IPI HomePublicationsPolicy PapersInternational Assistance to Countries Emerging from Conflict: A Review of Fifteen Years of Interventions and the Future of Peacebuilding

 

print print  |  share share back back

Policy Papers - February 14, 2006

International Assistance to Countries Emerging from Conflict: A Review of Fifteen Years of Interventions and the Future of Peacebuilding

Alberto Cutillo

 

 

The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission is regarded by many as the most prominent achievement of the September 2005 World Summit at the United Nations (UN). With attention now focused on the operationalization of the Peacebuilding Commission, together with the Peacebuilding Support Office and a Standing Fund for Peacebuilding, this paper provides a far-reaching review of the main features and trends in international assistance to countries emerging from conflict over the last fifteen years. The paper traces the evolution of international peacebuilding and identifies key gaps that require continuing attention in the future. In spite of the considerable efforts and resources invested in years of practice, it is widely recognized that peacebuilding activities so far have been undertaken by a multitude of actors in absence of an overall political strategy. The main challenges are not the lack of a theoretical basis and lessons learned, but rather the failure to produce from them a commonly agreed doctrine and to translate it into meaningful guidelines on the ground.

This paper argues that though progress is being made on the ground, the United Nations system and donor agencies have failed thus far to address satisfactorily three gaps discussed in the paper: political leadership, strategic coordination, and a comprehensive financial mechanism. The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission may represent a historical opportunity to improve the international response to postconflict countries. While this paper does not focus directly on the Peacebuilding Commission, it does question whether the new Commission will succeed in effectively addressing the main gaps identified above. Because many modalities of the Commission are still under discussion at the moment of writing, it is difficult to assess how the Commission will operate, much less its impact on the ground. However, if the past is any guide, it appears that the UN system will still be struggling with these shortcomings after the establishment of the Commission.

The Global Observatory

Research Suggests Discrimination Against Muslims in France Likely to Worsen
Recent behavioral research shows there is a basic discriminatory bias against Muslims in France.

Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.

January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

View More