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Back | Programme Area: The Social Effects of Globalization

After the Conflict: A Review of Selected Sources on Rebuilding War-torn Societies

When the War-torn Societies Project was launched in November 1994 at the Cartigny seminar, a number of speakers denounced a widespread lack of attention to the complex and interrelated problems of post-conflict rebuilding. In this context, operational officials sometimes speak of a gap in the "relief to development continuum". In other words, there is a lack of continuity between efforts to relieve suffering during "emergencies" — war and immediate post-war situations — and efforts to rebuild and promote longer term "development", which do not necessarily follow directly on the declared end of emergency operations. In order to fill this gap, operational agencies, policy makers and researchers must engage in more systematic and comprehensive analysis of the interrelated components of post-conflict rebuilding.

As a step in this direction, After the Conflict takes stock of existing knowledge and experience in the field, covering the most important projects and studies that address the problems of rebuilding war-torn societies. The work discussed in this paper covers the complex challenges of reconciliation, reconstruction and the consolidation of often fragile peace arrangements. Despite the abundance of material, the paper notes that, in many cases, scholars as well as practitioners have paid far too little attention to the period following the end of armed conflict. They often seem to assume that the formal cessation of violence, in and of itself, can solve the problems that gave rise to, and have often been exacerbated by, the fighting.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 1 Nov 1995
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    From: UNRISD