Journal Special Issue
Conflict and Peace-building

Interactions between Politics and Economics

Reconstruction from conflict is a complex and demanding task, and a major challenge for the UN system as well as the wider donor community. National authorities and their donor partners are faced with multiple priorities - rebuilding infrastructure, assisting war-damaged communities, and re-creating weakened institutions - with often insufficient resources to meet these needs. And reconstruction may commence when peace is highly uncertain, which adds considerably to the difficulties. This project builds on previous UNU-WIDER research which emphasized the importance of achieving broad-based recovery from conflict i.e. a recovery that encompasses the needs of the poor and reduces the inequalities which often contribute to conflict. If the poor are not prioritized in the recovery strategy then reconstruction may end up benefiting only a narrow elite: the end of war will then have saved the lives of the poor, but it will have done nothing for their livelihoods. This implies extensive and early economic reform to ensure that policies that impede the recovery of poor communities are changed. Reform of the public expenditure system is especially crucial to ensure that public money and donor assistance are directed to pro-poor priorities. Extensive reform is also necessary to ensure that the natural capital used by poor communities to make their livelihoods is not lost to them (e.g. in a post-war land grab by wealthy and politically-connected elites).