‘Engagement in Fragile States: A balancing Act’

Speech by minister Koenders (Development Cooperation) at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.

Prof. De la Rive Box, Prof. Van Staden,

Ladies and gentlemen, members, experts, students and friends of the Netherlands Society for International Affairs and the Institute of Social Studies – 55 years old – rather old in my view.

It is a great pleasure for me to address you today on the challenges of engagement in fragile states. This issue is one of the cornerstones of my policy as Minister for Development Cooperation. And it is, as we all know, a balancing act.

Depending on the definition used, there are estimated to be around thirty-five fragile states in the world. In these states, conflict, corruption or weak capacity has eaten away at governments’ capacity carry out the main tasks that their citizens expect from them. This failing capacity often results in declining legitimacy. As the Swedish minister Carl Bildt stated in his lecture for your Society three years ago: in the past, international security was threatened by strong states and strong armies. Today, international security is far more threatened by weak states and the shadowy structures that seek their home within them. Since the end of the Cold War, the vast majority of international crises have been triggered by states that are unable and sometimes unwilling to uphold the rule of law. State failure in places like Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti and Afghanistan not only caused unspeakable human suffering at home, but also compromised the international order through international terrorism, regional wars and the mass exodus of refugees.

Human rights and the international order are one reason why fragile states should top the world’s agenda. International development is another. As a recent World Bank report pointed out, of all developing countries, fragile states are the least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Home to a tenth of the developing world’s population, they have accounted over the past few years for almost a third not only of its extreme poverty but also of its infant mortality and primary school drop-outs. And when development fails to take off, the seeds of war can germinate.

[Great Lake Region & Congo]

I came back last Sunday from the Great Lake Region where the situation is constantly waivering between hope and fear – between scenes of conflict, war and rape like those now unfolding in Kivu, and evidence of growing stability, as in Rwanda. My trip to Eastern Congo convinced me that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a case where the international community has to stay the course, in order to help the government establish security and development.

There is now a 1.2 billion dollar a year peace keeping operation in place and in my view, this mission (MONUC) should stay for at least another few years. This year the United Nations has asked for substantial humanitarian assistance and up until now has only received half. The risk is that once the peace keeping operation leaves and other crises around the globe compete for attention, the displaced and war weary population of DRC is left with nothing. In that case, the elections would have been no more than an exit strategy. The opposite is necessary: critical support for the newe democratic institutions, decentralisation, development co-operation to show the peace dividend, robust peacekeeping as is possible under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to protect citizens and key support for the process of demobilization and reintefration.

Let me start what doesn’t seem to catch the eye at first glance.

First and foremost we need urgent leadership from the DRC government to combat for instance the horrible atrocities committed against women in Eastern Congo. I saw the victims in a hospital in Goma. They need to know the government and the army are on their side. They need to see perpetrators punished. Also, women in the DRC need to be listened to. If given half a chance, they have no dofficulty speaking up, as I experienced taking to women politicians, victims of displacement and violence and women who roam around Eastern DRC following their husbands who are in the army. Furthermore we need to continue to take in relation to this the guns out of society. I spoke to demoblised figthers in Ituri. They need hope as well. We are now funding urgent dembolisation and reintegration on the Congolese Kivu-provinces, in addition to our role as biggest donor of the regional Multidonor recunstruction programme. I come back to this. The DRC is a rich territory without a functioning state. The power vacuum was filled by foreign and domestic militia fighting for survival or pludering resources. Now DRC lives between hope and fear. Performance legitimacy by the new government is still a possible if it is strongly supported by foreign finance for infrastructure, governance, energy, the Millennium Development Goals and for the fight against corruption. The Netherlands will play its part in this.

Secondly, conquerring fragility also requires sustained attention to the humanitarian emergency and bridging the ticklish gap between humanitarian aid and structural development.

Thirdly we will have to focus on a good system of demobilization and re-integration. At present the army is underpaid and incoherent, therefore preying on the population rather than creating the conditions for basic security and survival of the population. More is required as I have seen in transit centres and in brigades that went though a process of “brassage” (literally: blending in). MONUC with 17.000 forces is the largest UN peacekeeping operation. Yet it is also the peacekeeping operation with the fewest number of peackeepers per capita. MONUC will have to act more robustly to support the process of “ brassage” and should help putting on the table the issue of the dissident general Nkunda and the issue of the Interahamwe – the militia responsible for the genocide in Rwanda.

In short, to overcome fragility in the DRC requires a timely and effective mix of instruments – emergency ard, development co-operation, attention to issues of demobilization and reitegration, as wel as robust peacekeeping in DRC, Uganda and Rwanda.

Unfortunately, the 3,8 million conflict-related deaths in Congo never had the priority on the foreign affairs and development policy agendas that other conflicts in the world received. MONUC moght leave too early from the Congolese scene, giving spoilers the opportunity to move in. The cost of MONUC -1,5 billion dollors a year- is used as the most dominant argument against prolongation of the mission. 1,5 billion dollars what the costs are for one and a half day of military deployment in Iraq.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is so much at stake, and yet the international community has not yet risen to the occasion. Many fragile states are forgotten states when it comes to development aid. As aid to other low-income countries has risen, fragile states have been left behind. They have become so-called donor-orphans. OECD-studies indicate furthermore that disbursement of funding for fragile states is unpredictable. The over-concentration on the concept of good governance as a precondition for development cooperation has impaired our ability to engage in places where aid is most needed.

I strongly believe that we must act. We have a responsibility to protect, and international stability is in all our interests.

In an effort to sustain local and regional stabilization processes, I intend to focus our development efforts more on fragile states. When speaking of developing countries, I distinguish between three profiles.

Firstly, the MDG-profile: these are relatively stable low- and middleincome countries where the achivement of the Millennium Development Goals is lagging behind. In these countries, harmonization, alignment and a more efficient division of labour in the relation between donors and receivers, MDG-achievement can be accellerated.

Secondly, the so-called ‘broad relation-countries’ that have reached or will soon reach a middle-income status. In these countries, development efforts focus on those MDG’s that are not yet on track. We try to broaden the scope of the relation with these countries, with more emphasis on for instance economic co-operation and less on development co-opration.

The third profile is the security and development profile. Fragile states fall within this category. I will focus my efforts more on these countries. As the case of Congo shows, the needs are most urgent in these countries. Engagement here is not without risk. Investing in fragile states is a tricky business. Our efforts should be well designed and tailored to local demands; and they should help root out the causes of fragility. These causes are broader than insecurity alone. The economic, cultural and political dimensions are at least as relevant. Re-establishing formal state authority is not enough. A broader, societal approach is needed.

The key question of my presentation today is: how can fragile states be transformed into stable societies?

[causes of fragility]

To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves: what is a fragile state?

Fragility is a complex concept. As I said, there is no simple definition of a ‘fragile state’. Clearly, the word embraces post-conflict countries, pre-conflict countries and countries in conflict. Some people also count ‘ collapsed states’ and ‘crisis states’ as fragile states. Roughly speaking, a fragile state is a country whose institutional subsystems are susceptible to crisis, a country that is especially vulnerable to internal and external shocks and domestic and international conflicts. It is waivering around the axis of conflict. Formal authority structures are incapable of repulsing challenges from competing institutions at various levels. Fragility can reveal itself in va rious levels and in various forms.

Vulnerable economic institutions – inadequately established property rights, for example – can be responsible for faltering or unbalanced growth.

On the social dimension, fragility can also result from major social tensions or extremely unequal opportunities. Ravi Kanbur, Economy Professor at Cornell University, demonstrates that the chance of conflict is significantly higher when economic growth does not benefit al; when distribution of the benefits of growth occurs along ethnic or other fault lines in a society.

When fragility arises on the political or security dimension, chances are that the monopoly of violence is lost. Civilians or groups claim the right to use force and no longer attribute that right to the state. In this situation the formal authorities suffer a drastic loss of effectiveness and legitimacy. If a government is incapable of maintaining public order, it is hardly able to carry out its core tasks. Such as: protecting people and property, safeguarding safety and economic stability, and providing basic services. When these tasks cannot be adequately carried out, a society risks a spiral of violence, impunity and the erosion of human dignity. Unfortunately, we see examples of this every day.

The causes of fragility are at least as varied as the definitions of fragile states. I will mention the three most dominant ones in my opinion.

Firstly, inadequately resolved conflict can be a cause of fragility. If you win a war but fail to win the peace, you pave the way for a resurgence of conflict. Transitional justice and careful state-building are good ways of avoiding this.

Natural resources are a second potential cause of fragility. Shortages due to poor soil and an unfortunate climate often leads to competition over the acceess to resources. Between croppers and herdsmen, for instance in places where agriculture is the most important source of income. When there are few or no alternative sources, this situation easily leads to enlargment of political or ethnical differences and conflict, like has happened in darfur. Not just the lack of natural resources, but also the mere presence of them can be a cause of instability. In her book Oil Wars, Mary Kaldor analyses the link between natur al resources, armed domestic conflict, the absence of legitimate political authority, and globalisation. Weak or dictatorial regimes whose income derives from oil or other resources are not dependent on domestic tax collection. Internal power struggles and ‘privatisation of violence’ are often made worse by outside geopolitical intervention. The absence of functioning state institutions. Political power becomes a precious weapon, which specific groups try to use for their own benefit. In other words, an elite will then put the state to its own use. This process is sharply analysed by Chabal and Deloz in thero book “Africa Works”.

A third cause of fragility is the enforcement of institutions while support for them is lacking. Or when time is not taken for institutions to take root in a society where checks and balances are lacking and where institutions are not tailored to local culture culture. The struggle for democracy is not only about establishing a political system. It is part of a larger project to secure the rule of law and widen participation. Achieving substantive democracy is crucial. We should be honest about our own mistakes in this regard: in some cases, democratisation has been used as a quick fix and an exit strategy in our interventions. It is no accident that 95% of the worst economic results over the past 40 years were furnished by non-democratic governments. The process to a substantive democratcy is hard and complex. Merely holding elections will not produce a stable democracy. On the contrary: as Paul Collier shows in his book The Bottom Billion, elections are often a source of instability, as we have seen in in Iraq, Liberia and Congo –with the Banyamulenge fleeing to neighbouring countries. Friction between indigenous and imported institutions often weakens the state, making it vulnerable to domestic and foreign manipulation. Domestic misuse of the state is characterised by unbridled self-enrichment by politicians and officials. Outsiders can take illicit advantage of the situation as well, by exporting raw materials at bargain prices or getting rich from arms sales. State failure is thus often largely the product of human shortcomings.

Ladies and gentelemen,

There are no blueprints for fragile states. Every case is different. In some places fragility is the main problem, as in post-conflict countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. But security can also be undermined in countries with stronger governments and less open conflicts. The decades-old conflict in Colombia began with an armed protest against a severe imbalance of wealth and political power; it is sustained by drug trafficking. In Guatemala, impunity and parallel structures run by former military officers are a threat to the country’s security and development. And in the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, the Middle East and – very close to home – the Western Balkans as well, fragility is a major obstacle to security and development.

[Why engage in fragile states?]

Fragility has the biggest impact on ordinary people in these countries. It is the new ‘social question’. Apart from great differences in power, inequal distribution of security is a matter which importance is growing. It is very difficult to pursue the Millennium Development Goals in conflict-prone states, for example. In a globalizing world, moreover, state failure also affects other countries and their peoples. Local instability can endanger regional peace and security. Large groups of refugees often seek safety in nearby countries. Conflicts frequently have enormous ecological consequences for an entire region: take logging in virgin forests by Congolese refugees, for example. The power vacuum in a failing state can attract the arms trade and the criminal networks that often accompany it. We can see these spill-over effects of fragility in West Africa and the Horn of Africa. Failing states can also pose a threat to global peace and security. They are often a haven for people smugglers and terrorists.

The international community has a number of reasons to take action on failing states:

• the imperative of international solidarity. The UN confirmed this imperative in 2005 by endorsing by a large majority the concept of a ‘responsibility to protect’. This means that the international community has a responsibility to act when a government fails to protect the human rights of its own people;

• prevention as a form of cost-cutting. The average armed conflict costs an estimated sixty billion dollars. By comparison, a peacebuilding operation in a country of ten million people that agrees to the mission costs about 1.8 billion dollars a year;

• regional stability;

Involvement with fragile states is thus a simple matter of enlightened self-interest, and not only for countries like the Netherlands. A stable world with responsible, effective, sovereign states is the best possible environment for advancing our economic interests, upholding the international legal order and combating crime, disease, environmental degradation and terrorism.

This means that we have to drop good governance as an absolute precondition for development aid. Being too dogmatic about good governance has led to a great reluctance to help fragile states. Let’s be clear about this: countries struggling with development problems never have good governance. The issue is not good governance but good enough governance. We must ask ourselves whether countries are headed towards democracy and the rule of law. We are looking for islands of change with good governance. We seek to stimulate and support those, like in Burundi. Notice that I say support. I don’t think we can impose processes of this kind. We need to know our limitations. And we should be aware that we are taking risks, more than in countries with a less fragile profile. Like at the stock-market.

Nor can we solve the problem of fragile states through development cooperation alone. Complex problems demand complex, multifaceted solutions. Aristotle said that all human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire. I am more modest. In tackling the multiple causes of fragility, my colleagues and I seek to integrate three aspects: development, diplomacy and defence (the three Ds). This consistent multi-track strategy involves a solid, joint analysis of the problem; intensive international cooperation; investment of sufficient resources and people; long-term political commitment; support for parliaments (SGACA) and other countervailing powers, and unflagging attention to state performance. We also need to bear Western businesses and governments in mind, as they sometimes play a role in the abuse of power by elites in fragile states. This government has therefore opted for an integrated approach.

[international framework]

Of course, Peace operations have been around for a while. In recent years, however, we’ve gained experience with the three-D approach in fragile states through more targeted pilot projects. The Netherlands is active in fifteen countries that we view as fragile. For example, we and other countries have helped Burundi with demobilisation and social integration of its army. We are taking part in ISAF in Afghanistan. We are working on demobilisation and building a new army in Congo, and on the security sector in Southern Sudan. And, to turn to a very different programme, we have the Dutch Stability Fund, where Official development aid and unofficial development aid funds are pooled . Similar funds, like the Multi-Donor Trust Funds, have been and are being developed. They are far from perfect. We have to learn lessons, like from Darfur, and improve them.

There is growing international recognition of the importance of engagement with fragile states. We have to act together. The UN is trying to act in a more effective and integrated way. Last year’s UN report ‘Delivering as One’ advocated giving UNDP a lead role in dealing with post-conflict countries and regions. Political awareness of the negative impact of violence on development has been expressed in the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. World Bank and OECD/DAC reports have made a start on policy and implementation guidelines, such as the OECD/DAC Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations and the concept of Low Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS). The Principles give pride of place to the principle of ‘do no harm’ – making sure that outside intervention does not increase the distance between parties to a conflict, for example – and the importance of a tailored approach.

The EU has a wide range of funding instruments at its disposal, such as the African Peace Facility, the Instrument for Stability and the Instrument for Development Cooperation and Economic Cooperation. The current Portuguese Presidency is working on strengthening these instruments and enhancing cooperation. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has been launched for the private sector, in an effort to increase openness about how income from raw materials extraction is spent. Under the motto ‘learn from one another’, governments are looking for ways to work with social partners. This happened in the Netherlands with the adoption of the Pact of Schokland, in which a number of research institutions and NGOs launched an initiative to exchange knowledge in the area of fragile states.

What is new about this government’s approach – and our partners are headed in the same direction – is that we are moving fragile states from the margins of our development policy to its centre. And no less important, we are learning t he lessons of the past, which until now have been too little heeded. Last week I read an advance copy of From War to the Rule of Law, a book that Joris Voorhoeve will be presenting next Monday. His analysis of the typical peacebuilding programme is that ‘the efforts are too little, too late, too short, too fragmented and too foreign’. He argues that we must do more to learn from the past. I couldn’t agree more. He also says that these efforts are extremely valuable investments in socio-economic progress that are needed for reasons of human security. I agree with him there too.

Let me run through some of the lessons we’ve learned, often the hard way.

[lessons learned]

First of all, we need to fill in the gap between humanitarian aid and reconstruction:

The transition from emergency aid to reconstruction is often a difficult one. Emergency aid involves rapid intervention, substantial outside control and a corresponding lack of local ownership. Reconstruction, on the other hand, is a long-term undertaking that weakened governments tend to view through rose-coloured glasses. All too often there is a breakdown between these two phases. After the media leave a distressed area, many donors disappear too. Few are willing to stay for the long haul. As I see it, the solution lies in better agreements on the division of responsibilities among the donors. The government can only play a productive role in the process if the transition from emergency aid to lasting cooperation is a smooth one. During this transitional phase there must be full support for good governance and security sector reform. The UN can contribute to this goal by more effective use of multi-donor trust funds.

A second lesson we’ve learned is not to underestimate the importance of prevention:

The concept of a ‘responsibility to protect’ has bolstered the position of the international community in countries where there are serious human rights and security problems. The options for direct intervention, however, are limited by the conditions set out in the UN Charter under the general non-intervention principle (article 2, paragraph 7). The problem is that when prevention fails, no one takes responsibility and that there are few benefits for intervention when prevention succeeds (Cry Wolf). Yet, it needs more attention: it is cheape r than conflict and it can be succesful (Macedonia). Another limiting factor is the potential for eroding sovereignty in states whose legitimacy is at issue. I am in favour of following a very conservative course in these matters. But at the same time, we cannot afford to look away from places where the standards of civilised behaviour are trampled with criminal abandon. Places like Sudan, North Korea, Iran or, more recently, Zimbabwe.

Yet experience has taught us that preventing conflicts is more effective than resolving them. With that in mind, we need to improve our ability to mount an effective, timely multilateral response. And yes, this may mean having somewhat less say. In an EU context, I think that the strengthening of the Common Foreign and Security Policy in the new European reform treaty will help. Other options include financing peace dialogues and using the services of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE.

A third lesson is the realisation that the balance between a legitimate government and an effective one can be precarious:

Early elections in post-conflict countries where the social structure and democratic values are still shaky seldom increase support for the regime. In many cases, they diminish the government’s effectiveness. Or, in the worst case scenario, lead to a resumption of conflict. So the timing of elections is essential. As is the quality of the democracy and the presence of checks and balances.

The struggle for democracy is not only about establishing a political system. It is part of a larger project to secure the rule of law and broaden participation. Achieving substantive democracy is crucial. I see this process at work in the history of my own country. There was no universal suffrage in the Netherlands until 1919; it was only in 1922 that women’s right to vote was enshrined in the constitution. You may be aware of the debate on the position of women in the strict Calvinist SGP party. Until 1970 voting was compulsory in Dutch elections. Today, as you know, turnout for Dutch elections could be much better. The Netherlands still faces democratic challenges today. Our society is changing, and our democracy is seeking ways to change with it. New parties are emerging; the internet is playing a greater role; and the political class has become part of a larger ‘spectator democracy’. Similar and other challenges also occur in many developing countries. Development cooperation can encourage and support home-grown processes that will contribute to a world with less poverty and more justice. It needs to aim at increasing access to and participation in these processes by the poor themselves.

A fourth lessons is that instruments can hinder implementation. Flexibility is key:

In fragile states the energy level is much higher than in our more traditional development partners. But our approach lacks the flexibility needed to capitalise on that energy. Our reconstruction instruments are typically based on Poverty Reduction Strategies. Once those strategies have been set, it’s not easy to re-evaluate them. Our subsidy frameworks for NGOs remain unchanged for years at a time. This is a problem that must be addressed.

The final lesson is the need to be more daring:

The political and social pressure in the Netherlands to make development cooperation more transparent and effective has had a purifying effect: today it is one of the most evaluated policy sectors. With the help of result reports and evaluations we can now very often see where our euros are being spent and what effect they’ve had. Unfortunately, this has also engendered high risk avoidance. Providing budget support to countries that are already donor darlings is a safe bet. But we must make a clear distinction between ineffectiveness and unlawfulness. I intend to take a bold stand against corruption and the misuse of development aid. In fragile states, you need to make damn sure you know who you ’re dealing with, who you’re supporting with our tax money.

But at the same time I want to put an end to this overemphasis on numbers and the lack of daring that goes with it. Development cooperation is a high-risk investment. We must put our money where it’s going to do the most good. These are often high-risk areas. Before we do so, we need to conduct thorough analyses, so we’re fully aware of the risks. But in the end, we need to be wiling to make risky investments, since they can be the most rewarding.

[policy and reality check]

The five lesson I’ve just mentioned prove that engagement is truly a balancing act. What does that mean for Dutch policy?

Development cooperation must be made more political. To deliver tailor-made solutions in turbulent states, we need a comprehensive political analysis of the situation. What exactly is happening on the ground? What developments do we need to pay attention to? Who is supporting whom? Are coalitions being formed? Who is likely to disrupt a peace process? This goes far beyond simply measuring effectiveness. This is about identifying political issues early on and getting them on the agenda. A permanent reality check.

Political development cooperation has another dimension. Our help is not unconditional. We are transferring money from the Dutch taxpayers to foreign government and institutions. That requires accountability: a development contract in which the recipients are obliged to account for their decisions. To us and to their own people. We need to realise that development cooperation will always benefit certain groups at the expense of other groups. This need not be a bad thing, as long as we make sure that no groups are being excluded. National parliaments and other countervailing powers, like a diverse media landscape, play an important role in ensuring this doesn’t happen. They need to ensure that the process of reconstruction is inclusive. We have learned from our own history that an insufficiently inclusive peace can be disastrous: one of the most important causes of World War II was the unfair peace settlement after World War I, in which the victorious parties claimed too much for themselves.

The Netherlands’ main goal is to help countries struggling with fragile institutions to improve their security and development, including respect for human rights. Expanding the effectiveness, legitimacy and ownership of the government with respect to certain core tasks is the foundation of our agenda. In doing so, we need to move beyond bilateral aid. In fragile states, where the legitimacy of the government is in question, state-to-state support is not always the ideal solution. In such cases, we need to consider other options: multilateral funds perhaps, or joint small-scale endeavours with NGOs. Over the past few years, great strides have been made in improving the way traditional donors – governments and UN institutions – work together. Now is the time for a Paris agenda for NGOs: if we want to work together in a more systematic way, we ’ll have to make more detailed agreements about the division of tasks.

As I said, Dutch efforts in fragile states make use of all the qualities that diplomacy, the defence forces and the development agencies have to offer. The police and the judiciary are also major actors in this process. Development work has an important role of its own to play. Soldiers are not development workers, and development workers are not soldiers. The civilian side of international stabilisation missions must be strengthened. Reconstruction, good governance and human rights are the factors for success.

The UN and (in the reconstruction phase) the World Bank can guide the efforts of the international community. Coalitions of countries must support these international efforts. In concrete terms, this means that UNDP must be designated the coordinating body for post-conflict countries within the UN. It also means that we need to encourage more cooperation between the political and development arms of the EU on security and development in fragile states. But wh en we’re dealing with fragile states, we also need to venture off the beaten path from time to time. There are often enormous geostrategic interests at stake. We need to work with and influence major donors like China, the US and Saudi Arabia.

Within my own organisation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I will work hard to respond more quickly and effectively to security and development issues. Our instruments vary from funding development NGOs – including supplementing the SALIN grant scheme for international NGOs – to forms of budget support for fragile states. Each country warrants its own approach.


Our efforts in fragile states are mainly centred reducing fragility. By focussing on stable societies, with sufficient checks and balances to be able to deal with shocks without resolving to new conflict. The sooner we’re on the scene, the better. But unfortunately, we are not always capable of preventing system failure, the moment when a fragile state becomes a failed state. At that point, military intervention may become necessary. I believe that the Netherlands should continue to take its responsibility in the area of crisis management, whether it be in the Balkans, off the coast of Lebanon (to prevent the country from relapsing into civil war), the southern Sudan (to monitor implementation of the peace settlement), or in Congo (to advise and train the armed forces there). And wherever future missions may take us. I am proud of the tremendous professionalism shown by our development workers and service personnel. They are doing incredibly important work under the most trying conditions. But we need a constant reality check: the civilian side of the equation is of primary importance. If we are not capable of truly rebuilding, if there is an absence of goodwill and institutional reconstruction, if we are only there to fight an enemy, if every form of development is stamped on as soon as it raises its head, there is no sense in maintaining a military presence and risking the lives of our soldiers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In order to progress from fragile states to stable societies, we need to act more flexible, faster and more integrated. We should not run away fron the risks. This requires a change in all of our states of mind. It also is in all of our interests. As the former UN secretary general stated: “today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another. Wgat begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.”

Thank you.