‘Imagine we are 5 years ahead, and minister Ploumen will visit the twelve countries where the ARC projects will be implemented; what will she see, and will she be satisfied with what we have achieved?’ This question was posed during a talk show with the MFA’s special envoy on migration, Bram van Ojik, the MFA’s Director General of International Cooperation, and representatives of NGO’s from South-Sudan, Burundi and Pakistan.
With the talk show, the kick-off meeting of the Addressing Root Causes Fund on Monday the 20th of June came to an end.
The ARC kick-off, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and facilitated by the Platform, marks the start of a unique, five-year collaboration in which the MFA, together with 15 NGO’s and their partners, will work together to address root causes of violent conflict, instability and irregular migration.
Some 180 participants engaged in numerous breakout sessions with the view of getting to know each other, to explore key common challenges for program development under the ARC fund, and to exchange tools and approaches for effective partnerships and adaptive programming.
Progress on themes like rule of law and employment creation in conflict affected areas is often small and incredibly hard to measure. Special attention was therefore paid to the creation of a joint results framework, on which the organizations within ARC, as well as the Ministry, can report to the parliament and the Dutch public.
Jelte van Wieren, the MFA’s Director of Stability and Humanitarian Aid, emphasized in his opening speech: ‘For too long, development aid in Fragile and Conflict Affected States has been approached as if we, development actors, are the drivers on a train going from point of departure to point of destination. But I think we can all agree it has been more like a sailing trip on a boat - or an ark – planning to cross an unpredictable, stormy and dangerous ocean with an uncertain destination’.
To answer Bram’s question, Salome Zuriel, conflict thematic manager at ACORD, emphasized that in fragile contexts, it is hard to predict the extent to which our programs will contribute to stability after 5 years of engagement. The results framework we are about to develop however, might actually provide for the opportunity to attain concrete results in creating employment, enforcing rule of law or increasing physical human security. Today’s kick-off meeting was a first step in that direction.