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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Achieving Success in Post-Conflict Reconstruction: A Comparative Analysis
Rachel Marie Krause.
REPORT 2005 K868 Public Affairs Library.

Post-conflict reconstructions have, over the past 75 years, grown into multi-billion dollar international enterprises. While the “art of war” has been developed and fine-tuned for millennia, the post-conflict reconstruction that follows it has received no such level of attention. This report aims to increase the knowledge about “best management practices” for reconstruction by identifying common post-conflict challenges and offering methods and guidelines to address them. Post-conflict reconstruction experiences of Japan, East Timor, Kosovo, and Afghanistan are presented as case studies and the basis from which conclusions are drawn. Although these countries and their post-conflict situations differed considerably from each other, the spectrum and relative effectiveness of approaches employed by reconstruction entities to address common issues is instructive. They naturally faced many of the same challenges, including: securing peace, accommodating returning refugees, establishing democracy, building local capacity, and reviving economies. Rapidly establishing security is of central importance to reconstruction success. The perceived legitimacy of reconstruction operations and the level of resources committed early in the process are associated with attaining consistent peace in a post-conflict environment. A reconstruction should achieve a balance of speed and sustainability, in terms of ensuring efforts are consistent with local priorities and local capacity. However, this appears of secondary importance behind the establishment of security. The case study countries support the idea that a current emphasis on ensuring “national ownership” of reconstruction when security has yet to be established may slow progress and, moreover, is not necessary for long-term success. This report also uses the experiences of Japan, East Timor, Kosovo, and Afghanistan to evaluate approaches used to build democracy through electoral and constitutional processes and to encourage equity and economic revitalization through the institution of property rights and land reform. The common challenges which arose in these four case studies will also occur in future post-conflict reconstruction cases. The recommendations offered in this report may help authorities faced with leading these reconstructions achieve sustainable outcomes with a minimal number of difficulties.


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