A panel of experts and members of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Working Group on Lessons Learned (WGLL) met in New York today to discuss the importance of economic revitalization as a key element of peacebuilding and to share lessons learned.
The panel discussion focused on the types of mechanisms required to promote economic revitalization that reinforce the peacebuilding process in the aftermath of conflict. The keynote speakers also explored the key policies, frameworks and concrete actions that governments should undertake in this process.
While there are a number of ways to aid economic revitalization, the panel placed special attention to the importance of providing basic infrastructure in the peacebuilding process. It was highlighted that providing infrastructure facilitates economic growth because it generates jobs in rural and urban areas and creates a healthier environment. It was also added that in the process of rebuilding infrastructure, it is key to ensure decentralization.
Professor Bartholomev Armah, Senior Policy Adviser for UNDP, cited Cambodia, Mozambique and Rwanda as examples of countries that have recovered using the funds of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the development of infrastructure.
The discussion also emphasized that the private sector plays a key role in the process of economic recovery. The involvement and growth of the private sector, signals the return of “normality” and creates local long-term employment.
Mrs Consolata Ndayishimiye, President of the Burundi Association of Women Entrepreneur (AFAB) and President of the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Burundi, said that post-conflict countries need to “increase business climate,” and create “private sector resources for long-term financing.” She added that very often long-term financing is inexistent, and without it, the support of the private sector is unlikely to happen.
To increase the business climate it is necessary that governments ensure physical security, simple tax systems, property rights, and transparency in the justice system.
Although it was agreed that economic revitalization is a critical success factor in the process of rebuilding countries after conflict, it was stressed that, on its own, it does not immediately or atomically contribute to peacebuilding.
Every post-conflict situation is unique. However, to create the appropriate context for economic revitalization countries need to reconstruct core institutions, rebuild infrastructure, and reform government policies and public administration.
Professor Armah, underscored that conflicts lead to weak states and poorly working institutions which contributes to the informalization of economies, and thus, revitalizing the economy without strengthening the public sector first is a major challenge.
A Chair’s Summary of relevant lessons learned from the presentations and discussions will be prepared. The document will help PBC countries identify concrete actions that can be applied and carried forward in the peacebuilding process in the aftermath of conflict.