Policy Insight, Volume 1, Issue 5, October 2007

Shaping the Policy Priorities for Post-Conflict Reconstruction

by Anga R. Timilsina, James Dobbins

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The international community has demonstrated its willingness to engage in post-conflict reconstruction in regions devastated by violence, civil war, and other conflicts. But debate continues over the question of prioritization: Where should investments be focused and in what order should they be made? Based on the RAND Corporation’s broader research on nation-building, the authors conclude that how policies are prioritized and sequenced in the post-conflict reconstruction environment must be nonlinear, context dependent, and specific to the needs and requirements of each country. This Policy Insight describes general lessons learned from relatively recent post-conflict interventions; these include the need to establish comprehensive security sector reform; to build inclusive democratic institutions; to ensure greater coordination between economic and political reconstruction; to generate visible short-term results to convey hope and optimism to a war-torn society; and to pay attention to vital prerequisites before launching any ambitious reform programs.

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