The international community recognizes the urgent needs in conflict-affected and fragile regions and in these circumstances, has dedicated enormous resources to provide development and humanitarian assistance. But progress has been slow. Conflict-affected areas present some of the most difficult challenges for delivery of aid, and there is a heightened risk that aid can favor groups on one side of the conflict or indirectly benefit armed actors, which can make the situation worse. The key challenge for the international community is to develop new ways of working in these regions that responds to local conditions more effectively.
These problems are particularly serious at the sub-national level. Many of Asia's worst cases of instability, poor governance, and political violence are a direct result of sub-national conflicts in remote or border regions. In these turbulent areas, governments tend to have very limited capacity and their authority is often challenged by armed non-state actors. Conflict-affected regions are usually home to disaffected minorities or marginalized populations that hold long-running grievances with the central government and political establishment.
The Asia Foundation has a long history of programs in conflict-affected and fragile regions of Asia, including in Afghanistan, Mindanao (Philippines), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Aceh (Indonesia), Southern Thailand, and Timor-Leste. The Foundation's long-term presence and extensive networks with local leaders, government, and organizations, allows us to interact with key actors and support programs in highly challenging and sensitive environments. This ongoing presence, combined with sophisticated analysis and country expertise, enables the Foundation to identify the critical issues, and design innovative, strategic programs that address conflict.
Foundation programs support local initiatives in the following areas:
- Peacebuilding in Asia
- Governance in Fragile Conditions
- Security and Conflict Mitigation
- Aid Policy and Practice in Fragile and Conflict-affected Areas