’s population (23%) is living in 60 fragile contexts, and three-quarters of people (73%) are living in extreme poverty worldwide (2022 State of Fragility). The EU’s primary development DG cannot turn its back on these people.

The increasing number of conflicts and climate disasters is exacerbating the already dismal humanitarian situation worldwide. Crises are becoming more complex, recurrent, and protracted. Humanitarian action alone cannot be the solution. Development actors have a key role to play in these contexts from the earliest stage and must seek a coherent strategy to effectively work in them and to prevent situations from spiralling into humanitarian disasters.

There has never been a greater need for a multi-sectoral approach to addressing the root causes of fragility. Sadly, the draft Briefing Book lacks any clear approach to engaging with or addressing the needs of people living in fragile contexts.

We call on DG INTPA to revitalise its focus on fragile contexts to ensure that the ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals is met and that the populations living in fragile contexts are not left behind. We believe that this must be at the top of DG INTPA’s political agenda.