One of the most pressing issues in the post-conflict reconstruction field is how to prioritize and sequence political, social, and economic policies to enable post-conflict countries to sustain peace and reduce the risk of violence re-occurring. Analyzing three cases of post-conflict reconstruction (Cambodia, Mozambique, and Haiti) and expert opinions of 30 academicians and practitioners, this study identifies major reconstruction policies, outlines the preferred way to prioritize and sequence them, and develops a framework to help policymakers better navigate the complexities and challenges of forming appropriate policies.
We define nation-building as efforts carried out after major combat to underpin a transition to peace and democracy. Nationbuilding involves the deployment of military forces, as well as comprehensive efforts to rebuild the health, security, economic, political, and other sectors. The research we conducted focused on one aspect of nation-building-efforts to rebuild the public health and health care delivery systems after major combat. We looked at seven cases- Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These are some of the most important cases since World War II in which international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and countries such as the United States have taken part in efforts to rebuild the health sector. These missions also have important health components. To date, a significant amount of academic and policy-relevant work has been devoted to efforts to rebuild such areas as police and military forces. Little comprehensive work has examined efforts to rebuild public health and health care delivery systems, however. The work that has been done on health tends to focus on immediate humanitarian and relief efforts rather than long-term health reconstruction. The goal of our research was to fill this void.
The post-World War II occupations of Germany and Japan set standards for postconflict nation-building that have not since been matched. Only in recent years has the United States has felt the need to participate in similar transformations, but it is now facing one of the most challenging prospects since the 1940s: Iraq. The authors review seven case studies – Germany, Japan, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan – and seek lessons about what worked well and what did not. Then, they examine the Iraq situation in light of these lessons. Success in Iraq will require an extensive commitment of financial, military, and political resources for a long time. The United States cannot afford to contemplate early exit strategies and cannot afford to leave the job half completed.
This study contains the results of research on best practices in nationbuilding. It is intended to complement a companion volume, America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, which focuses on U.S.-led nationbuilding efforts. Its purpose is to analyze United Nations military, political, humanitarian, and economic activities in post-conflict situations since World War II, determine key principles for success, and draw implications for future nation-building missions. The study contains the lessons learned from eight UN cases: Belgian Congo, Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique, Eastern Slavonia, Sierra Leone, and East Timor. It also examines the nationbuilding effort in Iraq.