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An Agenda for State Building in the 21st Century

A state-building strategy must be precisely tailored to its context and the aspirations of the citizens in order to provide the ownership and momentum necessary to expand an open moment into a process of institution building. Drawing on a body of lessons and insights from many decades, the paper identifies the four major reasons for the international community’s consistent failure to respond to the challenge of fragile and failing states. It addresses each deficiency, building on ISE’s collective experience to date. With the argument that state-building should be the central goal of the international community in conflict-affected countries, this paper makes five key recommendations to the international community for more effective engagement in fragile states.