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Business Recorder

Published Date: Dec 11, 2014

Life after conflict

Managing the lives and livelihoods of those affected by conflicts is a
difficult business. Clearly, there can be no easy or right answers.
However, three streams of thought somewhat emerged as an unsaid
conclusion from a panel discussion on post-conflict reconstruction held
at the second day of SDPIs conference yesterday.

First, governance plays a critical role in helping the affected
ones get back up. In fact, more often than not it is the lack of good
governance that creates the germinating grounds for conflicts and

Second, and somewhat on a related note, the post-conflict
assistance is often politicised. Politicians are prone to seeking
opportunities for immediate, one-off, huge disbursements with plenty of
photo-ops instead of a well-planned, long-term upliftment programme.

Then there are scores of unresolved issues. These include, for
instance, which segment of society is the most affected; whether
providing livelihoods does or does not lead to state building; whats the
optimal way to assess the impact of conflict and the impact of
post-conflict assistance; whats the nature and effectiveness of aid
managed by donor versus that managed by the government; whats the
criteria for selection of beneficiaries; and what not.

While these discussions will continue to be debated in the
development circles, BR Research would like to highlight two areas that
need to be studied to be able to get a better sense of future policy

First pertains to the impact of remittances on conflict. Many of
Pakistans conflict-prone areas are regions that have sent huge numbers
of their men – yes, mostly men – abroad, who, in turn, send home monies
as remittances. So we need to find out the conflict-affect of
remittances and if, indeed, remittance inflows do indeed increase after a
conflict then how long does that affect last. This is not just
important in the context of balance of payment discourse but also it
will help improve the targeting of the beneficiaries.

Second, we also need to know which kind of intervention for
livelihoods works better in what kind of socioeconomic and political
settings. Of course, academics are quick to offer a vague answer to that
question by saying that much depends on time and space. But that is
exactly the point, because for one cluster of affected population, the
provision of livestock may work but for others, a bag of seeds, sum of
money or some fertiliser might do the trick. So there has to be a
meta-analysis of what works in different social, economic, cultural and
political settings.

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