Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery

Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery

Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery

Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid for Postconflict Recovery

Synopsis

"This Comparative Study is Concerned with the Causes - and consequences - of failures to fulfill pledges of aid to postconflict societies. In each of six case studies - Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique, Palestine, and South Africa - the coauthors (including one scholar from a donor state and one from a recipient) first establish the sources, composition, and objectives of pledged aid and examine aid conditionality, delivery, and coordination. They then trace aid absorption, benefits, and impact on peace building and economic recovery. Finally, they assess the causes, consequences, and lessons of pledge gaps: What explains shortfalls in aid delivery? What social, economic, and political difficulties have ensued? And what does the experience suggest for future multilateral efforts at transition assistance? Good intentions notwithstanding, it is clear that recurrent delays and failures in aid follow-through can threaten vulnerable polities whose collapse would endanger regional peace and security." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The road to hell, samuel johnson famously observed, is paved with good intentions. Even the noblest motivations may lead to unpleasant, unanticipated consequences. Those seeking to rebuild postconflict countries would do well to keep in mind Johnson's aphorism, for their quests are fraught with devilish details and potential pitfalls, and the unwary risk plunging into chaos. This chapter seeks to map a smoother road by exploring new directions in the design, coordination, and implementation of recovery assistance.

The discussion here focuses on the official (rather than nongovernmental) actors involved in postconflict reconstruction. These include the agencies, programs, and departments of the United Nations; the international financial institutions; and the bilateral aid agencies. the chapter describes seven challenges these donors must overcome to support sustainable peace and reconstruction. It calls for closer collaboration in (1) designing aid interventions; (2) mobilizing resources; (3) deepening institutional reform; (4) harmonizing aid conditions; (5) coordinating assistance locally; (6) enhancing recipient capacities; and (7) ensuring accountability in aid delivery and implementation.

The first recommendation is that donors formulate an agreed framework for each postconflict situation that will lay the basis for timely collaborative action. This shared vision would define overarching aid principles, goals, and strategies and permit donors to assess needs jointly, to formulate a common assistance strategy, and to help the recovering state in drafting an initial recovery plan. Second, donors need to create flexible, fast-disbursing financing mechanisms specifically tailored to fluid postconflict environments.

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