CGD in the News

Stopping the slide back into war

January 09, 2006

Research fellow Stewart Patrick was interviewed by the Toronto Star in this article about the UN's new Peacebuilding Commission and it's potential for "keeping the peace" in war torn countries.

From the article:

But, says Stewart Patrick, a fellow of the Center for Global Development in Washington, money alone cannot restore failed states without strong strategic planning.

Patrick, who helped to set up the U.S. State Department's Office of the Co-Ordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, says major funders of reconstruction try to get the job done quickly. But they are bound by legislative restrictions that favour their own companies, at the expense of local contractors.

"It ends up creating a parallel economy, so the indigenous public sector has no support." As a result, the local economy is neglected, and when the big international projects are finished, it is in tatters. That sparks a volatile combination of poverty and resentment which can reignite war.

Quick political fixes, such as "transferring the formal trappings of power" to a hastily installed post-conflict government also fail, says Patrick.