Peacebuilding involves a number of development activities undertaken to establish sustainable peace before, during, and after violent conflict. It seeks to promote fair, peaceful and inclusive societies.
This may involve reducing tensions over access to natural resources, ensuring equitable access to security and justice, or restoring trust between social groups or between governments and the governed. In short, the overriding themes include living together and the peaceful resolution of conflict.
Minka is a flexible tool, designed to carry out projects in crisis situations. It can provide responses that are both swift (with initial results visible to the local population within six months of implementation), and which restore trust between social groups. Since 2018, Minka also includes a program to support the private sector in crisis areas, in order to promote job creation and inclusive growth.
Minka targets four critical conflict basins via four initiatives: Minka Sahel, Minka Lake Chad, Minka CAR, and Minka Middle East.
MINKA SAHEL INITIATIVE
Purpose: Prevent and curtail violence by strengthening the social cohesion between communities and building trust between people and their institutions
The security, humanitarian, and sociopolitical situation in the Sahel has continued to deteriorate since the 2012 crisis in Mali, with a significant increase in conflict hotspots. According to OCHA reports, more than one million people have been forcibly displaced in the G5 Sahel countries, due to escalating insecurity and armed violence. Food insecurity, weak governments, and unequal access to basic services further compound the vulnerability of people across the Sahel — especially in remote regions far from national capitals. The fear is that the situation could lead to increased inter-community tensions and erosion of social cohesion.
The Sahel is a key priority area for French development policy, and AFD has been active there for more than 40 years. The Minka Sahel Initiative was launched in 2017 as AFD’s response to the violent conflicts that threaten these countries. The Initiative enables the financing of development projects targeting the most vulnerable of populations, with the specific objective of conflict prevention and recovery.
- Ensure fair and inclusive access to natural resources and essential services
- Promote socioeconomic insertion of vulnerable groups
- Support fair, transparent and citizen-centered institutions
- Gain a better understanding of the conflict dynamics at play so as to help address the root causes of crises
- Prioritize an integrated and partnership-based approach, in connection with humanitarian and development actors, especially members of the Sahel Alliance
- Adopt a regional approach to address trans-border risk factors
- Rebuild trust via projects with short-, medium-, and long-term impact
- Ensure conflict-sensitive project design as well as monitoring and evaluation
- Strengthen project flexibility to factor in volatile contexts
- People living in zones affected by or at risk from violent conflict
- The most vulnerable groups (youth, women, internally displaced and host communities, marginalized groups)
- Actors for positive change within public institutions and civil society
MINKA LAKE CHAD INITIATIVE
Purpose: Curb violence and strengthen social cohesion by improving the social conditions that had contributed to vulnerability and ultimately to the Boko Haram crisis
The violence linked to the Boko Haram crisis has had an impact far beyond the birthplace of the movement in northeast Nigeria, its combat zones and the areas to which its fighters have withdrawn. The multidimensional consequences have affected the entire sub-region of the countries neighboring Lake Chad. The states of emergency and insecurity have seriously hindered trade and agro-pastoral flows and have led to the displacement of millions of people.
In 2016, the UN recognized the situation as the most serious humanitarian and food crisis in all of Africa.
The Minka Lake Chad Initiative is AFD’s response to this crisis. It seeks to finance projects that address the causes of insecurity that have fueled the Boko Haram crisis.
- Delivery of public services in a fair and inclusive manner
- Strengthened local governance and community mediation
- Protection of women and youth
- Gain a better understanding of conflict dynamics at play so as to help address the root causes of the crises
- Prioritize an integrated and partnership-based approach, in connection with humanitarian and development actors
- Adopt a regional approach to address trans-border risk factors
- Foster dynamics of positive change and the restoration of trust
- Invest in capacity building and promote more inclusive governance
- Populations displaced by conflict
- Host communities
- Vulnerable populations (particularly young women and men)
MINKA CAR INITIATIVE
Country: Central African Republic (CAR)
Purpose: Support peacebuilding and help the country emerge from chronic crisis
The Central African Republic (CAR) is experiencing chronic conflict, with militant activity by armed groups spreading over a large swath of the country, including violent attacks against civilian populations. The situation is volatile and made further complex by institutional and political fragility. A quarter of the population has been forcibly displaced.
Despite a return to constitutional order in 2016 and new peace agreements signed in February 2019, armed groups continue to operate and are trying—with their sponsors— to turn community tensions to their advantage.
Supporting peacebuilding efforts now, is crucial.
The CAR government has outlined the pillars of its Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding (RCPCA, 2017-21). Key steps include bringing about an end to the crisis, peacebuilding and economic recovery. Strong support from development partners will be vital.
AFD launched the Minka CAR Initiative in 2017. Minka CAR provides substantive and stable funding over a five-year period. Priorities include fostering the underlying conditions necessary for peacebuilding, and launching initiatives that are flexible, partnership-based, and tailored to local contexts.
- Facilitate the integration of remote areas and respond to local inequalities by supporting local development
- Strengthen the governance of Central African institutions at national and local levels, and tackle predatory practices
- Address economic vulnerabilities by providing better socio-economic opportunities
- Ensure links between diplomacy, defense, development, and humanitarian action
- Strengthen institutions while developing partnerships
- Reinforce social cohesion
- Ultimate beneficiaries: populations in areas affected by crisis or highly vulnerable to conflict, displaced people within the CAR or who have taken refuge in neighboring countries
- Funding recipients: Central African Republic government and local authorities involved in conflict resolution, local and international NGOs and CSOs
MINKA MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE
Purpose: Mitigate the insecurity and vulnerability generated by population displacement and strengthen the resilience of host countries
The wars in Syria and Iraq have driven more than 15 million people to flee their homes and have caused the largest population displacement in the Middle East since World War II. The top host countries for these refugees are neighboring countries, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. They are faced with the need to not only extend essential public services, but to preserve social cohesion between refugees and local populations. (Iraq has also suffered considerable destruction from several years of warfare, destruction and displacement.)
AFD launched the Minka Middle East Initiative in 2017. The aim of this regional initiative is to finance development projects that mitigate vulnerabilities caused by population movement, and strengthen the resilience of host countries.
In line with the commitments that France made at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Minka Middle East supports projects linked to humanitarian and defense diplomacy, to reinforce French policies aimed at resolving crises abroad. The initiative promotes projects that are research-inspired, adaptable, and endowed with strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Thanks to Minka and funds delegated by the European Commission (Madad Fund, Facility for Refugees in Turkey), the Minka Middle East Initiative makes it possible to provide grants to middle-income countries that have traditionally received loans.
- Sustainably improve living conditions and access to essential services (drinking water, primary health care, etc.)
- Support socioeconomic insertion through education, vocational training, and employment
- Reinforce the recovery of areas affected by the crisis (via infrastructure, economic sectors, and partnerships)
- Ensure the transition from humanitarian action to long-term development
- Preserve social cohesion between displaced populations and host communities
- Reinforce local structures and national policies
- Improve leverage by working in partnership with other development actors
- Mobilize essential research on the region, to help apply the «Do No Harm» philosophy
- Refugees and internally displaced persons
- Host communities
- Women and children (priority cohort)
- National and local institutions (which are the most affected by the crisis management)
To provide better support for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, AFD established a three-year partnership with the Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO). This partnership is funding the realization and supervision of two doctoral theses on issues of habitat and access to essential services by vulnerable and refugee populations.
- In Beirut, the research addresses questions of housing and shelter as accessed by Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Their access to housing in their home cities in Syria previously, is compared to their ability to access housing in Beirut. In addition to studying the informal housing sector and real-estate development projects, the research also observes links between rental markets and processes, political patronage, and public policies.
- In Jordan (districts of Amman, Irbid, and Mafraq or Zarqa), the research focuses on formal and informal access to basic services (water, electricity, waste) and to housing for vulnerable populations. It inquires into whether the Syrian crisis has put too much pressure on services, making them dysfunctional, or if adaptations and interventions have led to adjustments and improvements. The study examines the role of the stakeholders involved (public authorities, NGOs, and international organizations). It also examines links between inequality or inequity in access to services on the one hand, and social cohesion among various population groups on the other.
This partnership enables AFD to collaborate with French, Jordanian, Lebanese, and international researchers and experts (geographers, urban planners, and sociologists, etc.), whose work can be applied to ongoing projects in urban areas, both in Lebanon and Jordan.