What is the relationship between peacebuilding and economic recovery and growth? How does economic growth impact on peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region? What approaches to peacebuilding have been used to promote economic recovery and growth in the Asia-Pacific region?
This report provides an overview of the literature on the relationship
between peacebuilding and economic recovery and growth in fragile and
conflict affected states, with particular emphasis on the Asia-Pacific
context. The majority of the conflicts occurring in the Asia-Pacific
region take place at the sub-national level. There is evidence to
suggest that while many of the affected countries receive development
assistance from key donors, this assistance tends to occur at the
national level rather than targeting conflict-affected areas directly.
Peacebuilding approaches tend to focus on reforms in the security sector
and on political reform and governance initiatives rather than focusing
on economic recovery and growth.
The literature reflects a range of divergent viewpoints on the
relationship between peacebuilding and economic growth, both generally,
and in the Asia-Pacific context. Key findings are:
- Economic growth can divert attention away from the grievances that
caused conflict (Portland Trust, 2007).
- Aid has no immediate impact on growth in post-conflict and fragile
settings but it does contribute to growth in the post-conflict decade
(Hoeffler et al, 2010).
- Programmes promoting economic recovery and growth should not be
implemented in countries still experiencing violence (OECD, 2010;
Hoeffler et al, 2010).
- Both short-term and long-term strategies for economic recovery and
growth can have stabilising effects (de Vries and Specker, 2009).
- Focusing on economic recovery and growth during peacebuilding does not
necessarily contribute to peace and stability, as growth can
exacerbate tensions between groups in fragile and conflict-affected
settings (Parks et al, 2010; Burke, 2013a).
- Economic incentives should not be seen as an alternative to political
processes (Goodhand, 2010).
- Economic recovery is difficult to operationalize in fragile settings
(de Vries and Specker, 2009).
Strachan, A.L. Peacebuilding and economic growth (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1044). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 9 pp.