Post-Conflict Rebuilding

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“ The priorities are as follows: security, humanitarian assistance, basic public services, economic stabilization, political reform and long term development.”Ambassador James DobbinsWhat Sequencing Has Worked in Post-Conflict Rebuilding?11By far, the bulk of US and international attention is devoted to post-conflict situa-tions. The number of UN peacekeeping missions is at an all-time high. Ambassador James Dobbins and his colleagues at the RAND Corporation studied twenty-two past cases of post-conflict reconstruction in order to identify lessons learned, and they have published their findings in a series of volumes, with one focusing on theAmerican experience. A certain prioritization of tasks in post-conflict environ-ments was found to achieve the most effective allocation of resources. The priori-ties are as follows: 1 Security 2 Humanitarian assistance 3 Basic public services 4 Economic stabilization 5 Political reform 6 Long term developmentThis sequencing should not be understood as a strict ordering of tasks to do one after another. Rather, it is a way to decide on the emphases that will achieve US policy goals most cost-effectively, in view of the fact that resources are limited.12 First is the issue of security. Without an assurance of basic security, the other efforts on the list are likely to fail. Afghanistan illustrates why security must be es-tablished before other things can happen. The United States is in the current situ-ation there partly due to the failure to recognize that having toppled the Taliban, it was incumbent to provide for public security. Peacekeeping is essential. TheResponding to Fragile States: Lessons From Recent Experience | 45

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