Political Attention

To what extent is the international community prepared and able to maintain a political interest in state building over a longer period of time? As a rule, international attention is highest when violence has escalated or a humanitarian disaster that affects regional and international security is impending. As soon as the crisis has seemingly eased off, the topic disappears from the international agenda (such as the U.N. Security Council’s), not least because other crises have already taken its place and require the international community’s undivided attention. Almost all major state-building operations—let alone other, less spectacular activities—suffer from this effect. The decline or lack of international attention goes hand in hand with the dwindling interest of the donor countries’ publics in the situation, which dilutes the prospects of mobilizing sufficient financial and human resources for the international community’s engagement.

Strategic Planning, Operative Planning, and Resource Allocation

Another fundamental issue is the question of systematic state-building strategies and the difficulties external actors face in planning specific measures and providing adequate resources. In practice, plans are devised and structures are created in an ad hoc manner; international organizations must ask their members to provide the requisite resources and personnel on a case-bycase basis. In the past it has frequently proven difficult to secure continuous and sufficient support for international state-building measures. It is difficult to assess in advance how much funding will be available, which complicates the strategic and operative planning of civilian as well as military interventions. Moreover, states sometimes do not actually make available the resources they have pledged. Governments and international organizations frequently lack the necessary planning capacity as well as cross-departmental structures and concepts, which would not only accelerate the political decision-making process, but also contribute to the creation of systematic state building know-how.

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