Despite the peculiarities of each particular case, when civil wars or other chaos end, countries need to address the root causes of the conflict to make the fragile peace sustainable. In this context, countries need to establish public security; to create participatory political systems with good governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights; to restore social cohesion; and to construct functioning economies that enable ordinary people — including the youth and uneducated — to have jobs and to earn a decent and licit living.
The fact that the economic transition — also referred to as “economic reconstruction” or the “economics of peace” — takes place amid this multifaceted transition and not independently from it makes it fundamentally different from “development as usual.” The experience of the last two decades has shown that war-torn countries cannot move into sustainable long-term development unless they engage first in the economics of peace — an intermediate and distinct phase which must aim at reactivating the economy while simultaneously minimizing the high risk of relapsing into conflict.
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Graciana del Castillo is a senior fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.