The peace building project can be a challenging factor for both the internal and external actors who are involved in the process. The reason for this is that countries that are in the post-conflict stage still face various challenges and complexities, which need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable peace and development. The strategies that will be implemented in a certain country need to promote community reconciliation, social and economic recovery, and promoting development in the country. Therefore the policymakers need to conduct research in order to have a better understanding of sources of the conflict, how they impact the peace process, and how they can be addressed. After developing an understanding of the conflict, they will then start making various interventions that are measurable. The bottom-up approach that seeks to use community based approaches and grass-root leadership is considered to be the most effective method of dealing with violent conflicts, especially if two or more communities within a countrys border are involved in fighting. It seeks to address underlying causes of conflicts, pushes for community interaction and integration, and political, economic, and social recovery.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Countries that have previously been in a crisis and now are at the post-conflict stage normally face complex, and varying challenges due to different factors that they may face. These factors include the root causes of conflict, political systems or setup, social division, and geographical contexts (Abramov, 2010). Therefore, the strategies that are needed to support a country towards its recovery, development, and ensuring that there is durable peace, while also addressing these challenges are diverse. The reason for this is that some strategic measures that may work or be effective in one country, may not be as effective in another country or region.
Today, academic experts, researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and even non-governmental organizations (NGO) who are dealing with the concept of peace-building have realized that it is a complex, and also multi-dimensional exercise (Frelin, 2016). For the process of peace-building to be able to work, there is the need to link both sustainable development and peace-building, and then integrating them so that they become part of the overall national strategy (Abramov, 2010). This will ensure that a state will be able to create effective policies that will ensure that the country will not likely relapse to crises or conflict.
When coming up with a peace-building project, it is important to address the following factors. The policymakers have to be in a position where they understand the cause of conflict. This may have arisen from poverty or marginalization of certain groups of people in a country, societal divisions, militarization, and poor governance (Gill & Niens, 2014). Therefore, there is the need to understand and analyze the existing challenges that led to the conflict in the first place. This will reduce the possibility of a relapse.
There is also the need to link both sustainable development and peace-building. When talking about, or referring to sustainable development, it means developing strategies whereby; one will be able to meet the present needs of the citizens in a country without necessarily affecting, the ability of a country in future to meeting its own needs (Kolk & Lenfant, 2015). Therefore, effective economic frameworks will be put in place to ensure that a country is able to generate wealth and a source of livelihood for its people on a long-term basis. Also, the citizens will feel that there is equal access to these resources and that they are being managed properly. Also, there will be the development of socio-political sustainability programs that promote social equity, and also the quality of life of the citizens of the country (Kolk & Lenfant, 2015). In addition to that, there is also the need for environmental sustainability whereby the natural resources in a country are used in such a manner that they will benefit both the present and future generations. The natural resources will be used in a manner that will not have a negative effect or impact on the environment.
All the stakeholders that are involved in the peace-building project need to be aware that there is no single formula that can be used universally that will lead to sustainable development. Therefore, they have to be willing to negotiate various trade-offs such as sharing of power between different groups of people, that will create a sense of agreement towards sustainable development (Leonardsson & Rudd, 2015). It is important to point out that all the aggrieved parties (the divisions that led to conflict) have to be involved in the process of peace development through participation and inclusion. Also, for sustainable development to work, although it has to be based on long-term purposes, there is the need to create both short-term and middle term goals that will help or assist in addressing the post-conflict situation.
Sustainable development will only be successful if the stakeholders build capacities that support this initiative. In most cases, in a country that has been ravaged by war, faces data collection and analysis challenges. This will have a negative effect on the creation of effective policies that will lead to peace-building and sustainable development (Lucey, 2015). Therefore, there is the need to create ways for data collection, analysis, and even recovery. Also, countries that have been ravaged by conflict often have weak institutions within the government and civil society.
There is the need to strengthen these institutions and promote cooperation between them for peace-building purposes. Also, during the recovery process of a country from a conflict, in most cases, there is a tendency of different organizations and NGOs providing aid to the country. Although it is a noble gesture, if it is not managed properly, it can lead to the creation of problems (Marjanovic-Shane, 2016). A countrys government may be unable to maintain control of the peace-building process as it tries to fulfill the different needs of the donors who are assisting that country. It may increase the likelihood of corruption especially by the leaders of that country, and also social inequality (Addison, 2006). To avoid these situations, national governments have to take a more pro-active approach or role in terms of ensuring that they are the ones determining how aid will be allocated and managed in different parts of the country. They will also develop measures that they can use to hold the donors accountable for their actions.
Lastly, for the peace-building initiative to work in a post-conflict country, there is the need to create a sequence and prioritize the reforms from the most urgent to least needed reform. The reforms have to be arranged in a manner that they are gradual, and there is a sequence from one reform to another (Addison & McGillivray, 2004). For instance, during the first years after a conflict, the country should focus on stabilization (Paffenholz, 2013). After achieving stabilization, they should then focus on reconciliation, and then sustainable development. If such steps are followed, then the likelihood of the country relapsing to conflict reduces drastically.
Countries that have been involved in years of war, often have a seriously weakened economy, and also most of their physical and institutional infrastructures have been damaged immensely, or even destroyed, and therefore need to be repaired or rebuilt in order to become functional again in future (Abramov, 2010). It is also important to point out that, in most cases, the country has been extremely weakened by the fighting between the various groups, and it lacks organization and generally does not have funds that will push it towards regaining its economic activities without international assistance (Abramov, 2010). Also, post-conflict governments normally inherit huge budgetary deficits, experience a state of over-valued exchange rates whereby their currency is largely weakened in comparison to the other currencies ( especially the dominant currencies such as the U.S. dollar, and Euro), and also they have a low tax base. All these factors negatively impact a country in terms of its initiative of early economic recovery and also rebuilding the state.
In a post-war environment, despite the end of a conflict, there is still a sense of insecurity and violence, as the government tries to establish normalcy in the country. These factors normally act as barriers in relation to the launch of the reconstruction efforts. The citizens may not be able to access basic services such as electricity and water, despite the re-establishment of government authority (Brinkerhoff, 2008). There is also the possibility that the government is spending a lot of money in the military sector in order to improve the security of the country, and although this is important, it normally undermines the economic recovery efforts of that country. The violent conflict system in most cases will lead to a distorted system that promotes unfair asset acquisition and resource use (Baker & Scheye, 2007). In most cases, only a few people will benefit from the conflict, while the rest of the society will generally suffer due to loss of their assets, and the government lacking enough funds to push for economic recovery.
As has been stated before, all post-conflict situations are unique, and each country will experience its own vulnerabilities in relation to its conflict history. Therefore, economic costs will also be unique in the different conflict-affected countries (Frelin, 2016). There are various factors that will lead to the increase in terms of severity and depth of the det...
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