This Report to the Senior Level Forum on Development Effectiveness in Fragile States, London, January 2005, commissioned by the DAC, assesses whether the harmonisation and alignment agenda is relevant to fragile states. It argues that aid-effectiveness principles are even more important in fragile states, given the potential for donor behaviour to undermine fragile state-building processes. It stresses the differences among fragile states, depending on the level of country leadership and political relations with donors. It introduces the concept of ‘shadow’ systems alignment, whereby donors work in a way that is as compatible as possible with government systems, without necessarily aligning to government policies – for example, using national budgetary classifications and timetables, with a view to moving towards full alignment over time. It contains recommendations around diagnostics, progressive alignment, harmonisation, selectivity and sequencing of interventions, support to policy-making processes and monitoring.