Discussing ‘Peacebuilding’ and ‘Post War Recovery’

March 10, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

Mideast Israel Palestinians

 

By

Anant Mishra

Nations that are gripped in war, at the final stage of conflict, have the obligation to transform from a state of war to a state of peace and stability. This period however is a phase of severe instability and economic slowdown in the region, thus the condition becomes extremely difficult for both regional and central government to tackle the equation all alone.

This ideology led to the creation of the United Nations Peacebuilding Mission. As stated in the UN Peace Keeping mandate, the aim being to “reduce a country’s risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development, in addition to post war operations looking into the wide array of aspects related to post conflict damage, instability and stagnation.”

It should also be noted that nations gripped in war and those nations in the aftermath of war are not burdened economically to handle the conflict, but are physically, psychologically and socially hit making them vulnerable to further uprisings. Wars therefore have a very adverse impact on government and judicial system especially on the cases of civil unrest. However it is very common for former warlords, third party organizations and private military firms to benefit most from the leftover natural and other resources of the state as the nation is incapable of facing them in post war scenario. A UN study states that almost 40 to 50% of post conflict societies re-enter in armed conflict within the first five years after the war ends.

In situations like these which stand between a nation’s future, growth and sustenance, the United Nations have formed a way to deal with these circumstances through intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, and other bodies, thus assisting nations on political, socio-economic and legal platforms.

“Building lasting peace in war torn societies is one of the most daunting of challenges in global peace building and security building.” Peace building requires sustainable international support for a wide range of activities, from monitoring ceasefires, demobilizing and reintegration combatants into society, assisting refugees and displaced person, assisting during elections, monitoring and maintain free and fair voting, supporting justice and security sector reform; enhancing human rights protection and fostering reconciliation after atrocities.

The United Nations has been actively expanding its peacebuilding techniques, from peacebuilding deployment in South Africa, Central America and Cambodia in the 1990s, to consolidating efforts of peace and reconciliation while strengthening in the Balkans, East Timor and West Africa, to armed assistance in Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan.

 

Discussing the Issue

“Peace building strategies must be coherent and tailored to the specific needs of the country concerned, based on national ownership, and should comprise a carefully prioritised, sequenced, and therefore relatively narrow set of activities aimed at achieving the above objectives”  – UN Policy Committee May 2007.

During a nation’s transition from a ‘State of War’ to attaining a ‘State of Peace’, it faces enormous security, social, economic, and environmental challenges that can easily enflame the conflict. Some of these challenges are:

 

  1. Poverty, marginalization, and vulnerability

  2. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and environmental deterioration

  3. Insecurity, militarization, and lawlessness

  4. Societal divisions

  5. Poor governance, corruption, and low capacity

  6. Poor economic performance, limited fiscal resources, and disruption of infrastructures and public services

  7. Regional and external risks and threats

 

 

Peace Building Commission (PBC)

As stated in the mission doctrine “The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is an intergovernmental advisory body that supports peace efforts in countries emerging from conflict, and is a key addition to the capacity of the International Community in the broad peace agenda.”

The Peace building Commission plays a very important role in a conflict as they:

 

(1) Bring all the relevant actors together, including international donors, international financial institutions, national governments and troop contributing countries

(2) Maintain constant vigilance on the resources from nuclear, to chemical, to natural

 (3) Advises the central and regional governments followed by international agencies on post conflict peace building strategies and recovery, maintaining a proper vigilance on the insurgent actors.

 

 

United Nations Peace building Fund (PBF)

Today, the United Nations Peace building Fund is supporting approximately 222 projects over 22 countries through fast and flexible funding.

After numerous requests from the General Assembly and Security Council, the Secretary General established the Peacebuilding Fund for post conflict situations amid the conflicts of October 2006. The PBF is an essential constituent of the UN architecture established to provide extensive support to countries emerging from conflict and peacebuilding activities which directly contribute and result in post conflict stabilization and to strengthen the capacity of Governments, national/local institutions and transitional or other relevant authorities.

 

 

Brahimi Report

Former Secretary General Kofi Annan requested that more proper and effective measures be designed to deal with the peacekeeping missions in the 21st century, so that the United Nations is prepared to deal with the crisis faced by any member nation. The Brahimi report was created with a simple thought in mind, offering feasible and pragmatic solutions to the issues concerning peacekeeping and peacebuilding with the present scenario in mind. As stated on the official website of the UN, the report focused on extensive architecture of peacekeeping missions, followed by realistic political and economical situations, rather than operational issues.

 

 

Challenges

We are all aware that peacekeeping has political, economical, organizational and legal dominions. Thus before resolving any issue, it is imperative that each of the issues are looked at carefully, although the only fact that differs between the peacebuilding process with the conventional building is, the focusing of political stability during the approach. The creation of a legitimate political authority is necessary to avoid the resurgence of violence. “Ensuring security” is a pre requisite for peacebuilding in any conflict.

Since peacebuilding is a multifaceted process, it needs to be properly guided on the basis of preference, depending upon the need and requirement of the conflict with special emphasis on political context. Thus, establishing this hierarchy requires an effective political strategy.

Looking at the fragile societies arising from war, external support is essential in the post conflict process. However, external assistance is never neutral. External actors get involved in the conflict with multiple agendas, opportunities and motivations which are at times not in favour of the post conflict agenda or the regional government. Proper mechanisms should be followed to ensure proper external and internal cooperative support for establishing the best situation and peaceful development in the “already succumbed scenario”.

 

 

Conclusion

It is very true that war has a drastic impact on organizations, societies, civilians, institutions, economies and governments. Many nations are not always equipped to deal with the post war scenario thus gripping them into more violent situations. Additionally, war torn nations are compromised in war or conflict situations, adversely affecting the judicial and law in the region, making the nation more vulnerable. Other issues involve economic instability, poverty and unemployment.

In order to prevent these hurdles during a conflict the United Nations has now decided to extend the area of operations by involving governments, NGOs, and other bodies, thus helping the host nation in rebuilding socio economic stability while maintaining peace.

Since no nation is well equipped to handle a post crisis situation as most of the resources at that time are utilised in containing the conflict, the United Nations’ primary concern is to therefore enhance peace building mechanisms and improve post conflict recovery operations.

Since there are many conflict vulnerable nations in the global world, nations depend upon a multi faceted approach from the international communities, besides peace and security.

The principles for effective peacebuilding need to be properly established so that they are better equipped to handle conflict situations in the coming years – provided of course there is a political appetite.

 

 

 

 

 

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Anant Mishra

Anant Mishra is a former Youth Representative to United Nations. He is an Associate Member of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi specializing in counter terrorist operations and foreign policies in Africa and Middle East.

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