Political settlements are at the centre of donor engagement in fragile settings. This panel will explore what political settlements are, and how such an approach might help to foster more effective efforts at institutional transformation.
Political settlements are now at the centre of donor thinking, especially in fragile settings. But what are political settlements, and how can they help to better understand processes of state formation, power relations, evolving state-society relations, patterns of inclusion and exclusion, and prospects for political, social and economic transformation? And how can a political settlements approach enable donors to engage more effectively in efforts to foster progressive change? These are some of the questions that we will seek to address in this panel. We expect different papers/contributions to focus on understanding political settlements both conceptually and empirically, problematize the discourse around "inclusion", and explore implications for more effective engagement of international development actors. The panel will thus contribute to ongoing debates on pathways out of fragility and the challenges and opportunities for institutional transformation. The recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals lay out an ambitious agenda for change - but they say little about how to get there. Indeed, fostering more inclusive, peaceful and resilient states and societies remains the critical development challenge of our time, and we hope the insights derived from the different contributions and discussions in this panel will help to elucidate the connections between political settlements and prospects for progressive change, and to inform and influence ongoing thinking and practice on how processes of transformation can be more effectively supported.